As builders in Prairie Village, Kansas we spend the majority of our time focused on substantial residential additions to add second or third stories to existing homes or to expand out the back of 1950s era footprints to include larger, more open kitchens or a new master suite. While we are always pleased to work with an architect as part of an integrated design process where the builder’s input helps to drive constructible details and maintain budget goals, we find that this is the exception rather than the rule. We also perform some design work in-house but more often are invited to competitively bid on larger projects where design is complete and the assemblies are specified.
These situations can be frustrating for us as we feel it is our responsibility to offer not just a price, but to provide our expertise as well. Once a client has worked with their architect to reach a design through multiple meetings, various drafts and revisions, I don’t feel it’s appropriate to open discussions by suggesting changes and I want to instead respect the work of the architect to that point. In many cases, the client is already in love with what is in those plans and is coming to us with the expectation that we will love it too, or at least make it happen within their budget.
Since we self perform much of our work to maintain our high quality standards and are licensed in all the trades, we are almost never the low bidder and as such I’m slow to suggest costly performance upgrades before securing the contract. We are very transparent with our philosophy and the high priority we place on environmental responsibility through building efficient, comfortable, durable homes, but I always start by doing what the…
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