FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What means and methods will you use to determine the exact cost of my project?

At concept design, which is the first step, we generally use current market rate price per square footages. We budget based on experience and past jobs. The concept budget is just that, a budget. We have not put anything out to bid at this phase, and is a baseline for where the project might land.

There are sites around the internet that speak to the cost of construction. Here is one for reference: Cost of Construction

Depending on your project complexity, strucure, design, logistics, finishes, etc., the cost of constructoin can be as low as $150/SF to as high as $300/SF. The first step is concept design to help narrow that range in. Once you are comfortable with the concept budget, and you are ready to move forward, then we go under contract for Design + Build services.

This is where we get into the details of the drawings, and as drawings evolve, we are putting your project out to bid. For each construction trade and material selection we solicit multiple proposals from different contractors/suppliers. This allows us to competitively hard bid each item on the project to ensure you are getting the best price with the most reputable contractor every step of the way. This is the time to make modifications to the scope and design if you are not comfortable with where the budget is going. The goal is that by the time we are permit ready with construction drawings, we have bid the project to roughly 75%-90%, and the budget is pretty well set and reliable. By the time we have permits, it is about pulling triggers on contracts we have already lined up during the bidding phase.

How are you compensated for your pre-construction (architectural) services?

We operate in a cost + fee manner, depending on project complexity and scope, as a percentage of construction costs. The overall Design + Build fee is broken out into a fixed architecture fee for the first phase, which is set after concept design (Concept Services), and the remainder as a cost plus fee for construction services.

Lots of factors go into how that percentage is broken up, including discussions with you. Depending on the level of documentation needed, number of consultants involved, project complexity, government entitlement process, etc. Once we agree on the right balance, that number is then a fixed architectural fee. That fee will represent full scope architectural services. Any documentation that will be needed to design, document, visualize, and permit the project is turnkeyed into that fee.

There are sites around the internet that speak to standards Architectural fees. Here is one for reference: Architectural Fees

You will find that with our Design + Build model, you will be getting TIER 6 services, for less that a TIER 1 fee. We are able to do so for two reasons. The synergy of the Design + Build business model, and we have lower overhead costs than most larger firms.

Who will supervise the construction of my project and how often will my project be under direct supervision?

Jesse is our project manager, and he will be on site daily to line out sub-contractors and coordinate logistics. Your project will always be under his direct supervision, and he is always reachable by phone or email. Josh, our architect supports Jesse, and will frequent the site as well.

Additionally, we will hold weekly OAC meetings, Owner-Architect-Contractor, where in a lot of cases, meeting on site makes sense anyway.

How will questions and concerns be addressed during construction?

This is actually one of our biggest selling and marketing features about design + build and how we work. When a question or issue arises in the field. It usually comes from one of our sub-contractors or carpenters working on site. They will pose the question or issue to our project manager. If it’s not easily solvable there in the field and additional architectural or structural information is needed, he will seek clarification from our architect via a quick text message or phone call. As we are our own "in-house" architect/design team, we can usually figure out the solution in the office, given that we have access to the BIM model (Building Information Model). We can quickly study the condition and usually solve most issues. Solutions are relayed back to our project manager in quick order, which he will then direct the sub-contractor in the field on how to proceed. Should an issue require additional structural clarification, we coordinate with the engineer, and at that point, we are at the mercy of his or her availability/schedule. Usually structural issues can be resolved within a day or two.

How do you qualify the competency of the subcontractors who will work on my project?

We have a pretty good network of trusted and reliable sub-contracts that we like to tap regularly as we know their quality of work is in line with our standards. But we also are always looking to expand our subcontractor relationships, and like to get 2 – 3 proposals to keep everyone honest on pretty much every trade. Our project manager is the main filter for this process, as he is the man on the ground soliciting bids. If you decide to work with a subcontractor that is new to us, we will ask for professional references, visit active jobsites, and evaluate the workmanship on their completed projects. We only contract with reputable licensed and insured sub-contractors. If a sub does not carry the proper insurance coverage, we will not work with them. In our experience, if a contractor is property insured, it’s because they are good and stand by their work.

In the event that there are changes to the design or unforeseen conditions that result in extra cost, what process do you use to communicate this to the owner?

With any design + build project, there are always going to be "field fit" design solutions to take on and overcome during construction. We try to build in enough contingency into our budgets to capture these, but as with every construction project. Stuff happens. In the event that a design change needs to happen that will adversely affect the budget, the first step is to formulate a workable solution. We will then calculate the cost of labor, cost of material, and produce a design sketch/image (if needed). Once we have the design solution and associated cost, we will use our Change Order form to draft a complete and clear Change Order that we will communicate to you via electronic correspondence or in person at our weekly OAC Meeting. We seek your approval and physical sign off on the Change Order document before any work is done. Once we have your signature of approval, we will amend the budget and implement the scope change.

How are you compensated for your construction services?

We operate in a cost + fee manner, depending on project complexity and scope, as a percentage of construction costs. The overall Design + Build fee is broken out into a fixed architecture fee for the first phase, which is set after concept design (Concept Services), and the remainder as a cost plus fee for construction services.

Once the right percentage split is decided, we apply the construction fee transparently to the actual cost of the line item. Not on the budget number. As we pay out each contract and purchase materials, we collect our fee. These numbers are updated live and daily in our Project Management software called "Co-Construct," which you will have access too 24/7.

How is monthly billing tracked, invoiced, and paid?

Construction budgets are available for client review in real time, 24/7/365, by logging into our online Project Management software, Co-Construct. This program allows owners to monitor the cost of construction at any time.

All invoices, bills, expenses, and receipts are tracked by feeding information into Quickbooks Online, which is linked to the Project Management software, Co-Construct, pulling all numbers from Quickbooks to display in the budget. At the start of the project, clients are given an account log-in for 24/7 online access to the budget in Co-Construct. The budget is updated as soon as we add new entries, so a live look at the budget will be available to you as we proceed throughout the build.

For contract payments, we will typically pay a deposit to initiate the agreed work. Progress payments will then be made to the contractor throughout the job as work is being performed and completed. As trades are completed we will pay the rest of the contract sum, withholding the final 10% payment of contract until final City Inspections are signed off on to ensure the work performed is complete and satisfactory to both Bonsai Design + Build and the owner. The final 10% will be released after everything is in place and inspections are passed. All billing documents will be put into a master copy binder and a client copy binder where we will store all the documents and make available for review always.

How do you service your warranty once the construction is complete?

We honor the standard 1-year builders warranty, and so do our sub-contractors. At the end of the project, you will be left with a binder with every receipt, and invoice spent on the project. Those will tie back to the budget. Those receipts will serve as the warranty. In some cases, the manufactures will offer a larger warranty, but in the case of workmanship, rest assured, that you are covered for a 1 year period by Bonsai Design + Build. That covers every item not covered by manufactures warranties (which you will have receipts for). Additionally, you have the option of purchasing a 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, through us that provides a one-year workmanship, two year systems, and ten year structural. 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty

Will you provide an operation and maintenance manual?

All equipment and systems that are installed (i.e. Hot Water Heater and Appliances) will come with the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manuals. We will provide you with a Project Binder at the end of the job that will hold all the associated receipts, equipment manuals, operation and maintenance manuals. This binder will provide you with the necessary warranty documentation for your equipment and systems and maintenance manuals on how to service them properly.

All receipts, invoices and expenses related to the project will also be categorized and filed in this binder, which will tie back to the final construction budget. Our warranty certificate will also be a part of this binder.