The Big Three in Building Costs

We always advocate for getting a contractor involved early in your project to help with constructability input, provide conceptual budget estimates and other milestone pricing feedback, and control costs as the design develops.  There are also three key areas that your development team needs to make decisions that significantly impact project costs. 

One of the big three is structure type.  Multiple factors will go into your decision to go with a wood structure, block, plank, block structure with wood floor trusses, steel framing, or a hybrid.  Some of these factors are building code for your particular project, your project’s location, which will affect wind load requirements, maintenance of the building in the future, long or short-term hold strategy, etc. 

The second of the big three is the mechanical system you choose.  There are many factors to consider, such as cost, future maintenance costs, what your target client may prefer, the system’s life expectancy, etc.  The options may adjust accordingly based on the product you are building; senior living, multi-family, hospitality, etc. 

The third category is electrical and low voltage systems.  Considerations include code requirements for your particular project, form, and functionality of low voltage systems, generator size and fuel type, etc.  Electrical systems can often be overdesigned by the respective team thinking they are designed to code minimums. 

At a minimum, your contractor can supply you with a cost analysis of the various options out there for all of the above, so you know early what the potential cost difference may be.  The value of a contractor with extensive experience in getting involved early and bringing cost-effective solutions to the table before the drawings get too far along is immeasurable in keeping your pre-construction efforts on track from a cost and schedule perspective. 

Don Diedrick

Director of Business Development

The Douglas Company

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