building 101 and bid template

M_N_AFebruary 18, 2013

we are in an early stage for our home addition project

1. what is a good website/book to systematically learn building process and how to manage the project?

2. For first time home owners like us, we are not aware of a lot of the decisions we need to make that would define the quality and cost of the project. But we certainly get a feeling that there are A LOT. For instance, we just came to know that window trim would affect the cost. For us, we didn't even noticed that windows have trims!
So, the question is how do we find a comprehensive list of items we should do research on and select our options up front so we don't get surprises later on?

Found this document here. is it good enough? Any better documents?

3. when it comes to estimates and bidding, it seems that different contractors do it differently with different format and level of details. is it possible to provide a template so they can all follow it? this way it seems to be easy to compare bids and negotiate on the final contract. Is it possible to do so? what would be a good template?

Here is a link that might be useful: construction list

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your questions are good ones and important.

When it comes to bidding and construction contracts I recomment the standard documents for residential construction from The American Institute of Architects. They are developed, reviewed and revised annually using a committee consisting of all construction disciplines. You can obtain these from your local AIA office.

You should be aware that there are several discrete processes involved:

--Schematic design studies
--Design development
--Bidding documents
--Construction documents
--Close out documents

Each of these represents a discrete phase for the design, bidding, construction and occupancy of a custom designed and built house.

The final advice I would offer is that everyone needs to have their bidding and construction documents (drawings and specifications) as complete as possible so that there are as minimal the number of surprises and change orders/cost additions for the construction as possible. Avoid having a wide range of allowances in your construction contract, if you want to control costs!

Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are many project delivery methods but if you intend to competitively bid the project the design and construction documents must be prepared by someone working for you and then given to multiple contractors. It is usually best if the author of the bid documents also prepares instructions to the bidders making it clear how and when the bids will be presented to you and how they must be broken down (usually on a bid form) so they can be compared. If each bidder provides his own bid format you will not be able to compare the bids accurately.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 7:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can select a contractor on the basis of an interview, past work, recommendations and OH&P markup and then negotiate a contract price as the drawings are developed by your designer or theirs. The final contract sum is based on a negotiation rather than a bid.

If the contractor provides the design you would enter into a Design-Build contract that has two parts with separate prices, the design part and the construction part.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks all. this is very helpful!!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:28PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
House plan design (suggestions/advice)??
Please refer to the ⬆sketch only. (Please refer to...
Floorplan advice
We are a family of 4 with 2 young kids ages 3 and 10...
Desireable slope for drainage away from house and garage?
We're building a rectangular-ish house with an attached...
Frank Betz Chapman from Start to Finish
Following in the footsteps of 'jnjmom,' our family...
Working on plans, need advice
We're building in Missouri on 24 acres. We want one...
Sponsored Products
Versailles 15-Light Antique Bronze Finish with Clear-Crystals Chandelier
$528.00 | Bellacor
Ryder Chair - Key Largo Graphite Brown
Joybird Furniture
Bungalow Outdoor Wall Sconce
Vanity Side Splashes: Pegasus Counter Tops 17 in. Granite Sidesplash in Black
$23.99 | Home Depot
Hembry Creek Bathroom Vessel Sink in Clear Glass PEGVS-165-LIN
Home Depot
Stealth 5-Blade LED Ceiling Fan
Trident Ceiling Fan with Light
Lyre Two-Light Chrome Finish with Golden Teak Crystal Wall Sconce
$166.00 | Bellacor
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™