Denny and Pete work closely with clients from project conception through completion. By eliminating hand-offs and creating a direct line of communication, clients receive personalized service backed by the experience and dedication of the owners.
Clients save time & money by using our services before and during the design process, to value-engineer their project and consult on materials and construction methods. Our pre-construction services include:
- Value-engineering schematic plans
- Preliminary cost estimating
- Consulting on construction techniques, materials and detailing
- Reviewing consultants plans for efficiency of construction
For these services we charge $85/hr and track time involved with the project. An $850 retainer covers the first 10 hrs of pre-construction and if we are chosen to build the project we do not charge for this time.
Choosing a Contractor and Cost Control Strategy
Two basic approaches:
Negotiated contract. This approach is where you interview contractors and choose to work with a particular builder in advance of final cost estimating, and then negotiate a price for the work. This can be fixed, a cost plus a fixed fee, or it can be cost plus a percentage. Working in this manner allows for an open book format where everyone see’s the numbers and plays a role in determining the project players.
Competitive Bids. With this approach the client solicits bids and then chooses a contractor, presumably the lowest bidder from a group of qualified bidders. When we are asked to work in this format we provide a lump-sum bid and build the project per the plans and specifications managing the work as we best see fit. The competitive bid method is the cost control in this format.
Most often we work with clients using a negotiated “cost plus percentage” agreement. When working in this manner, we obtain three or more competitive bids on all major subcontracts. We prefer this negotiated approach because it makes the pricing process transparent to the client and architect. On every job, we assemble a binder with all bids, bidding instructions, and Requests for Information (RFI’s). On a negotiated job, we share the bid book with both client and architect, and all parties can clearly see the competitive pricing. Transparent pricing gives the team a measure of ongoing control over costs.
How We Bid, How We Subcontract
First we develop a preliminary line-item estimate from preliminary architectural plans, before the plans are fully complete and before structural, mechanical, electrical, and other similar plans are done. We usually do this in-house with no estimates from subs, but occasionally we seek informal input from subcontractors. We develop the second line-item estimate at or around plan submittal time. This proposal usually contains firm sub bids for the building shell and basic site work, but uses allowances or in-house estimates for finishes. The final pricing package includes fixed costs for all major trades derived from multiple bids. Our final process consists of assembling the bid book and then identifying the subcontractor that will be used for work within each trade.
We employ full time superintendents on most of our projects. Our superintendents are responsible for the day-to-day job site activities, including job site safety & security, sub scheduling and supervision, material ordering, and employee supervision.
In addition, either Denny or Pete will be the project manager for your project. They are responsible for project paperwork, including site meeting minutes, change orders, RFIs, bid solicitations, subcontracts, etc. Denny and Pete attend regular site meetings and do any re-budgeting and schedule revisions using (in part) information provided by the superintendent. The project manager generally bills between 5 to 20 hrs per week depending on project size and complexity.
We use Microsoft Project software for scheduling as well as procurement logs. Each project schedule consists of important milestone dates to be met by the crew as well as design decisions and choices to be made by the client and deadlines for making them. This schedule is updated from time to time, most often when the scope of work changes significantly or when progress is not tracking to the published schedule.
We create an in-house punch list and work to complete it; once we have completed as much of the list as we can, we ask you (and/or your architect) to walk through the job with the superintendent and draft a punch list to compare with ours. We then complete the work. We provide you a binder with all appliance specs, operating manuals, and subcontractor contacts for future use. Final specialty cleaning is the last step before handing you the key. It is our goal to under promise and over deliver a service and product that leads you to refer us to your friends and family members.