Our mission is to help homeowners plan and complete
successful building and remodeling projects, from start to finish.
We provide free, unbiased information to help you:
- Evaluate a building lot and buy it at the best price.
- Decide what work to do yourself, what to hire out.
- Negotiate successfully with sellers, designers,
contractors, subs, and other professionals.
- Accurately estimate project costs.
- Build a healthy, low-energy, and durable building.
- Get your project built on time and on budget.
- Reduce your costs.
- Minimize your risk.
- And keep your sanity!
Prevent Septic System Failure
Critical Contract Clauses
Wet Basement Causes & Cures
Preventing Cost Overruns
UNBIASED INFORMATION (from Humans, not AI Chatbots)
Our philosophy is simple: The sole purpose of BuildingAdvisor.com is to help our readers with their building projects. We have no relationship with any advertisers or products and never use Chatbots. We have no paid links, no paid content, and therefore no conflicts of interest. We are supported entirely by ads placed on our pages by Google and by sales of the BuildingAdvisor Estimating Spreadsheet.
WHO WE SERVE
Whether you are an owner-builder who wants to do it all, or plan to use the services of an architect, general contractor, subcontractors, or a construction manager (or aren’t sure which way to go), we can help make your project go more smoothly – and save you money and gray hairs in the process. Who we are
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably the kind of person that wants to play an active role in your building project, maybe designing and contracting it yourself, and maybe even swinging a hammer.
It’s great to be actively involved. You’re much more likely to end up with the project you want in terms of design, cost, energy efficiency, comfort, and durability. It’s not that the other people on your building team don’t want to do a good job. But no one understands your goals, or cares as much about your project, as you.
WHERE TO BEGIN
Maybe you’ve been thinking about this project for years, or maybe you just got started yesterday. In either case, you should begin at the beginning — assessing your needs, capabilities, time constraints, and budget, and deciding what responsibilities to take on yourself and which to outsource to others.
HOW TO USE THIS SITE
The site is organized roughly in the order of a typical project, although in reality, you’ll often be jumping back and forth between sections. Your three biggest assets going forward will be knowledge, planning, and communication:
Knowledge – The more you bring to your project, the better the outcome. Learn as much as you can about design, materials, building systems, contracts and contractors, costs, and risks before proceeding. Take advantage of the vast amount of information available today on the Web and elsewhere. Without knowledge you are shooting in the dark!
Planning – The more time you spend planning, the faster, better, and cheaper your project will be — with the fewest headaches. Construction on the building site may be the most exciting phase, but the planning is the most important. Surprises on the job site always cause headaches and cost money, so don’t be surprised — plan ahead!
Communication – Remember, it’s your project. If you don’t clearly communicate your desires to all members of your building team, don’t expect things to come out the way you want. They won’t! Your contract, plans, specifications,and budget are your primary tools for communication. Learn how to use these effectively to keep everyone working together, on track, to meet your goals.
So don’t skimp on any of these. Remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Take the time necessary to learn the ropes, to formulate a good plan and realistic budget, and to communicate clearly with everyone on your team. Invest your time in good planning, the building will almost build itself.
Ask a question and we’ll get you an answer as soon possible.
Let us know what you think. Email your feedback and suggestions for how we can improve our site.
Share your experiences with others by posting a comment at the end of any article.
Chuck Garbinski says
Building Custom “Kit” Home
I’m in the process of planning a custom home, which will be built via a local builder as the G.C., and materials coming from far away. Basically a “kit” home, but conventionally framed, etc. This won’t all be happening until 2020, but nonetheless, so happy to find this site. In just my first 30 minutes here, I can’t believe how much I’ve increased my learning and really appreciate what you folks have done here. I don’t plan on “blogging” much, or being a nuisance, but I will post my questions and experiences, and certainly respond to any questions folks might have, as I move along with this. Great site – and the internet needs more of this kind of thing!
Audrey Shapiro says
What’s A Reasonable Fee For Remodel Design?
We need to redesign the front and back of our house, windows, siding, patio, patio cover, hardscape, and landscape design. We received a bid of $4500 for design drawings…is this reasonable or overpriced? This is a single-story, 1,800 sq ft home.
Thank you so much for your help!
Architect’s fees vary a lot depending on the region, level of experience, and type and reputation of firm. Independent architects and small firms are often billing out their work in range of $100 to $200 per hour. So $4,500 might buy you somewhere from 22 to 45 hours of their time, which seems reasonable to me.
Fixed-fee architectural bids often range from 10% to 20% of construction costs for remodeling and 5% to 15% for new construction. This would be for a full-service contract from initial meeting to a full set of architectural drawings and specifications, as well as help with bidding out the job and inspecting the work.
There’s nothing wrong with asking what their hourly fee is. More important, however, is finding out what exactly you are getting for your $4,500. Are you getting some sketches and elevations or detailed drawings and specifications that you can put out to bid? Are you getting a full suite of architectural services or just paying them for a limited role, such as schematic drawings.
Also check out their portfolio to make sure that you like their style of work and check references. And find a designer that you feel a rapport with. Design is a collaborative effort so good two-way communication is critical for a successful outcome – that is, a design that you like and can afford to complete.
Best of luck with your remodeling project!
william van duzen says
Over My Head
I refinanced my home; now I’m the bank! Construction is to start Aug. 1st 2017. Lot, survey, plans and engineering are complete and paid by for myself. A custom builder is in place. That’s the END of my knowledge. Very lucky to find You guys at this stage. KI
Maggie Libbey says
Building Custom Home A Little Overwhelming
We are having a custom home built for us, and finding your site has been a HUGH stroke of luck — even while being a little overwhelming. THANK YOU, your information will be SO helpful to us!