Category: Design-Build

Barry Shaw
February 21, 2018
LVL vs Steel

Owner’s Advocate – A Resource For Savings

A friend of mine took his car into the shop for work that he knew needed to be performed and was also advised that a ‘check-up’ should be done regarding other parts of the vehicle; he said ok.

A couple days later, a very large estimate was given to him with the explanation that his car needed additional work done and that there was only one way to accomplish this; or was there?

Similar situations can and do occur, in the construction industry with hundreds of options and decisions needed throughout the project.

An Owner’s Advocate, independent Architect, and/or General Contractor who’s fiduciary is directly to the Owner and independent from the Owner’s hired Architect and General Contractor, can provide the Owner with a separate pair of eyes, experience, and options that could benefit the Owner immensely.

For instance, lets say that during the architectural design phase of a new building project, that the engineer designs a structure with steel beams and posts, to achieve an open floor plan effect.

Well, the Owner is not likely experienced to know there is an alterntive to the steel framing. Glue laminate wood beams for instance, will save a significant amount of money and time and still accomplish the clear span request.

The steel structure will require certified welders, cranes to erect and set in place, an additional/different subcontractor and material supplier from the framer, and will require additional carpentry work when integrating with the standard wood framing members.

If the Owner had an independent Advocate/Consultant that provided a well seasoned amount of design and construction experience, he would be advised to explore the above suggested alternative, with the following benefits:

In an average size new two story home project, that we actually just completed, the cost saving differential, from not using steel, would be about: $4,500 in material + $3,000 in initial labor installation + about $2,500 in framing detailing + $1,250 in welder services + $2,500 in crane and erection + about $1,250 in special inspector services, or an additional $15,000!, just in this trade alone (imagine the additional savings available for the other 20 trades in the project!).

Actually not much different either from having an ‘insurance advocate’ on your side, independent of your insurance company and looking out for your best interest exclusively.

If you would like to explore this and other options available for your project, please send us an Inquiry and we’ll get back with you within (24) hours.


Best Always!
Barry R. Shaw AIA, GC

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Barry Shaw
August 17, 2016
Luxury House

Inspector Approves Six Trades-In One Day? With the Seventh of Intrinsic Value for…

A new Luxury Home Design-Build project in Westwood, CA, with some of the most stringent and extensive codes in the Nation, that necessitates in-depth Trade coordination; individually and cohesively, throughout the entire construction project.

In this case, BSA Inc Design & Construction scheduled a six Trade ‘rough-in’ inspection for a single day (Framing/Structural Connections; Electrical; Plumbing; HVAC; Sprinklers and Green Code requirements), admittedly a significant amount of work for an Inspector to scrutinize at one time; with typical expectations of three or so being approved.

These inspections are notably important and what we call ‘Milestones’, of which we passed, allowing us to insulate, drywall and then start finish work.  Months of preparation with multiple material suppliers, subcontractors and our in-house resources, was strategically woven in and out of daily/weekly/monthly schedules, with our close on-site supervision, ensuring quality work as well.

All Trades were building from our Architectural plans produced in our Los Angeles office, which was designed and engineered with our proprietary Design-Build system, yielding a cost effective, quality and timely project.

For example, in the case of a new ground up home, if there was only $1,500/trade of ‘industry standard’ Inspector requests, along with at least a few days for each trade to come back and revise as needed, that would have added about $10,000 in extra costs, a half a month of move-in time extension and over $7,000 in property mortgage/temporary rent expenses; not so for our Client.

But the biggest benefit to the project as a whole, was probably the ‘Seventh’ Trade; the one with no tools; no materials; no trucks and is unseen; it’s the Trade of ‘Positive Psychological Momentum’ that is so important to an ongoing and consistent progression of construction, upholding the project’s initial goals.

Everybody wins and the benefits are realized and enjoyed by all participants: the Homeowner saves time and money and will be able to move in to their new home sooner; the Subs feel a sense of accomplishment and are proud of their work and we feel quite gratified from our achievements, working with City Building Inspectors.


Best To You Always!

Barry Shaw

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Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

Consultations Between Homeowner and their Design-Build Firm

During the initial consultations between Homeowner and Design-Build firm, discussion of mutual strategies and goals should be discussed.

Obviously the major categories of cost, quality and schedule should be included, but also expectations, from both Parties viewpoints, should be a part of this meeting. It’s always best, in my opinion, if these ‘touchy’ yet quite pertinent parameters are concluded with a mutually accepted level of understanding.

‘Common Goals’ are not only a part of people relationships, but an integral part of the built environment with the natural environment. Our Kailua-Kona Hawaii, Couer d’Alene, Idaho and Sun Valley, Idaho projects have ‘common goals’ with the local Design Review Boards as well as the micro environment.

Further integration of these important sensitivities, is with our Green Building and Sustainable Design materials, systems and installations (please visit Luxury Resorts and Second Home Projects on our website). For our Hawaii project, we are specifying solar energy panels; long roof overhangs; energy efficient windows, bath fixtures and insulation; low VOC paint and sealers; bamboo flooring; and skylights for natural light.

To learn more, please contact us at:

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Barry Shaw
June 2, 2013

References, Past Client Projects, and Walk-Throughs

Written as well as telephone communication with the Design-Build companies past Clients, can be a valuable resource for consideration. In particular, a Homeowner who has lived in the same home for lets say 3-6 years, will be able to provide the actual daily living evaluations, resulting from the design and construction decisions.

Also, maintenance; fixture/equipment materials; and functionality parameters is able to be evaluated over time. In person walk-throughs of past projects will reveal the results of the house plans and designs created, when building the house (please visit Testimonial: The Bardwills on our website).

That open floor plan design you saw on the plans that was about 7 inches long, is now a three dimensional reality of excitement, with natural light from skylights, volume ceilings and interesting interior design finishes. As well, the door that was drawn on the plans not even 2 inches long, is welcomed as a piece of art with white translucent glass, iron work and select grade wood rails.

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