Design Build= Teamwork, efficiency, flexibility, and budget minded

Steve Ray (Builder), Tricia Abele (Office Manager, RBC), and Harriet Cochrane (Owner/Designer)

Steve Ray (Builder), Tricia Abele (Office Manager, RBC), and Harriet Cochrane (Owner/Designer)

Old Leeds Circle cuts to the core of what Ray Building Company does best. Our owner/designer spotted her new home and had a preliminary set of drawings produced for pricing and we were invited to run with it from there.  This project cuts to the core of what we do best. Our clients simply wanted to transform as much of the existing structure to meet as many of their needs as possible in the shortest amount of time before being forced to move in--all with the wisest investment of their resources. The mission, therefore, was to help price, value engineer, and pull together the best team available to complete a 5-6 month project in a compressed 2 month period spanning 3 major holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.

New highly functional kitchen with floating shelves and an island top fabricated from reclaimed wood, marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a unique garden window. The cabinets were also restored in a great cost saving refacing technique.

New highly functional kitchen with floating shelves and an island top fabricated from reclaimed wood, marble countertops, stainless steel appliances, and a unique garden window. The cabinets were also restored in a great cost saving refacing technique.

Following an initial pricing exercise, we prioritized the scope of work, pulled together a construction time table, assembled our build team, and went to work. Our client brought a few of their own trades into the project and our open channel of communications enabled an almost seamless integration of talents as we rocketed through the project. By keeping on task with our schedule, the typical end of project "punch out" began much earlier so that most of our tasks, punch out, and final inspections all converged with one another just days before our scheduled move in.

This was an an extreme home makeover that featured new baths throughout, a super-cool kitchen redo, and updates of just about every space, including a new HVAC system, re-wiring the whole house, painting, flooring and staircase, and a considerable amount of exterior work. The screened porch was a late add-on and has become a favored living space, spilling off the dining room and accessible to a spacious patio. We never pretend to know more than our expert trades and part of the pre-construction planning process included numerous walk throughs, consulting, value engineering, and planning to maintain the greatest momentum once the project commenced.

Last minute add-on screened porch. We re-framed most of the screened porch walls, installed ceiling fans and ran power for the flat screen TV. A new french door system spills off of the dining room to this space.

Last minute add-on screened porch. We re-framed most of the screened porch walls, installed ceiling fans and ran power for the flat screen TV. A new french door system spills off of the dining room to this space.

Our client had developed a much more sophisticated set of drawings to work from in the beginning. However, if you don't have the time or resources for architectural drawings, I have noted before of the "13 Questions A Client Should Be Asking," published by Remodeling Magazine:

1. What rooms do you want to renovate?

2. How much can you realistically afford to spend?

3. How will you use the room you're renovating?

4. What's your design style?

5. What are your accessibility considerations?

6. How important is sustainable design to you?

7. What's your color preference?

8. What's your flooring preference?

9. What are your storage requirements?

10. What type of materials do you love?

11. What type of stone is right for you?

12. What's your cabinet door style?

13. What are your appliance preferences?

These, and many other design and budget considerations, are an integral part of the process needed to properly price, plan, and execute any project, but even more critical when you are moving around in almost every room of a house as mentioned above. Another very, very important note to make on materials is to identify every special order item and consciously plan around delivery times. Since windows and doors, appliances, and plumbing fixtures impact framed openings and cabinet/top design, I highly recommend wrapping up these design decisions very early and get them all on order. The fastest project that I have ever executed was for a client that really got this and we weren't allowed to break ground until all essential building materials were safely stored in their garage. This may not be practical in every situation; however, the point is that change orders and late orders adversely affect momentum and most often cost more.

I have mentioned planning, pricing, and contracts in many blogs and candidly discuss them with our clients. With as many human factors, personal financial planning and labor issues that go into a project, the more time spent on developing a good plan, going through a couple of pricing exercises and conscientious due diligence, and deducing a workable construction agreement between the owner and builder, the further down the road you will be towards a more successful project, before even breaking ground.

Good Luck!