How Design Build Helps Get You a Better Estimate

Estimation errors and cost overruns are two of the most common issues when it comes to any construction project. So how can you get a better estimate that gives you a more accurate understanding of the true costs of construction? Working with a design-build contractor and drawing up a detailed scope of work will help get this better number and, in turn, alleviate other issues that can cause errors and overruns.

Avoiding Cut Corners

The last thing you want on any job is to have tradespeople (electricians, plumbers, etc.) cutting corners in order to save time and/or reduce costs. Design-build contractors usually have specific subcontractors that they have worked with time and again that they trust. Not only does this help give you peace of mind that they’ll do the job right. But if these tradespeople have worked with the contractor on a regular basis, they’ve worked in a design-build environment before with success.

One of the worst things that can happen on a job is product not being installed properly and no one wants a “callback.” Design-build contractors make sure that clear and concise plans are available so that there is far less chance for a major mistake to occur.

Overcoming Assumptions

When it comes to anything in life, assumptions can be dangerous, and in building and remodeling, incorrect assumptions can bring projects to a grinding halt. Throughout the design process and even during the build process, never be afraid to ask questions. Don’t think any question is stupid: ask them all. Especially during the estimating and subcontractor bidding process, if you notice that something isn’t listed, don’t assume that it will be included.

Missing items in bids can be as simple as certain types of costs that could vary wildly from project to project. The bidder may simply not have a hard number to use. Make sure that you have a best estimate for every single aspect of your project. Design-build contractors are usually pretty good at nailing down these details, but never be afraid to ask. Also, make sure all quotes and estimates are in writing, just in case something comes into dispute later or otherwise is omitted.

Understanding Change Orders

Change orders are common once projects have begun, and if upcharges or allowances are made for them, typically things are alright. Sometimes there are design errors or omissions that aren’t originally allowed for, too, and kept to a minimum they’re typically not a problem. Just keep in mind that some changes only involve increased cost as far as material. When additional labor is involved, this can cause some serious cost overruns to occur. Keep in mind that the further along you get in a project, the harder it is to make design changes that will require significant additional labor.

Working with a design-build contractor, you’ll typically have regular meetings to discuss how the project is going. Any questions or concerns you have should always be voiced. However, be sure you’re working with a contractor you trust that gives you an estimate that covers all of the bases. Sure, you won’t be able to plan for every single cost, but the more than you can hammer down, the better. Design-build contractors are usually pretty good at giving you some of the most realistic estimates because they usually know their team and can guarantee a great result.