The Design Process: Step #3: Remodeling Estimate


The Design Process: Step #3: Remodeling Estimate

There is no charge for the Remodeling Estimate. Keep in mind that this is only an estimate, based on our best knowledge and experience, and understanding of your needs. This estimate is typically a feasibility tool for the Homeowner to use to benchmark the project budget. Generally, if the project is not too complex, a set of CAD plan and elevation drawings will be included at no charge. We will schedule time for this meeting in your home at your convenience. Please allow at least 1.5 hours for this meeting. We request that all parties involved in your project attend. In general, if an estimate is free, you get what you paid for, but we want to demonstrate to you just how competent and committed we are to giving the best remodeling value. We want your trust and your business.


Remodeling represents a significant investment in probably your largest asset. Be careful in weighing other bids, some of which may be only verbal. Make sure you are not comparing apples to oranges, and that other bids are defined by the same project drawings and specifications. Until you have tangible documents to refer to, you don't have anything reliable. Make your selection based on competence, referrals, records, credentials, and the relationship potential. The appropriate decision will in the end come to who you feel most at ease with, who you can communicate with best, for we will be in your home for weeks, perhaps months.

     ·        In most cases, the project’s final cost ends up within a plus or minus 20% range of this Estimate, which includes realistic Allowances. Of course, there are many variables to consider that may influence the Remodeling Estimate, based on what is known at the time.

     ·        The range may be greater for very old homes or where there are many unknowns, such as a high level of detail or severe complexity. Cost Allowances for components, fixtures, and items will be given in the Remodeling Estimate.

     ·        After several days, we will give you a follow-up phone call to discuss the Remodeling Estimate. 

David Taylor Remodeling can help Homeowners with financing and pricing options, depending on the project. We do have contacts within the financial market that we could certainly point you to, if that would help. Also, keep in mind that Utah State and Federal energy tax credits may be available for your project (DSIRE: Database of [Utah] State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency; Federal Incentives/Policies for Renewables and Efficiency, Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit). Heating systems, windows, skylights, and doors, insulation, solar and wind, roofs, and appliances are examples that may qualify. Also contact Questar Gas (ThermWise) or Rocky Mountain Power (Utah Energy Efficiency Programs).

A General Contractor is a manager as much as a tradesman, who will provide peace of mind by guaranteeing protections like insurance and licensure (our own and verification of Affiliates), paying taxes (so you can't be held responsible for an entity not paying proper employment or worker's compensation taxes), following rules and codes, pulling permits where necessary, and capitalizing on years of experience to bring efficiencies and the most appropriate team of experts to your project. Homeowner involvement in performing project tasks, known as “Sweat Equity”, may be allowed for items such as painting. However, it is not encouraged for other tasks such as demolition, which may involve advanced rough plumbing and rough electrical knowledge. Realistically, how much time do you have? What's your time worth, and would it be better applied to what you do best? What is your family time (that will be taken away from) worth? Do you have the contacts and knowledge to competently and successfully deal with necessary parties? Do you know people (Affiliates and vendors) who have a track record of reliability and fairness? Suppose you can do it -- will you like it? Probably not!

For our design/build projects, David Taylor Remodeling strongly prefers a Fixed Price Contract Agreement, which is fair to both parties and favors neither the Homeowner nor the Contractor. A Cost Plus Contract Agreement, although not preferred, may be appropriate for some types of very complex work, very old homes with significant unknowns, Historical Restoration, or where other entities have input on design, materials, labor, and etc.

For projects that fall under a Cost Plus Contract Agreement, we have a sophisticated method of tracking expenses. All costs are tracked and only time and materials dedicated to your project are billed. Production efficiency is based on a normal crew working a normal day. All costs are tracked and compared to the target budget, the Remodeling Estimate. With a Cost Plus Contract Agreement, Invoices are billed to the client weekly based on job flow, current bills and labor. All costs for the period are tallied, and the Contractor adds a specified percentage to cover the company’s overhead and profit. Change Orders are used for information and clarification, and are billed at the going rate.

With a Fixed Price Contract Agreement, there is a set price for the work as defined in the Remodeling Estimate. This set price is adjusted with Change Orders based on Allowances and discovery of unforeseen site conditions, such as bad ground in the construction area, termites, or deficiencies in the existing structure or mechanical systems. The payment schedule is outlined in the Contract Agreement Schedule of Values. Payments are linked to phases of work; i.e. completion of framing, completion of rough electrical, cabinets installation, etc. You will be given a Job Schedule Timeline; use it as an estimate to help you prepare for when payments are due.

Change Orders are unfortunately a part of our business. They consume added time to process and bill accurately, and are therefore costly. David Taylor Remodeling strives very hard to minimize Change Orders by doing a very thorough job in the Design Process to prepare an accurate Remodeling Estimate, and plan for contingencies. Beware other Contractors who may entice you with a low bid, only to later drive up the cost with Change Orders, proclaiming unforeseen conditions. We do however want to make your project as personal as you want and therefore look at Change Orders as a design process communication step to clarify what you really want your project to look like. During the remodeling of your project be cautious of scope creep (adding items on the fly) and its impact on budget. Remodeling can be an exciting process and during the process, adding bells and whistles can really drive the numbers up.

(adapted from Blue Ribbon Construction, Raleigh, N. C.)

The next step in the Design Process is: Step #4: Contract/Design.

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03-18-10 Questar Gas  A home energy audit from Questar Gas is a slam-dunk way to conserve energy and money, not to mention making your home more comfortable. Schedule a Therm-wise technician to visit your home to conduct an energy usage analysis at 1-800-695-7375, or visit to download an audit you can do-it-yourself. Qualify for major rebates and savings when you install energy efficient gas appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, clothes washers, and clothes dryers. The energy audit may also suggest upgrading insulation, plumbing fixtures, windows, and doors. More than 200,000 Questar customers have participated in the Therm-wise program, and more than half of them have received program-related rebates.

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