How much does it cost to build a house?– answers to this an much more

1. We are looking to build our own home. Where do we start?

The very first thing that you need to establish, is a wish list. This is a collection of photos and pictures of “likes” that you have found that help visualize the style of architecture you want to see. Attached to these photos, should be an outline of room requirements. This does not mean you need to design the layout but rather, describe how you want to live in the house and what these rooms are for.

The next thing you need to do is hire the first member of your Team, that is to say, hire a Designer who will work with you to turn this wish list into reality.

2. How much can we expect to spend when building our own custom home?

Whether it is a renovation and addition or it is a custom home, it is very important to establish a realistic budget. Often, people will have an understanding of what they want to spend, what they can afford to spend and also, what the neighbourhood in which they are going to build can afford. That is to say, sometimes, you can over develop your home for the neighbourhood and this is an important note to keep in the back of your mind when determining your budget.

It is very difficult to establish a $/sqft value for a renovation and addition due to the fact that these projects normally involve work to existing spaces as well as building new spaces and subsequently, they become very labour intensive. As a result, it is better to speak with a Designer who can sit down with you and get a full understanding of your proposed wish list, see the existing conditions of the house that is going to be renovated, and from there, be able to guide you as to where your budget should be.

A new build, however, is a bit easier to establish this $/sqft value because the work is all new. What is difficult to determine is what that dollar amount should and could be. Again, that is where the detailed wish list becomes very important. This will help the Designer visualize your taste, style, size of home and level of detail, both on the inside and outside of your home. That will then allow the Designer to direct you in the right path as to whether your home is $200/sqft or $300/sqft.

The last thing to keep in your mind when establishing your budget, is to understand what all the additional costs would be when renovating or building new. Your budget must be all inclusive and should include the following:

  • Designer Fees
  • Permit Fees
  • Demolition costs
  • Appliances
  • Landscaping
  • Furniture, drapery and other interior accessories

3. How do we hire the right contractor to build our home?

The Contractor is the third member of your Team and is as important as the Client and Designer. There are various types of Contractors out there that have expertise in various types and sizes of projects. It is important to have an understanding of where their level of experience lies. You do not want to hire a Contractor who has only completed interior renovations to build your custom home or vice versa. It is very important to contact their references and talk to past clients to see how they managed the project from a budget and timing stand point, was the project clean and well maintained and did they communicate well throughout the process not only with the Client but also with the Designer, ie, were they a Team player! I would also suggest going and visiting some of their sites that are currently under construction so you can see, first hand, how the project looks as well as past projects to see how they have stood up over time. Think about the following things when choosing a contractor:

  1. Does he communicate well, ie, does he/she have weekly site meetings or emailed updates at the beginning and end of the week to keep all involved up to date with progress and requirements by other members of the team,
  2. How long has he/she been in the business and what types, sizes and scale of projects is he/she most capable of doing,
  3. How long has he/she worked with his sub-trades and what kind of relationship does he have with them,
  4. How well does he/she listen to your ideas for your project which will reflect in how well you get along with him/her (this is important because you will be working with this individual for 6-12 months pending the size of the project),
  5. Do they have insurance? WSIB?

4. Do we have to get our own permits when building a home using a contractor?

Every project, regardless of the size and scope, will require a permit from the local Building department. It is always important to talk to the Planning, Zoning and Building Departments in your local area to find out exactly what is required of you and if, in fact, a permit is required.

Part of our process that we work through with our Client’s, is the permit approval process. We act as the Client’s Authorized Agent, and on their behalf, complete the necessary zoning information through discussions with various jurisdictions to help guide the client through what can and cannot be done. We then take care of applying for all of the permits and communicating with the various departments to receive final approval.

5. Do you provide interior design services?

We have developed a working relationship over the past 18 years, with a number of very qualified interior designers who can provide various services depending on the size and scope of the project. Through our initial meeting, we can direct you to the right individual should that service be required.

6. Can we hire our own contractor when using your services?

We have developed a working relationship over the past 18 years, with a number of very qualified interior designers who can provide various services depending on the size and scope of the project. Through our initial meeting, we can direct you to the right individual should that service be required.

7. Do we have to pay you upfront if we hire you to design our home?

Our fee proposal is client specific and is based on a fixed fee. This fee is determined based on our experience of completing projects of similar size and scope and will also be determined by the various processes that would be involved with the City and other required Jurisdictions. It is important to note, that we do not base our fees on a percentage of construction cost. The reason for this is simple, I want you to be open and honest with me about what your budget is for your project and not worry that the higher the budget, the higher our fees will be. Should you wish to work with us, a fixed fee proposal would be provided to you broken down into our separate phases. A deposit would be taken at the beginning of the project as part of the first phase.

8. Do we have to have insurance in place before we begin?

It is very important to have insurance in place before you start the construction on your home. Talk to your insurance broker to get the specifics from them as to the type of insurance you will need and the amount. This will be determined by the size and scope of your project.

Let Structured Creations, Burlington, Oakville, Toronto and Southern Ontario, arrange a free initial consultation with you to discuss your project scope and budget for your new home, renovation, addition or interior remodeling.
Call us: 416.204.0351 or contact us here.