Design & Build QUESTIONS

What is a Design-Build Contract?

A design-build contract, sometimes called a design/build, D-B, or D/B contract, is a project delivery system often used in construction. While the traditional approach to construction requires contracts with two separate entities, a designer and a contractor, a design-build contract combines these two entities, so only one company is responsible for the designing and building contract for a project.

How a Design-Build Contract Works?

Design-build contracts work by providing an owner with just one contract to design and build a project. Rather than hiring a separate architect and contractor, a design-build firm provides both professionals who work together on the project from the beginning.

Using a design-build contract, rather than the traditional design-bid-build contract, owners benefit from the possibility of beginning construction before the final design is completed.

This project is a single-source collaboration so that it can be completed in stages with the designer and contractor working hand in hand. Some design-build firms are now even providing services like acquiring licenses, permits, approvals, and inspections for the construction.

What is Included in a Design-Build Contract?

Design-build contracts are not “one size fits all” contracts and can be customized to fit the needs of both the design-build firm and the customer. Although the specifics of the contract may change, the following elements should appear in any construction contract:

  1. Name and contact information of the design-build firm
    Name and contact information of the customer
    The legal description of the property, usually based on the deed on record with the clerk’s office
    The cost
    What happens if the customer cannot secure financing
    Description of the work and the completion date
    Requirements for licenses, permits, and insurance
    The process for a change order
    Liability clause
    Remedies for breach of contract
    Dated signature of both parties

Do design-build contracts save money?

How much money an owner using a design-build contract may save depends on the type of project being completed. On average, clients save between 6% and 10% on projects when using a design-build contract.

How does DMbuild charge and who takes the risk in a design-build contract?

The cost or our fee for your project will depends on the project.

In a design-build contract, most of the risks shift from the homeowner and fall on us. Instead of the homeowner being responsible for design issues, we are responsible because the designer and contractor work together.

Renovation QUESTIONS

What is included with a free remodeling estimate?

Our free remodeling estimates include a detailed written scope of work. At times, when necessary or when requested, we will provide renderings for you to view what your remodel will look like upon completion. Renderings look like a picture of your home and are a likeness of what your remodel will look like so you can visualize the space to be remodeled.

Will I need to pay for a design agreement?

Most kitchen and bathroom remodels are contracted without a design agreement. Design agreements are most typically used for major renovations of multiple rooms (such as a whole house remodel) or home addition projects.

What is the difference between an estimate and a design agreement?

An estimate is free and is an educated price that is prepared for your project. If you are completing a major renovation (such as a whole house remodel or addition), the price is for the entire project. The price of the project may fluctuate as you move through the process of design.

A design agreement means you chose to select Classic Home Improvements as your builder but you are not quite sure yet on the design you want to build. The agreement is for the design portion only so you can come to an agreement of the design and final project price prior to signing a contract for the full contract amount.

How long will my project take?

During our free consultation with you, we will discuss the duration of your project. The key element in completing your project in a timely manner is for you to be available during the process so you can select your products. In addition, we will need full access to your home during the remodel during regular work hours (Monday through Friday 8am – 5pm). We will not begin work on your home until all the materials have been received. Our company policy is to stay on your project until completion once we have started construction.

How much will my construction and remodeling project cost?

Projects vary widely depending on your needs and budget. Our representatives visit with you to better understand your home remodeling needs. At Classic Home Improvements we do more than give you a quote. We provide you with the information you need to make the right decisions for your home.

Our representatives take time to explain the details regarding your project. We answer all of your questions and explain our estimates for your home improvement project.

There is no obligation. Give us some time to review your wish list and we will give you valuable information. We believe that an educated consumer is our best customer!

Will there be a big mess during our project?

Construction is messy. It is dirty and dusty. Before it is beautiful, it is a construction zone. However, we respect your property by laying down clean tarps as needed and cleaning the work space and traffic areas daily.

How do you handle communication with us during our project?

When we visit you for the measurements after the job is awarded, we will give you a schedule we can be held accountable for. Our project manager will communicate the status of your job regularly. Our goal is to answer your questions before you have to ask them.

I’ve worked with unpleasant contractors in the past, what are your workers like?

Long-faced and ill-tempered workers are not allowed on our jobs. You will find everyone who comes into your home to be skilled, friendly and helpful in answering any of your questions.

Do you use subcontractors?

We employ both subcontractors and hourly employees who are on our payroll.  The subcontractors we work with have all worked with us for several years and for most of them, we are their sole source of employment because we are able to keep them busy from one job to the next.  They are all licensed and insured, as well as covered under our license and insurance. Our hourly employees are all journeymen which means they are a skilled worker who has successfully completed an official apprenticeship qualification in their trade (ie:  electrical, plumbing, tile, etc).

Conversion QUESTIONS

Why choose DM Build?

Over the years, we have managed to build up a professional, skilled team of workers and expand our experience in our field. We have become specialists in surveying, planning, design, engineering, as well as project management. Because of this, we can offer our clients all these services in one place, reducing the number of formalities they need to undergo. Just ask our clients – our reputation is spotless.

Why choose basement conversion?

With the amount of sustainable living space in London decreasing over the years, basement conversion has become one of the most balanced, cost-effective ways to counter that. The amount of formalities is significantly lower than with extensions, and the costs are nowhere near as high as with moving. It is currently the only truly sustainable way to increase living space. Basements are also often very underutilised, and many of our clients are pleasantly surprised with how much fun they end up having in their new rooms.

Do you do anything besides basements?

Of course. We provide various types of house refurbishments. We can add the construction of a new basement to that and we’ll happily provide a one stop shop for your project. We are flexible!

What are the most popular uses for basements?

London houses may generally lack living space, but the underused basements are surprisingly versatile. Among the most popular ways to utilise this space are media rooms, playrooms, game rooms, gymnasiums, saunas, bedrooms, nanny suites, swimming pools, bathrooms, and so forth. The sky’s the limit!

Does there have to be a pre-existing cellar?

No. In the majority of cases we can add in a basement from scratch.

What is the acceptable head height?

2.4m (8’0”) is considered a minimum comfortable ceiling height, but we can usually make your ceiling as high as you want. Costs may vary, however.

Can you make multiple-level basements?

Yes, though it depends on the area your property is based on.

Can I keep living in the house while construction is underway?

In the majority of cases, our clients can remain in their homes during basement conversion. This is because we excavate from the front garden, meaning the rest of the structure remains untouched and can be accessed freely, as we secure the construction area.

Do you only work with your own architects and engineers?

No, we will happily collaborate with your architects, engineers and interior decorators. We can handle all the steps of construction or just handle the final step if you already have specialists working in other areas. We also have third party architects and engineers we frequently collaborate with.

Do I need planning permission for basement planning?

That depends. If you plan to form lightwells and want to create a habitable space in basements, you will require planning permission. We can, however, handle all your design and planning submissions for you.

How long does it take to perform a basement conversion?

It depends on the size of the area and the scope of the construction work. A standard basement conversion takes 12 to 24 weeks.

Do you have more questions?