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getting an accurate estimate for construction costs
this is an important part of
building your new home and one that will
control the budget of your project. we do not supply estimates because
prices of materials and cost of labor can vary significantly from area to area.
however we do strongly recommend that you get a detailed estimate from
all general contractors that you are consider for building your home. always
require a contractor to provide a detailed written estimate. below is a
guide for you to utilize in considering the accuracy and inclusiveness
of any estimate that a contractor might provide. many elements of
construction such as plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, flooring materials,
etc., will be determined by you and the quality level you select for these
element in your home. the contractor should give you an "allowance"
in his estimate for these elements that have a large range of cost.
this "allowance" is an amount of monies to cover the cost of the particular
elements, materials or fixtures. with this money allowance you will select
the materials (lighting fixtures for example) that you would like to include
in your home. however should you chose items that exceed the allowance
you will have to cover the cost difference from the contingency money
or as an extra. allowances are usually mid range to low end on most
tips for evaluating estimates from contractors
1) it is always wise to get multiple estimates for your project. this will
also let you know what the construction cost should. a detailed
estimate will show you item by item the proposed cost of all elements
and you can compare each element. you may find a significant spread
of some of the proposed costs. do not be hesitant to ask for details of
proposed materials and equipment that the contractor plans to use.
you should be sure the "allowances" proposed by the contractor are
sufficient to cover the cost of the particular items needed for the project.
2) when evaluating multiple estimates, avoid extremely low estimates
or extremely high estimates. you should beware of estimates that are
on the fringes of the average estimates, especially the low end. many
contractors with no ethics will "low ball" an estimate and then later take
advantage of you after getting the project. these extremely low estimates
can ultimately cost you more than what it should cost, in grief, legal fees,
and stress. there are no bargains in construction.
3) references are desirable and visual inspection of the contractors
work is even more valuable in determining a suitable person to handle
your project. do not be timid in asking for names and phone numbers
and addresses of his previous clients and previous projects.
4) in additions and renovations the cost of some necessary work may be
unknowable in advance of the beginning of work. unfortunately some times
after demolition unknown problems arise that must be dealt with by the
contractor as well as unavoidable damage and this could be an additional
cost so be sure the contractor has provided contingency monies to cover
5) never attempt to get an estimate from a contractor without having a
completed set of plans to provide the contractor. any estimate based
on verbal descriptions or square footage cost really means nothing and
are totally useless. how can anyone calculate actual costs of construction
without knowing and seeing what is to be constructed? this is a sure road
to disaster and financial and legal disputes.
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a guide to a comprehensive estimate for construction
some items may not apply to your project.
these are item and elements that comprise a thorough estimate.
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|exterior material (allowance)|
|interior material (allowance)|
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|PLUMBING||labor (rough in materials included)|
|ELECTRICAL||labor (rough in materials included)|
|LOW VOLTAGE electrical||labor|
|AIR CONDITIONING||labor (materials included)|
|INTERIOR TRIM carpentry||labor|
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|GUTTERS||labor (materials included)|
|TRASH DISPOSAL||labor and cost of dumpster|
|labor and reimbursable expenses|
|CONTINGENCY||allow 10% minimum|
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