Construction Cost Overruns
From: David Entin (
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 2010 13:31:02 -0800 (PST)
We had not real problems with cost overruns.  We used an architect and builder 
and project manager we employed, all of whom had previous experience with 
cohousing development in our area.  We worked for at least a year with an 
architect to design three basic home designs (based on size) and then developed 
various standard options, such as deck, screened porch, extra volume addition, 
basement or attic finished, etc.  In addition, individual homes could also add 
various customizations.  The builder gave us cost quotations for each design 
and then for each available option and for any customizations that were 
desired, so you could put your package together to get what you wanted at the 
price you felt you could afford.  Once each household choose what they wanted, 
you signed a purchase and sale agreement for your unit and the builder built it 
for that cost -- after all, that is a contract that both sides must meet.  
There were therefore no cost overruns.  Some material prices did go up during 
construction, but the builder had to absorb these costs because he had already 
quoted you his price and signed a contract to deliver at the quoted price.  All 
our units were built to cost and pretty much on schedule.  We were pleased that 
there were no major problems.  Even a year or two later, when there was some 
minor flooding of a couple of basements and one roadway, the builder warranted 
his work and came back to make necessary corrections.  We did have to pay extra 
for the water on the roadway corrections.  Obviously, using an experienced and 
high quality builder and architect and hiring an experienced project manager 
who works for the cohousing community made a difference.   David Entin, Rocky 
Hill Cohousing, Northampton, MA.

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