Good Contractors Add Value
Written June 16, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Architecture
Building a new home or remodeling an existing one should be a fun and rewarding process. If you are considering building a home or remodeling, the quality of your experience will be largely dependent on your approach to the project and the decisions you make. Besides hiring an Architect, one of the most important decisions a homeowner needs to make on a project is hiring a good General Contractor.
While an Architect can easily design a home from abroad, it is almost always a good idea to hire a local Contractor if possible. Good Contractors generally have their own tried and true framing crews, as well as access to the best available local subcontractors and materials. If cost is an issue, and it almost always is, buying local can be a big cost savings (assuming they meet your quality criteria). On the other hand, a good Contractor may know of a great cabinet maker who is two hours away but is well worth the price.
A Contractor can also help you get the best value for your construction dollar. Not only is the quality better, good contractors also stay current on the latest construction materials and technologies. Along with the architect, they can select materials and systems that enhance your home without breaking the budget.
A bad Contractor may provide cost savings in many cases, but in the long run they may cost even more money, not to mention your piece of mind. Some horror stories I’ve heard and have sometimes witnessed from under qualified or disreputable Contractors:
- Building into the setbacks
- Building onto somebody else’s property
- Building a home at the lowest elevation in the center of a property, creating an unintended moat around the home
- Houses that leak
- Missing insulation
- Insulation that is not the specified R-value
- Walls that aren’t straight when they’re supposed to be
- Framing studs farther apart in an effort to reduce material costs, and then using those materials on other projects
- Gaps between adjoining materials when they are specified to be connected
- Contractor not insured
- Building differently than the plans specify without consulting with the homeowner and architect
- Building without a permit
A good Architect who is involved in the project’s Construction Administration should catch most of these issues before they become problems.
Good contractors will also add value by increasing the resale value of homes. A custom home that is built by a contractor known as the best in town will certainly sell for a higher price than one built by a Contractor known for building low end spec homes. A smart buyer who uses a home inspector before purchasing will hear the same thing pertaining to the quality of construction and the lack of problems. Good contractors want to uphold their reputation.
I believe it is a good idea to get a Contractor on board as soon as possible after hiring the Architect. This gives you more time to look at the different candidates, and if there is a contractor that stands out and you’re pretty sure you want to hire them, they can provide input during the design process. A good Contractor can provide valuable insight on the costs and availabilities of various materials and methods of construction, and may also provide creative ideas in brainstorming sessions with the Owner and Architect. Frank Lloyd Wright was an egotist, but most architects these days understand the value of collaboration.
Contractors can also add value by giving you some budget numbers during the initial design of the project, and update these as the design progresses. During the pricing of the project, he (or she) will thoroughly review the plans and notify the architect of any discrepancies or missing items. An honorable contractor who has done a careful review will then price out the project with a firm number, and will adhere to that number, barring changes made by the Owner or Contractor. Some Contractors will give a low price to get a job, and then may try to add 25% onto the costs of a house through overlooked items to generate a nice profit. These are often in the form of Change Orders. A good Architect should be able to minimize Change Orders by providing quality, thorough drawings and specifications. I will add an article on how to hire a Contractor in the near future. See also Good Quality Architecture Adds Value To Your Home.
John Hendricks, Architect AIA
Hendricks Architecture specializes in residential design and is located in Sandpoint, Idaho. We specialize in residential design, most specifically in the design of mountain style homes and cabins, though we have successfully designed in several different styles. We take a fresh approach to every project, making every home unique, and enjoy designing above and beyond the Owner’s expectations (in a good way).
Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture Blog.
Previous Post: Northwest Mountain Home Developments
Northwest Mountain Home Developments
Written June 6, 2009 by John Hendricks, Architect AIA • Filed Under Mountain Architecture
, Resort Areas
As an architect in a mountain resort community, I’m often asked, “What are the big mountain home developments in the Northwest?” Generally, in terms of mountain homes, I think of the Northwest as Idaho, Western Montana, Western Wyoming, Washington and Oregon. I won’t include Canada for the sake of keeping the list down. You can see our recent blog Mountain Home Developments in British Columbia for that, and include areas in Whistler, BC and Canmore, Alberta on the list. So here are some of the main mountain home developments in the Northwest.
Sandpoint, Idaho is a resort area located on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, the biggest lake in the Northwest. Homes and properties surrounding the lake are just starting to be bought and turned into more upscale luxury homes. The Idaho Club is one example of a private mountain home community in Sandpoint, and has a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort has a few mountain neighborhoods, including The Ridge, The Spires, and Mountainside at Schweitzer. Dover Bay, The Crossing at Willow Bay, and Salishan Point are lakefront developments along the Pend Oreille River.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho boasts Black Rock and Gozzer Ranch on opposite sides of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Black Rock is a private lakefront community and has a Jim Engh designed golf course. The course is often mentioned as one of the finest golf courses in the Northwest, and the Clubhouse is beautiful. Gozzer Ranch has a Tom Fazio designed course. Galena Ridge in Kellogg has a mining theme, set on a golf course below Silver Mountain Resort.
Sun Valley, Idaho has been around forever, so there are big mountain homes everywhere, sometimes mingled with smaller homes. Sun Valley has the original ski resort, and includes the cities of Sun Valley, Ketchum and Hailey. Basically the closer you get to Sun Valley Resort the more upscale they are. A few examples of development occurring on new lots are White Clouds on the northern edge of Sun Valley Resort, and Independence, located about a mile east and up the hill from Sun Valley. White Clouds includes 30 home sites at the northern edge of Sun Valley Resort, bordered by the Sun Valley golf course and open space.
In Western Montana, The Wilderness Club in Eureka, north of Whitefish is a big development with a Nick Faldo designed course. In Whitefish, the area is centered around Whitefish Mountain Resort (formerly Big Mountain), and Whitefish Lake. Iron Horse has been around for a few years and the homes have the rugged, rustic Montana look. Smaller, newer neighborhoods include The Homestead and Elk Highlands. Saddlehorn, in Big Fork on Lake Kalispell is another big development.
The Ranch Club, six miles northwest of Missoula, Montana, has a Les Furber designed course, with 198 custom homesites on 343 acres, 72 townhome & condominium sites, and 95 club lodge sites. In Hamilton, Montana, south of Missoula, is Stockfarm. Stockfarm has a Tom Fazio golf course among it’s 2,600 acres. East of there, Rock Creek Cattle Company outside Deer Lodge has 3 to 110 acre homesteads, and a Tom Doak golf course.
Big Sky, Montana is well known for the Big Sky Resort in the Spanish Peaks. The Big Sky area includes The Yellowstone Club, The Club at Spanish Peaks and Moonlight Basin, all well known for rugged Montana mountain style homes. The Yellowstone Club is an ultra-exclusive, invitation only private community with it’s own ski area and Tom Weiskopf designed golf course, all on 13,400 acres. The Club at Spanish Peaks also has a Tom Weiskopf designed golf course, as well as private ski lifts to Big Sky Resort. Moonlight Basin is on the north side of Lone Mountain, and the ski resort also accesses Big Sky Resort with the “Lone Peak Ticket”. Moonlight Basin also includes a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course.
Northwestern Wyoming includes Grand Teton National Park, and directly to the north, Yellowstone National Park. The Grand Tetons are one of the most beautiful, picturesque mountain ranges around. Jackson, in the Jackson Hole valley, has always been well known for the rustic mountain resort architecture. Mountain style subdivisions are all over, including Spring Creek Ranch. The Bar BC Ranch has 35 to 53 acre ranch sites on 1,400 acres with world class trout fishing, along with views of the Teton Range, Yellowstone National Park, and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Amangani is a newer development with more contemporary mountain architecture.
Washington mountain style neighborhoods include Suncadia Resort and Tumble Creek (formerly known as Trapper’s Creek) in Roslyn, a town a little over an hours drive east of Seattle in the Cascade Mountains. Suncadia is an eco-friendly resort and is the largest 3-star built-green resort community in Washington State. The lodge has 254 luxury guest suites and penthouses. The Methow Valley is also a popular spot for mountain style architecture, and is a very popular cross-country skiing area. One of the trails stretches for 120 miles, one of the longest XC trails in the world.
In Oregon, Bend is becoming a well know spot for the mountain style. Bend is the home of Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors. Jeld-Wen owns several communities, including Suncadia and Galena Ridge described above. They also own Brasada Ranch near Bend. Probably the most upscale resort in Bend is Pronghorn, which includes Signature Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio designed golf courses. The latter has one of the most unique holes in the world – a par three, eighth hole that includes a 45-foot canyon and exposed lava tube.
Hendricks Architecture specializes in the design of luxury mountain style homes and cabins. While it is not the only type of work we design, most of the homes we’ve completed are in mountain resort areas throughout the West. Most of our clients are looking for mountain style homes, often fairly rustic. Feel free to peruse photos and renderings of mountain architecture.
John Hendricks, Architect AIA
Hendricks Architecture, mountain architects located in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Subscribe to Hendricks Architecture Blog.
Previous Post: A Great Time To Build
Leave a Comment