1. How long will the design/build process take?
Of course, the length of a project depends largely on its size and complexity. The optimal schedule is one that allows for design development and for quality workmanship, all progressing uninterrupted.
Our responsibility is to maintain the project momentum and work efficiently while responding to the Owners direction and expectations.
Clients have demands on their time excluding a construction project. It is essential that all parties are realistic on the amount of time and energy one can devote to the process without undo stress. It should be an exciting opportunity in life.
We can estimate a project schedule in the preliminary meetings. All of our significant projects are managed with computer scheduling software.
2. How much will the design cost?
A fully realized custom project takes time to develop and will not meet expectations without the investment in design. We typically charge by the hour. Prior to a contract we will establish a cost estimate for design services.
The cost of our services can be considered and estimated as a percentage of the total project budget. We typically see costs run in the 5-10% of the project cost. The Owners have the ability to reduce costs by being decisive and responsive to information presented.
We understand the need for design. However, the cost of design must be in balance and a good value.
3. How do we know the project envisioned is within our target budget?
This is a core function of our design/build process. It is the continual checking of costs as designs are being conceived and developed. We need to be as accurate and provide this information in a timely fashion for the Owners to be in control of the direction the project. This is true whether we are the designers or are working with your Architect. We have cost data from hundreds of projects and experience in all aspects and types of residential work. We use this to quickly estimate complete project costs from a sketch on a napkin to a fully developed set of plans. You believe you must be informed to be in charge.
4. Can I hire my own Architect and still hire you to do the construction?
Yes. While we provide design services we are not able to take on or may not be appropriate designers for every project. This opens an opportunity to work with other architects and designers. Our foremost interest is always to produce the best possible project results through an open and collaborative relationship with our clients. We are happy to be considered for building and happy to discuss your project and refer you to other design firms in the area that may be a better fit. The chemistry is everything.
5. When is the right time to contact you about my project?
It is never too early. We can answer questions about potential projects, relative costs, new building verses remodeling and how it all works.
If you are considering the purchase of a property and have questions about conditions and potential, we will do a site visit to informally evaluate feasibility, discuss ideas and budgets. This can be remarkably informative. These initial visits are always done at no charge or obligation. We are happy to have the opportunity to meet.
6. Who will be my day-to-day contact person throughout the design and building process?
The initial contacts are usually with Ted, the Owner and one gifted in the schematic stages of design. As the project direction is established in sketches, one of our professional designers will likely become your preferred contact. Their expertise is essential for the development of the designs. We remain a collaborative team through to completion.
During construction, you will have two people guiding the project. Each project has a dedicated Foreman always onsite and available for any need. The Foreman is the lead carpenter for our crews and supervisor of subcontractors and all production though to any warranty service.
Secondly, you will have a Project Manager who visits the project regularly but works primarily out of our office. The PM is central to all communication, directs the final design requirements, is responsible for scheduling, project financials, special orders, subcontractor management and of course, problem solving. We have a team of considerate informed folks serving you and assuring quality at every stage of the process and after.
7. Will you work on any size project?
While we work on projects of varying sizes, our focus is on the larger residential renovations and new homes. We can usually schedule smaller projects like kitchens and baths around the larger projects. The key is to be fully dedicated and able to provide for the success of the projects we take on. That means occasionally, we must decline work.
8. Do you work on older homes?
We have a great deal of expertise is with 19th and early 20th century buildings and have a particular appreciation for period architecture and craftsmanship. Adapting them for today’s needs is a challenge. We recognize the hope for preserving these treasures is often with skillful, sensitive upgrades and appropriate additions that respect existing qualities. Energy performance is a continual important concern.
9. What is your philosophy about green building?
We promote green building in accordance with each client’s interest and budget. We strive to be environmentally responsible in the use of materials and in waste disposal on all projects. We continuously study building science to ensure we are building safe, comfortable homes that will stand the test of time. There are many great products available for consideration. We believe it is best to incorporate innovation with a measure of wisdom and experience.
Toward that end, we are happy to research material sources, develop costs and lead times, and provide you with the information and recommendations you need to make the best decision regarding materials for your home.
10. What is your policy regarding follow-up service? Do you have a warranty?
We are committed to providing exceptional service to our clients before, during and after a project is completed. Our long-term relationships with our clients are important to us, so whenever there is a problem or concern, we are happy to do our best to make it right. We have provided warranty services many years after completion. Being a very good builder and well established, warranty service a very small burden for the firm and a great opportunity to visit with our past clients. So far, nothing has exceeded our ability and capacity to correct. A detailed warranty policy is part of our contract.
11. What is your geographic range for design and construction projects?
We’ll do design projects for anyone. (In fact, we recently designed a new kitchen for a homeowner in Washington State.) But our construction range is typically within a 50-mile radius of our headquarters in Freeport, Maine. We do not charge extra for travel except when costs are greater for our island projects.