Frequently Asked Questions
Do you offer free consultations?
How long does the Design and Build process take from beginning to end?
What is the permit process for a Design-Build Project?
What is the project billing process?
What is Additional Work and Change Orders?
What is an Allowance?
Yes! Getting a consultation is a free and easy experience. Just click the New Client Request button on our site to get started. We will begin by asking you a few questions about the scope of your job, then someone will give you a call and schedule you to meet with one of our project leaders. We will then provide you with a free detailed project breakdown explaining the scope of work, estimated labor and materials costs, and the grand total job cost and time frame.
As you might expect, the duration of a design build process depends on the complexity of your project. We have completed simple build-only projects in under a month, and spent up to a year and a half designing and building major house additions from the ground up. Once we have an idea of the scope of your project we will be able to give you an estimate on how long each phase of the design-build process should take.
The permit process is different for every town and city. It is our job to help you through the permit process and make it go as smoothly as possible. When designing a new project, we first need to gather information about zoning and what the laws are for your project area, and specifically what is allowed on your property. We then design your project to fit within these laws and code requirements. From there, we go through a submittal/review process with the planning department until the plans are approved. For large scale projects that are remodeling over 50% of their home, there is sometimes a more intensive design/review process. This often involves alerting the neighbors of the proposed work, and under certain circumstances having a meeting with the town’s planning commission welcoming comments from the community. This process can be stressful for a homeowner, so rest assured that we will guide you through the process and have lots of experience successfully pulling plans even under difficult situations. Once plans have passed through the planning department we will submit them to the town or city’s building department for another round of submittal/review. Once the building department has stamped the plans with final approval, we start building!
We provide an extensive budget breakdown. Each section of your project is clearly explained and laid out with the corresponding materials and labor costs. We will also take the time to manipulate this budget so that it will fit within your budget. Once the project begins, we bill you every two weeks for the parts of the job that we have completed. There are two types of project billing that we use. Mostly we use a “Bid” billing system. In this approach the project manager gives you an educated estimate/bid price of all the job costs up front and you sign a contract agreeing to pay these costs. Every 2 weeks we will send you a bill based on the parts of the job progress that we have completed. Alternatively, small jobs under $5,000 use what we call the “Time and Materials” approach, where we bill you directly for the labor and material costs plus our markup. The costs to make a bid and manage a small job make the time and materials approach more reasonable.
Additional work is work that is added on to the original job scope after the initial bid is complete. Sometimes clients want to expand the scope after the project has started and want to add extra work to the job (example: changing from tile to hardwood floors). We will provide you with either a bid or time and materials budget detailing the projected labor and materials costs for the additional work, and begin the additional work once it is approved. A change order is similar to additional work, but different in that it involves work that was unforeseen in the initial project scope, but needs to be completed in order to proceed with the original scope of work. Sometimes the construction process will reveal some initially unknown problems such as dry rot or a cracked foundation that will need to be addressed before we can continue with the work on the bid. All change orders will be written on a change order form, explained to you and signed off by you prior to work being done. Change orders may result in additional work being added to the bid, if the nature of the change order causes the client to decide they want to add work to the project. All change orders are billed separately from the main bid to keep all the job costs clear.
An allowance is an educated estimated cost of labor or materials that is included in the contract price for items that will be decided by the client as the project progresses, and therefore cannot be finalized upfront. Certain items that the clients decide on such as light fixtures and faucets may be planned once the job has already started, so the contractor cannot give a set price in the initial bid. Setting an allowance for these items lets the contractor show the client what to expect when they do pick these items, and lets them see how it will fit into their budget. Fixtures and appliances can vary greatly in cost, and our project managers and designers are happy to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of certain materials to help you pick what is best for your project. Allowances are specific dollar amounts that the contractor has allocated for the purchase of these items. This includes all overhead and profit, and applicable sales taxes. If the final cost of any item covered by an allowance is greater or less than the specified allowance, the contract price will be increased or decreased accordingly. So we bill for the actual discounted contractor cost of these materials plus a small markup, not the allowance price.
Yes. Pursuant to California Law, all new construction and remodels are warrantied up to 1 year (Fit and Finish warranty). There is also a 4 year warranty covering any defective installation. In addition there is a 10 year engineered structural warranty that the contractor and/or engineer provides for certain engineered components. For more information about the California Contractor’s Warranty Law see California Business and Professions Codes Section 7091.