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Estimating During Schematic and Preliminary Design
At times, estimating can be as much an art as it is a science. In its simplest form, an estimate is a list of all costs associated with a project. A thorough estimate might also list everything that it doesn’t include. Since the most common estimating error is omission, the ability to communicate valuable information can be challenging. As a tool to provide information, an estimate can have different forms.
Similar to a feasibility study, the projected cost and scope may be needed to support a project’s viability. A conceptual estimate should provide enough information to allow an owner to determine whether a proposed project is feasible. The best sources of this information come from historical cost records of completed projects. This step is often necessary prior to committing to design or professional services fees. A good conceptual estimate should provide enough information for the owner to have a clear understanding of how much home they can purchase for their money.

When a dimensioned floor plan is available, preliminary cost estimates can be started. The accuracy of the estimate is dependant on the level of detail available. It’s not uncommon to produce several preliminary estimates as the design progresses and decisions are made regarding finishes and features of the home. Unit cost pricing, consultation with trade partners and historical records are beneficial for providing information, and can be used to help the owner establish a reasonably accurate budget during the design phase.
More on estimating...

All Southern Homes Need Dehumidification
Ventilation and Dehumidification are critical talking points, especially here in Florida. Until recently they were discussed little, but the way we build homes is changing and they are now important issues.

A well-insulated home will maintain its temperature during moderate times of the year. As a result, the air-conditioning system will not operate very much. Typical thermostats only measure air temperature, but humidity, air movement and air quality all affect our comfort. Cooking, showers, and even breathing raise the humidity level in the home.
When the humidity level is too high, moisture ceases to evaporate from our skin making us feel clammy and sticky. Even light breezes lose their refreshing feel. High humidity levels support the growth of mold and mildew, and allow the air we breath to carry more impurities not present at lower levels.

Here in Florida during the spring and fall, without the use of air-conditioning, humidity levels will rise in the home causing uncomfortable and potentially even unhealthy conditions. Efficient dehumidification without the added expense of operating the AC or heating system, is the answer to lowering humidity levels and increasing comfort. We have several interesting articles available for view in our Building Science collection if you want to learn more.

To summarize: more insulation + tighter construction = less AC & more humidity. In an upcoming article I’ll discuss ventilation and its role in the southern home.

The Southern Home

Residential Construction Specifications
Specifications compliment a set of construction drawings as the written description of work to be performed on a project. The commercial construction industry has a standardized format for their specifications, but the residential construction does not. As a result, nearly every residential project has uniquely formatted written requirements if they exist at all.
Good specifications should provide all the information required by the builder, the trade contractors and suppliers working on the project. Concise information supports accurate bidding, enhances communication, improves quality, expedites the time schedule and prevents mistakes.
More on Specifications...

Until next time. Take care.
Keith Groninger - MBC CBC CGP LEED-GA
321-439-1047 cell

Groninger Custom Homes, Inc.
2708 Phillips Park Court
Winter Park, FL 32789
321-352-5202 office
321-445-5566 fax

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