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Do You Know the Difference Between a Builder and Contractor?

By Barron Schimberg, AIA

At The Schimberg Group, we historically have worked with contractors instead of builders for the construction phase of the projects we design. Unless you are a professional facilities manager or construction worker, you might not know that the terms “builder” and “contractor” are not really synonymous.  Although the comparisons below will not be true in all cases, here are some differences that I have observed as an architect.

I certainly don’t mean to disparage the work of skilled and reputable builders.  Builders offer a valuable, cost-effective, one-stop-shop alternative for people who don’t need or want a customized home or the services of an architect.  Some builders I have worked with have been master carpenters who have had an exceptional understanding of some of fine details. Their craftsmanship can be stunning.

Still, in my opinion, it’s best to hire an architect and contractor for:

  • New or renovated commercial buildings that must comply with specific building codes.
  • Waterfront residential properties that must withstand high winds and potential flooding.
  • Custom-designed homes that accommodate certain lifestyles, aesthetic styles or fulfill personal dreams.

If you have any questions or additional insights, give me a call, leave a comment on this post, or shoot me an e-mail.  I am interested in hearing your thoughts!

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