The Difficulty of Bidding From Incomplete House Plans

August 15th, 2018 | Posted in Home Building Tips

The majority of home builders have a portfolio of pre-designed home plans. The builder, their trade contractors and material suppliers have spent many hours estimating those plans to be able to know exactly what it costs to build each plan. To be able to properly estimate the cost of that house plan, they have a complete set of blueprints and a comprehensive construction specifications document that spells out exactly how the home is built and what finishes and details are included. This is the only way to insure an accurate estimate and is a sound business practice in all forms of construction.

The irony of the above is that when a client wants to have their own plan estimated by a builder, they typically refuse to invest the time and money in full blueprints and construction specifications to ensure an accurate estimate. Most times when potential clients approach us to build a custom home they have a simple sketch or a marked up printout of a floor plan they found online. Nothing is to scale and none of the construction details needed to estimate the plan are included. It is impossible for the builder to give an accurate estimate. Yet we do give the client a quote. We make a multitude of assumptions. Since we really do not know enough to properly bid the print out to the trades and material suppliers, we estimate everything higher with
safety factors so that we are covered for the uncertainty. That is not an efficient or accurate process. As a builder, I would never do that with one of our standard plans.

What is the proper way to ensure an accurate estimate for a custom home? Engage with your builder of choice in a design-build relationship. The builder will work with you to design the home, create the blueprint and determine what finishes and features you want in the home to create the construction specifications. The builder will accurately estimate it and provide a meaningful estimate of construction costs. Below is an outline of the typical steps in the design- build process:

STEP 1 – Engage in Design Agreement with Builder
STEP 2 – Create Concept Plan & General Budget
STEP 3 – Create Complete Blueprints and Site Plan
STEP 4 – Work with Builder’s Design Team on Preliminary Selections
STEP 5 – Builder Creates a Comprehensive Estimate for Project
STEP 6 – Execute Construction Contract with the Builder
STEP 7 – Pre-construction Planning & Permitting
STEP 8 – Construction Begins… Dreams Become Reality

By following these steps, you as the client are more informed, and we as the builder are able to give you more accurate information. This makes the whole process more enjoyable for all.

George Davis is the President and founder of ProBuilt Homes. He has over 25 years of construction experience. Contact ProBuilt today at (440) 255-6535 or visit them online at to learn more about how ProBuilt is “building better”.