Do you charge a fee for the initial in house consultation?

If you own your home or have a ratified contract on a property, we will meet with you at the property to review your scope of work at no cost. We will then draft a proposal outlining your goals and corresponding preliminary design and construction budgets.

How can I best prepare for the in-house design consultation?

Making a list outlining your renovation goals and desires can help us provide you with the best proposal and the most accurate preliminary budget range. Typically, the more information, the better.

If your goals include additions to the house, please have a copy of your building plat for us. This will allow us to perform some preliminary zoning research to determine the shape and size of what will be likely within your rights to build.

While many people just have no idea of what their project is likely to cost or should cost, most people know what they can and cannot spend. Please do not be shy about sharing your construction budget with us. While we understand that this is usually a sensitive issue, ultimately it is in the best interest of everyone to get the number “on the table” as early as possible. With a sense of the budget, we will be better able to help direct you in the most sensible direction to achieve as many of your goals as possible.

Do you do construction for work that is already designed?

Each year we build several projects designed by architects that were retained directly by homeowners. We are happy to review a set of drawings “on our dime” and provide you with a ballpark budget for construction.

How long will construction take?

We will provide you with an estimated timetable for construction. If you have a defined time-frame for construction (for example, if you have a baby on the way or need to move in as soon as possible) we will let you know whether we can realistically achieve the schedule you would like.

Is the construction permit obtained during the design process?

The permit can be obtained and paid for as part of the construction contract. It is up to you. Additional fees will apply if your project requires presentation before Historic, Fine arts, or neighborhood review boards/committees or if it requires a variance or special exception permitting process. Typically, this work is completed during the first phase of the design process.

How important is my involvement and input to the design process?

The homeowner’s earnest engagement in the design process is crucial to a successful project. The more effectively you are able to articulate your wants and needs, the better we will be able to help you. We promise to listen to you and know that your opinion is the one that ultimately matters. Please also listen to the designers and draftsman who have great design insight and years of experience.

What if I want more work after construction begins?

If the homeowner adds or changes the scope of work, this is handled with a change order. The value of the addition (or credit for the deletion) will be provided before the work is completed. There are circumstances when we will provide a change order for unanticipated work due to hidden existing substandard conditions. This could include such conditions as unanticipated termite or other structural damage, deteriorated plumbing, etc.

What is required by law?

In Washington, all contractors who perform work or who advertise or submit bids in this state must be registered with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), post a bond and carry general liability insurance coverage.

  • A general contractor must maintain a $12,000 bond. A specialty contractor, such as a painter, must maintain a $6,000 bond. An electrical contractor must maintain a $4,000 bond. Dissatisfied consumers may pursue restitution by taking civil action in Supreme Court against a contractor’s bond.
  • All registered contractors must carry general liability insurance coverage in the amount of $50,000 property damage and $200,000 public liability or $250,000 combined single limit. (Note: This requirement does not pertain to electrical contractors. Telecommunications contractors must carry $170,000 in general liability insurance.)
  • A contractor must have a current business license, and if the contractor has employees, he or she must have workers’ compensation coverage.
  • A contractor must provide a “Notice to Customer” disclosure statement to you for any residential project with a projected cost of $1,000 or more, and any commercial project of $1,000 to $60,000.

Except for the licensing of electricians and certification of plumbers, there isn’t a competency test to become a contractor in Washington State.

Educational Links

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) | The National Association of Home Builders is a trade association that helps promote the policies that make housing a national priority. Since 1942, NAHB has been serving its members, the housing industry, and the public at large.

Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) | The Building Industry Association of Washington exists to unite those in the building industry in Washington state in their fight against a government that has made this industry among the most regulated in the nation.

Olympia Master Builders (OMB) | The Olympia Master Builders is a professional trade association whose purpose is to improve the construction industry and the business climate in which it operates. Members are dedicated to integrity, craftsmanship, and respect for the consumers, the environment, and one another.

Lewis County Master Builders (LCMB)