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The objective for most people who build a new home is to get a valuable return on the investment and a home that fits their lifestyle needs. Value is created when your finished home is worth more to you than the cost of construction.
Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts to achieving a successful result when building your home. It takes expertise, good planning and proper management to build your home right.
Preparing a proper budget before you start your construction project is important. Costs can increase significantly if changes to the design and material specifications are made once the project has been started. Changes can also cause time delays, which can be a problem if they impact on the building season.
Construction resources need to be scheduled on a sequential and timely basis. Proper planning is essential and can only be carried out when you have a clear understanding of what involved in your project. Making changes once work has started can be costly. Structural changes will require outside experts who are harder to find for more complex buildings. Good planning helps you save money and stay in control of your project.
Golden Home Builders has timely access to experts and can advise you on the key variables involved in the building process. We help you plan your project and make good decisions before you start construction.
Cost certainty in a construction project is a major concern for homeowners, builders and financial institutions alike. Golden Home Builders has access to the proprietary Custom Builder XPM ™ construction estimation software developed specifically for the custom home industry. It produces realistic budget estimates that take into consideration all the details of the project in a short period of time.
The ability to generate a realistic budget in order to get the required level of cost certainty is not only important for the homeowner. It also helps financial institutions validate homeowners and builders for construction loans. You want to make all the necessary changes to your design so you can finalize your blueprints before asking for price quotes. Making changes during construction will alter the scope of work and subsequently affect the budget.
Getting a fixed price on the entire project is generally not feasible due to the complexity of building a custom home. A combination of fixed prices and realistic allowances is the most accurate budgeting method. Simplistic finished price per square foot quotes for the whole project are not realistic in custom home building.
Golden Home Builders can obtain fixed pricing for the design and materials to get to the lock-up stage. This usually represents about one-third of the construction budget. Also the cost of framing the home can usually be fixed. Allowances for the remainder of the project can be determined once the homeowner has made a final decision on finishing materials and other items.
The time taken to complete your project will depend on the size of home, location of property, complexity of construction, weather conditions and frequency of inspections.
To determine a realistic occupancy date Golden Home Builders uses a comprehensive work schedule detailing key milestones to keep the project on track. Each milestone is carefully planned to bring the project to successful completion and meet your projected occupancy date. Completing a custom home will be dependent on reaching these key milestones:
|Activity||From (wks)||Up to (wks)|
|Selecting Design and Materials||8||12|
|Permits and Approvals||2||20|
|Construction and Inspections||15||38|
|Projected time to occupancy||25||70|
Another important factor that influences timing is Golden weather conditions. The Golden region experiences cold spells and moderate snowfall which leaves a limited time period for building a custom home. Construction can take place any time once foundations are complete. However, foundations cannot be poured until the frost has left the ground. Road restrictions can take place in March and April which means it is difficult to transport heavy loads such as excavation equipment, concrete or full truck loads of materials.
Golden Home Builders has a thorough understanding of Golden requirements. We can help you plan your project to start at the optimal time.
Golden Home Builders primarily works within a one hour drive from Golden. We also serve the surrounding area and have familiarity with the challenges of the more isolated locations in the area.
The area around Golden consists of a number of small population centers that are largely rural in nature. The nearest large town is Golden but even there it is hard to source many of the high quality products needed to build an exceptional custom home.
For this reason Golden Home Builders has established a preferred relationship with a national supplier to make sure that the right building materials are available on a timely basis. The organization has the ability to economically supply a wide range of high quality materials that cannot be sourced on a local basis. We also have good relationships with local suppliers to give you the best possible pricing on building products.
In any residential construction project, someone needs to take on the role of the general contractor. Depending on the circumstances, this person can be the homeowner or an independent professional. It is important to understand that the designated general contractor is the person in charge of the project and assumes all responsibilities and liabilities for completing the project in accordance with regulations.
Some homeowners choose to act as their own general contractor. If you have the time and expertise to be actively involved in the project, you can save a significant amount of money, especially organizing the finishing of the home. Most homeowners do not wish to take responsibility for the structure of the home, but many are quite capable of organizing finishing work.
Usually homeowners will need professional help during the building process to access the range of skills required to complete the project. A good option is to hire a project manager to help you with the technical aspects of construction.
The key elements to consider and manage include:
Any construction project is a major undertaking in terms of time and money. Most people expect to get a valuable return on their investment and a home that fits the preferred lifestyle. You can create this value by making sure that you make the right decisions and hire the right resources and expertise.
Site Specific Design
The first step is to develop a concept design.
Typically people start with a look or an interior layout that they like.
This is then taken to a preliminary plan, which can be used to develop construction blueprints and a preliminary budget.
KEY TIP: Use a site specific design to make sure that your design can be built on your property
There are thousands of building components with different performance characteristics to choose from.
You need to spend adequate time when choosing the right materials.
Material purchasing requires a special skill set.
It takes a professional to accurately determine the right quantity of materials needed from finalized blueprints.
The reality is that changes are far more costly when they are made during construction.
KEY TIP: Choose the right quality and combination of building materials
Getting Permits in Place
Building permits need to be in place before you can start construction. Some land preparation can take place prior to permits, but you need to be aware of local guidelines that may restrict work.
The objective is to obtain all approvals so that you can get foundations in place prior to peak season or adverse weather conditions. You can always delay construction, but you can't move it forward without permits.
KEY TIP: Apply for permits as soon as you have your construction blueprints
Hiring the Right People
Hiring the right builders and trades is crucial to the success of a custom home project. To do this you will need to understand your role and responsibilities in the construction process as well as what factors you should consider when selecting qualified builders. The right contracts need to be in place so you are protected from common risks that are associated with construction projects.
Your project will need local builders and trades who are familiar with your type of construction. Once you have identified qualified candidates, you will need to evaluate individual quotes. This should be based on the expertise offered and the ability to see a project or job through. Selecting builders and trades based on the lowest hourly rate is not usually the best choice. Trades need to be properly licensed and insured so they do not transfer the risk of lawsuits to the homeowner.
Having meaningful written contracts with all builders and trades is essential.
The key elements are scope of work, procedures for changes, payment terms and provisions for sign-off at the time of completion.
The contract should also address responsibilities for work related injuries, damages to third parties and other liabilities.
There are a lot of issues to be considered when hiring contractors and trades.
This is why many homeowners retain the services of a professional project manager.
KEY TIP: Hire qualified builders with the right experience
Advantages to Hiring a General Contractor
In any residential construction, someone needs to take on the role and responsibility of the general contractor (GC). Depending on the jurisdiction and applicable laws, this person can be the homeowner or an independent professional. It is important to understand that the GC is the builder in charge and assumes all responsibilities for completing the construction project according to regulations.
Independent general contractors may use their own employees or hire subcontractors and trades. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: hiring all people needed to complete the project, coordinating their schedules, overseeing their work and paying their invoices for work completed. The GC also has an array of other responsibilities and duties that require special expertise.
A hired general contractor will take on most of the construction liability and is typically responsible for the project from start to finish.
This is why the contract price of a professional, experienced GC reflects the responsibilities, tasks and associated risk taken.
KEY TIP: Hiring a qualified general contractor reduces risks
Advantages to Hiring a Project Manager
A project manager has many of the responsibilities of the general contractor. Generally, project management is distinguished from general contracting because the role performed is advisory in nature and has a much more limited liability. Responsibilities can vary depending on the level of involvement required and a subsequent contract is signed accordingly. Because of the limited nature of the role, project management costs less than general contracting.
Project management focuses on directing and coordinating human and material resources throughout the life of a project.
It involves predetermined objectives of scope, cost, time and quality control.
Depending on the arrangement, this may include selecting the right project participants, proper coordination and control of work, evaluation of quotes, procurement of materials and managing communications.
KEY TIP: Hiring a project manager gives you flexibility and cost savings
Preparing a Realistic Budget
There are many variables that will affect the costs of construction and ongoing maintenance after the home is built. In addition to costing the actual construction, you will need to consider issues including access, site preparation and availability of services.
Getting a fixed price on the entire project is generally not feasible due to the complexity of building a custom home. Qualified builders and sub-trades can only provide you with realistic construction quotes based on a site specific design and the type of materials that will be used.
A combination of fixed prices and realistic allowances is the most accurate budgeting method.
You should use a comprehensive construction worksheet.
KEY TIP: Plan and budget your project based on accurate information
Defining the Scope of Work
Your budget forms the basis of "scope of work" in the construction contract. Make sure you have a detailed written contract with your builder that includes clear definitions of what is included in the scope of work. Generally, homeowners will hire a contractor to build their home to lock-up or turnkey.
Verify that the labor costs are realistic and the quantity and quality of materials are properly estimated before you enter into an agreement.
Due to the nature of custom home building, completion dates will be usually be projected on a best efforts basis.
KEY TIP: Aim for maximum cost certainty
Financing Your Project
There are a number of options available to finance your project. Depending on the size of your project, you can often use credit lines based on the equity you have in your home. For larger projects, you may need construction financing that is convertible into a term mortgage. This way you can take advantage of favorable interest rates.
In some cases, financial institutions may require an accurate budget that details all aspects of the project, which can be independently validated.
You need to make sure that money is available on a timely basis so your project can go ahead as planned.
KEY TIP: Get financing in place as soon as possible
Site Preparation and Foundations
Preparing the building site includes clearing the land and excavating so that foundations can be formed and concrete poured when the weather conditions are right. Site services need to be brought from the property line to the home. This usually involves excavation for line placement. This work needs to be scheduled when roads can be accessed by heavy equipment and when foundation work can be done.
Foundations are poured in three stages. First footings and then walls must be poured before construction can start. The interior slab is usually poured once the main floor is in place. Cement cannot be poured below freezing temperatures without special procedures. It is important to get the foundations in place as soon as blueprints are available and permits have been obtained.
Foundations must then be backfilled to protect them from weather and other potential wear.
Prior to backfilling a protective coating is placed on the outside of the foundation wall.
Drainage also needs to be installed around the base of the wall at this time.
KEY TIP: Be ready to build at the most favorable time
Construction to Lock-up
Once foundations are in place the construction of the home to the lock-up stage can begin. Lock-up means that the home is weatherproof and secure. Before this work can begin foundations will have to pass inspection. Lock-up work is a sequential process and includes:
Lock-up is considered to be complete when walls, floors, roof, windows and exterior doors are in place.
An inspection will take place to determine the structural integrity of the home and if there was compliance with building codes.
KEY TIP: Schedule inspections on a timely basis
Finishing to Occupancy
The management focus of finishing work is to choose the finishing items that give you the value and look you want in line with your budget. Working with a professional interior designer may be a timesaver. Good people will have knowledge of available products, how they perform over time and where the best places are to shop. Finishing your home mainly involves organizing products and trades.
Before you can get an occupancy certificate, a final inspection needs to take place.
The purpose is to identify any outstanding work required to meet building code standards.
Once occupancy has been granted, you can move in and enjoy your beautiful new home.
KEY TIP: Organizing your own finishing work saves money