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The six phases of building your new home.


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The six phases of building your new home.


Keep in mind what architect Charles Moore once said;  "If you care enough you just do it. You bind the goods and trappings of your life together with your dreams to make a place that is uniquely your own. The crucial ingredient is concern, care  for the way the house is built and the shape it gives your life."

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to discuss goals and budget


Phase 1: INITIAL MEETING - to discuss goals and budget

At our first meeting we will discuss several elements and ask several important questions including a detailed examination of your plans, design ideas and budget considerations. We will ask some detailed questions about materials and features you’d like to incorporate in your home.

Let's look at some questions to answer before we move on.

1. What are we wanting to achieve?

2. Where do we want to be?

3. How much will this really cost?

4. Does plan A achieve my goals?

5. What is plan B?

Lets think about your site. We can offer sound advice on the best orientation and footprint of your new home.

Texas and especially West Texas can present a variety of conditions that sometimes require special construction techniques. We have built on mountain sides, rolling prairies and everything in between. We feel comfortable with any challenge our Texas landscape presents.

You will need to bring several supporting documents to this first meeting:

Your lot information, including any subdivision deed restrictions and any required Architectural or design standards.

A survey of your lot or a plat of the subdivision. 

Shortly after this first meeting we will be able to offer a general estimate of how much your new custom home will cost.

 

to discuss goals and budget


Phase 1: INITIAL MEETING - to discuss goals and budget

At our first meeting we will discuss several elements and ask several important questions including a detailed examination of your plans, design ideas and budget considerations. We will ask some detailed questions about materials and features you’d like to incorporate in your home.

Let's look at some questions to answer before we move on.

1. What are we wanting to achieve?

2. Where do we want to be?

3. How much will this really cost?

4. Does plan A achieve my goals?

5. What is plan B?

Lets think about your site. We can offer sound advice on the best orientation and footprint of your new home.

Texas and especially West Texas can present a variety of conditions that sometimes require special construction techniques. We have built on mountain sides, rolling prairies and everything in between. We feel comfortable with any challenge our Texas landscape presents.

You will need to bring several supporting documents to this first meeting:

Your lot information, including any subdivision deed restrictions and any required Architectural or design standards.

A survey of your lot or a plat of the subdivision. 

Shortly after this first meeting we will be able to offer a general estimate of how much your new custom home will cost.

 

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Phase 2 Architect's design,your vision


Phase 2 Architect's design,your vision


Phase 2: ARCHITECT’S DESIGN – where your vision takes shape.

We work with several talented and visionary architects but are equally comfortable working with the architect of your choice. As with all professionals, choosing the right guide will ensure that journey from inception to completion is more enjoyable all along the way. We suggest that you begin by asking any architectural candidate to show you recent designs and compare those with your ideas and vision in terms of size and scope of the work and the visual impact . Take the time for a face to face meeting. a splashy website or a colorful brochure no matter how well presented  will not tell you whether there is a working chemistry between you and the person that will bring your custom home to life.

You should consider adding other key members to the team, a kitchen designer, perhaps an interior design professional and equally as important as the others a skilled Landscape Architect should be consulted early on in the process ,too often this element is put off until near the end when all the budget has been used.

You will want your yard and grounds to reflect all the hard work you have put into the house.

There is a simple formula that holds true to all construction projects, ultimately your home’s design is determined by three key elements:

  1. Price

  2. Size and site conditions

  3. Specifications: the materials and features that are used in the construction of your home, this also includes the architectural style and the complexity of the home.

As the buyer you can only realistically control two of these, the third will be determined by the other two.

  • If you want to control price and size, you have to be flexible on specifications.

  • If you have a fixed budget and very strong ideas about materials and finishes, then that will affect the size of the house you can build.

  • And if size and specifications are the deciding factors your final price will vary.

Custom building by its nature and definition is a onetime only proposition. It is important to be very thorough and focused on the details during the  design phase. Of course you have to be  realistic. You can't ask for a 10,000 square foot house to be built for $200,000.

There is no level of finishes that will allow that formula to work.

Things to remember:

Ask yourself "What if?" sometimes the first solution is the right one, just as likely the twenty first answer is correct. Often, there  are minor modifications to the architectural drawings that can save confusion and missed communications that saves tens of thousands of dollars during construction. This is where our years of experience in custom home building can be of enormous benefit to you, our client. We take pride in our ability to negotiate the design, engineering and technical problems during the initial design stages at the same time updating the specs and initial budget so that the final contract price is accurate and budget goals are achievable. The "What ifs" at this stage are much easier to deal with than the regrets of "We should have " far down the road.

Because we are so intimately involved in the design and budget preparation, a deposit may be required with the amount determined by the scope of the project. The deposit is non-refundable but will be deducted from the total price of your home when we sign a residential construction contract.

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The terms and conditions of our agreement


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The terms and conditions of our agreement


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Phase 3: CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT – the specific terms and our agreement

Once all architectural and engineering drawings are complete we are ready to finalize the residential construction contract. This is the legal instrument that spells out the specifics of exactly what we are going to build for what price and in what time frame. Generally there are two ways to implement a pricing policy:

  1. Fixed price , or

  2. Cost plus, where we provide invoices outlining actual costs and expenses plus a percentage of costs for supervision, administration, overhead and profit.

We work equally well with either method and are comfortable with whichever you prefer.

The typical contract includes:

  1. The contract, all exhibits and addenda, the budget including allowances for buyer selected items.

  2. The architectural and engineered drawings

  3. Specifications

These documents define the four most important aspects of the contract:

  1. The purchase price and the pricing basis (fixed or cost plus)

  2. A description of exactly what we are going to build

  3.  A detailed description of what features and materials that go into what we building

  4. What you can expect after closing and during your warranty period

Our typical client has already purchased their lot and we contract to build improvements on that lot. This approach allows the client to take out the construction loan in their name and in most cases write off a portion of the interest and sales taxes against their income tax. You should consult a tax professional to discuss your specific circumstances.

Change Orders

The unfortunate and unrealistic image most buyers have of the term “Change Order” is that they are a back door way of increasing profit.

The reality is that change orders are an inefficient and time consuming process and seldom benefit our company or our clients. Changes can and most often do have a ripple effect on the project as a whole and are very difficult to predict. Change Orders Always have a negative impact on the schedule. Certainly some changes can be easily accommodated but others can be surprisingly complex, resulting in significant delays and expense.

So, to minimize the need for change orders, we stress the importance of getting as many of your ideas and requirements into the final architectural drawings and specs as possible. That said, in our thirty plus years of custom home building, we have never built a home without change orders,and it is more than likely we never will.

Essentially a Change Order is a new and separate contract. Overhead charges will be assessed based on time, materials, risk and the overall effect the change has on the project.

Change orders will be priced at cost plus overhead and profit.

 

A word about pricing;

Just as the design helps determine the price the building process also enters into the calculations.

We need to answer three questions;

1. Let's examine the site,

A.  Where are we building?

B.  Is the site within our normal travel range?

C.  Is the access adequate or does it need improvements? Are there topographical features of the site that will be challenging?

D.  Are there trees that need removing or saving? are there hidden geological features such as rocky. expansive or unstable soil conditions? 

E. Are all utilities available at or beyond the property lines?

F. Are there local governing entities and are permits required? And also ;

G. Something we haven't thought of yet?

2. What are we building?

 A. The size of your home? As custom homebuilders we will never quote a " Per square foot Price" this is a case in which size indeed matters. The Devil as they say is in the details, in planning your home there are practical considerations and absolute requirements, then there are the more emotional esthetic finishing touches, each has equal importance and need to be recognized as such.

Often smaller but highly detailed homes can have construction costs higher than larger, more modest designs.

There also are certain budget minimums below which a specific plan can not be built.

B. Specifications,details,materials and finishes. As we stated before the details of what you want to include present many variables and need to be allowed for and planned well in advance to be able to accurately price your home.

C. What is your Budget? Only you know how your home building budget needs to fit your particular circumstances ,what you can afford and how it may effect your plans for the future. Before we can create an estimate we need to know how much you are planning to spend on your new home. With a vast array of materials, finishes,products and processes available it is very important for us to narrow that range of possibilities to fit your needs and expectations.

Don't forget a healthy contingency. Not surprisingly things happen, that's a given. It is important to point out that as in any human endeavor circumstances can and will change. Every journey from A to B can take a side trip or come off the rails, home building is no different.

Be sure to allow for them so that when they occur it will not be a surprise.

We will include at least a 10% contingency allowance in our estimating.

An often used example is a grocery sack. How much does a bag of groceries cost? It depends on where you shop and what you put in the basket.

D. Fees; Our fee to cover overhead and profit is included in the contract price and typically is equal to 20% of the sales price.

3. When and Why?

A. When are you contemplating moving into your new home?

We need to hop in the Time Machine and travel back in time from your closing to see where the start date fits in your future plans and schedule where it coincides with our current work.

B. Why?  Do you have an upcoming event? A vacation or extended business trip? New job or School starting or ending? Do you have a celebration that you want to gather with friends and family at your new home? All of these factors need to come into focus.

Depending on all of the above your home could take several months to a year or longer to complete,we need to discuss these things in detail and come to a mutual agreement before we commit to a start date.

 

     

 

 

First things first


First things first


Phase 4: PRE-CONSTRUCTION – municipal and mechanical permitting.

Before we can make any physical changes to your lot there are some time consuming and boring, but necessary mechanical and municipal permitting requirements. Fortunately most occur simultaneously.

  • Energy load calculations: Energy – efficiency calculations for heating, cooling and electrical systems are completed by our subcontractors and are required by most jurisdictions before applying for a building permit.

  • Building permit: This can take anywhere from two to six weeks depending on the governing body.

  • Closing on the lot/interim loan: depending on your lender two to four weeks.

  • Architectural control approval (if applicable): Once the architectural drawings are complete we provide the architectural control committee (ACC) of your subdivision with copies for approval. In some cases they are returned with comments and requested modifications. if so, we will answer the comments, meet with the architect to make changes promptly, and, if needed make adjustments to the contract. This can take up to four weeks.

  • Septic and or well permits: This can take three to four weeks depending on your municipality and complexity of your system.

You have worked hard, answered dozens of questions, made your plans ,set goals for yourselves and our team, secured financing ,pulled all the  permits and now all that's left to do is build your house.

Simple Right?

Let's get started!

 

 

 

 

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Phase 5 Selections


Phase 5 Selections


Phase 5: SelectionsHere is where you start getting busy.  There are a multitude of decisions you must make during the course of construction. We have split these decisions up, to allow you to make them a few at a time, instead of all at once.  Some of these deadlines may seem early or arbitrary but, historically, the first three take the longest and the homeowner often agonizes over them. However, the information we gain from these three selections is vitally important since most of your home’s framing and mechanical work are based on these early selections.

Often this process and the sheer number of choices can seem overwhelming. We suggest employing the services of a designer to help you navigate through the process. You can hire your own or we can make suggestions of designers with whom we have successfully worked with in the past.

 On the bright side, here is where you leave your fingerprints and your vision makes your new home uniquely yours. Have fun!

 

ALLOWANCES: Just a brief word of warning. Before you fall in love with the latest and greatest European refrigerator or that antique chandelier, we suggest you look carefully through your contract construction budget. We have included “allowances”– suggested price guidelines- based on the plans and specs and are consistent with homes in your size and price range.

These items compare favorably in both price and quality to what we would include if we were building your home for the market.

We have carefully selected a group of suppliers to aid in your selection process. Please visit them before we enter into contract and make sure your allowances meet your expectations. Of course you can exceed these allowances if you just can’t live without that built in espresso machine.

But, this is where most people tend to go over budget. If you exceed the budget guidelines the overage will be assessed plus a 15% charge for overhead and profit.

SELECTION DEADLINES: It is hard to overstate the importance of allowance decisions and how critical they are to the construction timeline. Some of these deadlines may seem early, some may seem arbitrary but, many items must be priced with purchase orders issued well in advance. Some items must be fabricated and shipped and often from great distances. It can take weeks even months for some items to be delivered to the site just in time for installation.

We have divided the deadlines into four stages.

  1. Pre-Construction: Most exterior masonry, entryway and roofing materials and colors. Plumbing fixtures and some flooring items as well. (Due 30 days from execution of the Construction Contract.)

  2. Framing: Decisions on appliances, lighting, architectural stone, cabinets, electronics /security systems, water features, drywall texture, *See details ( Due 30 days after foundation is poured)

  3. Insulation: All manner of tile, slab counter tops, garage doors, and interior trim, interior doors, stair railings and exterior railings, if applicable.(Due at insulation installation and before drywall)

  4. Drywall : Carpet, shower glass, mirrors, interior paint colors, door and cabinet hardware, rain gutters, landscaping, drives and walks *See details  (Due at completion of drywall texture and before cabinets are installed)

We know your time is valuable so we will provide you with a list of approved vendors and their contact information. The schedule should give you plenty of time to choose carefully. Most vendors ask that you make an appointment to insure that you get proper attention and the best use of your time while at the showroom. This allows the vendor to focus solely on you and your project. PLEASE NOTE that only vendors on the list may be used in the construction of your home. We demand and enforce high standards of performance and quality. We also require rigorous adherence to certain qualifications and certifications of our sub contractors. We can’t always be certain that other providers meet those standards. We think you will be able to find everything you need, but if a vendor is unable to provide a product or service that you require, we will find a source from our growing list of specialty vendors. Please let us know how to help.

 

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Phase 6 Construction


Phase 6 Construction


Phase 6: CONSTRUCTION – We make the “sticks and bricks” part as easy for you as possible.

We want you to be as involved as possible throughout the process, and while we strive to make sure that the plans, specs and allowances are very clear, we find that the best tool in our box is clear and constant communication. It is the best path to a successful project.

A word about safety: At most times of the day a construction site is a very busy and dangerous place. There is a long unpleasant list of things that can go very wrong with surprising speed on a job site. We know you are anxious to see the progress, to share the experience with friends and family and assure yourself that everything is proceeding as you expected. However please do not visit the site unaccompanied by your site supervisor or another representative from Randall Custom Homes to answer any questions or concerns you may have. We will be happy to make an appointment after the work day is over, or on a weekend if necessary.

We will require that you wear protective gear; hardhat, safety glasses, and sturdy closed toe shoes, NO HIGH HEELS,NO SANDALS!

 It is likely that the plans for your home have never before been built. That fact ,along with the thousands of parts and pieces, combined with dozens of human beings making hundreds of decisions the likelihood that something will arise to challenge all of us is a given. When this happens, we will work closely with you to find a fair and equitable solution.  Paired with a passion for quality ours is a commitment to open and honest communication. While there will be bad news on occasion, there will always be a good, prompt and fair response.

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First Things First;The details


First Things First;The details


STAGES OF CONSTRUCTION;

From Inception to Completion

  1. Lot clearance and preparing the site:

    Before construction begins, we will meet at your site and discuss the various aspects of site preparation, orientation, views and  site lines, trees to save or remove and your overall expectations and vision for the site. We will discuss how best to enhance and preserve what first attracted you to the property. Previous to this meeting we will have met with local building officials to insure that all permits are secured and all required postings,lot staking and environmental controls are complete and in place.

    2) Foundation

    3) Framing: The abstract and theoretical plans and vision begin to take shape. The flow and scope of the space and the layout of the rooms becomes real. Windows and doors are installed.

    4) Rough-in,

  • HVAC Rough,

  • Plumbing Top Out

  • Electrical Wiring: Along with the specific trade contractors, we will walk you through the layout of the lighting, outlets and switches. This is the time to make sure everything is where you want it to be. Minor location changes can usually be done at this time for a minimal charge. It will be expensive or impossible later.

  • Low Voltage: your telephone, cable TV, Security, Stereo and home theater needs. Our contractor will meet with you on site to discuss the best locations and layout of each room.

    6) Pre- Drywall: City and or third party inspectors will conduct thorough inspections of your home. As they do, they will note any corrections to be made.  Due to the complexity of building a unique custom home, there will almost always be items to correct or documentation to provide to the inspectors. All of the corrections must be made and comments answered before we can proceed. After the initial rush of activity the progress will seem to slow down at this point.  

  • Exterior paint - We will supply up to three exterior color samples and we need your approval before proceeding.

     There will be an extra charge for additional samples.

  • Roof installation

  • Stucco – We will prepare up to three sample finishes .

  • There will be a charge for extra samples. Your approval will be required in order to proceed.

  • Stone, brick or other masonry – We can prepare three samples for you to approve before continuing. There will be an extra charge for additional samples. We need your approval at this point.

  • Insulation - There are many options that provide various levels of efficiency with a range of costs. We have included in your budget a system that provides very good performance and savings. We can discuss other options, pros and cons and pricing as you wish.

    7)  Drywall –

  • If special textures and finishes are required, we will need you to approve a sample before we begin this phase of work.              

  • There will be extra charges for specialty finishes or areas prepared for wall coverings.

     

    8) Cabinets, Trim and Interior Doors

  • Cabinets installed

  • Interior doors installed

  • Interior trim installed – We will meet with you on site to verify pantry and closet shelving options. Simple adjustments can be accomplished at no charge, while major deviation from the approved plans will require a signed change order.

  • Tile – All ceramic tile, back splashes, tile or slab counter tops and tile floors will be installed at this phase.

    9) Interior Paint and Stain: We can prepare up to FIVE samples and will need your approval before applying. Please remember that large wall areas can often appear darker than the manufacturers’ sample.

 We typically include five paint colors and one stain color in your contract. Additional colors are $300.00 each.

    10) Driveway and Walks: We will meet onsite to discuss the final layout of your driveway and walkways, now that we are well into the construction phase, we can better assess the best locations, ease of coming and going and any trees or site conditions that need to be considered.

    11) Set outs.

  • Plumbing fixtures are installed

  • Electrical fixtures, lighting and utility connections.

  • HVAC condensers and grills are installed.

  • Landscaping and plants are installed.

    12) Carpet and final floors.

  • Carpet is installed

  • Glue down wood floors are installed

  • Any pre installed floors are given final finishes

  • All door and cabinet hardware, exterior door locks and bath accessories are installed at this time

    13) Punch out.  Now your home is substantially complete but some miscellaneous deficiencies are being addressed. Paint is being touched up, drywall repairs, cabinets and doors are adjusted and a thorough final cleaning. Our goal is to fully complete your home and all the punch items before you move in because it is obviously harder to correct any defects once you are in your new home.

However due to the many complexities of building a custom home there may be a few minor issues that have to be addressed after you move in. For this to be accomplished, both parties will sign an agreed upon list of the remaining items before the closing.

    14) Final Walk-through. We will schedule a final walk through with you to answer any questions and discuss any issues or concerns.  We will make note of any overlooked or incomplete deficiencies that may remain. The walk-through will be scheduled several days prior to closing. This will give us time to make any final fixes.

15) Closing and move in.  Congratulations! You have worked hard and made hundreds, if not thousands of decisions. Now you are more than ready for moving day!

 Warranty. Your new home comes with a limited warranty which includes the following provisions;

  1. For a period of one (1) year, the materials and workmanship will be free from construction defects.

  2. For a period of two (2) years, the plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems shall be free from construction defects.

  3. For a period of ten (10) years the major structural components shall be free from construction defects.

You will be given a binder at closing containing many of the manufacturer’s warranty documents and a full copy of the warranty provided by Randall Custom Homes as part of your purchase price. Also included in your warranty binder will be a list of the major trade contractors who worked on your home along with their contact information. Please review the documents closely for specific details of the coverage provided.

WARRANTY NOTIFICATION; At closing you will be given a warranty request form. If a warranty issue arises you can fill out the form describing the details of the problem and submit it to either by mail, fax or email. All requests for warranty service must be in writing. Except for emergencies during the first year warranty service will be scheduled on two dates:

  1. ) 45 days after you have been living in your new home

  2. ) After you have been in your home for eleven months.

Although a thorough punch out of your home has been completed, a few minor items may need to be addressed once you have been living in your home. Scheduling for multiple trades on multiple days to do warranty work, and be in and out of your home is problematic and is always inconvenient. To minimize the disruption we will make every effort to set the forty-five day and eleven month review and warranty adjustments on individual days.

Welcome home!