By Design

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Andy DeLeonardis, Design Manager

We’d like to introduce our Design manager Andy DeLeonardis (top) and in-house architect Billy Zion (below). In this interview they share some great Design-Build insight. 

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Billy Zion, Architect

  • What is the purpose of a Design team?

Andy:  We ultimately make the renovation process more efficient and less costly.  Our Design team clarifies a myriad of unknowns so the Build phase is straightforward and stress free. The mission is accomplished when everyone understands and shares the same expectations.      

Billy:  Definitely agree! The Design Team is vital because it opens the line of communication between Designer and Builder very early in the process. This ensures the owner’s vision is properly documented and clarified to help eliminate surprises, disappointments or budget overages later on.

  • Couldn’t a client just start with an architect, then find an interior designer, then submit everything to multiple Builders for competitive bids?  

Andy:  They absolutely could, but getting all three together at the start has far greater benefit.  Finger pointing is less likely when they're all on the same team, not to mention the client can determine cost much sooner.

Billy:  Our Design Team has a unique bond and a creative culture that cannot be replicated by hiring separate professionals who work outside of a cohesive team. 

  • What type of projects require a Design?

Billy:  I would argue all require some form of Design. Building without a plan or a purpose can/will produce results that look unprofessional and “pieced-together”. Smaller projects like powder rooms or laundry rooms may not require as many drawings as a new home or a large addition, but every square foot needs to be carefully planned so fixtures and appliances and finishes are efficiently located/arranged. Our Design Process ensures the owner’s vision is maintained and the end product will look intentional and well-crafted.

  • How long does the Design Process take?

Andy: Average is around 6 – 8 weeks but the size and complexity of a renovation obviously factor in.

Billy:  Not long enough :)

  • How do you guide clients through Design decisions?

Andy: Pictures, visits to showrooms, previous project examples, etc. We utilize several methods to determine the final selections for a project…lots of discussion about how to incorporate the style of selections with existing home design and areas that are being renovated.

Billy: Visualizing the end result is crucial. We use 3D rendering to show the owner several realistic images during the Design Process to help them decide which designs will look the best within their context.  These images ensure we envision what the client envisions.

  • Can a client change the design once construction starts?

Andy: Of course, but we try to help clients clarify everything on the front end.  Our Design process is pretty thorough, so the client has an opportunity to make changes before moving into the Build phase.

Billy: I usually tell clients the Design Process never ends (I know Builders hate that). Changes during construction come at a cost, but sometimes the best ideas don’t show up until walls start forming spaces. 

  • How does having an architect (Billy Zion) on staff help the Design Process?

Andy:  Billy has helped us reach a whole new level of efficiency. He’s an expert in architecture, but he's also a true team player. Billy is always accessible and responsive.  He gives the insight and feedback we need to keep projects moving forward. 

Billy:  More communication and more understanding of each person’s role…..Bridging the gap between Designer and Builder. The Architect and Builder are constantly communicating and learning from one another so that the Design Process can be streamlined to move projects from concept to construction more quickly than conventional design/bid/build. Knowing what the Builder needs to begin construction, the Architect can be sure no time is wasted producing unnecessary documents.

  • What is the coolest project you ever designed?

Billy: Probably the BBQ restaurant I designed a few years ago. I love the process of creating….and eating good BBQ so being able to work with the owner to create a building designed specifically for cooking, serving, and enjoying pulled pork and chicken and ribs really made my mouth water. Even though it was a new build, the building design was based on local barn vernacular so the end result was a clean, modern BBQ joint inside of a familiar, rustic shell.

  • What is the best part of your job? 

Billy: Riding my bike to work and kicking David Bass (Production Super) out of his office :) Seriously….I enjoy working with like-minded Christian men and women who are truly here to serve God by serving others. It’s obvious that from Design through Build, Daniel Builders is all about building trust and strong relationships with their clients. 

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