Designs, drawings and bids

We (mostly my husband the architect) are just finishing up the working drawings for our third go at a house plan. The first two we ditched after going over them after the design process and deciding each was not quite right for us and for the site. This third design I think has everything in a form and layout we had in mind. All the spaces are very user-friendly and open to the 26 acres through a multitude of windows. This design is an accumulation of other features we liked in the other two designs that we wanted to keep in some way.

We decided to stay with a one story, except for my husband’s office which is upstairs with a bank of windows to the best view. It is a small space but he planned it out ahead of time to know the layout and furniture he wanted to use and the space it would require.

We got the square footage to fit our budget. We knew a price per square foot we would like to be, but also saw the price per square foot that houses with finishes we wanted to incorporate were selling for. After searching out custom builders in our area that seemed to fit our design build preference, we narrowed it down to three. Two of them happened to be very busy and fitting us in their schedule would be a long wait. The third builder we are very happy with and like his attitude, his work ethic, his subcontractors’ finished products and his willingness to get our house within our budget. He will bring ideas to the table that he sees could be money savers. In return, we are bringing him a very finished plan that we have reviewed over and over to catch any little issues and make any tweaks we see, so that we will not have any changes during construction unless they are recommendations by the builder that we agree are wise to do.

We are not under any deadlines so this has allowed us to take as much time as we need to get it right before drawings are finished and building underway.

So, we presented our drawings in a meeting with our builder and he has returned to us his initial bid, which he submitted within his two week timeframe he gave us. We have ordered the geotechnical survey of the build site (engineers drill core soil samples) and they will recommend the correct kind of foundation and support features. There should not be anything surprising in their report as the site is gently sloped and drains well.

Once we get their report in the next couple weeks, we will finalize the bid with the builder (simplifying things to get at a better per square foot price, if needed) and then to the bank we go to get our loan. That process will be approximately one to three months, depending on how busy they are. It will be at least one month’s wait and so we will do some fixture and materials shopping to decide what we want for floors, windows, etc. We have already done some of that to get pricing, but we need to make decisions now.

Once we get underway, it will be a whirlwind of activity. It’s kind of scary, but we’ve done this once before, in 1995, and we can do it again.