How to Avoid Changes, Extras, and Surprise Charges on Your Next Job Q: We were hit with a $20,000 extra for changes in our new home after the framing was completed. We had a fixed-price contract. The changes including a revised stair layout (U-shape to to L), removing some windows, and moving a bathroom. The framing was completed, but no plumbing or electrical was done. Does … [Read more...] about Is Our Contractor Overcharging Us?
Q: Hi. We received an estimate from a roofing contractor for $10,500. When the job was done, he gave us a bill for over $11,000. He said that the roof took an additional square of shingles and required some repairs to the sheathing. It was our belief that the original “estimate” was the full cost of the job, not just a best guess at the cost. Who is right here? - Alex A: … [Read more...] about When Is An “Estimate” a Binding Contract?
Q: At the end of remodeling my home (original contract price $149,000) I was hit with an extra $24,500 for items I was unaware of. The contractor said every time that they were ordered by my architect. But I don't have an architect! I only had the architect to draw up the original plans but not stay involved with the project. Some of the items are door change, tearing down … [Read more...] about Should I Pay Extra Charges at End of Remodeling Job?
Survival Tips for Bidding Wars Q: We are trying to buy a house or building lot in a very hot seller’s market where desirable properties sell fast and bidding wars are common. Prices often go way above the asking price. Any strategies you can suggest to help avoid a bidding war? Our real estate agent suggested we add an “escalation clause” to our offer. Is that a good idea? — … [Read more...] about How To Buy a House In A Seller’s Market
Q: Where do I look for hands-on estimating training? I started a carpentry business and I clearly realized that my weakest point is that I don’t know how to do takeoffs and estimate material and labor costs. This prevents me from bidding on jobs and creates work-flow issues. Thank you for your time. –H. Jackolev A: There are a number of places to learn the basics of … [Read more...] about Where To Learn Construction Estimating?
Q: Please explain the difference between General Conditions and Overhead & Profit when you want to separate them in a proposal for your client. What items fall into each category? Also, what percentage is the norm for General Conditions in a proposal? -- Tonka S. A: Let's first define terms. There are two types of overhead expenses. Some contractors mix the two together, … [Read more...] about How Much Markup For General Conditions, Overhead & Profit?
Louise writes: We submitted detailed plans and specs for a substantial remodel of a beach house to five builders: two "big name" builders, two midrange, and one "mom and pop," but very highly regarded, small builder. This is our first time going through this process and we (naively) assumed that we would get back five proposals that we could compare easily. Wrong! Some are … [Read more...] about Comparing Bids: Is the Low Bid the Best?
Cristal writes: If the Contractor Bid $300,000 to build my house and then it ends up costing less to build the house do I still pay the $300,000 that I signed the contract for? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com responds: The simple answer is yes -- you'll pay the full contract amount assuming this was a standard fixed-price competitive bid. There are some situations … [Read more...] about Final Cost Is Less Than Bid