10 Steps of the TECTONIC Design-Build Process

One advantage of working with a design-build firm over a traditional architect or contractor is the proven, streamlined design-build process. While every design-build firm tends to have its own unique twist on the process, at Tectonic, top-notch design is first priority. 

Want a better idea of how this process works and why it’s so beneficial for homeowners? Let’s take a look at the ten steps of Tectonic’s design-build process, as well as some of the benefits that come along with it!

10 Steps of the Design-Build Process 

At Tectonic, we follow a 10-step design-build process (our Monorail Map) for all of our clients’ projects. This process has helped our team build projects of all sizes and complexities (just on different timeframes, depending on project scope)! Below, we’ll guide you through it, step-by-step. 

*Timing for each of these steps is highly dependent on client availability and responsiveness. The below timelines are for new construction homes.* 

1. Discovery

The first step of our design-build process is Discovery. You fill out our intake form with details regarding your project, then we schedule two meetings: one call to learn more about your goals and budget, and one complimentary site visit with our Design Team to take a deeper dive into the details of your project and our process. 

It’s important that both parties feel excited about working together before we take the next step in the design-build process. If we don’t think our team is a good fit for your project, we’ll provide some recommendations for other firms or contractors. If both parties feel aligned, we’ll provide you with our Design Planning Agreement and move on to Step 2 in our process. 

2. Feasibility

Our Design Team again visits your home to review existing conditions, measure, and conceptualize the project with you. We also conduct initial zoning research and assess any relevant project limitations. During this phase, you’ll also complete a design questionnaire and provide concept images, so we can get a better understanding of your style direction and finish options.

We then produce a Project Overview document to ensure mutual alignment regarding the priorities, goals, and considerations of your project.

3. Conceptual Design

The goal of the Conceptual Design phase is to develop diagrammatic drawings that illustrate your spaces and their functional relationships. It’s a pretty cut-and-dry process, with us delivering the Concept Documents, you providing feedback, then final approval. 


Based on Conceptuals, we will provide an Initial Budget Proposal to again ensure we’re aligned on the scope and cost of your project. You will have an opportunity to provide feedback and redirect us, if applicable.

5. Design Development

Once you’ve approved Concept Documents, we move onto the Design Development phase, which includes producing more detailed documents with a site plan, floor plans, sections, and elevations. You will have multiple opportunities to provide feedback in developing final documents.

In this phase, you will also visit showrooms with our Lead Designer to develop selection packages.

A lot happens within this step, and it takes a bit of time. But the design-build process was created that way for a reason; the more thoughtful and detailed the design, the more aligned we are, and the better the end result. 

6. FINAL Budgeting

We’ll produce a final budget based on decisions made during Conceptual and Design Development. You will again have an opportunity to provide feedback before we finalize your design package. 

7. Final Design

This is the final step of our Design Planning process. We’ll present final construction documents (CDs), design selections, budget, and production schedule. You’ll review and provide a final signature. Then, you’ll review and sign our Construction Agreement and provide the scheduling deposit to reserve a spot on our build calendar. 

8. Mobilization 

During the Mobilization stage, our Field team and trade partners are in coordination to ensure the smooth and timely completion of your project. We also procure your selections and necessary permits, determine an on-site location for staging materials, and prepare your house for construction. 

Mobilization timing can vary quite a bit, depending on your local municipality’s efficiency in granting permits.

9. Production 

The Production stage is where our team starts to bring your vision to life! We build your dreams and we provide you with weekly updates.

Of course, the timeline here is dependent on the project scope. We estimate about a year for new homes, with shorter timelines for lessened scope (e.g. basement remodel). Whether it takes shorter or longer than that, our team is always sure to keep you informed and engaged throughout the process. 

10. Close-Out

When all the construction efforts are done and cleaned up, your project comes to a close. In order to ensure we didn’t miss any details, we’ll work with you to provide a “punch list,” where we compare and agree on each part of the project’s quality completion. We find that this is the best way to ensure a job is well done. 

Then we’ll clean up the site, remove our tools and crew, and hand the keys back over to you. We’ll also deliver your final project binder, which contains your selections and other documents like manuals, manufacturer warranties, etc. Then, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your newly constructed home!

Each of those ten steps helps to provide a comprehensive, streamlined approach to new construction and remodels. If you choose to follow the design-build process for your next project, you’ll likely experience many benefits, including (but not limited to): 

    • Better budgeting: The design-build process starts with paying close attention to your budget, then choosing materials and selections that work within it. 
    • Open communication between all parties: Since design-build firms are responsible for both design and construction, they employ a tight-knit group of architects, designers, contractors, and trade partners who work in close collaboration. This means better communication with you.
    • Streamlined schedules: From creating detailed designs to maintaining close communication with all those involved in the project, the design-build process is built to minimize costly, time-consuming errors that set your project timeline back. 
    • Better results: With design-build, you’re involved in every step of the process — and you have a whole team of experts helping bring your visions to life.

    New to the design-build process? Ready to start your next project? Either way, the Tectonic Design + Build team is here to answer any questions you may have. Learn more about our process or get your home improvement project started by contacting our team today!