The decision to hire a builder or remodeler can be intimidating. Let us walk you through it.
Getting Started

 Building or remodeling a home is a very exciting and different experience. A great deal more of your time, thought, and personality will go into your home building or remodeling project simply because you will be directly involved in many of the decisions. Your own “mental scrapbook” of ideas can be arranged to create a new home or remodel your existing home to reflect your own personsl taste and lifestyle.

Some of our clients begin this process with a great deal of construction knowledge; others know what they like or dislike in a home but have not been exposed to the technical side of home building or remodeling. Wherever you are on this continuum, you will have acquired considerably more construction knowledge and technical vocabulary by the time your new home is complete.

Pre-Design and Product Definition

The first step is to define the home or remodel that will be designed and priced.

During this first step, we will listen as you described your new home or desired remodel and review any information you may already have. If your are building a new home, you may want to design a uniquely original plan incorporating your own ideas. Or you may already have a plan in mind – a Chuck Miller Construction Inc. Standard Plan or, perhaps, one that you saw on line or in a plan book.

If the design of your new home is to be derived from a stock plan you saw in online or in a plan book, we will need to purchase a license to build based on the design from the copyright owner.

If you are remodeling, you may have a plan in mind or you might simply have an idea, perhaps based on a photo from a magazine or from the internet. We will visit your existing home, take measurement – maybe some photos – and prepare a plan.

We will establish a target budget taking into consideration lot cost, construction cost, soft costs, such as permits and fees, insurance, real estate commissions, appraisals, title insurance, closing costs, financing costs, and our overhead and profit.

We will review any covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R/s), design guidelines, zoning ordinances, and building codes to determine site specific requirements and constraints associated with building your new home or remodeling your existing home. If you are building a new home and haven’t selected a lot, we will assist you in screening potential lots and obtaining information on lots for sale in your desired location and price range.

We will also provide you with information on construction and permanent financing and, if you desire, assist you in making contact with lending institutions.

Finally, we will establish a timetable for completion of design and pricing and determine what additional information you need to provide.

Design-Build Agreement

Following the Pre-Design and Product Definition phase, you will be asked to sign Chuck Miller Construction Inc.’s Design-Build Agreement. The agreement defines the scope and the five (5) phases of the design-build project. These include:

Phase 1 – Pre-Design and Product Definition

Phase 2 -Preliminary Concept Plan and Preliminary Cost Estimate

Phase 3 – Preliminary Construction Documents

Phase 4 – Final Construction Documents

Phase 5 – Construction

It describes each phase, our responsibilities as the Builder or Remodeler, and your responsibilities as the Owner.

It also sets forth our fee for each phase and provides for the termination of the agreement upon completion of each phase if we are unable to meet your budget.

We have never had a client terminate our agreement.

Preliminary Concept Plans

You will complete our Buyer Information Worksheet with our assistance, to define your preferences for items like the type of windows and doors, plumbing fixtures, heating and cooling equipment, interior finishes, flooring, exterior finishes, and landscaping.

From the information obtained during the Pre-Design and Product Definition meetings and your completed Buyer Information Worksheet, we will produce a Preliminary Concept Plan consisting of floor plans, elevations, and a site development plan, as applicable to your project. The Preliminary Concept Plan will include sufficient detail to enable an accurate material takeoff and preliminary estimate of the construction cost. Floor plans will include room sizes and locations, exterior windows and doors; closets, stair/hallway circulation patterns, kitchen and bathroom layouts. The elevations will show roof style, exterior siding material and window style. The site development plan will show orientation; garage and driveway location; patios; walkways; front, rear and side yard setback requirements; location of utilities; and easements.

Based on the preliminary plans and the information from your Buyer Information Worksheet, we will prepare the preliminary cost estimate.

Preliminary Estimate

The Preliminary Cost Estimate based on the Preliminary Concept Plan and the information from your Buyer Information Worksheet is not a bid. A bid is a written offer to build your home or complete your remodeling project for the total cost shown on the estimate. The Preliminary Cost Estimate is our best estimate of the total cost of your new home or remodeling project based on the available information, average unit costs for the same items in homes of similar size and quality, and, whenever possible, preliminary bids from our trade contractors and suppliers.

A Chuck Miller Construction Inc. Preliminary Cost Estimate consists of a detailed Construction Cost Breakdown and Allowance Estimate Sheets. The Cost Breakdown has eleven categories – Non-Work Stage Costs, Site & Foundation, Framing & Dry-In, Rough-Ins, Insulation & Sheetrock, Interior Trim & Cabinetry, Finish Trades, Tile & Flooring, Interior Accessories, Exterior & Landscape, and Clean-Up & Close-Out.

  1. Non-Work Stage Costs include impact fees, building permit fees, water and sewer hook-up fees, and other fees payable to municipalities or utilities, architect or designer fees, engineering costs, blueprints, temporary utilities, dump fees and trash haul, and Builder’s Risk insurance.
  2. Site & Foundation includes the costs of survey work, excavation, foundations, installation of utility lines – sewer, water, gas, electric and telephone, installation of underslab plumbing, HVAC and electrical, installation of foundation drains, and interior concrete floor slabs, such as garage or basement floors.
  3. Framing & Dry-In includes the costs of framing, exterior doors and windows, roofing, siding, masonry, stucco, and garage doors.
  4. Rough-Ins include the costs of plumbing; heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC); manufactured fireplace; electrical; structured cable; intercom; stereo; security; and central vacuum.
  5. Insulation & Sheetrock includes the cost of floor, wall and ceiling insulation and the hanging, taping and texturing of the sheetrock.
  6. Interior Trim & Cabinetry includes the cost of interior moldings, stairs and handrails, closet shelving, doors, cabinets and countertops.
  7. Finish Trades includes the cost of plumbing fixtures and trim, HVAC grilles and registers, fireplace trim, electrical plugs and switches and light fixtures, equipment such as intercoms, stereos, security and central vacuum systems, and exterior and interior paint and stain.
  8. Tile & Flooring includes the cost of tile work, hardwood flooring, vinyl flooring, laminate flooring, and carpet.
  9. Interior Accessories includes the cost of appliances, finish hardware, bath accessories, mirrors and shower enclosures.
  10. Exterior & Landscape includes the cost of exterior decks, gutters and downspouts, flatwork -exterior concrete such as driveways, sidewalks, patios, and pool decks – landscaping and fencing.
  11. Clean-Up & Closeout includes the cost of final cleaning and pressure washing, warranty, appraisal, title insurance, property taxes and closing costs.

The Preliminary Cost Estimate will include Allowance Estimates for most of the interior finish items, such as cabinets, countertops, and flooring since you probably will have not yet made any selections. Allowances are estimates based on average costs for the same items in homes of similar quality.

The Preliminary Estimate will show Chuck Miller Construction Inc.’s General and Administrative Expenses which includes salaries of Chuck Miller Construction Inc.’s employees, payroll taxes and insurance, general operating expenses of Chuck Miller Construction Inc.’s principal office – rent, utilities, phone, internet, general liability insurance, and other overhead or general expenses.

It will also show Chuck Miller Construction Inc.’s Profit.

If the Preliminary Cost Estimate is within your target budget, we will proceed with the next step – Preliminary Construction Documents.

Preliminary Construction Documents

Preliminary Construction Documents consist of a complete set of Preliminary Construction Plans and a draft Outline Specification that can be used to solicit firm Trade Contractor and Supplier bids and prepare a Budget Estimate.

Preliminary Construction Plans are scale drawings consisting of a Site Plan; Floor Plans; Front, Rear, Left and Right Side Elevations; Foundation Plan; Framing Plans; Roof Plan; Wall Sections; and other drawings and details as may be required to prepare the Budget Estimate. The Preliminary Construction Plans enable us to perform detailed quantity estimates and obtain Trade Contractor and Supplier bids.

We will also prepare draft Outline Specifications.

When the Preliminary Construction Plans are completed, you will be given a list of Trade Contractors and Suppliers you will need to meet with to make your preliminary selections. Being able to make so many choices is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying aspects of building or remodeling. However, it can also be one of the most maddening and frustrating aspects because, until all your decisions have been finalized, we cannot determine the exact cost of your home. Each selection, each change in the design affects the cost. The Allowance Estimates that were included in the Preliminary Estimate are intended to minimize this frustration by providing you with the information you will need to manage your costs as you make your selections. When you meet with our Trade Contractors and Suppliers, they will listen as you describe the features of your new home and review with you the plans and our Allowance Estimates. They will guide you in your choice of products or materials based on their knowledge and experience, your description of the features of your new home, and our Allowance Estimates. They will then prepare bids based on your plans and choices.

Some of the details of your new home will be determined outside of our control. Building codes, engineering, and homeowners’ association requirements will impact the plans and, possibly, the cost for your new home. We will point these out and discuss them with you during the pricing so they can be incorporated into the plan.

Budget Estimate

When we have received all of the Trade Contractor and Supplier bids, we will prepare a Budget Estimate. Like the Preliminary Estimate, the Budget Estimate consists of a detailed Construction Cost Breakdown and Allowance Estimate Sheets. In addition, the Budget Estimate may contain copies of Trade Contractor and Supplier bids. Unlike the Preliminary Estimate, the Budget Estimate is our written offer to design and build your new home or complete your remodeling project for the Total Sales Price shown.

If there are any areas where you have not made a final selection – for instance, tile or floor coverings – or if a plan has not yet been completed – for instance, the landscaping plan – these items will be identified as Allowances in the Budget Estimate and Allowance Estimate Sheets will be included in the Budget Estimate. This enables us to arrive at a Total Sales Price for your new home or remodeling project while allowing you more time to consider your selections. If the actual cost of an Allowance item is more or less than the budgeted allowance, a change order will be prepared and the final Total Sales Price will be adjusted accordingly.

If the Budget Estimate is acceptable and you are satisfied that you have made all the adjustments and changes you want, we will prepare Final Construction Documents, apply for building permits, and proceed with contruction.

Pre-Construction Conference

Upon completion of the Final Construction Documents and prior to the start of construction, we will hold a Pre-Construction Conference. The objectives of the Pre-Construction Conference are:

  • To ensure that our Buyers have a high level of trust and confidence in Chuck Miller Construction Inc.
  • To ensure that Chuck Miller Construction Inc. and the Buyers are working “off the same page.”
  • To establish the expectations of the construction process, the schedule, quality, and procedures.
  • To establish a comfortable pattern for future communications.
  • To identify and note remaining questions and outline a timetable and the responsibility of each party in resolving these items to avoid future misunderstandings.

We will review the Plans and Specifications, the Budget Estimate, and the Allowances. We will discuss the Final Selections Process and the Construction Schedule with you, pointing out those dates by which you must make final decisions. We will review our Change Order procedure and our Payment Request procedure. And we will discuss our company Safety Program and guidelines for jobsite visits and Trade Contractor communications.

You will need to allow approximately two (2) hours for this meeting.

Final Selections

Your Final Selections are grouped into three categories based on the date by which they must be completed. Those three categories and the selections that are included in each category are:

1. Selections That Must Be Completed Prior to Start of Construction

  • Windows – Color / Grid Pattern
  • Exterior Doors
  • Exterior Paint Colors
  • Roofing Color –
  • Exterior Brick or Stone (if applicable)
  • Stucco Color (if applicable)

2. Selections That Must Be Completed Prior to Start of Framing

  • Cabinets
  • Appliances
  • Plumbing Fixtures & Options
  • HVAC Options
  • Fireplace
  • Interior Doors
  • Finish Hardware

3. Selections That Must Be Completed Prior to Start of Sheetrock

  • Interior Paint Colors
  • Countertops
  • Electrical Fixtures
  • Tile
  • Flooring
  • Mirrors and Shower Enclosures
  • Bath Accessories

Failure to complete your final selections by the required dates could delay the completion of your home.

Change Orders

Of course changes can be made at any time during the construction. However, once the Permit Plans and any required engineering have been completed and a building permit obtained, a change could necessitate re-drawing, re-engineering, and re-approval by the building department and/or the homeowners’ association. These extra steps are costly and can cause delays in starting or progressing with construction. To avoid this, we encourage you to take full advantage of the design and pricing process to think out loud about your home and arrive at a plan that serves all aspects of your housing dream.

Walk-Thru’s During Construction

In addition to your Final Selection decisions, there will be scheduled “Walk-Thru’s”.

The first of these will be near the completion of the framing and just prior to the start of the Plumbing, HVAC, and Electrical Rough-Ins. During the Framing Walk-Thru, we will walk through your home or remodeling project room by room and you will be asked to review and approve the following items, as applicable:

  • Plumbing Fixture Selections
  • Location of Hose Bibbs
  • HVAC Options
  • Location of HVAC Supply Registers
  • Location of HVAC Return Air Registers & Transfer Grills
  • Gas Appliances
  • Fireplace Hearth
  • Location and Function of Switches
  • Location of Outlets
  • Location & Type of Lighting
  • Location of Phone, Data & Cable Outlets
  • Stereo Wiring Options
  • Security Wiring Options Selections
  • Central Vacuum Option Selections
  • Location of Tile Backsplashes
  • Swing of Interior Doors
  • Size of Mirrors
  • Placement of Towel Bar Backing

There will be another scheduled Walk-Thru prior to the start of finish carpentry to review Finish Carpentry and Closet Organizer Options, trim details and closet shelving layouts.

Construction Progress Meetings

Depending upon the size, complexity, and duration of the project, we may schedule other meetings, in addition to the scheduled Walk-Thru’s. The purpose of these meetings will be to review the Schedule, review your Selections, review Change Orders, and discuss any miscellaneous items requiring action. We encourage our clients to write down any questions or concerns they might have and bring them to these meetings.

Pre-Occupancy Inspection and Orientation

A Pre-Occupancy Inspection will be held upon completion of construction and prior to your moving in. It is an opportunity for you to confirm that the Work has been completed and meets the quality standards outlined in the contract documents. Details that need attention are noted on a Punch List.