Recently started construction on a project in Marin that proves the need for balancing cost and scope of work from the beginning. A big part of a successful project is understanding what needs to be done, how much it costs, and having sufficient resources to get it done. You need to know what your ratios between cost, quality, and time are, develop your design, and have the right development team onboard to get to an on-time, on-budget finish.
Brought in prior to final bidding, we realized that this project, in a normal market, was going to price out 60% over the resources committed to it. Since we haven’t been in a normal market for over 2 years now, we stood by and waited for pricing—and unfortunately we were right.
Taking 10%, even 20% out of a project to get it to balance with available resources is not that hard, and routinely happens as qualitative increases in one area creep into other areas, driving a contextual upgrade in quality [and cost]. Dialing back qualitative requirements to meet an overall level of quality can save ten percent without looking like the job got whacked.
What was unique here was the amount of the re-balancing needed. Rebalancing a project that is 60% off requires real time costing, and a clear understanding of where we can, and can’t, pull from without compromising what this home wanted to be.
How did we do it?
- Pull in limits of demolition—defer landscaping and site work.
- Cut square footage.
- Focus quality where it is felt—balance finish with how the space will be used.
- Recruit a builder partner right-sized for the project.
Now that the shovels are in the ground, the focus is on building pace and intensity on the project—getting it done in twelve months. Slow jobs simply cost more.