Need help with Renovation Estimates

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Topic: Need help with Renovation Estimates

Construction February 19, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Need help with Renovation Estimates

Hi,  we are getting estimates to renovate on our multifamily brownstone.  We are only renovating the garden floor, 1st floor, and 2nd floor.  the most work to be done on the garden floor since it will be a rental.  also installing central air for the 1st and 2nd fl and possible installing units for the garden and 3rd floor.   The estimates that we recieved are ridiculous and i did not expect it to be so high. It has been over a month and we have seen many contractors and only one contractor sent us an estimate.  The other contractors either threw out a number at us or told us they will send it over and never did.   I am looking for someone who can advise on the estimates and advise on where we can cut corners.  i can post the list of the things that we need to get done, if that helps.  

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You post doesn’t have enough information on what sort of renovation you’re doing.  Are you gutting those 3 floors, or leaving the layouts as is?  If you’re leaving the layouts as is, are you redoing kitchens and bathrooms?  Refinishing floors?  Are you upgrading electrical and plumbing infrastructure, or just replacing fixtures?  Etc, etc.  I don’t think you need to post every detail of your plans, just general guidance on the scope before anyone can chime in on a price range.
James Cleary Architecture

we are only gutting the garden floor and adding some walls to the first part of the garden floor to make a laundry room and mechanical room. taking out the oil furnace and installing heating and cooling units for the garden floor rental. The rental layout will stay the same except moving the stove over.  installing new everything in the rental.  1st floor: layout will stay the same, adding a spiral staircase to turn 1st and 2nd floor into a duplex, fixing some walls and cielings, sanding and staining floors, breaking down an easy wall and expanding on kitchen (installing new kitchen changing the layout of the kitchen) and new tiles, getting rid of a window.  keeping the bathroom layout the same.  2nd floor:  sanding and staining floors , getting rid of a door, expanding on a wall to make closet space, expanding bathroom and changing the layout of the bathroom ( most likely keeping the waste pipe in the same place)  1st and 2nd floors will have central air.  hallways in the main entrance and staircase:  taking out the carpet and installing a new carpet or sanding and staining the floors.  Eletrical will have to be upgraded as well.   James, will it be easier to speak with you over the phone or privately through email?

If all the contractors you have met have had similar pricing (that is beyond your budget) it sounds like you may need a construction manager who can create a plan on how to eliminate part of the scope while still achieving your needs and sticking to your budget.

Without seeing drawings or knowing the full scope, $200K-$250K – not including architect/engineer fees.

” The estimates that we recieved are ridiculous and i did not expect it to be so high. ”
 First question:  Why do the estimates seem ridiculous  ( based on what )

Second question:  What did you expect the #’s to be   ( based on what )
- Did you get a general price per sft, based upon materials quality, builder reputation, timeframe, etc…

if you want detailed bid that are realistic, spend some money on architectural drawing and the proper engineering.  when you have something on paper, you will get accurate numbers.
make note that there are several new codes regarding sprinklers.  most concerning is that three family and above will be required to have full sprinkler systems by 2018 (FDNY code being enforced by DOB).
there are several triggers and there are requirements for one and two family homes as well.

I can give you some guidance with any exterior restoration., as I estimate a lot of brownstone repairs. I won’t mind stopping by to take a look and help you out. You can call me at 917.502.5704.

With that scope of work, you’re talking about a substantial renovation.  So the question is whether it is the bids, or your expectations that are off the mark.  I’ve dealt with both.  We’ve had projects that were built for $500K, but some of the bids were for $1M, and I’ve had potential clients who insist that their $250K renovation should cost $100K.
I agree with pig-three that you need a complete set of drawings/specs to have any hope of getting accurate prices.  Otherwise there is too much room for interpritation by contractors and you’ll never get an apples to apples comparison.
homebuyer, if you’d like to talk, give me a call in the office at your convenience.
James Cleary Architecture

I learned the hard way that many contractors won’t take you seriously without construction drawings from an architect and a bid package, ultimately we hired an architect to draw up plans to bid out to contractors.  But some contractors consider themselves design people and don’t feel that drawings are needed, and will do that design type work themselves.  If you don’t want an architect, find a contractor who will give you quotes without drawings.
I agree with the poster who said that more information would be needed to better understand the project and I saw some #’s thrown out there as possible prices, but really I suspect you could do the work for a lot more or less depending on the contractor.  But if you do end up getting quotes and they are in a certain range that’s probably around the right price range and you might have to lower your expectations if those #’s sound crazy.  lower your scope of work, etc.  our architect told us that most people want a job that’s done well, quickly and for a good price – but in reality, you can get only 2 of those 3 – so choose your preference, slow good quality and cheap , faster but more pricey etc.  But obviously first you need to get some more bids

Its better to have a plan what are you going to do?make a list and you may get minimum 3 estimate from the licensed contractor.( ofcourse make sure they have insurance before you sign up the contract.)  I hope you will be able to decide who you sould go with.We have M.Hamid Construction Co. for complete renovation of our house and they did nice job within timeframe we gave them.we are verry happy with the work they have done within our budget and timeframe.You may reach them at 718-633-1500. 

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