Discover answers to commonly asked questions related to design-build remodeling. If you don't see an answer to one of your questions, don't hesitate to contact us. We'd be happy to help.
1. What is design-build?
Put simply, design-build is a phrase used to describe remodeling services that incorporate design and construction under one roof. Design-build never loses sight of the budget and we feel it is the best way to keep your project on track and hitting the right budget for you.
2. Is design-build right for me?
With our years of experience in producing quality home solutions, we recommend Design Build Remodeling for any residential project. Having designers and builders on one team not only empowers us as remodelers, but it also empowers you as the homeowner. You can more easily stay involved in the project and ensure that your voice is heard. We feel it is the best process for our industry.
3. May I contact your past customers?
We will be happy to provide you with a list of past customers and the type of project we have completed for them. All customers listed have agreed to let us use them as a reference and invite your call.
4. What is my role in the design-build remodeling process?
As our client, you are the most important member of the Design-Build team. Your desires and our design team drive the design, materials, selections, timeline, and budget for your renovation. Let us know what you like and don't like. We feel that clients know what they like and it is our job to provide them with solutions to make that happen. Our team's goal is to convert your vision into reality.
5. Do you have liability insurance and workman's compensation permits?
Yes. We are fully licensed, bonded, and insured! As a general contractor, all subcontractor work is covered under our insurance as well as theirs. We also permit all the work we do when needed. Typically structural work or adding new plumbing and electrical locations need permitting.
6. How do we know if we are a good fit for each other?
Our services are not for everyone. We take pride in the quality of the materials we use, the sophistication of our craftsmanship, and the seamlessness of our project implementation. We are selling a quality experience that delivers a great product and creates not only happy clients, but happy staff, trade partners, and suppliers. For us, the only way to tackle this industry is by being organized, professional, and have fun along the way. The clients that choose to work with us feel the same way.
7. Do I need to secure the services of an architect?
One of the benefits of choosing a design-build remodeler is that you will not need to secure the services of an architect. We handle every step of the remodeling process from initial consultation and drafting plans to construction and the final touches. We do bring in the right professionals to help along the way such as an engineer, architectural drafter, soils specialist, site planner, or any number of specialists that your project might need.
8. What type of remodeling projects does Lifespan take on?
Our typical set of projects are full-scale kitchen or bathroom renovations, additions, whole house renovations, and outdoor living remodels. Occasionally we take on smaller projects when we can fit them in. Feel free to just ask us about your project. If we can’t help, we can sure point you in the right direction.
9. What is a ballpark price and how accurate is it?
For starters, we always provide a complimentary ballpark price before you decide to move forward. This is usually a detailed breakdown of how much we think your project will cost. We try to factor in all the elements and leave no stone unturned. Sometimes the ballpark could be examples of a similar project and the price range involved. Either way, we want you to be comfortable with where we are headed. Only after this ballpark happens do we move forward.
10. Do you charge for design work?
Sometimes we will do some basic designs as part of our ballpark process but the short answer is yes we do charge for design work. Once we have decided on a target price we will either provide you with a contract that includes the design fees or we will need to sign a Design Agreement. The Design Agreement allows us to fully develop the project, hire specialists, engage our team, and specify all the products that will be part of the remodel. Typically this is for more complex projects but it is a necessary step in the process.
11. How much does working with Lifespan typically cost?
Our prices vary depending on several elements, including the level of design, quality of material, and so much more. We take on projects ranging from small bathroom remodels of $15,000 to whole house large scale renovations in excess of $500,000. When structural changes, plumbing relocation, and large scale design are involved, project scopes and pricing naturally increase. We feel that there is a lot of value in the way we put projects together.
12. How do contracts work and what type of down payment is expected?
There are two contracts we deal with mainly. The first is the Design Agreement and covers the costs of design work and some specifications to get your plan ready for estimating and future installation. The other contract is for the actual construction. Our contracts are very detailed and spell out every task and product we will be providing. We include pictures, model numbers, plans, specifications, and every other detail that is needed to let you know what is included as well as the field staff. All this gets bundled into a project binder. When we sign the contract with you the usual down payment is between 10% and 25% depending on the size of the project.
13. How do you invoice for the project?
We progress bill you every two weeks during your project. Our billing is designed to stay pretty much even with what we have produced for you but also to keep the project moving along. At the end of the project, there is always money left “on the table” until all the work is complete and you are happy with the results.
14. What is the lead carpenter system?
Like the title implies, a Lead Carpenter is leading the project as well as doing the carpentry, demo, and other tasks. Our Lead Carpenters are talented craftsmen with years of experience. They are assigned to your project from before it starts to the last day. We do this for continuity and because relationships are important. They are in your home every day and you need to feel comfortable. We often hear comments like, “I am going to miss seeing the staff every day!”
15. Should I be worried about the budget and cost overruns like I see on TV?
We work hard on the front end of the process to make sure we are on target. You will not experience a huge unforeseen issue arise during your project or the associated cost. We track every penny on every project and our Production Manager meets with you bi-weekly to review all the costs. We always recommend a 5% contingency to be held by the homeowner.
16. What is your average timeline for a renovation?
A project timeline can vary greatly, depending on the scope of work and the timeliness of feedback. We only work with the best suppliers and vendors, and our expert team works efficiently together. We are focused on quality not speed. A lot of times what people are asking is, “Once you get started, will you stay with our project and get it done as fast as possible?” The answer is yes. We want to get your project completed as efficiently as you do! Every job is scheduled in advance and we keep on that schedule.
17. Does Lifespan belong to any industry groups?
We sure do. We have been members of Olympia Master Builders for over 20 years. Lifespan has been awarded Remodeler of the Year and has won numerous Remodeling Excellence awards and Tour of Homes awards for our work. We are also members of the National Kitchen and Bath Association and attend professional training each year.
18. What is the culture like at Lifespan?
We have some basic rules here. We run a drama-free company with team members that care about each other and care about the work they do. We communicate well with each other and our clients. We work with great subs and suppliers that we respect. We want everyone that comes into contact with Lifespan to have a good experience. Our relationships matter most. Most importantly, we love what we do and have fun doing it!