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Four Proven Benefits of Design Build: Timeliness

BENEFIT 2: Timeliness

Like most things over time, the remodeling industry has gone through some changes. It would be safe to say that the remodeling industry has been renovated over the last few decades. The old norm of performing a renovation, or constructing a new home, was to seek out a designer/architect, plan the project, create the construction drawings, bid the project, and finally choose the contractor to perform the work. The contractor would either work under the supervision of the homeowner-hired architect, or report directly to the homeowner. The design build model for residential remodeling and home construction has many benefits over this dated method of performing home construction projects.

Over the course of this year, I will explain the four distinct benefits of the design build model of renovating and building homes; Communication, Timeliness, Cost Savings, and Accountability. Let’s continue this series today with Benefit Number 2, Timeliness.

The design build model of home remodeling and custom home building is more time efficient than the outdated methods of separating the two distinctive aspects of design and performing residential home construction projects. Important aspects such as schematic design, estimating the project, engineering, and changes to the scope of work can be done quickly and efficiently, saving time and eliminating the likelihood of misinterpreting the exchange of important information.Communication triangle

Schematic design can produce some unique, functional, and important considerations for remodeling and new home construction projects. However, most homeowners are constrained with a budget that may limit the overall scope of work. Being able to produce accurate construction costs during this initial design phase provides important information for the client early in the planning phase. Design build firms typically employ professional estimators that are trained in accurate market rate costs of all aspects of the construction project. The result is a very quick turnaround in project costing and value engineering. The final scope of work can be identified early without having to produce a bid set of plans and find out that the overall scope of work is not within the client’s budget range.

Additionally, design build firms employ designers that are trained in purchasing finish products, and therefore they are very aware of the costs associated with them. By narrowing down type of finish the client is attempting to achieve, budgets can be applied for product costs early in the schematic design phase in order to finalize the full scope of work. This saves time by budgeting early for products that will not supersede the overall project budget.

Throughout the schematic design phase, design build firms can consult efficiently with the structural engineer in order to foreshadow tricky, and perhaps sometimes costly, structural issues. These structural issues can be estimated accurately with the construction estimator and/or trade partners associated with the design build firm. By keeping this communication internal, the costs associated with moving load bearing walls and constructing unique features can be quickly estimated for the client’s consideration.

During a remodel or new home construction process, a client may wish to incorporate a change to the overall scope, or make minor modifications to the existing finish. The design build model allows the quick exchange of information regarding the project changes to be designed and estimated within one organization, saving time and decreasing the chances of miscommunication. These changes can be value engineered quickly in order for the client to make a timely decision and keep the project momentum on schedule.Time is Money

In most cases, time is money. It takes time to design and construct projects with detail and high quality standards. Stay tuned for part three of this four part series, as we will talk about the cost savings associated with the design build model of home construction and renovating. Until then, design, build and most of all, ENJOY!

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Four Proven Benefits of Design Build: Communication

By Marty Morse

Like most things over time, the remodeling industry has gone through some changes. It would be safe to say that the remodeling industry has been renovated over the last few decades. The old norm of performing a renovation was to seek out a designer/architect, plan the project, create the construction drawings, bid the project, and finally choose the contractor to perform the work.  The contractor would either work under the supervision of the homeowner-hired architect, or report directly to the homeowner. The design build model for residential remodeling has many benefits over this dated method of performing home improvement.

Over the course of this year, I will explain the four distinct benefits of the design build model of renovating homes; Communication, Timeliness, Cost Savings, and Accountability. Let’s get started today with communication.


Communication is one of the most important elements of a renovation project. With the design build model, the design team is in constant communication with the production team.  The employees work as an orchestrated team under one roof, and have a common goal of creating satisfied clients. If a design question or production issue arises during the construction phase, an answer or design solution is available immediately.


Through experience, I have learned that communication can be broken down when there is a working triangle of an independent design/architectural firm, Client, and general contractor. During construction, quick answers can be critical to maintaining construction timelines. However, when issues must be coordinated through three independent parties, delays are often inevitable.  Additionally, information can be miscommunicated.

With design build models, communication is constantly being updated within the organization. Systems are streamlined and communication within each department flows freely and easily, without pointing blame on the design, or faulting the construction crew for mistakes.  Working as a team, the production staff can send photos and project information to the designer, who understands that timing is critical. Field modifications can be approved swiftly by the Client, and communicated properly back to field technicians.  The team understands the goals and objectives, and also realizes the importance of time.

Another critical aspect of the home renovation communication is the organic nature of the construction drawings.  As construction projects progress, the drawings are constantly updated to insure all field technicians have the most current information. Updating plans due to field modifications or last minute design modifications is easily communicated within the same design build team.  For example, a client request to add a new window to a room during production can quickly be estimated, approved, designed, drafted for permit, and implemented within the internal communication channels of one organization with greater simplicity than even the best coordinated efforts of multiple agencies.communication

Communication is vital in the remodeling industry. I just touched base on timely communication as being a major benefit to the design build model of renovating homes. Stay tuned for benefit 2 in this four part series as I will discuss other timely aspects of the design build process.

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The Art of Color-Morse Remodeled Home in Sac Magazine

August 2013 Sacramento Magazine article featuring a remodeled home in Davis by Morse Remodeling and Custom Homes:Sac Mag Article 8-13_Page_1

   Sac Mag Article 8-13_Page_2

Sac Mag Article 8-13_Page_3

Sac Mag Article 8-13_Page_4

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5 Elements to a Quality Design Experience: Details

Part 5

By Marty Morse; CR

A beautiful design is not useful if the client or contractor cannot cannot acquire the proper information in order to build it.  A  quality design requires detailed drawings and specifications in order to facilitate an accurate and timely construction process. A skilled designer can accurately portray the 3-dimensional world in a 2-dimensional form, allowing the production team to accurately develop the final product as expected by the designer and client.YETMAN PIC 3yetman-patio-night-2653

Before you embark on engaging a design professional to map out your new home or custom remodel, it is important to make sure that the designer has the experience and knowledge of  how the project will be constructed. Details of intersecting materials, such as kitchen sinks with solid surface counters, are an important part of the finished project. Designers should have the knowledge to specify the transitions between materials and how they will be finished upon completion of the installation. Accurate drawings and specifications eliminate the last minute field modifications, or costly changes due to unfinished design details.Donald-SINK-926

Clients hire professional designers in order to eliminate the element of the unknown and make sure they are getting exactly what they and the designer want the finished product to look like. This communication is done graphically and with detailed specifications. A quality design will include a detailed description of the products used for the project, such as manufacturer, finish, size, and appropriate options. It is quite common for a detailed design to have several pages of product descriptions, sizes, finishes, colors, and detailed specifications.

Blog Feature Wall - Knutson

Conceptual 3-D image developed during schematic design phase.

Knutson Wall Plan Blog

Preliminary details are developed during construction drawing phase.

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The result of upfront design and details concludes with stunning results and happy customers.

Furthermore, detailed drawings assist the production team during construction. This is especially important when the design is unique; cookie cutter designs can be built from more simplistic drawings, but a design that is unique and custom should have drawings that spell out each detail.  A good designer will typically consult with a trade professional to make sure the design idea can be implemented properly with the production team.

Quality design is a very important part of the home improvement process.  The 5 elements we have discussed in this series are; communication, strategy, creative design development, experience, and details. They are all extremely important and crucial to a a quality design experience. I hope you have enjoyed reading our 5-part series and you have found the information useful when you seek out your next professional designer for your home renovation project. Design, Build, and most importantly, Enjoy!


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Remodeling is Picking UP!

By Marty Morse

Have you noticed more construction vehicles in your neighborhood lately? It is impossible for me not to notice since Morse Remodeling relies heavily on its clients wishing to make improvements to what is most likely their biggest asset, their homes.

Home sales are experiencing multiple offers over asking price, supporting growth in home values. Additionally, there is a very low supply of housing on the market for sale. Some clients of Morse have come to us after searching for a new home, only to find out that there is not a whole lot of inventory on the market that meets their needs. This is leading many homeowners to really look at their home, its location, and its potential for a remodel. As a result, these homeowners are beginning the process to improve their current home for the next 20 years, and customize it for their needs and lifestyle. My personal situation is proof. I have recently upgraded my home by adding a photovoltaic solar panels to my roof and painting my exterior.

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I have enjoyed assisting others in making their dreams for their remodeling ideas become a reality. There are thousands of homes in Davis and surrounding communities that experienced huge home developments 15-20 years ago. Many of these homes were cookie cutter model homes that were built with tract style products and finishes. These homes in the Sacramento Valley are in dire need of improvement and customization. It is amazing how these homes can transform from builder series to custom spaces that represent the homeowners taste and lifestyle needs.

If you are interested in learning more about the potential of your current home, please give us a call and we will coordinate a free consultation to review the possibilities. But don’t wait too long. Large scale projects can take up to 5 months to plan and acquire building permits. It is not uncommon for design build firms to engage with their clients for a 12 month period, from initial consultation, to enjoying their remodeled space. I hope to visit you home soon….Design, Build and Enjoy!


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Home Entertainment via Apple TV

-By Marty Morse

Home entertainment systems have come a long ways over the last decade. Many tech junkies have updated their systems with new LED large format monitors that not only have super HD capabilities, but are also energy saving television monitors, compared to the old tube televisions and plasma/LCD monitors. However, there is even a cooler product that has been on the market for some time now, and our production team has been installing for our customers at a very reasonable cost. Apple TV.

Apple TV hardwareI have recently been one of these folks that have enjoyed the in-home entertainment aspect of what apple TV has to offer. Our entire family enjoys viewing our photos and movies captured by our phones and Go-Pro cameras by streaming through our Apple TV.  With the simple click of an apple share button, the high resolution photos and movies are viewable for our family and friends to watch on our smart TV.

The other cool feature of the Apple TV hardware is the ability to stream your favorite shows on television through websites such as Youtube, Hula, and Netflix. Home movies that we have created via i-movie, or multimedia captured and synced to our home mac computer, are also available to view via our home linked network. In a nutshell, you are able to view computer content through your HD television and surround sound system and share with your friends and family through Apple share.

Apple TV ScreenTo see a short clip of an i-movie we recently created, click here. This movie was quickly uploaded to my FB page  from my i-phone. However, we can simply share this video on our home ET system with the click of a button and view it in a large HD format via the Apple TV hardware we have installed. Home sharing at its best.apple TV streaming

This system is obviously Apple based, and not linked with PC based systems. However, it is a fantastic home entertainment upgrade and the hardware is priced under $100. A great value to upgrade your system if you are on the apple platform. Enjoy!


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