Feasibility Holding Pattern

We’ve been doing a lot of legwork but are still in a holding pattern.


We streamlined the last design posted here and submitted it to our contractor (#1).  It came in high.  Not just high, but ugly high.  He suggested that we approach a more experienced home builder.

The more experienced builder (#2) recommended cost cutting measures (aka Value Engineering), so we nixed the exterior stone, changed the 2nd floor and stairs to carpet and all the railings became wood.  His estimate ALSO came in too high.


It wasn’t ugly high though.  Just distastefully high.  It helps that they are part of a conglomerated builders buying group to get highly discounted bulk pricing on commodity items.  (Say conglomerated builders buying group ten times really fast.)

We’ve proposed 3 things and are waiting for a response:

  • Raise our budget to our limit (ugh) and then meet the remaining overage by:
  • Reducing square feet –  Based on the estimate we need to cut 470 s.f.
  • Provide labor and purchase certain items direct, and see how they effect the estimate.

Since this is an unconventional approach and requires additional up-front time and risk from them (without any guarantee of the job with us), we have no idea if they’ll even consider the proposal.

A small voice in the corner of my mind is getting increasingly louder, telling me to General Contract for ourselves.  I’ll talk more about that if it becomes our evident direction.  In the mean time, we wait.  (While talking to other architects that have GC’d their own homes, and accruing a list of suppliers and subcontractors… just in case.)

4 thoughts on “Feasibility Holding Pattern

  1. I’m in the process of building a somewhat modern house. I tried hiring a contractor but it was to much. So, I’ve done it myself. My back ground is engineering – so i’m not afraid of plans or numbers. But I had no idea how to do it when I started. here is a link to my all concrete house: https://picasaweb.google.com/117642875665464847036/PicturesAndVideosOfTheHouse?authuser=0&feat=directlink

    I’m at $68/ft right now and expect to finish at 75-80 (give or take). 3000 AC sqft for 240K. The overhangs and garage add a lot of UN-inhabited space.

    • William- Thanks for dropping by and speaking up! You’re project is much more modern than ‘somewhat’ (maybe even more modern than ours?) and I’m drooling! Great work. I have a ton of questions if you’ll entertain a few. I’ll take them to e-mail.

  2. When you say ‘experienced builder’, do you mean experienced with contemporary/modern construction and design or rather just experienced in general? I’m wondering if there is a lack of experience among builders when it comes to constructing contemporary designs. Hope it all works out for you!

    • Good question, and yes to both parts. The 2nd builder we are talking to has done 12-20 homes annually for the last 15 years or so, and more importantly, the bulk of those are the contemporary modern homes in the redevelopment areas of downtown Indy. GC #1 and I discussed the pitfalls of a conventional custom home builder (e.g., the more complicated roof lines the better type homes) and agreed that was probably not the best way to go.

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