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Construction Plans, Where Do You Begin

By Author: True Restorations
Total Articles: 78

If you are a homeowner and you are contemplating a dormer addition or a 1st floor addition or a total home makeover you will definitely need a full set of construction drawing for submittal to your local town building department for approval & a building permit. There are many nuances to developing a set of plans that most homeowners don’t consider but will end up having dramatic consequences going forward through the process. In this post I will highlight some major concerns that could affect overall timing of the process, cost factors and other variables of importance.

The typical path for a homeowner is to have a set of plans developed. The homeowner hires an architect or draftsman and goes back & forth with the architect / draftsman to develop a well thought out addition or remodeling plan. This process takes a month or two and all seems right. Once the plans are developed, the homeowner calls up 2-4 contractors to come bid the project. The bids come back and then the fun begins, a lot of the time the project is way over budget and homeowner must make cuts (revisions) to the plans. This is understandable because the architect doesn’t know how to estimate general contracting jobs. The architect diligently redesigns and redraws the plans and then the contractors rebid the job. Of course this takes more time & more cost as the architect doesn’t work for free, right? The plans are rebid by the contractors and the process is now 3-4 months in (or more), the unsuspecting homeowner thinks, “that was tough but at least we are ready to build”. They select a contractor, the plans are submitted to the building department & the project moves on to the building phase. But what if there is a better, vastly more efficient and less expensive way to get to the building phase?

My experience of nearly 30 years in estimating & pricing plans, like the above mentioned, has led to the development of a cost saving, efficient, flexible way for a homeowner to develop a set of plans that they can afford to build. We at True Restorations call this program a “Design Estimate”. In effect, the Design Estimate is a consulting agreement whereas True Restorations is hired to develop a full set of construction drawings simultaneously with an estimate for the same. True Restorations provides intimate construction knowledge, real time pricing on construction elements all during the process so that the homeowner can choose items that they can afford to build. For example, maybe the homeowner will substitute a portico above the front door rather than a full front porch in order to keep the budget down to an acceptable level or maybe they will design vaulted ceilings for the master bedroom & bathroom for a 2nd floor addition if they can afford to add that in. With the True Restorations Design Estimate approach, this becomes an easy, confident decision. Upon completion of the Design Estimate Agreement the homeowner has a full set of construction drawings ready for submittal to the Township for a building permit. Along with the complete drawings, the homeowner has a fully detailed estimate (a.k.a. a job specification) that can be by the homeowner to obtain a truly competitive bid from another contractor or two. Having the ability to bid out the project adds a level of flexibility that greatly benefits the homeowner.

Not only is the Design Estimate a smart, efficient way to develop a set of drawings, it will likely be less, much less than what an architect will charge for the same set of plans, often times 40-50% less. The cost savings coupled with the speed, efficiency & flexibilty make it such an easy choice to work with True Restorations under this kind of arrangement.

For pricing & particulars on our unique Design Estimate, call us at 631-757-0212

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