Estimating, Design and Construction Process Overview for Jim Hicks Home Improvement

Oftentimes I am asked, “What is your process for Estimating, Design and Contruction?”montana cedar

So I decided to outline for you (because I only want to be a blessing…)


I.       House Call and Free Estimate

  1. I meet with the owner at their property and listen to their vision for the project, take measurements and pictures.
  2. I then develop a “conceptual budget” with a written scope of work to detail what I have priced (because the faintest ink beats the best memory).

II.     Budget Presentation

  1. Once the owner receives the estimate, they then have a good idea as to what the project is going to cost with the scope of work I have provided.
  2. Oftentimes the owner will increase or decrease the project size to meet their budget.
  3. The owner decides if they want to move ahead with a more formal agreement.

III.  Written Agreements.

  1. The initial deposit of any Agreement (contract) will be 1/3 of the entire Agreement amount.
  2. The entire Agreement can include both the Design Phase & the Construction Phase or each can be contracted separately.

a.  90% of the time they are both included as part of the same Agreement

3. If the initial Agreement is the Design Phase only, the Agreement is Titled “Design Agreement”.

i.   Design Phase

1.      Drafted Construction Plans

a.  During this phase our architect (designer) and I meet at the property with the owner and discuss the project as it now stands with the budget.

b. The architect (designer) will generate computer drafts of the project and email them to the owner.

i. This starts a back & forth revision cycle until the owner is seeing in the designs exactly what they want.

ii. This is all done under my supervision so that I am ensuring that all design changes can be accommodated within the stated budget.

2.      Selections

a. During this time, we are introducing the owner to our suppliers so that they can make selections with the allowances in the estimate.

b. These allowances used in the initial estimate are now converted to actual prices.

c. That is, a $250 allowance for a toilet may become $180.43. The budget is adjusted accordingly.

i. Some selections that will have to be made during a typical project: Flooring, Cabinets, Paint, Plumbing fixtures, Lighting fixtures, Floor Tile, Shower Tile, Siding, Roofing.

3.      Confirming Budgets for Construction Trades

a. Once the design and construction plans are finalized, I hold a team meeting on site for all the construction tradesmen that will be involved in the project (example: Plumber, Electrician, HVAC, etc.)

i. I provide each of them a scope of work, copy of the construction plans and a budget of how I estimated their trade.

ii. They are expected to view the plans, scope and spec, ask me and the owner any questions (electricians always have a lot of questions about light fixtures and receptacle placement) and send me confirmation or adjustments (with reasons) to their budget within 1 week.

4.      Conclusion of Design Phase.

a. At the conclusion of the design phase, the owner has the following:

i. A design and set of construction plans that can be submitted to the City for a permit

ii. As many selections as have been made, allowances have been converted to hard numbers.

ii. A confirmed price from the Contractor to build the design with the selections the owner has made.

ii. Construction Phase

1.      Pre-Construction Meeting

a. Director of Production conducts pre-construction job review and briefing on site with owner.

b. Topics covered will be communications, job site access, owners work hours, safety, scheduling, payments, customer expectations.

2.      Construction

a. Each project will be unique, but as a rule, the jobsite will be left in broom clean condition at the end of each work day.

3.      Payments

a. We collect 1/3 deposit upon approval of any agreement. Progress payments are invoiced on a bi-weekly basis on a standard AIA (American Institute of Architects) Percentage of Completion spreadsheet.

b. This allows us to show and discuss exactly where we are in the process of the project with the owner so that they understand what is going on at all times.

4.      Job Conclusion

a. At a point we call “Substantial Completion”, the Director of Production will conduct a thorough walk through and inspection of the project with the owner.

b. Any and all incomplete or unsatisfactory items will be written on the Final “Punchlist”.

c. Once all the items on the Final Punchlist have been satisfied, the Project will be considered “Complete”.

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