Process

Architectural & Interior Design Services

The design phase is the first stage of the construction process. At Signature Dream Homes, we believe it’s also the most important.

Think about it.  The design stage is where your ideas take shape.  It’s where we put pen to paper and sketch out the basics, gradually adding details until your new custom home virtually comes to life.

Professional design services can make all the difference in a custom luxury home or project. 

We’ve worked hard over the past 26 years to develop close working relationships with top architects and designers in the area and will help you find the one that best suits you.

All of our affiliated architects and interior designers have achieved a set of minimum professional requirements — specifically, a bachelor’s degree in architecture, successful completion of the rigorous Architecture Registration Examination, and regular participation in continuing education to keep their professional skills up-to-date.

We’re happy to help you select the best architects for your custom home or project.

If you already have a design team in mind, or already have a set of plans, we’ll be happy to work with them to make your vision a reality.

Pre-construction Services

Plan Review and Design Consulting
Project Development
Material Selections
Feasibility Study/Budget Review
Financing

Contract and Cost Controls

Two basic approaches - Negotiated vs Competitive Bid

Negotiated

There are two types of negotiated contracts that we use at SDH: Fixed-cost and Cost-plus.

A general rule of thumb is that Fixed-cost contracts are most effective for projects up to $1 million.  Cost-plus contracts are most effective for projects over $500,000.

Fixed-cost Contracts

A Fixed-cost contract depends upon a very well-defined scope of work which will all be performed for a single stated total cost (Contract Price). In this case, the contract price is not an estimate, but a firm price and all that is described within the scope of work will be done at that cost. The Contract Price is paid out over the course of construction through the use of predetermined draws under a draw schedule. Under this method, some items within the scope of work may be represented by an allowance with the cost of the allowance being included within the overall Contract Price. With a Fixed-cost contract, the contract price for all work to be done does not change unless the client adds to the scope of work or an allowance is exceeded.

Advantages
1) The Clients have the clearest understanding of what will go into their project before construction starts.
2) The Clients have the most confidence that they can complete the project within their budget.
3) Limits scope creep, fewer Change Orders are needed during construction keeping the costs down.
4) The builder owns the risk of any estimating mistakes made under the original Contract Scope and Contract Price.
5) It is easier to stay on a targeted construction schedule as most of the scope and materials needed have been predetermined and therefore can be proactively planned for.

Cost-plus Contracts

A Cost-Plus contract is priced with an educated estimate as to what all costs are expected to be based on the architectural designs, development discussions with the client, past similar projects, and the collection of bids from subcontractors. All line item costs are shown in the contract. The actual costs of construction are paid out bimonthly. All receipts for materials, labor, fees, etc. are collected and presented to the client for payment along with a predetermined percentage of markup for overhead and services. The overall estimate as to the expected cost of the project is readjusted as the actual costs are paid.

Advantages
1) The accounting is an open book format where everyone sees the actual numbers.
2) All expenses are paid when they are incurred.
3) The Client plays a role in determining who the project players will be.
4) The Client receives all of the contractor’s discounts from suppliers.
5) The Client plays a more involved role and has more decision-making control during construction.

*The success of keeping down the construction costs under a negotiated contract is the willingness of the Client to spend the time and money needed during the Design and Development phases so that all or most of the actual costs are known before construction begins. Upfront design and planning costs are very small when compared to costs incurred due to changes during construction.

Competitive Bid

With this approach, the client solicits bids for the project and then chooses a builder, presumably the lowest bidder, from a group of qualified bidders. When we are asked to work through this process, we provide a lump-sum bid and build the project as per the plans and specifications managing the work as we best determine. The cost control in this format comes from the competitive bidding process. Any negotiations as to changes to the scope would be done after we are chosen as the builder.

Project Management
We are using some of the finest integrated construction software.  This allows everyone associated with your project to have up-to-date information. This helps keep us on schedule and on budget.
Project Closeout
All projects are meticulously cleaned by professionals who specialize exclusively in construction project cleaning. Near the end of the project, we create an in-house punch out list and review it with you so that all involved agree that the work is completed. We also provide you with a binder containing all the appliance specifications and operator manuals and have them reviewed with you to ensure you know how to operate your home.
Living in and Loving your Home

The end of the construction phase is not the end of our relationship with our clients. We stand behind our work and stay in contact with you. The custom services we have performed for you is you-nique.  We like to follow up to see how you are enjoying your home. From time to time materials may fail and they will need replacing or you may desire to add additional changes to your home. Over the years, most of our work has been repeated or referred business and we will be here to serve you.