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Your Definitive Guide to Running a Renovation Project

Over the last two years, we’ve noticed an increase in residential home renovations. We’ve been home more often than ever, so we’ve had time to dream about our homes’ possibilities and become keenly aware of the things that desperately require change.

If you have been thinking about making changes around your home but you’re feeling overwhelmed and you’re not sure where to start, here’s an in-depth look of 3 different methods of running a renovation or new build project.

Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

DIY has become more popular over the last 10 to 15 years, thanks to the diverse amount of HGTV series currently on air.  DIY is when the owner takes full control of the renovation project. They decide how much work they will do on their own, or if they will ask a friend or neighbour to help, and/or hire professional trades for certain tasks.

Besides having complete control over the project, DIY is generally more cost-effective. Not only are you saving money by doing a lot of the work yourself, but you also have complete freedom to choose if/who you hire and where you source your materials.

Keep in mind though, depending on its complexity, a DIY project can very quickly become a full-time job for which you’ll be filling roles that the average homeowner may not have the skills to fill. More so, all decisions and liability fall on you, and if something goes wrong, there’s no one else to look to for help. It’s your responsibility.


The Design-Build method is the team approach to renovations/new-builds for which you have a design team and a building team working together from beginning to end of your project. These two teams have a working relationship, which ensures complete trust in one another. All professionals involved add their expertise to their respective aspect of the project; often detecting problems during the design process before they become real issues during construction.  This can result in more cost-effective solutions.  Shortened timelines are also a benefit of Design-Build because there is no bidding / tendering process, so once the design is complete the transition from design to construction is seamless. 

That said, pricing may not be as competitive because the team members, including trades, are generally pre-determined by the designer or general contractor. The professionals being hired are individuals they trust to do the best work and who can  follow the required timelines.

Design Bid Build

In the Design Bid Build approach, everything happens very sequentially. The designer produces the design, which then goes out to multiple construction companies for tender or bid. After bids are reviewed, the owner awards the job and the project starts. This option gives you, in a sense, more control over the team and the cost since you select both the Design and Build teams.

As much as having that control is a plus, Design Bid Build can be a lengthier option since none of the processes overlap. Furthermore, issues may not be detected during the design phase since there are no trades to review the proposed design ideas.  Also, with the designer and the builder being separate units, there is less of a team approach which generally results in a less cohesive process.

At S3, we’ve worked within each model and find that we thrive in Design-Build projects. Our unique step-by-step design-build process is extremely organized. The process begins with a Discovery Consultation to uncover all your wants, needs, likes, and dislikes, budgets and timelines. Based on what we discover, we are able to offer suggestions and create a plan to move forward. 

If you’re ready to get started, or perhaps you already have started and you realize that you may have bitten off more than you can chew, our team is here to help. Book a Discovery Consultation today!

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