Design-Build

Since 2005, we have developed nearly 60 charter school facility projects in 16 states. We are accustomed to working under the compressed schedules and tight budgets that charter schools face.

The process we use to design and build your facility is called simply . . . Design-Build. In this contracting method, we hold one contract with an experienced builder and that builder has responsibility for all aspects of the construction: building design, site design, safety, off-site requirements, hiring subcontractors, and schedule and price guarantees.

Our Design-Build approach contrasts markedly to a typical district school project. In a traditional district school project, the architect is paid to design a facility completely—often with only conceptual budget discussions—and then the school bids the project “on the street” to general contractors. That process is called Design/Bid/Build, and it can create the perception of lowest price (“We chose the lowest bidder!”), but as we all know, district construction projects are notoriously rife with numerous, pricey change orders and extensive delays. You can’t afford that kind of project.

During the design process and development phase, our specialists work closely with your school board and leaders, in tandem with the contractor and its architects. Together, we develop a facility that will meet your school’s programming and enrollment needs, all while staying within budget.  Your team is an active part of the design process. But we handle all the complexities and keep the budget in check. This cooperative and proven planning process results in our clients raving about the perks their Highmark facilities have—which they thought they couldn’t afford—gymnasiums, cafeterias, multi-purpose rooms, science labs, and auditoriums, to name a few.

Highmark works only with reliable, established, insured, proven builders, with excellent safety records. We contract with one of several national Design-Build partners on each project, one that is guaranteeing design, price, schedule, and capability of subcontractors. But the actual construction work is bid to the local subcontracting community—thus ensuring that your public school is built by local, tax paying businesses. We understand this is important to our clients.

So . . . if you want your charter school building to open on time, to be affordable, and to be designed around your program and growth, give us a call. We’d love to hear your story.