Why Design/Build with Scope Development is Best For Your Remodeling Project


Many times, homeowners will consider many different avenues for completing a remodeling project. This is, of course, as it should be. Homeowners should always seek out at least three bids for any given project. Of course, the lowest bid is always tempting. But don’t be fooled by the promises of the “Fly-by-Nighters” or those with “low-ball” estimates. Most likely, the firm with the lowest bid will not have true Design/Build capabilities.

You might ask what is so important about Design/Build. It’s a buzzword that’s been used for a long time. Of course, the most important element of Design/Build construction often goes unmentioned. True Design/Build projects must include Scope Development. There are many firms that use the term “design/build” but don’t scope out the project like a true Design/Build remodeling firm should. CITY is all about scope development.

What is scope development, then? Scope development is what it sounds like it is: scoping out all of the different elements of a project and accounting for any potential problems that may come into play and try to limit any oversights that might be made. It’s important to have a professional that will scope out all of the different elements of the project and be truthful and realistic about costs and possible problems. There are contractors that simply read the plans, does a simple take-off, gets the materials, and goes to start working.

There are multiple problems that can arise when scope development isn’t done. First of all, there may be something in the design plan that isn’t properly accounted for, and a problem arises that can result in extra labor costs that weren’t originally intended. Also, planning ahead with scope development also reduces change orders. Some contractors will use lower-end or builder-grade material cost estimates, but when it turns out that what the homeowner really wants is far higher, cost overruns occur. With a professional contractor using scope development, product selections are figured out before the build contract is completed.

It’s also possible that a project may not stay in budget with a one-man band for other reasons, including time scheduling and unexpected labor issues, or problems with sub-contractors. Design/build contractors like CITY have everything efficiently organized to expedite the project in an orderly and productive manner. We make sure that everything is under one roof, and go over everything with you to make sure that things should go as planned. If not, we have a dedicate project manager to work with you should any problems arise.

The next time that you have someone tell you that they are a Design/Build professional, ask them about scope development. If they don’t do it, then they’re not a true Design/Build firm. At CITY, we not only are a Design/Build firm dedicated to scope development that works with you to deliver you exceptional results, but we also have an unprecedented five-year warranty on workmanship. With all these things in mind, we offer you to consider CITY Renovations & Remodeling for your next project.

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Essential Reasons to Use a Professional for a Historical Renovation

Historic Home

Rising housing costs have taken their toll on many Americans. People are leaving large cities in record numbers to purchase homes in rural communities. Many new homebuyers are understandably drawn to historic homes that are both cheaper and more romantic. The only problem with older homes is that they sometimes need to be renovated. The work can be very complicated if you don’t know what you are doing, so you should always hire a professional.

Why Do You Need a Professional Renovator?

Renovating a home is always tricky, but performing the work on a historic house is even more complicated. Here are some of the reasons that you will want to get a professional to help you out.

Keeping the Visual Appeal Consistent

Many people try to use contemporary construction tools and practices when renovating an old home. The problem is that the renovated sections then don’t blend in with the rest of the house. A professional understands what materials will need to be used to preserve the ambiance of the house.

Health Risks

Older homes were often built with materials that we now realize are unsafe. Asbestos was commonly used in homes that were built between the late 1800s and 1970s.  Lead-based paints were not banned until 1978. You don’t want to work on materials that could potentially lead to serious health problems. Always hire a professional that knows how to work with them safely.

Dealing with Delicate Materials

Older homes generally have much different types of materials than newer ones. Victorian homes typically have clay tiles, while many houses that were built shortly after that period used galvanized piping in their plumbing. These materials can be more brittle and difficult to work with than contemporary ones. It is easy to break them if you don’t know what you are doing. A professional renovator will have the skills and tools needed to work with them.

Understanding Building Codes

Building codes are challenging enough to understand. They are even more complex when you are trying to make changes to a historic home. Many people think that their old homes are grandfathered and not subject to new building codes. However, few cities have grandfather clauses for older homes.

Most municipalities require all changes to be compliant with current building codes, regardless of when the house was built. Complying with these codes can be even more difficult, because you are often working with different types of materials. Historical homes may also have additional restrictions that don’t apply to most properties. For example, you are generally not allowed to build add-ons to historic houses.

If you’re looking to restore an historic home, you will want to hire a professional that understands the codes and the practices needed to conform to them. They will take the time to understand your needs and come up with a plan that complies with the municipal guidelines. Better yet, you want to hire a design/build professional like CITY Renovations, who is well-versed in these building codes and has experience with historical remodels.

Not only do you gain valuable knowledge and expertise with a professional design/build firm, you also gain the added benefits of scope development. There are things that can happen during remodeling with historic homes that wouldn’t happen in contemporary homes, such as the materials issues mentioned earlier. Having the design/build process outlined and laid out for you allows you to plan your budget better and guarantee a better result that will keep the historic look and feel while also keeping with updated building codes. Hiring a professional design/build firm is the best way to get both a beautiful renovation and a renovation that passes all the specs.

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The True Costs of Remodeling Projects


Before you start planning for your big remodeling project, it is very important to first find out the true cost of the project you’re looking to undertake. When going through the preliminary quote process, it’s very important to identify early on which bids are actually realistic. If you get a range of bids, and one is a lot lower from another contractor, it usually means trouble.

One way that some people will try to save money is to hire a “one-man band” to complete a major renovation project. The question is do you want to hire a handyman/carpenter or a true professional remodeling company? The cost may appear to be less at first, but there are some major pros and cons to choosing the lower estimate.

This is not to say that a one-man operation can’t do the job. Some can do very nice work. However, it is always buyer beware in these cases. Someone can say they can do it all, but most likely there will be pitfalls here and there that likely will not be taken into account. Also, the one-man show typically takes a lot longer, usually months, where a professional remodeler with a full team can do it in weeks. One-man bands can certainly do nice work – but far more patience is required, as this individual and his/her subcontractors will be hanging around your home for quite a while.

Also, a one-man operation will sometimes hit snags, which can happen on any project. However, this means that the project time-table can be thrown off and take significantly longer than the original estimates provided. A pro remodeling company will have a team that can share the load of any problems that may arise, and should always have a project manager on site to expedite the build process.

The true issue in hiring a one-man operation, however, is not only time. A true professional remodeling company will walk you through the design process, including what is called the “scope development.” One-man operations can oftentimes will give you unrealistic quotes, especially when it comes to product selection. Whereas a pro remodeling company will plan all of these details out in the scope development, an ordinary contractor may only quote low-end or builder-grade items. This is often to help with offering the lowest bid possible, and is not so much about deception as it is about not understanding the true scope of the project. When things get underway, the homeowner discovers that the price of what they really wanted blows their budget out of the water, and suddenly financing can become a serious issue.

What scope development does is make sure that before you sign a build contract, you go through the design process with the remodeling company’s design team. You go over all of the different elements of the project and any difficulties that may occur. Then products are selected and their expert advice will let you know if what you’re looking at will actually keep you in the budget that you actually have for the project. If you will end up going over-budget with your current plans, the professional experts can help to make some less expensive options available.

This can also mean that if a homeowner goes into a project after having been given low-ball estimates and suddenly realizes that to do it right, they may need a bigger budget. Scope development saves the head-ache of potentially running into huge issues later, where a project could end up dragging on for seemingly forever. It’s not that one-man operations aren’t honest, but many times they won’t have the team, knowledge or resources necessary to always give the most accurate quote.

There’s also a strong possibility that not only can the budget be blown out the water, but the homeowner may grow frustrated and fire the one-man band and hire a professional remodeler to finish it all anyway. This is why it’s recommended to go with a pro remodeling company that can save you lots of time and possibly a great many frustrations in the long-term.

CITY Renovations & Remodeling is an expert design/build firm which deals with all sorts of major remodeling and addition projects. When you work with our experts, we will be sure to give you an estimate that will truly deliver the results that you expect and deserve!

Design Build – A Visual Representation

Design / Build is THE way to deliver a superior remodeling experience. Design / Build also lowers the total overall cost and time needed to complete a remodeling project.