|Re: Cost estimates||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Kristen Simmons (simmonskristengmail.com)|
|Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 10:30:56 -0800 (PST)|
<snip> Have I gotten the wrong impression of the building process in general? Why does it appear to be so difficult to stay within a budget? What usually delays construction for 6 months to a year? That's an awful lot of 'flexibility' money and time for a family or individual to take on, especially now with jobs and the economy the way it is. Has there been any cohousing projects that have successfully come in on time and within budget? Is my concept of how planning and construction works totally up-side-down? ------------------------- In response to your questions, I'm putting on my architect hat. :-) I’ll just speak to larger projects, not single family homes and/or the lot development, since that’s not my experience. In my experience, most building projects, including housing, do NOT exceed project and/or schedule, once the contractor has been awarded the project. A good architect, project manager, and/or developer are worth their weight in gold, for both experienced and inexperienced clients. These are the folks working with the group long before the contractor comes on board. Part of what good architects, project managers, and/or developers do is to help their client to manage risk. Both cost over runs and schedule delay (which has cost implications) are the risks that all clients want to avoid. Accurately managing these risks is why lots of people make money in real estate development. What makes your question tricky to answer is that I don’t know what assumptions you are making. In the early stages of a project, the cohousing group might not have reasonable expectations of their project budget and schedule. Everything is a big unknown, like how much will the site cost, will there be zoning and/or permitting issues, how long will it take to complete design and construction drawings? There are too many unknowns to accurately estimate anything, frankly. I would say that the project doesn’t become “real” until the group has a site. Of course, the group (mostly burning souls) will be working very hard (and spending money) before that happens. Beginning at site acquisition and continuing until the construction bids are in, the overall project budget is being constantly revised by the project manager and/or developer. Initially, cost assumptions are made based on previous experience. Ideally, the assumptions will be conservative, but not too conservative, and the person working on the budget will have significant experience in that project type and location. During the design phase, the project budget becomes more and more accurate, as assumptions are gradually replaced real data. The actual construction cost will not be known until bids are in from the contractors, and negotiations have been completed with the contractor who has been awarded the project. Of course, unit costs are based on the overall project costs; construction costs are just one component. The wise project manager/developer ALWAYS includes cost contingencies in their budget. Include both a 5-10% construction contingency of construction costs, for the unexpected stuff during construction, and a 5% design contingency, for changes that the client/owner want to make during construction. Both will happen, I promise. If you budget for this, but don’t use it, great! It’s your money and you can reduce the unit costs in the end, buy furniture, or whatever. If you don’t budget for this, folks will be justifiably upset when they have to come up with an additional $5,000 each to relocate a water main connection, for example, which was wrongly identified on civil drawings provided by the town. (Yep, the town made a mistake, but the owner pays the cost.) Inexperienced clients often do not budget for contingencies, despite the recommendations of the consultants they have hired. BIG MISTAKE. There’s lots of information out there on this. I think that Katy McCamant did a talk available on CD on this subject, and Chris ScottHansen has a nice section on this in his book. Regards, Kristen Simmons, AIA, LEED AP www.stonybrookcohousing.org On twitter at bostoncohousing <snip> Have I gotten the wrong impression of the building process in general? Why does it appear to be so difficult to stay within a budget? What usually delays construction for 6 months to a year? That's an awful lot of 'flexibility' money and time for a family or individual to take on, especially now with jobs and the economy the way it is. Has there been any cohousing projects that have successfully come in on time and within budget? Is my concept of how planning and construction works totally up-side-down?
- Re: cost estimates, (continued)
- Re: Cost estimates Craig Ragland, February 14 2010
- Re: cost estimates Marganne Meyer, February 16 2010
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