Start Your New Home or Remodel Project Right With the Design Process
Town & Country Builders LLC is a licensed general contracting design build firm that has been serving Oahu residents for the past 30 years. The company specializes in new and custom homes, remodels, additions, designer kitchens, bathrooms, Americans with Disability Act (ADA)modifications/ improvements as well as multi-generational homes, and offers full construction services.
If you are planning to rebuild or remodel your home, you should start with the design process first. The following seven steps will help you identify what’s lacking in your house and to correct those problems when you construct new or remodel. Only then will you be ready to hire a contractor.
1. Create a program or description of your needs and goals. Start with a description of what doesn’t work as well as some of your dreams. Write down two groups — ” must haves” and “wishes” — or write a numbered priority list of what you want. Estimate the square footage of the renovation project or new home you would like constructed.
2. Make a budget. Do some research to find out costs of similar projects. Ask friends and relatives if they can recommend design professionals. Factor in cost escalation for inflation if the projects are more than a few years old.
3. Begin the schematic design phase by hiring a designer or do it yourself. Measure your existing lot or existing home if you are adding onto it. Draw it on a computer using residential software. Complete a basic schematic design. Consider function, circulation and site conditions.
4. Get a cost estimate based on your schematic design. Contact a contractor and give him a copy of your floor plan with some overall dimensions. He or she can use this information to create an estimate of what your project might cost. If the cost is too high, you will need to cut back on the scope of work.
5. Draw the blueprints. Prepare written specifications, finishes, fixtures and appliances. This is a great time to consider “greening” your project with sustainable materials and energy-saving approaches. Look for products that don’t waste resources. Recheck the plans for accuracy.
6. Get your building permit. Make multiple sets and copies of drawings and submit them to the proper agencies for approval.
7. While waiting for your permit, go ahead and contact contractors for bids. Give them copies of your drawings and your written specification and ask them for a lump sum bid. You should be able to compare apples with apples.
Here are some additional tips for staying on budget during the construction process:
• Be clear about the number. Your budget exists for a reason. You should make an educated decision about how much money you are willing to spend and stick to the number. Write the number down. Be realistic.
• Be honest and upfront about the budget. Setting a price guideline will help when choosing materials and finishes, and determining how much labor will be involved.
• Accept the snowball effect. Understand that once you begin the project, it will take on a life of its own. You start off wanting new kitchen counter-tops but soon realize the cabinets are outdated and need to be changed as well. Look at the project objectively before you begin and when establishing a budget.
• Reality Check. Now that you have a number in mind, it’s time for a reality check. Make a list of everything you need. Look at all the options, Don’t assume you know how much an item costs without doing the research.
• When establishing a budget, factor in a cushion. Most projects encounter unexpected problems. When reviewing estimates, be smart and make sure that you are coming in below budget. This will prevent those small problems from blowing your carefully set budget.
Building is an exciting process. Remember why you started the process in the first place and have fun!
You can reach Town and Country Builders at 737-7766 for a free in-home consultation or visit the company’s website at www.townandcountrybuildersllc.com.
Town & Country Builders is a member of the Better Business Bureau, possesses an A+ rating and is a certified remodeler.