It is long overdue but here is a new blog article written by the president and owner of Prime 1 Builders, Dan Meade, CGR, CAPS.
You know that you need to design before you build. The search begins for a design professional at the onset of your home addition or renovation project. Bringing the contractor on board early in the process to partner with an architect or designer is invaluable to the flow of the project. The time worn concept of preparing plans and then finding three contractors to bid your project is FLAWED. Three evenly capable contractors will produce similar bids. The only difference in the outcome of the bidding process will be in who missed pricing the details accurately or who has underbid the project in some way, or will issue change orders often and ultimately exceed your budget. Do you really want the outcome of a significant investment like a home improvement project to be determined by a low price alone?
The concept of bringing a contracting professional on board to help with the planning of a major home improvement is gaining acceptance with many savvy home owners. They recognize that the contractor’s valuable input during the design process will help in many ways to keep the project in check during this pre-construction process.
1st-It builds the relationship of the team members. The owner, architect/designer and contractor will have time to work together in the pre-construction phase enabling all parties to develop a unified understanding of the project before the actual construction work begins. The owner will also get a chance to discuss aspects of the home improvement process with the contractor prior to the start of the construction. The contractor also benefits from this relationship-building phase by getting to know the homeowner-what their concerns are and what is important to them.
2nd-It allows the contractor to give real-time cost feedback as the plans develop. This budget management tool helps keep the budget on track, not allowing the design to exceed the owner’s desired investment level. It may also increase the owner’s understanding of any additional costs due to design details that are important to them, even though they may raise the budget limit. The contractor can also suggest alternate construction details or materials to the architect during the design process that may also help to control costs.
Then the drawings are complete, everyone will have had an opportunity to work together and to contribute to the planning stage. The construction process will have less emphasis on getting to know the players, and more emphasis on completing the work. Levels of communication, working relationships and expectations will be established, and the contractor, owner and designer can focus on the actual work process.
If you still want contractor selection options, consider interviewing three contractors before making a decision to bring one on board. Select the best candidate for your team based on their experience and references. Don’t forget to actually check the references. And don’t forget personality–you will be working closely with this person for potentially several weeks to months.
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