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How much will it cost?

The process of first designing a project and then estimating the construction cost is fraught with problems. If the estimate is above the budget, a lot of design work has been done which will have to be discarded or reworked. It’s much better to work towards a budget to begin with. If someone wants to add a second story to a house but has a budget of $50,000, it’s not going to happen. Perhaps their needs can be accommodated by reconfiguring existing space and adding less area to the ground floor. Initial phases of the project must include designing to a budget.

In addition, an architect is not usually an expert in estimating construction costs. Architects should have a working knowledge of construction, but can’t be expected to do detailed cost estimating. The best an architect can do is design efficiently with the budget in mind, with the objective of getting the best bang for the buck.

The project should be “in the ballpark” of the budget, but can be best refined by a contractor who is willing to spend some time to attach numbers to quantities. We have relationships with various contractors who are interested in getting more work. dbaArchitects┬áhas enough experience with construction that often we can communicate basic information about a project via schematic drawings and written narrative to contractors who will be willing to spend some time estimating construction cost. This is the quickest way to ascertain some initial cost information and verify that we are “in the ballpark”.

There are third party firms whose business is estimating construction cost, but this is often overkill for relatively small projects.

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