The “Design-Build” Process


The CL Design-Build Consultation Process

As your custom home builder, we make sure to establish project requirement in this first phase of the project. Our home design team takes into account your personal needs and living objectives, based on an extensive interview process where we get to know you better. We will be spending many months together for the duration of this project, so it is essential that we know you and your needs as much as possible. In this phase, we will also identify any constraints that you identify or that we determine may play a role in the building of your custom home or your custom remodeling project.

We’ll discuss a construction budget and make sure to manage your overall expectations for the project. Your home will be truly custom to a budget that you find comfortable. This information becomes the basic framework for decision making throughout the course of the custom home building or custom remodeling project. If you have not already selected the community, neighborhood and/or specific lot, your CL Design-Build custom home building team will analyze the various site alternatives in the areas you have identified as possibilities and take into account all municipal code requirements, as they pertain to the project.

We will make a recommendation for one or more potential home sites, based on your needs and lifestyle plans, assisting you in the selection of your custom built home site. If you already have a home site, we will discuss the unique features of your site to determine what home design is best suitable. The phase culminates when you have confirmed that the requirements we documented correctly reflect your needs and lifestyle, and when you have agreed to a preliminary construction budget. You must sign the CL Design-Build Design Agreement before we move to Phase II.

Concept Development

Concept & Preliminary Design Development

In this phase, your CL Design-Build customer home builder team will develop preliminary designs that will be submitted for your review. Once you have looked through them, and we have answered all of your questions and made any necessary changes based on your original requirements, we will ask for your approval of the preliminary design. It may be possible that the requirements you identify in the first phase require a larger budget than you originally determined to be your goal. The CL Design-Build custom home building team will suggest a number of design alternatives to keep the project within budget; however, you may decide to change the budget to allow for your original requirements.  

Upon successful completion of this phase, you will need to agree to a guaranteed maximum price—this is your top end cap and the limit of how much you are willing to spend. The guaranteed maximum price is important to the custom home building process because it helps us determine if certain custom changes should even be considered. We will always ask you about potential options that will further make your custom home that much more of a reflection of your lifestyle needs, but it is helpful to have a budget limit. You will need to approve of the following documents in writing before we can progress to Phase III:

  • Preliminary custom build home site plan
  • Preliminary floor plans for each level
  • Custom home elevation drawings


Construction Documents

Construction Documents

This third phase of your custom home building process is set up to specifically define and describe all of the important aspects of the project. We will create a number of deliverables similar to those in Phase II, but with more detail. Construction documents are created to fix and describe the exact size and character of your custom built home in such a way that we can begin the process of building your new custom home.

The CL Design-Build team will ask you to agree to many of the details, such as the number, and type of materials to be used. These will be selected based on all of the work we will have done up until this point, specifically the custom built home design we created in Phase II. It is entirely possible that some scope changes may be identified and documented. We will ask you to agree to all of them and to any changes to the maximum guaranteed price, if that is necessary as a result of any scope changes made. We will require your formal approval of the following new home construction documents, which will then be sent to our suppliers and contractors for final pricing and determination of availability:

  • Custom designed home floor layout
  • Elevations
  • Mechanical layout
  • Structural drawings
  • Specifications
  • Floor/Wall finishes
  • Interior elevations(as needed)


The CL Design-Build team will work with you to determine whether your custom home design, plans and specifications reflect the conceptual estimate and specifications from Phase II. Once we determine that they do, this phase will be complete.

Pricing & Contract

Pricing & Contract

Your CL Design-Build custom home construction team will finalize all pricing during this phase. The trade partners we choose must meet and adhere to our high standards. Price is large contributing factor; however, we feel that all our partners must have a high level of experience, quality, cooperation, communication and, of course, the necessary insurance coverage.

Each bid proposal we receive is carefully reviewed to ensure that every part of your custom home project is accounted for. Once all trade proposals have been reviewed and final revisions have been made, we prepare a Construction Contract, which includes the final price and Schedule of Payments. Once you have signed the Contract and secured financing, we release the plans and specifications for permit and construction of your new custom home.

Selections & Construction

Selections & Construction

The CL Design-Build team will execute all customary building services performed by any Illinois custom home builder. We select our vendors based on a schedule, beginning with exteriors and finishing with interiors. Our professional custom home interior selections coordinator and a member of our CL Design-Build team consult with you to finalize all selections in anywhere between two and three meetings. If it is required by your new home owners’ association, we will submit all customer home building plans and exterior material choices. Construction continues on your custom built new home until we hand you the keys!

While Bob and I have worked with CL Design Build, the experience has been positive, professional, and one we would pursue again. Our dream home was creatively designed balancing practicality and cost. Cheryl’s attention to detail will make our home a focal point of the neighborhood. Thanks to all at CL Design Build!

~ Bob and Ann Elwood

We met with 5 different local builders when we started this custom build adventure. Cheryl Lee, hands down, left the best impression. She was knowledgeable, open to and interested in our ideas. They were always timely and attentive to any and all questions that we had and patient and informative when we were chewing over a decision. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience than working with the CL Design-Build team! Danielle Brown

~ Danielle Brown

We enjoyed working with CL Design Build to build our 100% custom dream home. Starting with a blank piece of paper, we were able to build our home from bottom to top using our own ideas and concepts. We are really enjoying our home today.

~ Doug and Cinda Coyne

That teamwork between Brad and Cheryl ensured that we received the best that is available. There is a trust and bond between CL Design-Build and their clients that gave us peace of mind. The numerous compliments that we receive on our beautiful home are tremendous!

~ Richard and Kristine Christie