Why Design is Important to a Remodel Success 


Why Design is Important to a Remodel Success 

As a full-service remodeling contractor who believes in the design-build process, I find it interesting when homeowners tell me they don’t need design. As the owner of Shirey Home Pro, I have made this mistake on a few smaller remodel projects, and each time I regretted that decision.

So, let’s say you want to remodel or do some “minor update” to your bathroom with no design. I can bring in our technician from our service division, have him discuss your project with you that morning, and get started based on your instructions. He could work as many hours as it takes to complete your project. I would be winging it and could run into obstacles that didn’t get anticipated by flushing them out during the design process. “Fail to Plan – Plan to Fail”
Design Drawings
With no design plan, I could paint the walls and ceiling. I could update the vanity with a fresh coat of paint and change out the knobs and pulls. I could upgrade the bath accessories and glass shower door. I could tile the floor, and that would be about it. This approach also means that you would need to have an open checkbook since we don’t know the total cost or the details which are not flushed out ahead of time.

There are some items in the bathroom that I would need to have permits. For example, we need a plumbing permit to re-tile the shower for the new drain and fixtures. When installing a new vanity combo, we would be required to have a plumbing permit. Nine out of 10 (ten) times, you also would want to update the lighting and the bath fan, so we would need to get the electrical permit; an HVAC permit may also be required. And some cities require a full permit for all remodels, so we would need our designer to create submittal drawings. And some cities require a site plan even when none of the work is to be performed outside the house’s perimeter.

Being a design-build remodeling contractor means that we will take your beginning dreams and ideas for your home seamlessly to complete your project(s). I will start with an agreed-upon construction budget range before partnering in the design phase. My designers would collaborate with you to design a project and make selections driven by the budget range. As the design comes together, we will have site walkthroughs with our trade partners to solidify the feasibility of your project, narrow the budget range and define the scope of work. My designers are unique, and they’re not just skilled in creating beautiful drawings and pretty renderings. They also handle all the permit submittal drawings with engineering, so we can build when the permit is approved.
When I worked the Seattle Home Shows, it would happen daily; today, we get contacted a few times a year regarding situations where people have hired an architect or design firm to work up plans to obtain multiple bids from remodeling professionals. Creating its own set of issues:
  1. The best remodelers and contractors won’t submit a bid because they know you likely will choose the cheapest bid rather than one that includes all the steps necessary to execute a project well. It simply isn’t worth the time and effort of submitting a bid that will be rejected. You might be able to get them to ballpark something on the spot to see if you would want to commit to something more formal. I can’t see how these general numbers can help find the right company for your project.
  2. The person who created your plans may not have known or cared about your budget. If they did know your budget, they might not have a good idea of the actual remodeling costs to create plans within your budget. When we have taken on design plans made by others and then entered into a contract to flush out the actual costs (feasibility), the clients have been disappointed at how much higher the costs came compared to what they were hoping. Working with a design-build company from the start would have led to a happier result.
  3. Even with a complete set of plans, you think you’re comparing apples to apples. But each contractor is likely to see the plans differently, and their scope of work could vary, so in reality, you’re comparing apples to oranges.
  4. Permit plan sets don’t need finalized finish selections or detailed kitchen and bathroom elevations when being submitted, so there would need to be additional design time before actual work can start.
  5. Without design, there will be no clear expectations for your project and no guarantee for success.
We all want the project to be successful. Shirey Home Pro includes the project’s feasibility as part of our process, including site visits, pricing out selections, logistic plan, scheduling, specification, and scope writing.
Patio Design
Design is an additional cost added to the construction cost when budgeting for your project. When you partner with Shirey Home Pro, you can expect the design to be about 10% on top of the budgeted construction cost. So, if your project looks to be $100,000, we figure $10,000 (10%) for design cost, so then your overall cost for the project would be $110,000 plus sales tax. To begin with the design process, we would ask for 5% (in the example above, $5,000) and a signed design agreement. There is an economy of scale on larger projects where the 10% would decrease.

Design is invoiced every two weeks on a time and material basis, providing transparency and visibility into the process. 
Please contact my office if you have a project and want to consider working with Shirey Home Pro; we can send you a copy of our design agreement to review.

Published: April 20, 2022

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