Construction Plan Review
A strong, detailed and well-coordinated plan is the foundation of a successful project. Simply stated, success is a beautifully designed home that is built within the framework of a budget and schedule approved by the owner at the start of the project. Having this work complete at the start of a project and understanding the definition of “complete” is critical. From the day a project breaks ground, critical information is required to keep a smooth work flow that supports the schedule . Too often homeowners start their project in the excitement of starting only to find the project come to a halt due to lack of information. Our job is to assist in obtaining the design, engineering, HOA approvals, etc. needed to communicate to the general contractor on the client’s behalf. Setting clear expectations and structure at the start of a project is a must. This is common practice in commercial building, but too often homeowners depend on their builders to play the role of architect, designer or engineer. A good Owner’s Agent makes sure all of this work is complete and coordinated for the builder to perform. This oversight of the process saves immeasurable cost in unforeseen expenditures and time delays, and defines the profitability of the project. Homeowners who have built severalcustom homes understand the key value of this critical stage and support their team in this effort.
Project Budget – Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM)
With a commitment to the creation of a detailed budget or ROM, a clearer understanding of the project’s design documents and design intent is facilitated. A deeper understanding is transferred from the designing entities and homeowner to the builder and a process of prioritizing the funds for a budget can occur. Regardless of how wealthy a client may be, we always assume a budget must be created for their review and acceptance. Assuming a client does not have a budget is not wise for any building process and can seriously cloud expectations of the many parties involved. If handled thoroughly, the budget is one of the most critical stages of the build process. A wise homeowner will fund this project and allow time for its completion and careful review. Our 25 years of experience designing, managing and building exclusively high-end custom homes allows us to offer significant cost-saving suggestions through alternate resources, design details, and execution techniques to scheduling efficiency and management review. Every home must not only be beautiful and well-built, it is equally important that the client feels that they have received invaluable support and tangible value in the construction process.
Construction Monitoring & Meeting Documentation
Solanna’s management services will provide the client or their business managers with detailed task tracking to create an environment of accountability by all parties. We utilize an industry on web-based gold standard, Procore, for all aspects of project oversight. Communication is critical and online platforms are invaluable to make sure all parties are on board with the tasks and expectations ahead.
Change Order Review & Management
Let’s face it. A beautiful custom home will have unforeseen costs, especially if the project is an extensive remodel. Looking ahead of the build process to fairly estimate the value of change order is the support that Solanna brings the process. Solanna typically functions as the design team on our projects. Ensuring that our design is bid out clearly and executed in a value driven environment is something we take great pride in our practice. It makes the designs we have passionately created come to fruition on our unique projects. In this role we typically engage in scope creation as well as sub-contractor selection and bid/ estimate review. This ensures that the design is fully understood and “contingency funds” not included in estimates.
The Building Contract Review & Negotiation
This document communicates the expectations of the many different players of a custom home project. It is very important that it is fully reviewed by both legal counsel and your management team. Solanna brings negotiating skills and a seasoned knowledge of construction industry documentation to provide an advantage for our clients. Our view is this, the contract dollar amounts on our projects are worth millions of dollars. This is leverage that should be brought to the table to extract advantage for our clients.
Oversight of the procurement schedule to ensure that material is shipped, reviewed for quality and stored properly is often mismanaged. This critical link in the schedule is monitored months in advance to keep the project moving as scheduled.
Design Team Selection
Often times the design is roughly communicated to the homeowner who may or may not fully understand the end product or the completeness of the building package before them. Projects are far too often under designed either because the homeowner did not realize a need to fund the process or because a builder communicated that they would “handle it.” Design team selection is equally as important as contractor selection. The quality of your design team selection ( lighting designer, a/v low voltage, pool, landscape, theater, acoustic,…) will directly reflect the quality of the building contract documents. Involving Solanna before the entire design team is selected allows us to give our recommendation on the members of the team which will communicate the vision through plans. Accurate and well-coordinated design documents will help to mitigate extra costs associated with design deficiencies. Well documented design in the building of a custom estate is a cost that is minor in comparison to a build process lacking in the direction of a strong plan set.
Systems & Warranties
What makes a home healthy and comfortable is often overlooked in the residential building environment. The building’s systems (HVAC, water filtration, electrical, plumbing, security, etc.) is an important design element on a project and must be coordinated with the architecture and interior design efforts. Careful oversight to ensure that design is not compromised to accommodate these systems requires careful monitoring. Ensuring that warranties are honored and systems perform properly, produce a functional home that is easier to manage , and is healthy and comfortable for the family.
Quality control is a rigorous ongoing process throughout the project and not just a function of a final punch list. If work is not executed per the construction documents, or if the work is not an acceptable standard, notice must be made to correct the problem immediately to keep the project on schedule and quality expectations met prior to payments to contractors or their subs. A good general contractor welcomes this process,- especially in the case of an absent homeowner out enjoying life (as they should.) Delegating this to an agent hired on their behalf provides this needed communication important to the success of the project.
It is important to ensure that stakeholders of the construction project are living up to the expectations set in the initial contract. This service typically encompasses the entire construction timeline, as we diligently monitor and enforce contractual requirements. Ensuring total invested capital is equal to the value of the project .
Change Order Management
Ultimately, almost all projects will have change orders. A change order is when a contract must perform work at an extra cost on the project which was not expected. During pre-construction, Solanna advises on a contingency for these change orders, which is a line item in the budget. During construction, we studiously analyze each change order for more cost effective alternates, as well as ensure each of the costs are founded and honest.
Payment Requests- Review of Pay App
Only paying for goods you have received, or work that has been completed, seems like a basic concept in construction. However, often payment requested is not equal to the current equity of the project. Maintaining the balance between work completed and capital dispersed is integral in the financial health of your project, as it leaves you with the least amount of risk possible. We review every payment application, ensuring you are only paying for work which is equal to the equity of the building.
Closing the Project
Ensuring a smooth and complete project is a task that can be very challenging even if clear expectations are communicated throughout a project. Manufacturers maintenance and operating manuals must be collected, punch lists finalized and contracts must be paid out to complete the project and avoid liens on the property. Solanna can manage this to ensure the property is handed over to be enjoyed by the homeowner and managed efficiently and effectively by their house management staff.