NO. REALLY. What's my project cost?

As a homeowner, the sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Do I hire a reputable builder? Do I go with the recommended contractor that has worked with everyone on my street? How about hiring an architect + design/build firm? WAIT. What's the difference? What can one do that the others can't? Once you hire someone, then comes the 'project cost' page on their contract. But what does it really cover? What are they offering that the other one isn't? Rather than make you second-guess your original decision, I'm here to shed some light as to what you SHOULD look for (and expect) be a part of your project cost. Here's the breakdown:

CONSTRUCTION BUDGET: these are the costs related to the construction cost of the home. They should include:

  • all material and labor (from excavation all the way to light fixtures)
  • general conditions (debris removal, final cleaning)
  • special conditions (site conditions, misc equipment, staging)
  • sales tax
  • general contractor fee(s)

DESIGN BUDGET: these are costs that fall outside of the original $/SQ FT costs. They include:

  • architectural fees (depends on job complexity, project type and scope)
  • design consultant fees
  • permit fees
  • site prep (which includes any site demo needed to commence project)
  • hardscape (sidewalks, driveways)
  • landscape


Keep this breakdown as a minimum go-to glossary of items to be broke down as part of your overall PROJECT COST. Happy building!