Wednesday, December 26, 2012

With Pencil in Hand

Today, in the age of the computer, the architectural field has been flooded with dull, uninspired CAD drawings. Perhaps it is time to look back at the drawing board. A true artist's love for sketching and an innate sense of balance is not rendered with the computer. Creative architects who produce beautiful freehand sketches often end up seeing their projects built with stunning results.

I have been receiving more and more recognition from Homeowners and cit building officials with my freehand sketches and set of plans: "Easy to review and understand" - "A joy to plan check" - "more accurate than CAD drawings;" as old fashioned as it may seem, more people are respecting the "old" that's alive with the new housing trends (of course, we do use computers too).

-Bert Notch at the drawing board

Friday, December 7, 2012

Estimating Construction Cost

When estimating the total cost of building a home, one should not forget to include upfront cost like lead base paint testing and asbestos testing. Plus the cost surveying and lot analysis plan with soils and geology test and reports. All this will up the ante by approximately $500.

Then your construction pricing should include plan design fees, architectural services, and structural engineering calculations all at an additional cost accounting for up to approximately $10 a square foot.
Title 2A (Energy plans & calculations) will sum your price to build a house up another $500.

Include any retaining walls that may really up your construction cost with additional engineering fees. And your general contractor estimating cannot be detailed without blueprints. The average sets' of house plans will run about $400 for all sub-trades bidding (16 sets total).

At this point you are ready to submit your project to the planning and building department. Be prepared for these fees. Plan check fees, Grading fees, School taxes, Parks and Rec. fees, engineering fees, and others. After all this you are now ready to pay for your long waited permit cost. General permit, Electrical permit, Plumbing permit, Mechanical permit, Parking/ street bond and others.

Finally you can break ground. Getting you to this point will cost you approximately 15-20% of your construction cost. So if your construction cost is $200,000 figure an additional $35,000 + utility connection fees.

Go to  and do your own free construction estimating... If you need help call 818-662-5698 for assistance.