Tag Archives: Design Build

Remodeling Myth: The Three-Bid Rule

Remodeling Myth: The Three-Bid RuleHome remodeling is a maturing industry. That means that truly professional firms that specialize in remodeling are becoming the norm. Now homeowners can draw from a greater pool of reliable remodeling contractors in whom they can have confidence.

The shift to more professional remodeling firms, however, necessitates a change in how homeowners should best select a contractor. Specifically, the old practice of collecting three bids for the work and using the low bid to select a contractor no longer makes much sense.

The three-bid rule appears to work because it assumes everything to be equal except the cost estimates (or bids) from the three competing contractors. In other words, the underlying premise is that the three bidders have assessed and calculated the scope of work, blueprints, and specifications in exactly the same way so that the owner can compare ‘apples-to-apples.’

In reality, however, such assumptions are dangerous and rarely accurate. Every contractor, professional or not, analyzes a project and estimates costs differently. As a result, the three bids are not apples-to-apples comparisons. Some differences are subtle, but their existence means that bid comparison is deceptive regarding costs.

Even if all three contractors based their bids on precisely the same interpretation of the project, the three-bid rule still reduces each remodeler to a number, when the most relevant factors for the owner’s satisfaction are the builder’s skill, experience, personality, record of success, and ability to do the work.

For this reason, an increasing number of the best remodeling companies simply refuse to bid competitively, opting out of such opportunities because they know they will be evaluated only in terms of cost, rather than whether they are the best firm for the job.

Such remodeling contractors prefer a different approach: the negotiated contract. In that scenario, a remodeling firm is selected based on its abilities and its personality fit with the homeowner. Considering how closely contractors interact with homeowners during a typical remodeling project, these criteria are the best predictors of client satisfaction. The negotiated contract also takes the guesswork out of the project’s cost.

In this process, each of two or three contractors receives a budget from the homeowner based on what the homeowner wants to spend, not on what the remodeler thinks the project will cost. Sharing the homeowner’s budget not only removes assumptions and misleading comparisons of cost, but also builds trust and facilitates honest communication about actual costs. If necessary, the builder and homeowner can then negotiate choices and prices in order to match the project’s scope with the client’s budget.

Not only does the negotiated contract process result in a more accurate estimate of cost, it is also far superior to the three-bid rule in matching the personalities of the client and the remodeler during the negotiation process. The process also reveals the best match between a particular project and a contractor’s skills and experience. By first narrowing the field, and then by selecting one remodeling firm based on everything except the cost of the project, a homeowner can better ensure that the project will remain on budget and schedule. Both homeowner and contractor are on track for a finished project that meets or exceeds expectations.

As the remodeling industry continues to evolve into a recognized profession, it is adopting new and more effective methods of conducting that business. The negotiated contract reflects the new age of home remodeling to the benefit of every homeowner.

Advertisements

The Benefits of a Well-Designed Space

The Benefits of a Well-Designed Space

The Benefits of a Well-Designed Space

When contractors and private homeowners consult architects and designers for a building project, the value of a well-designed space is often overlooked. However, a well-designed space can have a significant impact on the occupants of a home, office building, school, or other public space. As discussed in the report, The Value of Good Design, from the UK Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, numerous statistics show that a well-designed space improves quality of life for all individuals.

1. A well-designed house will have higher real estate value.

Homes with well-designed exteriors and interiors have more appeal on the real estate market and often sell quicker and at higher values. A well-designed home will also make you more likely to have guests over and will provide a space where you can relax and escape from outside stress. Living in a well-designed space also increases one’s own feeling of self-worth, since they are living somewhere that has clear value to them and others.

2. A well-designed offices leads to more productive employees.

Several studies have shown that businesses that invest in high-quality designs for their buildings will see more success in the long run, mainly because the employees enjoy working in an appealing space. Offices can also be designed in such a way as to increase open communication, organization, and functionality.

3. A well-designed hospital or clinic can have an impact on patients’ recovery time.

A study performed by Sheffield University in England found that patients in a newly refurbished ward required less medication and were discharged sooner than patients staying in a ward designed in the 1960s. Another study performed by the University of Nottingham compared various healthcare environments before and after renovation. Improvements such as better views, more space between beds, more lighting, and better seating. The renovations caused patients to have lower heart rates and was perceived as more pleasant by both patients and staff.

4. A well-designed neighborhood has lower crime rates.

Well-designed neighborhoods tend to have increased public support for development, higher levels of rent and regeneration. Such areas can also see increased outdoor public activity, especially in neighborhoods that include an intentional shared space like a park. Features such as street lighting and integrated spaces for pedestrians increase the safety of a neighborhood, thus decreasing the crime rate.

5. A well-designed school improves children’s education.

Various U.S. studies have found that students test scores improve in well-designed buildings (with other socio-economic factors controlled). Classrooms with more natural lighting, more space, and effective integration of information and communication technology has also been reported to improve students’ performance.

Dawn Lovett has worked in engineering for over 20 years. She also owns the site <a href=http://www.onlineengineeringdegrees.org>Online Engineering Degrees</a> for students interested in getting an online degree in engineering.

Eco-Friendly Remodeling in 2012

Eco-Friendly Remodeling in 2012

Custom Design and Remodeling, Master Bathroom, Corner Shower, Corner Tub, Corner Window, Heated Floors, Pendant Lighting, Granite Counter Top, Custom Tile Design, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Maryland, Washington DC

Custom Design and Remodeling, Master Bathroom, Corner Shower, Corner Tub, Corner Window, Heated Floors, Pendant Lighting, Granite Counter Top, Custom Tile Design, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Rockville, Potomac, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Maryland, Washington DC

As energy costs rise and the notion of conservation begins to take hold, people are taking the chance when they remodel their homes to increase their water and energy efficiency.  It may not pay for the entire remodel, but it is certainly a good way to subsidize the expense, help save the environment and increase the value of your home in one swoop.

Bathroom updates are the best way to conserve water in 2012 and beyond.  If your toilet is from before 1994, then it’s probably a water waster.  Update the look of your toilet and reap the benefit of a lower water bill.  A new showerhead is also a very quick, easy, and cost-effective way to save on water usage as well as improve your shower experience.  The difference between a good showerhead and a bad one is pretty significant.

Ceiling fans come in an array of styles, stains, colors, shapes and materials.  They are another relatively easy and inexpensive way to update the look of your home.  Remote controls can replace the dangling pull chains for a sleeker look and no matter how nice of an area fan you buy—it still looks like clutter.  Cut hefty A/C bills in the summer and stave off mustiness with a little circulation instead.

Doors and Windows are the biggest energy wasters in the house.  Warm air escapes in the winter and invades in the summer.  Exorbitant energy bills, even for a 4-bedroom house, are usually the result of a lack of proper barrier between the outside elements and the indoor haven against them. A new front and/or back door can be a great facelift for the façade of your home and this change can increase security and lower energy bills.  Windows are in the same boat with doors, especially if you have several.

Lisa is a writer on subjects of eco-friendly living, Boston storage, the housing market, remodeling trends, and the Red Sox.

Bringing Value

Master Bathroom in Silver Spring

Master Bathroom Remodeling, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Maryland

It’s been pointed out to me that one of the main reasons for this blog should be bringing value and educate people who read it.

I will do that by sharing my many years of experience in remodeling your kitchens, bathrooms, basements, building additions and making your life better, more comfortable, more enjoyable.

The bottom line of my experience is:  good design really matters.

Over the years I worked with many talented architects and designers and every project is a challenge to overcome. The way to do it successfully is to work as a team (Contractor, Architect, Owner) where the owner is the main, leading member. In a team environment, when we exchange ideas and listen to each other, the end result is always better.

In my following posts, I will share my experience with individual projects.