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Embarking on the Design of a New Custom Home

Emily Minton Redfield

Embarking on the design of a new custom home, or contemplating a major remodel of your existing home, can be both exciting and stressful. One of the greatest causes of stress in this process is trying to appropriately budget for your project. It is essential that the architect, client and builder team address the questions of construction cost honestly and early in the design process, preferably before pencil (or mouse) is engaged. Too many people have no idea what to expect for the construction cost of their project, or their expectations do not match current construction cost reality. The following are some methods that to keep your budget on track during the design of a new home or remodel.

1. Ask the architect to discuss the construction cost of several similar projects, and perhaps even visit a comparable project. This can help you understand what to expect for a similar budget or scope.

2. Select a builder early in the design process to join the design team. This can help with construction cost estimates at an early stage, and allows communication to develop between the architect and builder as the project proceeds.

3. When the construction costs for your “dream design” exceeds your budget, encourage the entire team: builder, architect, client, interior designer, engineering consultants, and even subcontractors, to get creative and come up with “value engineering” solutions to reduce the cost of the design.

4. With a realistic and motivated client, an experienced and creative design team, and consistent communication about the cost of design decisions, the team can achieve a beautiful, functional, and affordable result.  

5. This open approach reduces the stress of not knowing what your home or remodel may cost to build, or the terrible shock of discovering, too late, that you cannot afford to build what has been designed for you. When clients are given the tools to understand the cost implications of their choices they can participate as effective members of the design and construction team. The result is better designs, happy home owners, and a transparent process that is enjoyable for everyone.

Karen Keating is a principal at TKP Architects, an award-winning architecture and interior design firm based in Golden, Colorado. View their profile or contact Karen at 303-278-8840.‚Äč

Content for this article provided by TKP Architects.

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