New Homes & Rebuilds in Ocean, Monmouth & Atlantic County

Dream Homes Blog 4-16-13 – Rebuilding after Sandy – Estimates – Quick & Close or Slow and Exact

Dream Homes Blog 4-16-13 – Rebuilding after Sandy

                       Estimates and Costing –

Quick & Close or Slow & Exact…Usually You Have to Choose


Greetings NJ –

Hopefully this post finds you doing well.

Today I will write about estimates and ways of determining costs for your rebuilding project. I’ll also add some more comments from the AC Builder’s show of last week.

Remember – FREE Rebuilding after Sandy Seminar:  Next Thursday 4/25/13 at 2:30 at Kate & Ally’s Restaurant in Forked River. We’re hosting an architect (Scott Lepley), realtor (Tracey Giery), attorney (Sandra Guage), mortgage professional (Steve Brasslett, Ivy First Mortgage) and myself (Vince Simonelli, Dream Homes Ltd., builder) It’ll be an open forum for discussion so come get specific questions answered – bring your surveys and flood elevation certificates. Seating is limited and refreshments will be served. We have 8 people signed up already and can handle about 30, so call 732 300 5619 to reserve your space. Click here for more info.

More notes from the AC Builder’s Show: One would think that Sandy and the repercussions would be a hot topic at the show, and it was certainly being discussed last week in nauseating detail. Unfortunately much of the conversations and discussions focused closely on the regulatory, legal and political aspects of the Sandy rebuilding process. There was not as much discussion and concentration on presenting total solutions to homeowners, with most attendees with whom I spoke expressing a real reluctance to handle the entire rebuild process needed for most homes. It seems we have too many specialists and not enough general contractors and builders who want to address this extremely large need. That is definitely not good for all of us in NJ.

            One excellent idea introduced at the show was for everyone who owns property or is involved with real estate in some way (which is everyone reading this), to attend town council meetings in their respective towns and encourage council members not to adopt ordinances that are even more restrictive than FEMA, in a misbegotten effort to keep town insurance premiums at the lowest level. This activity, which has been occurring in many of the shore communities, will potentially have a very serious effect on land use and rebuilding in general. The damage to the ratable base could and will be substantial – destroying crucial township revenues when they are they are needed the most. The expression locking the barn door after the horses have run away comes to mind.

            Onward to some discussion about estimates and job costing.

            The short version is this – you can have your estimates quick and approximate, or slow and exact. It is virtually impossible to have it immediate and highly accurate. Truly precision estimates take time and costs money to create.

            A good balance is one where most people wind up – developing a relationship with someone you like and trust, and working through the changes in the project as it unfolds. With budget numbers and approximate estimates you work with ranges in pricing for different portions of the job, and as the architectural, structural and renovation plans develop, you hone in on exact numbers.

            For instance, a normal house lift project starts with an estimate which describes different aspects of the proposed work (raising, moving, demolition, new foundation, new floor structure, new access, utility disconnection and connection, and interior renovation) and provides budget estimates for each phase. An example of a budget estimate is assuming 30 pieces of 25 foot, 10’ butt pilings for a foundation structure, while waiting for the piling plan to be developed. If there are 28 pilings and they are only driven 20’ in depth to achieve the correct compaction, a credit is due the homeowner. If there are 34 pilings, the price per piling, or per foot, is added to the contract.

Please remember – it is virtually impossible to quote any work exactly without architectural plans for foundation, floor system and interior renovation, as well as structural and soil boring work to determine the exact conditions. In other words, you have to know what you need and want before you know exactly what it will cost. You can get very close, but not exact pricing, until you have proper working documents.

Some cases are easier than others and very straightforward. An example of a very straightforward situation is a 4’ straight vertical lift with a house in an A zone on a solid crawl foundation, with installation of new stairs and utility connections, and no interior renovation work needed.

Some cases are challenging and almost impossible to quote exactly. An example is a house demolition or move, existing foundation demolition, soil borings, new piling plan and new floor system, with additional interior renovations.

Many homes fall somewhere in the middle. Regardless of which end of the spectrum illustrates your situation, you work through the process, proceeding one step at a time, starting with structural analysis, piling or foundation plans and floor system design. From this point, you can develop exact pricing.

As this crucial planning portion of the work is occurring, it is common to develop a scope of work for any additional renovations, whether it be exterior landscaping, entrances, new kitchens & baths, flooring and appliances. These can be accurately quoted while the outside work is being completed.

It just takes time to work through the process. If you wait until you have every item exactly figured to the penny, you might never start, or a 4-5 month project might take 12 months to complete. You will wind up in the same place as far as cost, but it takes a lot longer and exacts a greater toll on you. It is difficult for most people to know the entire scope of work when they start their process – it is normal and common for new ideas to develop as the project progresses.

            So getting it 90% there at the start is generally ok. That extra 10% takes forever and can make you crazy.

On another note, we actively purchase raw land, building lots and existing properties and have done so for many years. If you have property to sell, give me a call and let us evaluate it for you.

Stay well NJ.


Rebuild, Renovate, Raise or Repair Your Home from Storm Sandy

Rebuilding NJ One Home at a Time…

Residential Construction & Development for over 20 years in NJ

314 Rt.9, Forked River, NJ 08731 Mailing: PO Box 627, Forked River, NJ 08731

609 693 8881 x 102 Fax: 609 693 3802 Cell: 732 300 5619



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