Why Design Build is a Critical Path for Auto Dealers

When it comes to project delivery and a design-build contract, speed to market is a leading advantage. In the world of an auto dealer, who may be faced with a required branding upgrade, this is a critical path. 

Design-build provides a single point of contact which saves time, costs, and rework throughout the course of the project. A design-build project is most successful in achieving the project vision and objectives when it is carried out as if it were a joint venture—a true collaboration between the architect and the contractor. Most important is the level of trust and teamwork between the construction team and the design team that truly can make or break a project.

A person on the team with an intimate knowledge of the project type from multiple vantages is key. I am Peter Rosado, head of LDA’s Automotive Division and I love cars. This is no fleeting interest. In fact, in my free time, you will find me at Monterey Car Week, Auto Shows, Road Rallies, Track Days, and Autocross events. I translated this avocation to my career and developed LDA Partners’ Automotive Division.

It is most important for us, the architect, to understand and interpret the Design Intent Drawings (DIDs) and recognize how to value engineer-specific elements while still meeting approvals from the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and their brand management team. This requires the ability to consider their business operations, the day-to-day procedures of dealerships and their franchising/branding/retail requisites to generate sales. 

An early challenge facing a design-build architect is ensuring that the project goals match those of the contractor and the owner. To do this, we can provide a document that connects the DID and conveys the project vision and goals to the entire design-build team. Many automakers have DIDs in place as a starting point with certain elements that still need tweaking to consider various structural and site conditions. Our firm can develop solutions that meet the intent of the DID while engaging with the branding firm to secure their approval. This helps the contractor set a firm construction price; saves on the cost of a fully equivalent end-product; reduces the number of contractor-initiated change orders; and promptly resolves any issues should they arise.

LDA Partners has completed over 25 design-build projects of various sizes and scopes in the central California Valley and understands how to bring value to a design-build team regardless of our role; be it working for the owner creating project criteria or for the general contractor creating drawings. A few of our recent successful Design-Build projects include:

  • East Bay Mazda Dealership, $6.5M budget, San Leandro with Simile Construction
  • City of Modesto Water Corporation Yard, $15.1M with Diede Construction
  • San Mateo Animal Shelter, $22M with F&H Construction

Our understanding of the auto industry and specifically of dealerships and their customer concepts allows us to quickly determine specific project goals and achieve the ultimate vision of the design-build team. After all, when was the last time you had an architect on your team that does regular track days and is the official photographer for one of the premier car rallies of Monterey Car Week!

Want to learn more?

Contact Peter Rosado at prosado@ldapartners.com