Our Design & Build Process
Our process is designed to avoid surprises in the design process and to give more control and understanding to our clients throughout the project. Surprises usually mean shock at how expensive the home will be to build. We frequently advise prospective clients that “architects know what it cost to architect, and builders know what it cost to build”. This is not meant to be a knock against architects at all. It is meant to encourage people to build their team from the start of the project and to develop the key criteria for the home as a team. If you discuss size, style, budget and finishes from the start, you greatly increase the chances of having a successful and enjoyable project. Our project team includes the client, architect, interior designer, lender and us.
Land, Plans and Money
Land – We can help our clients find the right piece of property or evaluate the suitability of the property for the desired home. Many items must be considered in this evaluation, including location, accessibility, schools, taxes, flood elevations, deed restrictions, appraisal values, clearing, demolition, easements, setbacks, etc.
Financing – Three out of four clients are financing their home. We have preferred lenders who can provide lot loans, construction loans and mortgages. Most banks do not do construction lending, so we stay abreast of who the best lenders are for these loans. Although it is not required to use the same bank for these loans, it will save time and money to use a lender that can provide everything. The lenders will approve three main components for your project, including the borrower, the home, and the builder.
Plans – Choosing the right plan or designing the right plan is critical. The key here is to NOT pay for the plans until you know what it will cost to build. If you find an existing plan that works for you, we will estimate the cost, before you buy the plans. If you choose to design custom, which is often the case, we will price the home after the conceptual drawings are done. Changes can be made at this stage at no additional cost and the home is re-priced. Once the drawings are complete, we go through a competitive bidding process to ensure that costs are kept as low as possible.
Loan and Permit
When the design of the home is complete and the bidding process is complete, the project is submitted for loan approval and permitting at the same time. Each of these takes about three weeks and once both are complete, ground breaking occurs.
A kick-off meeting occurs prior to groundbreaking. Each client is trained on the use of our project management tool. A demonstration of this tool can be seen by selecting the demo from the home page. This tool allows our clients to monitor their schedule, budget, selections, change orders, e-mails, etc. from one easy to use application.
Our project manager (PM) coordinates activities at the jobsite through our superintendent assigned to the project. The PM also receives all finish selections from the interior designer according to the project schedule. Regular jobsite visits are conducted with our clients, the superintendent and interior designer. Prior to move-in, a punch list walk through is performed and punch out of the list is completed prior to move-in.