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Which comes first? Builder or Designer/Architect?

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Just like the proverbial “chicken and egg” question, “Which comes first”? is a question that confuses some people, but must be answered before you start the remodel or home building process. While the answer may seem obvious, it’s important to know the right answer in order to avoid problems from the beginning. The designer/architect comes first, right? Not necessarily read on…

Sometimes people get the cart before the horse and in all the excitement, they get ahead of themselves. Paula and Steve thought they had done it all right. They had a roll of plans that represented months of work creating their dream home. Their dream home included the newest ideas from all the popular TV shows, cutting edge appliances, the latest in low voltage wiring and expansive openings to the outside.

Paula and Steve were now ready to find a builder. They were so excited! Paula was bubbling over with her plans, holiday decorations, birthday parties, dinners and the graduation of their son would soon become reality in their newly designed home. They even included a suite, for Paula’s parents to stay for extended periods of time. The plans were finished and they were now ready to build!

Then the truth arrived. They were ready to talk to a builder and get started. But there was a problem: the actual cost to build the project – the house they had labored over for so many hours, over so many months – ended up costing 40 percent more to complete than they had planned for.

How did this happen? Well-they asked the designer/architect about the costs and that is what they based their plans and budget on, they did no further research. And that is the problem. Most designer/architects are not trained in doing cost estimates. This was so devastating to them that Paula and Steve they rolled up their plans and walked out the door. They ended up never doing the project.

Their dreams had been shattered and they were crushed and felt foolish they had spent 6 months and thousands of dollars for something they could not complete. It could have been different, by taking a team approach to the design including having a builder at the table when they were designing to allow for a second opinion on the construction costs. This approach would have also allowed for discussions to value engineer their project to save costs.

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