How to estimate the cost of new home construction

2019-04-12 Real Estate No comment

This will serve as a guide to help with some tips and techniques for estimating the cost of building a new home. As an expert home estimator, there are many things to consider before you start estimating.

Construction estimates can be difficult and require a high level of accuracy and detail. It also requires good mathematical skills and a bit of geometric knowledge. It needs to be able to read and understand construction drawings and details and how to apply them. Basic construction knowledge helps to familiarize yourself with local building codes.

You may want to attend a building assessment course at a local university or technical school. Another option is to purchase an estimate manual from your local bookstore, or visit aesthetic.org, which offers online courses and a bookstore.

One rule I learned along the way was the old saying, “Measures are cut twice.” Whenever I take off or estimate, I always follow this rule to help reduce errors.

What do you need to estimate together?

You will need a notepad, calculator, building size and engineering scale. These are the basic tools you need to combine your estimates.

Building and structure

  Now you are ready to open the plan and start reviewing them. The easiest way is to look at them and understand the basic architectural concepts. You should be familiar with the information contained in each table.

Most building projects have a set of architectural drawings and a set of structural drawings. I will explain the difference between the two.

It is important that the plan be expanded and have all the necessary details and wall sections needed for proper estimation.

What is usually included in a complete set of architectural plans? Drawings must include at least the following forms: title/cover page, floor plan, floor plan, base plan, four elevations, roof plan, electrical plan, sheet with typical wall, sheets with door and window schedule, and Bed linen for architectural and architectural details is necessary.

The structural drawings are drawn by structural engineers, not architects, and there are no construction companies with internal engineers. Any internal shear wall or load bearing wall is described in detail on these drawings.

The engineer calculates all ascending and bearing loads for all internal and external roof trusses. After the calculations, they determine which walls are shear or bearings or both and what is needed to properly support those ridges and/or bearing loads. Engineers will place structural instructions on any wall that is loaded or cut. This comment will display the form number and the detailed number, indicating how the wall needs to be built.

For example, a load bearing wall may have a thickened concrete foot with two pieces of steel, and the wall above it may require a southern yellow pine spruce frame with special metal hardware. These should be highlighted in the plan and therefore will not be ignored. Sometimes the hardware that an engineer sends is a special order that can take several weeks to complete. Therefore, if you wait until the frame package needs to be ordered and there are two or three shear walls with special order hardware, construction may be delayed.

You will need to make enough copies of the architectural and structural plans for multiple subcontractors and suppliers to bid. To save money, ask your architect and engineer to convert the graphics file to a PDF file. This saves you time and makes it easier because you can email them to any number of subcontractors and suppliers.

Product specifications

  A list of product specifications must be provided so that all subcontractors and suppliers are bidding. This is a list detailing all the products and finishes you need in your new home. Without a set of specifications, it makes no sense to send a plan to a bid. Without this, the bid you receive will not be Apple to Apple. Then you need to get them all back into the project. This wastes a lot of time and creates a lot of unnecessary work for the subcontractor. Keep in mind that these people don't need to practice bidding, and some of them may not submit bids if they don't include a set of specifications. Therefore, you need to choose everything from paint color to floor finish. They need to be listed in the plan or in a separate document.

Take off

  If just to name a few examples of how to quantify concrete, masonry, wood and shingles, it would be too technical. For example, let's assume that you need to quantify masonry blocks in a single story area. You must know how the walls are assembled, including the ability to visualize and understand construction methods. If the exterior wall has multiple heights, you need to add a regular block [8x8x16] and you need to subtract the threshold block at each position where the height of the board changes. If some walls are at a 45 degree angle, you need to be able to know if you are estimating an angle block or a butterfly block. Door and window openings need to be deducted by a certain number of conventional blocks, and every other route on each side of the opening requires half a block. You may have too many blocks of size, or not enough or some units are not considered at all. These inaccuracies can cause you to lose your budget and spend your time and money. This ability and knowledge cannot come from a book, but through hands-on experience and years of estimation experience.

If you decide to quantify your own materials, I suggest you refer to the Walker Building Appraiser Reference Manual, frankrwalker.com, for instructions on how to estimate the amount of concrete, masonry, wood, drywall, etc. It is considered the Bible of the Building Estimator and is one of the must-have books included in the study guide for most state contractors' exams. Keep in mind that these reference books have no tips or tricks and real-world experience as explained above.

You can use the help of a subcontractor to bid for a job or supplier. You can pay more for their products or services, or you can hire us. Either way, you pay someone's fees to review the plan and quantify what's needed to build the project.

If you have your timber field quantified material remembering that he is trying to win the job, then he may offer a tight takeoff. If you have to reorder more wood, this is not good for you. The obvious answer is to have your framer organize the timber list for you. Well, this doesn't work because he will oversubscribe, so he didn't run out of material and had to travel extra. They want to complete as soon as possible in order to check and get paid. The bottom line is not in your best interest.

I recommend that you do not try to quantify the material yourself. I have posted a valid reason. This is very technical and requires people with years of experience in estimating and combining field experience.

Call for bid

  Preparing this part of the estimate can be done by most people. I suggest you contact the local builders association to get a list of subcontractors to recommend or use Angie, angieslist.com and pre-screening contractors

You may have heard of RFQ – request a quote. You want to attract at least the contractor. Most people will say three bids, why do I recommend five bids? Let us say that you contacted five contractors and all five contractors have bid for this project. You need to make sure that one is a high bid and one is a low bid. So those should be put aside because low bids may miss something and high bidding is too high. The remaining three bids should be thoroughly reviewed to ensure that you compare Apple to Apple.

When you contact all subcontractors who want to bid on a project, be sure to provide them with a bid deadline. This way you don't have to chase them. Give them a reasonable amount of time to review plans and specifications, usually for a week or two.

Analysis of bids

  First organize all bids by industry, such as bringing together all electronic bids. A three-ring binder with dividers and a label for each category is a great way to organize all bids.

Once you receive your bid, you will need to read it carefully and review it according to the plan and specifications. They should have project information and dates. They need to be detailed and itemized. Cabinet bidding should not say "cabinet." Instead, it should list and quantify all cabinets by surface, style, size and location, such as 15-inch 42-inch oak raised kitchen cabinets, 1 / ea 60" melamine master bathroom cabinet, 1 / ea 36" melamine hall bathroom If the cabinet does not include a countertop, it should be declared, so there is no false statement.

When a proposal needs to be modified, make sure it indicates the revision date or the "revision" status. This way, when you compile your bids and need to look back at them, you will see the latest bids.

The proposal should also specify the process and warranty. All of this is important, especially if the contractor does not perform and mediate or need a worse litigation.

How to negotiate the best price

  Once three competitive bids have been identified, the hard part is negotiating with the contractor. You must assume that all quotes will be exaggerated and understand that you will talk less. Therefore, you need to reduce them to real numbers as low as possible. I always ask if my subcontractors and suppliers can negotiate bids. Remember, the problem will never hurt, they can say worse. If they say…

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