We are an Architect-led Design/Build firm and are licensed in Virginia both as Architects as well as a Class-A Building Contractor.  It is the integration of concepts, ideas and designs with the craft, fabrication and building that truly excites us.  The transformation of an idea into something that we can touch and feel is both phenomenal and beautiful. As Architects who actually build, we are reviving the historic role of Master Builder where planning & design is integrally fused with construction & craft.   This role dates back to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks.  In Greek culture, the Architekton (literally translated as “Master Builder”) was the person directly responsible for designs and building.  It is only in Modern times that the roles of the Architect and the Builder were separated.  We are committed to the re-integration of those roles and therefore the integration of relevant design and thoughtful craftsmanship.

Specifically, we are committed to the role of the Master Builder for two primary reasons:

  1. The inherent beauty of a direct translation of concept into craft
  2. The inherent value of single point of responsibility to our clients

Step I: Design Construction Planning

 

  • In a nut shell, we listen to you; to your wishes & needs, we brainstorm, we look at your site, we assess your house and help you develop a program and a budget.
  • Does the program take care of your wishes and needs? Is the budget realistic for that program? Do both the program and budget make sense in the local market?
  • We start designing! We put together ideas, we share images, and we discuss them with you. We conceptualize and draw three dimensional sketches of your newly designed spaces. We talk about materials, look at them together and establish a base line for materials and products.
  • We put together and present detailed construction cost estimates throughout the process and review with you.  We check the scope of the project, the materials estimated against your budget.
  • We review about scheduling issues with you. When would be the ideal time for this to happen? How long will the construction last?
  • We develop the design, an established baseline for finishes and a projected construction schedule.
  • We provide a Lump Sum Fee for Construction of this Design.

We have concluded Step I and we are ready to take the next Step.

Step II: Construction Documentation & Construction

 

  • With an agreed Fixed Lump for the Construction:
  • It is time to develop construction drawings. We will submit drawings and obtain permits.
  • Once we have the permits on hand we are ready to start building!
  • We will take care of everything during construction. We will build, schedule deliveries, schedule inspections, site maintenance, etc.
  • We conduct Regular Construction meeting with you to coordinate site activity, material and product final selections (yes, you can change your mind!) and refine design details
  • We finish building and clean the site. We walk together around your new space taking care of any outstanding detail.
  • We provide you a Project Manual and review operation and maintenance issues.
  • We facilitate warranty issues and provide prompt follow-up on home-related issues.
  • You enjoy your new Home.

What to build… before you BUILD

 

Build Your Program

Building a Program is largely an exercise in establishing your priorities. The program is the guiding framework of what is intended for the project.  It can be as specific or general as your desire; but, not having a program can lead to a process without focus and structure.   Here are some suggestions:

  • Exhaustively list all wants and needs for the Home – brainstorm
  • Strictly prioritize the brainstorming list and make connections
  • Consider the Program items within the context of Building Equity
Build Your Budget

Of all the work that we are entrusted to do for our clients, helping to set and manage a project budget is unequivocally one of the most important things we do. We will assist as you build a realistic budget.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Review our Project Budget Planning Guideline; It can be a helpful reference
  • Understand your Program and your goals for Building Equity
  • Understand the relationship between the Project Budget and the Design/Build Budget
    • The Project Budget represents the total expenditure during the entire Project e.g. new furnishings, living costs if you move out, cost of a loan, a contingency, etc.
    • The Design/Build Budget represents the direct expenditure for solely the design and construction fees – sometimes referred to the “Construction Budget”
  • Understand your finances: your cash position and cash flow, your other financial investments, your ability and willingness to consider financing a portion of the project

Once you have built your budget, it is imperative to maintain your budget.  We will work with you to stay in control of the project budget.  We do this in these primary ways:

  • Consistent detailed construction estimation throughout the design phase
  • Regular construction meetings for communication about issues that may affect costs
  • Prompt, open and professional communication throughout the entire process

Remember that your Program & Budget can be dynamic and can evolve with the project – just keep the goals clear and maintain your awareness.

Time and money – the least glamorous but most critical aspect of project can make or break a project. We can have the most wonderful ideas, but if we do not manage time and money, we do not have a happy client and forget a client for life. Specifically, we are diligent when it comes to developing, communicating and maintaining a design and construction schedule – the “Time” of a project.  We focus on the two fundamental sides of a project schedule:

1. Planning a Construction Schedule

Whether it is about figuring how long a project will likely take or coordinating the construction work with events in your life, planning a project schedule is a critical task. We will work with you to understand the timing and sequencing required for the designs being considered. This may include issues such as scheduling around family vacations, the logistics of moving out while the work is being done or simply developing a realistic idea of how much time the project will likely take.

There are many moving parts in a construction project; so, we make it our mission to use our experience in constructing projects of all sizes, apply our attention to detail and expectation to communicate our sincere commitment to our clients. Before we start the construction phase, we make sure that we are ready to commit to the construction schedule by doing the following:

  • Making sure that all key decisions are made – design, products, materials,
  • Getting our construction personnel are in-line
  • Understanding key project lead times (e.g. windows, cabinets, and unique products).
  • Considering potential impact of weather and holidays

2. Managing a Construction Schedule

A construction project is a three dimensional puzzle and can be beautiful when executed well.  We have found that the most effective tool is regular construction meetings with our clients.  Typically these meetings are weekly and over the following Agenda topics:

  • Comments and Questions from the Owner
  • Construction Status
    • What has occurred in the previous week
    • What is planned to occur in the upcoming week
  • Potential cost-affecting issues (if they exist)
    • Owner-initiated changes
    • DuBro suggested changes
    • Allowance items
    • Unforeseen conditions discovered
  • Design-related issues
    • Final selections for products and materials yet to be determined
    • Final of design details yet to be determined
    • Consideration of design ideas discovered during construction

The coordination of all of the people, products, design requirements and the many issues that are unique with each and every project must be managed with timeliness and care.  We do that by having a dedicated construction foreman and the company owner, Jeff DuBro, personally managing the construction decisions and activities on each project.   Beyond that, for each project, we focus daily on the translation of the design ideas to construction reality.  We do that by having a direct line of communication from one of our two Architects to our field personnel.  Whether this entails a site visit from an Architect or a special three-dimensional drawing, or a simple clarification of intent, this line of communication is a key manner in which we manage construction.  The same manner of communication is in place to manage material and product information.  From the arrangement of required delivery dates to the assignment of products to specific parts of the construction project, this coordination is a requirement to the execution of a smooth construction process.

For us, managing a construction project is akin to conducting an orchestra – everyone must work in concert with one another; there must be an overarching plan – the score; and, the goals must be to create something beautiful that can be enjoyed by others.

Q: What is the DuBro approach to home construction and renovation?

A: DuBro is a Design + Build firm.  We seek to transform space to reflect the way our clients live through Living Architecture.  Through listening, observing, and understanding how our clients use the space in their homes, we develop plans and designs that combine form and function to reflect their living needs.

 

Q: How long have you been in business?

A: DuBro Architects + Builders is a premiere architect led master Design+Build firm operating in the Northern Virginia. The firm was started by owner/ architect Jeff DuBro in 2001. The DuBro Team – architects, builders and customer support staff – is a highly collaborative group that has been operating as a business family for many years. The tie that binds is a commitment to excellence. Together they all take part in and have fun helping clients achieve their home and lifestyle dreams.

 

Q: Do you have full-time employees, or do you use subcontractors?

A: We have 7 full-time staff, including 3 field employees who have been with DuBro for over 10 years each.  These employees are the backbone of our company and they share our commitment to quality design and build. We also work with experienced, specialists, including structural engineers, plumbers, electricians, and building and material suppliers. Each project is lead by a DuBro Team project manager making the process seamless.

 

Q: What kind/size projects will you take on – new construction, additions, renovations?

A: We are open to all sizes and scopes for your project.  We have build homes from the ground up, and have completed all types of renovation and addition projects.  Please see our project portfolio for specific examples.

 

Q: If I already have architectural drawings will you take on my project?

A: We are flexible and willing to look at each process on a one-to-one basis.

 

Q: How do you calculate project costs?

A: Each project is individual and costs are calculated specifically for your project.  We  have a very detailed matrix of all items that go into a project and their costs. We meet  with our clients to discuss in detail the relationship between design, materials and      cost during the design process. There are no hidden costs, and no surprises.

Q: Why don’t you calculate price per square foot?

A: Project costs vary depending on design elements, materials used, and scope of the   project.

 

Q: Do you have standard floor plans?

A: Every customer is unique therefore every design is unique. We listen to our clients and work with them to understand their daily living needs.  We do not believe in the one-size-fits-all approach to design.

 

Q: What type of loans do you work with?

A: We have experience working with HELOC, Construction, and other types of loans.  Our staff has worked with local and national banks to ensure smooth payment transactions.

 

Q: Can I buy my own materials?

A: While this is a collaborative effort, and we want our clients to choose products for their projects, our many years of experience have shown us that it is best if DuBro purchases your materials.  This allows us to take full responsibility for any mistakes in product order/delivery.  Also, we have access to outlets and products that our clients may not.

 

Q: Will you work with an interior decorator?

A: Yes. We have worked with clients’ decorators in the past.  We have a showroom with many decoration options, and we have access to a world of materials.  However, we do understand that some clients have a special relationship with a designer, and are we happy to collaborate on design details.

 

Q: Will I have to move out during construction/renovation?

A: The decision to move out of your house depends on the size and scope of your project.  This will be discussed in detail during the design process.