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Q. and A. on General Contractor Projects in Denver Colorado
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Questions and Answers on Home Additions and Large Remodel Projects in Denver Colorado using a General
How do you find and select a good quality contractor or remodeling company? The following represent our
thoughts and opinions.
Any major contractor project is a important decision. You need to have complete confidence in the contractor
you select. The first step is understanding your options. Here are the questions we get the most often abouts
home additions, pop tops, and large general contractor projects.
How much will a Home Addition Cost?For a fast answer, the rule of thumb: $175.00 a square foot of additional
space and $80.00 a square foot for remodeling of an existing space. If you start with that figure in mind you
should be in good shape. Here's some quick math on those numbers:
800 Square Foot pop top. $140,000.00
500 hundred square foot home addition including a new kitchen $87,500.00
Recent projects I have seen. 2500 square foot pop top, with downstairs remodel. $425,000.00. ( 2005)
Add two bedrooms into existing space, $25,000.00 (2005)
What's the normal process?
* Establish your budget, and start arranging financing if needed.(You need at least a ball park maximum
* Selection of the Architect or Design Build Firm. If you do not use a Architect, an individual contractor
would be considered the deign build firm for these examples. Many Contractors will have suggestions on
* You will interview and research the contractord you invite in to bid on your project. You will probably
meet with three or more companies at least twice.
* Sign agreement for plans to be draw
* Final selection of contractor
* Completed plans
* Zoning requirements met if needed.
* Pre-construction agreement with contractor. This pays the contractor for the forty or so hours they
will spend with spec'ing out and pricing the project. Every thing from the type carpet and fixtures you
will use, labor, permits, all costs.
* Construction agreement signed. At this point you have all the costs and are ready to start.
* Permits applied for
* Construction process
* Construction finished. Review, punch list, warranty information, reference letter to contractor.
Depending on the scoop of your addition you will either start with an Architect or a design Build firm. Some
contractors will recommend you do not use an Architect. In our experience utilizing an Architect with reasonable
pricing for large projects will be a better decision. Do you want a general Contractor designing your project, or
an Architect who has years of design and planning experience?
Don't Architects cost a lot of money?
Not really. You will pay for the time and experience of the person doing the plans in either case. A General
Contractor will bill this time if they produce the plans just like the Architect. Given the choice we would
recommend you let the Architect design and draw the plans and the contractor build the project.
Where do I find an Architect or Contractor?
Many sources are available. The traditional sources are, friends or neighbors who have had a similar project
completed. Yellow pages, Internet directories or web sites, and referral services.
Our company is local referral service. We not only refer companies to you, we also screen the project to make
sure we send a company that matches your project. Every other referral service we know simply takes your
information, and sells it to up to five contractors. This can waste a lot of your time and the contractors time. Most
of the better contractors that I know do not participate in the national referral service lead plans as they don't
need to, as a good contracting company is busy, and works from better sources of new customers like
referrals and My One Call.
Which ever source or combination of sources you use, please make sure to do a complete reference, license,
work quality, and insurance check on your own of the contractor you select. Also make sure that the contractor
does similar work. Just because they finished your neighbors basement does not qualify them to do a major
Should I shop for the best price?
Pricing is effected by:
The contractors company's size. Larger is more expensive (employee's) but will generally be faster in
completing your addition.
The company's sub contractors. Does the contractor shop for the best price, and forfeit possible quality?
The company's project management skills. On time saves the company and customer money.
The company's insurance requirements. Many large contractors pay over $21,000.00 a year in liability
Insurance. A low bid may mean an under insured company
Poor estimating of actual costs. Did the company provide a detailed estimate of all expenses? Does it match
the other proposals you will receive?
Your home addition is far to important to base a decision on price as a major consideration. Like all things, a
home addition is going to cost a certain amount. Trying to do a $150,000 addition for $90,000 will simply lead
to disaster. If you do not have the funding, bring the project down in scoop, or wait until you do. There are some
type of construction projects that you can look at pricing as a major element. Simple decks, replacement
windows, house painting all can be over priced to an unsuspecting home owner. But in the area of Home
Additions, Custom Basements, Pop tops, and Custom Home building price should not be the deciding factor.
Finding the right Contractor should.
What other considerations are there for selecting a contractor?
If you do your home work by calling references, checking insurance and licensing, and going and viewing the
contractors current and past work you will narrow the decision down to one or two companies. The next
thing to consider is which company you feel most comfortable working with. Personalities differ and you need a
company you feel comfortable having a daily and ongoing relationship with. Ask yourself which contractor you
would want to spend the next four months of your life working with every day. And, do ask the contractors current
customers how they communicated during the building process. If you have not met with the contractors project
manager, please do, as this will be your main contact during the project. The project manager may be the
person presenting the proposal, or some one else.
What should I look for in the proposal:
Detailed Pricing on all costs.
A list of actual sub contractors to be used
References on sub contractors and insurance.
Anticipated duration of construction, and each phase of construction.
Security polices for your home during construction.
Employee and subcontractor polices about access to your home, music, smoking, rest rooms, daily clean up,
and daily work hours.
Should I have an attorney review the contract?
Yes. Chances are your signing one of the more complex and expensive contracts you will in your personal life.
If you want to discuss your home addition project please feel free to call us at 303-543-3906
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