The Design-Build Construction Process
Not many people understand how difficult and complicated it is to remodel their home until they are faced with an overwhelming number of design decisions and conflicting advice. Because no two projects are ever exactly the same, there isn’t a single, clear-cut formula to use to figure out what to do and how much it will cost. The design-build process is the best way for a you to ensure your construction or remodeling project is done on time, on budget, and to your specifications. Below is a summary of the design-build process showing what you can expect when you are working with Talmadge Construction to create spaces you will love to live in.
PHASE 1: Project and Budget
During this phase we work with you to present initial project ideas and define the budget for the project.
- Free Initial Consultation (typically one hour):
This is the stage where we discuss what we want to build and the budget you have available for the project. The objectives and the primary goals are established. To prepare for the initial consultation, we ask you to make a prioritized list of things you want and rank them from most to least important. Sometimes the budget you establish is not enough to cover everything you want to include, and having this list will make it easier to talk about what can be left out or done later to bring the project closer to budget.
- Feasibility Agreement (Fee to be determined by scope of the job)The purpose of the Feasibility Agreement is to give you, the homeowner, reliable information on what you will be allowed to do by the City or County, what will it look like and about how much will it cost. The deliverables are a set of preliminary plans that consist of the before and after preliminary floor plan and exterior elevations, a written, limited scope of work with allowances for finishes, and a budget range of X to X plus 20%.
- Design program:
What are the problems to be solved, how are you dissatisfied with your home? We will discuss issues raised at the initial consultation.
What is your personal style? What types of finishes do you have in mind?
- Measure and photograph:
We measure and photograph the areas of the home we will be working on.
After measuring, the design team examines, documents, and researches the existing conditions of your home. This includes drawing the existing house floor plan, documenting its structure, and researching the local building codes and zoning restrictions to establish what legal limitations are imposed upon your property. Before any design work is done, we establish what the current records show and what changes the local ordinances will permit you to make.
We then generate and, during subsequent meetings, present preliminary floor plans and design ideas. We may schedule a “trades party” in your home, inviting the plumber, electrician, and heating trades contractors to analyze your home systems and make recommendations. Our goal is to eliminate as many “surprises” as we can by investigating the existing conditions now rather than after construction has begun. This is the best opportunity to re-prioritize, if necessary, in order to meet the budget.
At this stage of the design, changes to the proposed scheme are easiest to accommodate. We take the time to make sure you understand everything presented and that you are satisfied with the design. If more than one design scheme is presented, you can select the one you like the best, or suggest alterations to the scheme you like. It is common for the initial sketches to be modified before the plan meets your final approval.
- Design program:
- Establish preliminary budget:
Establishing a budget is an essential element in the success of our design and build remodeling system. Our goal is to design a creative project that is in alignment with your budget and that solves the issues you are having with your home. The term “budget” in the remodel project context is the money you will need to pay for the design and planning of the project (which may include consultants such as engineers, surveyors, energy consultants, etc.), permit fees (which may include municipal fees, connection charges, etc.), and the actual costs of the construction. We will help you plan for all the costs involved, not just the design and construction. Establishing the budget is a critical step, as everything done after this will be based on the information we have been discussing to this point. Be frank about what you want and be prepared to explore new ideas if the budget and your dreams don’t match.
PHASE 2: Design
- Design Agreement:. It is during this phase that we refine everything we started in the Feasibility Agreement. The design agreement lays out the costs for our professional services to design your project and develop the detailed scope of work. The fee in the agreement is typically 8-10% of the final cost of the project. The cost of 8-10% includes the cost of the Feasibility Agreement. It includes producing the blueprints, processing your permit, assisting with making all design selections, providing a final scope of work with a fixed, lump sum price, a construction and payment schedule, pre-planning the entire project, as well as consistent oversight from the architect/designer during construction.
- Refine design:
The preliminary rough sketches that have been approved by you are refined and developed. The plans are further refined as the interior and exterior elevations and section drawings are created and detailed. This is the stage of the process where the initial design schematics come to life. You will meet with the design team throughout this process, which can take several weeks to several months, depending on the complexity of the project and how quickly decisions are made.
- Create blueprints and construction drawings:
We create a complete set of blueprints, which are critically important in order for everyone to understand visually what is to be changed and added, to obtain a building permit, and to eventually build your project. The plans will include all drawings required for regulatory approval, as well as details for elements such as built-in cabinetry, architectural features, electrical-lighting design, door, window and finish schedules, tile layouts, etc. We will work with outside consultants if structural engineering, energy compliance, or other specialties are required.
- Review budget:
We are checking in from time to time as decisions are made and the plans are progressing to see just how we are doing with our budget goals. We will let you know if we are seeing anything that is causing the cost to creep up.
- Begin engineering/permit process:
Facilitate the permit process. We will handle all submittals to the appropriate planning department on your behalf.
- Select materials:
Make final product and finish selections. There are many choices to be made including cabinetry, light and plumbing fixtures, flooring, tile, and accessories. We will assist you in making selections by setting up trips to showrooms or using the internet. These decisions are made as early in the development process as possible in order to avoid unnecessary delays in the production schedule, changes to the budget, and confusion after construction has begun. We will guide you in deciding what types of environmentally friendly products and systems will be a good fit for your project. We are committed to conserve natural resources, save energy and improve the indoor air quality for you and your family. We will provide ideas to reduce costs by investigating alternate building methods, changes in product selections, and other options.
- Walk-through with trade contractors:
The mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems are reviewed at this time.
- Detail written description of work:
We produce a detailed written description of all work to be performed during your project, presented to you in the form of a proposal with a lump sum fixed price. Attention to every detail during the estimating process ensures that we will deliver your project without numerous “surprises” and unwanted additional work orders.
- Present final cost:
Produce accurate and final cost estimate. Once all of the documentation is completed, specifications and selections made, and the proposals from trade contractors are returned and reviewed, a final cost for the construction will be determined. We also present a construction schedule that will determine the overall amount of time your project will take.
- Generate and sign construction agreement:
The construction agreement is a fixed price contract based on the written scope of work, selections that have been made, and any identified allowances. It includes the construction and payment schedules. The only changes made after that point, are those generated by you or by unforeseeable conditions. If you want to make a change that will impact the cost or schedule, we will get your approval before we do any added work.
PHASE 3: Pre-Construction
When the design and estimating process is complete and a contract is signed, the preparations for construction will begin.
- Prepare your home
- Schedule work with trade contractors
- Order items with long lead times
- Internal meeting to pass the project on to the Production Team:
We schedule a pre-construction conference with you and your project manager who will be responsible for supervising and coordinating your project. During this meeting we will discuss the remodeling process with you, as well as ways we can minimize disruptions to your family.
- On-site meeting with designer, production manager, and project manager:
We will have an on-site meeting with your designer, production manager, and project manager, who will be your primary point of contact throughout construction.
- Receive resource guide:
You will receive a client resource guide in which you can store all the important documents relating to your project: the contract, work orders, progress billings, etc. We will include use and care information for your finishes, emergency contact phone numbers, and helpful information about how to prepare for remodeling.
PHASE 4: Construction
The project manager is your first line of communication and they will handle all aspects of the work. The project manager will monitor the job daily and discuss progress and decisions with you. He will be monitoring the job every day to make sure the work is done safely, as quickly as possible, and to your specifications, as well as to make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
During the construction process we will:
- Perform construction per schedule
- Hold regular status-update meetings to discuss progress and decisions that may be pending:
You can expect to receive a weekly email update from your project manager. The update will re-cap the week and let you know plans for the next week.
- Perform walk-through before hanging sheetrock with you to review locations of lights and switches
- Once construction is complete, we will schedule a walk through with you to celebrate the results and to review and discuss how the systems and various manufactured items work.
PHASE 5: Post-Construction
Once we have completed your project, we provide you with a close-out package, which includes warranty information on all appliances and products, a list of all the finishes and materials that went into the project, digital photos of your open walls showing the location of plumbing and electrical wiring, and a list of all the material suppliers used in your project. We provide a 4/10-year warranty on all labor and materials provided by us or by our trade contractors. There is a 10-year warranty on any items that can’t be seen, e.g., roof leaks. Factory-made items carry their own warranties.
This package of materials will be delivered about a month after your project is completed. In addition, you will be contacted by the owner, Jeff Talmadge. Jeff likes to meet with each client and receive feedback on the team’s performance. We are always trying to improve our operation and your honest feedback will help us immensely.
We will be here for years to come, even after the warranty has expired, to make sure you continue to be happy with your remodeling project and to assist you with future projects.