At the heart of every new build, renovation or remodel, is the budget. The homeowner’s budget is the amount they allocate to spend on the project to get the best results. When working with a new client, the builder’s primary task is to estimate the overall cost of the job, focusing on hitting the mark set by the homeowner. For the builder, that is no easy task. But for a professional builder with experience, excellent communication and problem-solving skills, it can be done.

At Graham Builders, staying in budget is of utmost importance. It builds trust with the client and is the foundation for an open, communicative relationship between the owners and the builder that is absolutely necessary to navigate the twists and unknowns of any major construction project. How does


Graham Builders achieve this? It’s the result of an in-depth estimation process to provide the homeowner with a final cost that is reflective of the finished product.

“When people want to buy something, like a car, the product exists and the price has already been determined,” said Graham Builders’ Vice President of Operations Ryan Graham. “With construction it’s different. The original bid is just an educated guess, the starting point of cost. You cannot get a final price until you determine the design, the materials, how it’s put together, and the finishes.”

In order to provide an in-depth estimate, all the necessary construction drawings must be complete so that every stud, beam, sheet and brick can be counted. In addition to construction costs, Graham Builders also includes the finishes — floors, countertops, and fixtures — in its final estimate, instead of using allowances, arbitrary whole-dollar amounts set by a contractor in place of actual prices. Often times, under-estimated allowances leave the homeowner responsible for any overages in cost when the project is finished.


“Our in-depth estimation is a finite way of arriving at a cost,” Graham said. “That’s the benefit of working with a design-build firm like Graham Builders. Our estimate is a final number based on the entire scope of the project, from start to finish. It’s the final cost to the homeowner, not a guess.”


Attend Graham Builders’ upcoming “Building Your Home for Life” seminar

Saturday, June 3, 9-11 a.m. at the Honolulu Country Club.

Seminars are free, but reservations are required.


To register, visit or call 593-2808.

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