Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Ways to Estimate your Room Addition Cost

There comes a time when most families find their home is too small for them. An addition to the existing home is better than moving to a bigger house. But it’s important for you to know how much the room addition is going to cost you, so that you can plan your budget and arrange for the finances accordingly. Keep in mind that additions, on a square foot basis, are usually about 30% more expensive in comparison to new construction. This is because the existing building needs to be modified to accommodate the additions both in terms of structural safety as well as aesthetics.

While the size of the room is a major issue in determining the cost of additions, there are three other factors that you need to know about. The figures given below are approximations and the actual cost will vary depending on the region you live in, the complexity of the job and the amount of designing required.

The Type of Room

The cost of the addition will depend to a large extent on the type of room being added. A basic family room will typically cost between $80 to $130 per square foot. This means that the cost for a 400 square foot family room will be in the range of $32.000 to $52,000. However, if the addition includes a kitchen, bathroom or anything that involves extensive plumbing and fittings, the cost will be much more. If the 400 square foot addition is for a guest suite with a bathroom, the cost could climb to $100,000.

The Design

A room addition is not created on the basis of a sketch on the back of a napkin. It must fit within the existing structure and also must not affect the structural integrity of the house. This means that design plays an important role. Architect’s charges will be based on the complexity of the project.

The Materials

The type of materials that are used for the additions, including the electrical and other fittings will impact the cost of the project. The type of flooring, windows, paint, amount of electrical work and wiring etc will add to the cost. In addition, market demand can affect the cost of the materials. Prices can be low when demand drops and high when there is a remodeling /construction boom. It is a good idea to spend time online and at local hardware stores and to find out what the market rates are for the materials you plan to use. Keep in mind that the prices you have found in your research and those quoted by the contractor will not be the same. The contractor is running a business and he will need to keep a margin on the materials he orders for the project as well as cover transport costs and other incidentals.

Controlling Costs

A detailed set of addition plans and specs will allow you to price every single thing that goes into the additions so you will know what the final cost will be. In addition, ensure that the contractor gives you a comprehensive construction quote that includes all the work to be done, details of materials to be used and a detailed job wise timeframe.

No matter how much you plan, there will always be some unexpected hike in the costs. Add a contingency amount to your budget to cover this. 10% may seem high but it is a safe figure. If the money is not used on the project, it can be spent on some other home improvement work.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Advantages of Design-Build Remodeling

One of the biggest problems during a remodel is coordinating and mediating between the designer and contractor. The designer will have specific ideas on what should be done and these are usually conceived in association with the homeowner. Similarly, the contractor will have his own ideas on how the work should be executed and what the end result should be. These are normally based on his experience on what will work and what won’t, Engineering/Construction issues, cost and time considerations. Unethical designers and incompetent contractors do exist and if you should fall into the clutches of one or both you will have major problems. But even if you have an honest, experienced and skilled designer and contractor, they will not be in agreement on many issues.

The Homeowner’s Headache

Both the designer and contractor are specialists in their fields. You probably have only a layman’s understanding of both. But you are the one who has to mediate between the two and find a solution. The wrong decision could ruin your home. Getting second opinions is not viable and for something this important you can’t rely on a coin toss. You could try to get both sides to accept a compromise that will stop the arguments, but will the result give you the home you want? And who is responsible if things go wrong?

The Solution

The solutions lie in design-build remodeling. Design-build means that one agency has the skills and experience to do both the design and the construction. This offers huge advantages to the homeowner:
  • There is only one party to deal with for all aspects of the project
  • There will be no questions of disagreements between the designer and contractor because they are the same.
  • When working with the homeowner during the design stage, the contractor will be able to advise the client about any construction issues that may be caused by the client’s wishes. Workable alternatives can be found.
  • If some of the homeowner’s plans exceed the budget for the project, economic alternatives can be developed.
  • A final remodeling plan is automatically approved in terms of both design and construction
  • There can be no lack of coordination or communications gaps between designer and contractor
  • Any problems that may arise during project execution are quickly resolved without having to refer the matter to different agencies.
  • There can be no excuses or buck passing between designer and contractor
  • The homeowner has a single project manager to deal with for all aspects of the project
  • With one agency in control of all aspects of the remodel, the chances of delays and cost escalations are minimized.

Not Everyone is a Design-Build Contractor

The growing popularity of design-build remodeling has caused a spurt in the number of remodeling contractors who claim to be able to do design-build projects. Before accepting a design-build bid:
  • Check on the contractor’s experience in both areas
  • Ask for references and details of nearby projects you can visit
  • Check on affiliations to associations like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and other relevant bodies
  • Check out insurance and bonding issues and
  • Spend time talking to the contractor to see if he understands what your vision is for the remodeled home and his level of confidence in giving it to you.