When you’ve officially decided you’re ready to pursue a home remodeling project, design and estimating is often the first step. The design process involves so many little details and important decisions, we encourage homeowners to work with a professional designer. Whether you feel that you need true designs or not, having a knowledgeable professional to help you navigate this process is invaluable. At Better Builders, we have a tried and true Project Development process to ensure this preparation and planning phase is as smooth and painless as possible.
The Designer Interview
When working with Better Builders to design and price a new project, the first step is the designer interview. One of our experienced Project Developers will come to your home with one of our design partners. Depending on your project you may just need an Interior Designer and Spatial Planner, or you may need full architectural and engineering services.
The Project Developer and Designer will sit get to know you a bit and talk with you about what you hope to get out of your new space. The designer will ask you about your goals surrounding the function of the space. This is an important step to establish what the project will become throughout the design series. We will briefly touch on the aesthetics you’d like, but the primary goal is determining the functionality you need and how you want to feel in your space.
By the end of this meeting, we will have a good idea of what the client’s needs are and how long it will take to accomplish your design goals. At the end of the designer interview, we will prepare a proposal for design and pricing services moving forward. If you move forward to construction with Better Builders, the investment in your pricing services will be applied to your construction costs.
The first step of design development in the schematic design phase. This is where we measure the existing space and start the spatial planning work to improve the function and layout of the space. This is a great time for homeowners to start developing their inspiration suing tools like Pinterest and Houzz. From here, the true design development begins.
The designer will start focusing on the details and aesthetics of the space. In this phase you will select all your fixtures and finishes, down to the most minute details. We also get deeper into questions of functionality in this phase. Deciding specific things like what the insides of your cabinets will look like, always remembering that function comes first. This is the time when clients are likely to have the hardest time making decisions. Having a professional designer to help you through the selections process is a major time and stress saver!
Once all selections are made, the designer will begin working on the construction drawings. This is where we create the permit ready plan set for the construction team. You designer will be deep in their CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) work, communicating constantly with the builder and the permitting offices, getting all the details buttoned up and down on paper. From the electrical plan to how your tile will be laid, ensuring that every detail is documented.
The Sub Party
Because Better Builders offers a guaranteed fixed price for most construction projects, it’s important that we gather exact costs for every aspect of a project. It is vital for our sub-contractors to be able to walk the space before they start the project, with a full set of plans and specifications, to get the full picture of their scope of work.
Regular trades that need to have eyes on the space include, plumbers, electricians, flooring installers, drywallers and painters. We also invite our homeowners to be part of this meeting. We think its valuable for the homeowner to witness the level of detail we go to with our pre-planning. There are also times when the specialized subs may come up with alternate ideas on how to tackle a particular part of the project, that we didn’t think of during design. Having someone specialized there, they can talk through the options with our team and the homeowners on the spot, and get decisions made on which route to take.
Having this face-to-face time with our skilled trades partners creates a collaborative environment with the people that do these complicated jobs every day. After the sub party, our subcontractors go back to their individual businesses to prepare their bids for Better Builders. Once these bids begin coming in, the Estimators work can begin.
Building the Estimate
When the sub party wraps, the estimators work is only just beginning. It takes several weeks to put together all the pieces of the pricing and scope of work. The estimator is responsible for collecting all of the sub quotes, cross referencing their bids with the detailed scope of work and spec sheets to make sure all of the details are covered, and creating line items for every dollar that will be spent in your project. This extremely detailed process usually takes 4-6 weeks.
Once the estimate package is complete, it’s time to review and present the final proposal to our homeowners. The Project Developer will spend time going though every detail of the proposal in a final presentation. Once reviewed, presented and accepted, we enter into a construction agreement where the project is then handed off from Project Development to Production. This is when the real project begins!