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Carpenters on the Level


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Mobile Office # (978) 808-3159
7:30 am - 5:00 pm  M-F

 8:00 am - 12:00 pm   Sat

Email: Mike@carpentersonthelevel.com

Web: www.carpentersonthelevel.com


Professional Remodeling & General Contracting Services “ Serving north eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire” Mobile Office# (978) 808-3159

MA Lic# 049281

H.I.R. # 104038

Fully Insured


      What is Design/Build?

   Design/Build is when the contractor handles the entire remodeling process from design through completed construction of a project. In many cases hiring one firm instead of two helps to streamline the process, and ensures optimum communication at all levels from start to finish.

    How does Carpenters on the Level Design/Build process work?

   We and the homeowner sign a design agreement to work together to attempt to design, scope and cost a remodeling project within the budget range discussed in the initial meeting. After an exploratory meeting, a preliminary design is drawn and presented to the homeowner. Revisions are made if requested, and, once the plans are approved by the client, a proposal is prepared. This process includes a visit to the worksite with trade contractors if needed, a written comprehensive scope of work, a firm price and a length of job. Upon acceptance, a construction contract is signed. This process creates "one stop shopping" for the homeowner. More importantly, it allows him/her to get to know us and what it is like to work together well before the project is underway.

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   Will Carpenters on the Level work with us if we have our own architect?    

   We are happy to work with your design professional. In fact, Carpenters on the Level collaborative approach can add value in the planning process. By engaging our firm early on, you and your architect can get the benefit of a remodeler's feedback and input before the plans are completed. Keep in mind that an architect may offer an estimated cost for the project but often do not completely understand the entire process and costs associated with it.

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   How much is my project going to cost?

   It goes without saying that this needs to be known before the project moves forward. There are many factors that need to be taken into account to be able to generate a cost for your project. First and foremost, there is no such thing as a "cost per square foot" in remodeling. This is explained below in another FAQ.
Most remodeling projects are custom as they are designed to fit your home and also designed with your needs in mind. Here is a link to a
“Cost verse Value” article that is updated yearly that may be of benefit to get an idea of a project cost along with the return on the investment.

    Let's look below at some of reasons for cost differences.

It will cost more than you thought it would when you first started thinking about the project. The more you learn the more you realize how many different things need to be done to make the project what you really want. As the planning proceeds the scope of the work expands, through knowledge of products, ideas from the Internet, and the "while we are at it" lets also add that master walk-in closet (example).

Work will need to be done that you never anticipated when you first decided the remodel should happen. For instance, if you are planning on having your kitchen remodeled, you will probably need to have a new electrical panel  installed to accommodate all the new "dedicated" circuits current code requires. A large addition project may require either a separate heating system or replacing the existing unit.

What level of finishes and fittings do you want to have in your remodel? A kitchen can be created with sheet vinyl flooring, prefabricated cabinets, plastic laminate (Formica) countertops, and minimal additional lighting. The same floor plan can be realized with floor of ceramic tile on a mortar bed, custom cabinets, granite or solid surfaced countertops, and more effective lighting. The difference in costs would be tens of thousands of dollars but both jobs are "a kitchen remodel".

There are numerous reasons for the overall project cost, and through a design build process with a qualified remodeling contractor you can make cost effective, informed decisions.

If you are interested Remodeling Magazine publishes an annual "Cost vs. Value" survey with national project cost averages. Just click this link to see it........

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   How much per square foot does it cost?

   This is one question that has been asked quite often and when I say the project can't be estimated that way, I often get a funny look. Then I explain it and it becomes quite clear. Lets take an addition project for example. This one will be a 20' x 24' family room off the end of an existing home. The project totals 480 square feet. Here is room "A" and room "B" with the same square footage, but certainly not the same project or addition.

Room "A" has 2x4 walls, built over a crawl space, 6 double hung windows, flat ceiling, carpet on the floor, and vinyl sided on the exterior.

Room "B" has 2 x6 walls, built over full basement with access from existing basement, 6 double hung windows with circle tops above, cathedral ceiling, gas fireplace with mantel surround, split ductless AC unit, cherry hardwood flooring, and sided with clear cedar clapboard on the exterior.

It is clearly evident that the overall project costs for the two projects are vastly different.

All remodeling projects are estimated through unit costs and component costs and not a square foot cost.

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   Should I remodel or move?

   You definitely want to ask this question before your remodel project starts! Here are some things to consider.

Do you like your property, your neighbors, your street, and the commercial district and/or school that is nearby? These are important points to consider if you are thinking of remodeling. If there is a real problem with some or any of these conditions consider moving. No matter how much work you do to your house, these problems will not be corrected.

What is your house worth now and what would it be worth after the remodeling work is done? Talk to a real estate agent. Invite him/her to come through the house and respond to your ideas. You want to know this information before you get too far along in your planning.

How long will you live in the home after the remodel is done? If you are going to live there more than 5-7 years you will get the benefit and satisfaction of living in a space that you have personally helped improve to suit your needs better. Everyday you will experience the joy of having improved your home. If you are only going to live there  a few  years or less, you may not want to go through the expense and the process.

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   Can I work along side of you to reduce costs?

   Our insurance carrier won't allow that. However, some homeowners "finish" their projects themselves, after we are off site. We've worked with clients who have done things like painting and flooring after we have gone. We are happy to accommodate your needs.

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   What happens if something goes wrong?

   You are very concerned that something is not going to go right. What are you going to do when that happens? No one is perfect and no one's work is flawless, and things don't always go as planned, but it's the next step that can separate the desired contractors from the ones that make the six o'clock news.

A reasonable expectation for you to have of your remodeler is that he will not just bring problems to your attention, he will bring solutions. Expect the solution to be carefully considered and have any cost ramifications connected to it thoroughly addressed. A good remodeler is also going to be doing a thorough  job of checking the quality of his own work and with that, keep concerns to a minimum.

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   What does the Law require on all contracts over $1,000.00 in Massachusetts? All contracts  must be in writing and contain the following language.........reprinted from www.mass.gov 

(1)  the complete agreement between you and the owner and a clear description of any other documents which are a part of the agreement

(2) the full names, federal ID number, if applicable, addressed (not post office box addresses) of the parties, your registration number, the name(s) of the salesperson(s) involved, if any, and the date the contract was executed by the parties;

(3) the date on which the work is scheduled to begin and the date the work is scheduled to be substantially completed;

(4) a detailed description of the work to be done and the materials to be used;

(5) the total amount agreed to be paid for the work to be performed under the contract;

(6) a time schedule of payments to be made under the contract and the amount of each payment stated in dollars, including all finance charges if any. Any deposit required to be paid in advance of the start of work shall not exceed the greater of one-third of the total contract price or the actual cost of any material or equipment of a special order or custom made nature, which must be ordered in advance of the start of the work , in order to assure that the project will proceed on schedule. No final payment shall be demanded until the contract is completed to the satisfaction of the parties.

(7) all parties must sign the contract;

(8) there shall be a clear and conspicuous notice stating:

       a. that all home improvement contractors and subcontractors shall be registered and that any inquires about a contractor or subcontractor relating to a registration should be directed to:

Director, Home Improvement Contractor Registration Program, P.O. Box 871, Taunton, MA 02780-0871 Phone: (508)-821-9375.

       b. your registration number must be on the first page of the contract;

       c. the owner’s three-day cancellation rights under MGL c. 93, §48; MGL

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   Why hire a Massachusetts contractor for your home in New Hampshire?

   First let me say that this is in no way a knock or put down on any contractor in NH. It is just much easier to qualify a contractor from Massachusetts than from NH. There are no state regulations or requirements in NH to remodel your home. In the state of Massachusetts, all general contractors are required to have a license which they must pass a test to obtain and also have what is known as a home improvement registration. Building departments are also requiring proof of insurance and also where debris and trash will be disposed of prior to issuing a building permit.

F.A.Q. - We Will Be Glad to Answer any questions or concerns that you may have