What Is the Design-Build Process?

New construction is an exciting endeavor for your church. You can finally expand your space to fulfill your ministry vision! However, before starting on a building project, you must decide which construction method—traditional or design-build—is right for you.

Churches by Daniels is a church design-builder who believes this streamlined process is the most cost-effective, efficient, and timely way to build a church. Below, we’re sharing the “ins” and “outs” of the design-build process to help you decide if this system is the right avenue for your church and ministry.

What Is the Difference Between Traditional Design-Bid-Build and the Design-Build Process?


With the traditional building process, also called “design-bid-build”, the owner must hire a separate architect, engineer, and construction manager, who then hires subcontractors and suppliers. The owner acts as a “go-between” and is left with the burden of communication between these separate entities.  

Design Build construction process

Churches often find that the traditional building process makes it more challenging to ensure the team communicates regularly and stays within the confines of their budget and vision.


During the design-build process, the architect, engineer, and builder belong to one company and work in tandem as a unified team so you—as the owner —are only responsible for hiring one company. Churches receive an all-in-one experience that eases the burden of overseeing the project, promotes a more organized team effort, streamlines communication, and keeps the project within budget.

The design-build process provides a more accurate picture of project costs upfront and makes it easier to stay within your budget, timeline, and vision for the project.

Churches by Daniels has decades of experience in church-building projects, and we take pride in the collaborative approach, cost savings, and efficient timeline we can offer pastors during the design-build process.

What Steps Are Included in the Design-Build Process?

1. Hire a Design-Builder

First, choosing the right design-build team aligned with your timeline, budget, and vision for the project is key. Though it might be tempting to choose the cheapest bid, finding the right blend of skills, experience, and value is the best option for selecting a design-builder since you’re choosing an architect, designer, and construction team all in one.

Hire a design builder

2. Create a Project Plan

Once you’ve hired a design-builder, you will set up a pre-construction meeting to determine your current challenges, future goals, desired budget, and overall vision for the project. In short, this meeting will determine the initial design strategy the designers will flesh out in the next step. 

After this meeting, the architects and engineers will evaluate the current structures, plumbing, and electrical systems of your existing building (if applicable) to uncover hidden challenges during the building process and factor them into the design.

3. Develop a Design

Next, it’s time to create a design for the building. During this step, the design-build team will collaborate to invent an architectural design that achieves your goals for the building project, from functionality to style preferences. You’ll receive preliminary drawings of the building and be able to adjust the design until everything is perfect. 

The budget is finalized and approved during this step before detailed drawings are produced and construction begins. A design-builder will work with you to modify the design until both parties establish and agree upon the guaranteed maximum price (GMP). Setting a GMP ensures you won’t be surprised with any expenses down the road right before or during the construction phase and is one of the most notable advantages of the design-build process.

Church sanctuary designed and built by churches by daniels

4. Complete Construction

After the preliminary drawings and budget are approved, the architects on the design-build team will complete the detailed drawings, and at the same time, the construction team will begin building. This collaborative approach generally speeds up the construction process. 

During construction, the design-builder (Churches by Daniels) coordinates communication between the designers, engineers, and subcontractors and contacts the pastor or business manager to provide updates on the project. This collaborative approach generally results in a smoother, timelier, and more cost-effective project than the design-bid-build approach.

5. Final Walkthrough

Post-construction is a breeze with a design-builder like Churches by Daniels since the designers and contractors work under a single entity. 

We create a punch list during the final walkthrough, and once these items are complete, we explain how to use all your new systems—from the lighting to the audio features. We also digitally share close-out documents such as drawings, warranties, and owner’s manuals before transferring ownership of the building. And if you invite us—we’d love to celebrate the grand opening of the building with you!

Notable Benefits of This Streamlined Process

The benefits of the design build process

Churches love that the design-build process saves time, money, and hassles compared to the design-bid-build method and results in the following benefits:

  • Communication — Streamlined coordination ensures everyone is on the same page, improving the overall quality of the project.
  • Accountability — The design and construction project elements fall under one single source of responsibility (the design-builder), making it easier to solve problems.
  • Cost Transparency — Pastors can rest assured their budget will be honored by determining a guaranteed maximum price before the design is finalized and executed.
  • Timeliness — By eliminating miscommunications between the architect, engineer, and construction team, the project is completed in a much timelier fashion.
  • Less Responsibility — Pastors are not responsible for coordinating the building project, allowing them to focus on what they do best—ministry!
  • Teamwork — The design-builder continually reviews the work throughout the process to minimize mistakes and eliminate costly change orders.

Trust a Nationally Acclaimed Design-Build Team for Your Church Construction Project

Lobby of Church on the Move Broken Arrow built by Churches by Daniels

If you are exploring options for a church-building project, we hope this information has helped you understand the value of investing in a design-builder like Churches by Daniels

Churches by Daniels is not here to make money. We’re a team of believers with a heart for ministry. Since 1980, we’ve been helping pastors build their ministry facilities—and we would love to help you with our expert design-build process!
Contact us to get started with church construction planning and management.