Ideally, as contractors, we require a set of
stamped and approved architectural plans before the building phase is
resolved. These plans enable us to better envision and more accurately
estimate your particular home remodeling project.
The good news is that
in recent years many homeowners are hiring professional architects to
handle their design needs. The bad news, however, is that many
architects are underestimating jobs, giving homeowners unrealistic
construction costs that end up costing them greatly in the end.
With plans in hand, the homeowner proceeds to
interview numerous local contractors who then estimate the project
substantially higher than what the homeowner originally believed the
project would cost. At this point, after having invested several
thousands of dollars in a professional set of plans, the homeowner has
very few options, which may include:
- Start From Scratch:
entire project to better reflect the homeowner’s actual budget. This
approach would involve additional architectural fees and delay the
construction start date considerably.
- Grin and Bear it:
Accept the more costly budgeted
project. This would entail coming up with the additional funds to pay
for a project that was significantly underestimated. Or, sacrificing
several key design elements that may have been an integral part of the
- Abandon Ship:
After careful consideration, choose not to do the project at all.
This would mean all funds spent up to this point, including
architectural fees, blueprinting costs, permits, etc. would be lost.
Bait and Switch:
Hire a contractor who will agree to do the project at the original
underestimated price. As the job progresses, unforeseen costs will
arise and the contractor will then tack on additional work order
after additional work order to make up for a job that was under bid
in the first place. Definitely not a good choice!
Why does it occur?
In our view, architects
are very well versed with the building codes, structural loads and
design factors that go into your job. However, they are not
involved in the day-to-day expenditures that contractors encounter,
everything from estimating building materials to construction labor
costs to sub-contractor fees. Those construction costs that
architects estimate at the early phases of the design stage are not only
unrealistic, but costly in the long run.
What if a homeowner decides not to hire an architect?
Many contractors offer design
services as part of their overall construction estimate, however, in
order to take advantage of these services, and receive a set of
plans, the homeowner must sign a contract up front before the plans
are finalized and approved. Now the homeowner may have a set of
plans with which they are pleased, but they are also locked into a
contract with a contractor with whom they are not pleased. In
addition, the homeowner runs the risk of dealing with
underestimating here as well.
HomeTime Remodeling, we offer a Design/Build Concept
that offers the planning and conceptual services of an architectural
firm with the building expertise of a knowledgeable,
Our approach to Design/Build is decidedly different than that of other
contractors. We offer two distinct stages: a Design
Stage and a Build Stage. And, since we
don’t require a contractual agreement at the Design Stage, the homeowner has
the option to end the process before the Build Stage begins, eliminating
costly mistakes down the road.
The Design Stage
is comprised of two phases:
Phase 1: Working together with the
architect and the homeowner, HomeTime Remodeling
will manage, negotiate and determine all the design and cost
parameters that go into a homeowner’s particular project. Our mission and
our goal is to develop a feasible design that not only meets the homeowner’s
vision, but their budget as well.
Within approximately 10 working days, we will present
the homeowner with a preliminary set of plans, including floor plan and
perspective, a reasonably accurate estimate of costs and related job
description. Should changes to the design be required, they are made at this
time along with any associated additional fees.
Upon approval of the plans, a
final budget and a more detailed job description are presented to the
homeowner. Here the homeowner can opt to enter into a contract or not enter
into a contract with HomeTime Remodeling.
Either way they keep the plans and job description to use however they
The benefits of using this approach are:
- The homeowner can
halt the process at the completion of any phase.
- The costs are known upfront and
considered throughout the entire design process. This eliminates the
possibility of an overly designed project which may not come in on
- A professional
builder with over 20 years experience in home improvement, renovation
and remodeling is involved from the onset so the “it looks good on
paper, but it can’t be built that way scenario” doesn’t exist. Many
architects today are very conservative in their structural calculations
and will many times use unnecessary amounts of steel in their designs
thereby driving up costs exponentially. We have found that in many cases
normal dimensional or engineered lumber is sufficient. As a result, we
have saved numerous clients thousands of dollars without compromising
the structural integrity of the job or the homeowner’s finances. Better
yet, we explore every aspect of the building process to assure the
homeowner that their job is built safely, soundly and to code.
- You get a full set
of plans ready for permits, a detailed job description and an estimate
of the real costs to complete your job. Opt to continue onto the Build
Stage with HomeTime and we
will even expedite the permit process at no additional cost.
- Best of all,
HomeTime offers these services for
the same amount of money that it would cost to deal directly with an
When you really think about, in
the long run, it truly makes sense to tackle a home improvement project,
whether big or small, utilizing HomeTime’s
Design/Build philosophy and two-stage systematic approach.