How to Choose the Right Kitchen Remodeler?
I start here because this question is great for understanding who to invite over to learn more about your remodel. First is what types of companies are out there, which type is best for my project? There are different types of companies whom can help guide you through your remodeling project and in the end create a fantastic experience in conjunction with amazing quality.
Types of Companies:
This type of company is all Design or Front end loaded. They will have licensed architects on staff who will work with Load bearing areas, do load calculations, spec beams (steel or wood) and lumber to move walls and change loads. They are great for putting plans together so you can visualize the space and see how the space will feel. The plans are very comprehensive and they need to be because when you are done you will have a beautiful set of plans, and plans only.
You then take those plans and find a contractor or each specialized trade to complete the renovation. You will need to find your Own materials, chose your colors, textures, and coordinating accessories.
A typical set of Architecture plans run roughly 10-12% of the guestimated cost of the project. So for every $100K the out of pocket cost to you is $10-12K, for plans only.
If you have a design affinity this process can and does work for many, it is also a time consuming exercise.
You can be your own Project Manager if you have the time and knowledge, most don’t but at least your plans are set into a bid process so you can chose who is going to actually construct your project and be in your home. You will be responsible for any materials that show up wrong, damaged, or just look off. You will be coordinating, shipping, and making all of the calls to make the changes needed to keep the project moving forward.
Major remodeling projects require construction drawings for the purposes of defining a contract and procuring permits. In cases where your professional remodeler does not provide design services, you may wish to seek the assistance of a professionally trained architect. It is best to work with an architect experienced in remodeling — he or she will be more sensitive to the special challenges that remodeling presents. Architects are licensed by the state and have formal education and experience. They have overall knowledge of design; however, many architects do not accept smaller projects.
Design Build Firm:
If you prefer to hire only one company for design and construction services, your best bet may be to hire a design/build firm. Design/build is a concept developed to benefit the remodeling homeowner by providing both quality design and construction services within the same general contracting company. A design/build contractor will be able to see your project through from start to finish, keeping design, engineering and budget in mind. Some design/build firms have architects on staff, others use certified designers.
This type of company is a blend of an architectural firm and a contractor all under one roof as well as a Designer to assist you with materials selections, design ideas, and best practices.
Most have an Architect either on Staff or on retainer, all projects that require load bearing changes should have a licensed architect work on those portions.
The Design Build process is just that a process, this is a map that allows all important structural, designing, space planning, and material selections have taken place and not be missed. All details are spelled out; you have assistance with making materials selections and a piece of mind knowing that the style and pallet you are working off of is the right direction. As you go through the process there is a step for a trade walk thru, this is where all of the designs are verified to ensure that everything can be built and that there are no unforeseen issues.
The Design Build Process encapsulates every decision, choice, and option available. It is a full collaborations and this tried and true method is great for a tangible low risk results.
A typical Design Fee retainer is around 5-7% of the estimated budget, which is typically refunded or applied towards the project once you move into the construction contract.
This is the company that builds your project and that’s all they do. They don’t have designers or structural engineers on staff. They are given a set of plans, bid the labor and materials and then that is what they deliver. You are responsible for choosing your own materials and all coordination.
This type of company is great for a project where there are no structural changes and you have already chosen all of your finishes. They are great project managers who concentrate on the build only.
The cost is pretty low; you send out plans and get bids on the work, chose your Contractor and get going. A little scary if you have no remodeling experience.
Many home improvement projects do not require professional design services and can best be handled by the experienced remodeling contractor whose knowledge of materials and methods has been gained by years on the job. Again, be sure to deal with a professional. Even though the job may be relatively small, its successful completion is important to you. Small jobs also need careful planning and attention to detail. General contractors are also the right choice for your project if you have had your project designed by an architect or designer and you now need someone to manage the construction of those designs.
To learn more about your project (ideas, costs, design options) or what is possible please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703.934.8447.