We see no rationale for building something new for anything but a fixed price. This also holds true for an addition to a building since, for the most part, its much like new construction. Except for the earthwork and foundation, experienced builders can, and should, be able to estimate new construction costs very accurately. Earthwork and foundation work, on the other hand, are less predictable, so we often incorporate an allowance, or good-faith estimate, for these particular aspects of the project.
Is remodeling any different? Doesn’t the existing structure prevent a builder from estimating costs accurately, thereby arguing for a cost-plus, or time-and-material, contract? How can someone predict what exactly will be found within hidden wall voids prior to the demolition process?
Although many builders will try to convince a potential client that the unpredictability of remodeling demands a time-and-material approach, we believe that the negative consequences of building a significant remodel without a dependable price far outweigh the apparent unpredictability of concealed conditions. Our approach is a combination of the two….. a fixed price for what is predictable, and a time-and-material approach for the unpredictables.
Concealed conditions such as rot, bugs, substandard construction, and asbestos-wrapped ducting. These unpredictables can be dealt with in two different ways:
- Preliminary, exploratory demolition into suspect, problematic areas…… a biopsy of sorts, or
- Addressing such surprises as extra work, with an agreed-upon formula — a time-and-material formula — that will be used for such unpredictable occurrences.
However, the rest of the costs are as predictable as for new-construction and can therefore be accurately bid with a fixed price. You can therefore rest assured and proceed with a fixed price, as opposed to proceeding without a dependable price. This is the safe and sane path to a successful remodeling project.
“I decided to hire A-1 Builders to remodel my office based on the great reputation for quality work that they have in the community and my personal experience working with owner Rick Dubrow. I also hired A-1 Builders because of their commitment to reducing the environmental impact of their work. Throughout the project this reputation for quality work was earned again in such places as the craftsmanship of the built-in desks they made, the cleanliness of the worksite, and the ability of one carpenter to mill replica exterior molding on-site that matched the existing molding from the early 1900’s. Working with Rick in the design, design changes, project management, and billing was easy and fun. And finally, A-1’s commitment to the environment manifested in such areas as re-using 100% of the 2×4’s that came out of one wall in the construction of another, re-using the siding removed for a new door to where a window was removed, the sourcing of FSC certified hardwood plywood and FSC certified self-edge for the built-in desks that was CHEAPER than the traditional particle board and plastic laminate, the use of recycled plastic lumber on a handicap ramp edge, and the use of the RE Store for sourcing some hardware and fixtures. I look forward to working with A-1 Builders in future phases of my remodel.” – Chris Webb, 2020 Engineering