RECENT POSTS

15 Aug, 2017

Elegant Mudroom Addition

Project Objectives

05 Dec, 2016

Personal CrossFit Gym

Personal CrossFit Gym
Detached dwelling

15 Mar, 2016

Office Hideaway

Project Concept

Preparing for an Addition

There are many things to look at when a person has decided to build an addition.  It can be very overwhelming if it is not done correctly.  A person may also not get the desired look and function that he or she wished if it is not started properly.  The first step would be to find an architect that has the design capabilities to bring your ideas and dreams to life.  The architect has a degree specifically designed to expand his or her creative potential and bring to life the client’s dreams.  Once the architect has created the drawings, it is important to find the right contractor.  Just like any consumer product, not every contractor is alike.  There are many ways to choose the right contractor.  A very successful and popular way today is by interviewing a contractor before any budget pricing is calculated.  It is important that you feel comfortable with the contractor and like his/her previous work.  This also creates a client-contractor relationship, which helps jobs progress more smoothly. Remember, the home owner will have to interact with the contactor for eight hours a day throughout the duration of the job.  A home owner should also be wary of just taking the lowest price.  If the lowest price is all that is considered, he or she may not get what they are expecting.  If three prices are preferred, it is important to have detailed proposals and review each one carefully.  A proposal should explain what materials, doors, windows, allowances, etc. that the home owner will be receiving for the contractor’s services.  This is important because one contractor may have a lower price but may supply inferior products, or have lower allowances than the higher-priced contractor. This can cause the final price to be higher in the end than was originally anticipated. This can sometimes even become more expensive than the other bids when the job is completed.  By knowing what to look for and following certain guidelines, one can avoid aggravation by choosing the correct contractor.

Allowances are very important factors that can control the final price of a project.  An allowance is an available amount of money designated to specific parts of the job.  These can include cabinetry, countertops, flooring materials, hardware, and many other materials that may be unknown at the time of a bid.   Once the materials are picked by the home owner, the contractor will adjust the price according to the desired selection.  If the material price is lower than the stated allowance, the owner receives a credit. But if that price is higher than the allowance, the owner will receive an additional work order.  So if the allowances are not high enough, the home owner could end up paying more than he or she expected in the end.  This area can also be eliminated by knowing what is desired ahead of time and specifying it to the contractor.  

With a close contractor-client relationship, as described above, allowances can be eliminated by choosing a contractor early in the project.  The contractor can direct and assist the client with certain showrooms and selections for these materials and finishes.  Heacock Builders works closely with specific showrooms and companies that can provide a discount to the home owner for the specific materials needed.   This is available because Heacock Builders provides on-going business with certain providers.   Heacock Builders can also meet in person if that is requested for further help.  We enjoy working closely with the home owner and can provide one on one help in selecting the different options available.  By choosing these products early on, it will narrow down a more accurate price.

There are also materials and systems that can increase the initial cost, but save the homeowner in the long run.  One such example is the use of spray foam insulation versus the use of fiberglass batt insulation.  The initial cost of installation may be 2-3 times the cost of traditional insulation, but the long term benefits will pay off in a few short years. This is accomplished by reducing the energy used to run heating and cooling systems.  On average, the homeowner will save 30%-50% on their annual utility bills.  This will save the owner money every year for his or her life in the house.  Spray foam also provides a more comfortable space and reduces sound from the outdoor noise pollution.  Another example would be the type of heating and air conditioning system used.  One of the most efficient heating and cooling system is a geothermal heat pump.  This system has a very high initial cost, but will pay itself off fairly quickly over the life of the house.  But for those that may not be able to afford that option, there are other ways to save on money with traditional systems.  With the forced air system (the most popular) there are a few things the home owner can specify to improve efficiency and indoor comfort.  The first and least expensive would be the efficiency rating of the system being installed.  A heating system has an “AFLUE” rating system from 70% (least efficient) to 98.7% (most efficient) while air conditioners have a “SEER” rating from 13 (least efficient) to 20 (most efficient).  The more efficient the system is, the cheaper it will cost to run.  A humidifier can also be attached to the system to help the indoor air to feel more comfortable at lower temperatures by adding moisture into the air.  Heacock Builders’ HVAC contractor can also help in finding more ways to save on the heating bill.

Once the price is decided and permits are acquired, the homeowner should be prepared for construction.  During the duration of the job, workers will be in and out, depending on which stage the project is at.  The first stage is demo and excavation.  This can be the messiest stage of the project.  The framing will come next, and in this stage, the home owner will begin to see the shape of the structure come to life.  As each stage progresses, the project will look more like the final outcome.  At the end of the job, the contractor will clean up and create a “punch list” that will complete the job.  At this point, the final payment will be due and the client will be able to move into the space.

An addition can be very overwhelming at times, but when it is done correctly, it can be an enjoyable experience.  Also, an addition should not only be functional, but also enhance the occupant’s experience and add beauty to the home. This can be done by following the correct procedure early on in the process.  For more information or to inquire about an addition, please contact our office.  For more pictures of previous additions check out our web page at www.Heacockbuilders.com