When asked what is the most significant thing that will help ensure a successful project, I reflect back over my past 35 years in the industry. What sticks out the most in my mind, whether it’s a home improvement project, addition, or a new home, is the need to start with a realistic budget. It is critical to be realistic and honest with your budget and goals. So many times I’ve asked potential clients about their budget and found I don’t always get an honest answer. Either they don’t know and embarrassed to say so, or they are afraid we will design a project that will spend every bit of their budget and more. Most of the time, however, they don’t really know the costs.

This is why budgeting and cost estimating should be the part of every project. At the very beginning, a project may not be well defined by square footage, details, complexity, selections and other factors that eventually come into play. A good experienced builder or architect can help provide a realistic guideline of expected costs. After the design has been established, the budget should then be re-evaluated. When we provide cost estimating for our clients, we also include a healthy contingency during the design phase. There is nothing worse than a project that doesn’t get built. During the design, there is an opportunity to adjust the scope of the project or look at other alternatives. We also suggest you pre-qualify with a lender to verify you can finance the project. Ultimately, when Studio21 architects provide cost estimating for our clients, we break down the total cost into an extensive list of costs for every trade involved in the project. We may be high in some areas and low in others, but we find it typically averages close to the final cost. Using a line by line approach, the client can then see where they can make adjustments to meet their budget. It might be cabinets or lighting or flooring, but decisions will need to be made. We provide Design+Build services for many of our clients which

Ultimately, when Studio21 architects provide cost estimating for our clients, we break down the total cost into an extensive list of costs for every trade involved in the project. We may be high in some areas and low in others, but we find it typically averages close to the final cost. Using a line by line approach, the client can then see where they can make adjustments to meet their budget. It might be cabinets or lighting or flooring, but decisions will need to be made. We provide Design+Build services for many of our clients which includes cost estimating as an integral part of the process from start to finish.

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