Thank you for your questions. I am grateful to be given the chance to address your concerns.
Q: What is the benefit of our two design stages and your design fee?
A: Our 3-step Mosby Design-Build process is far more intensive than just building a project. We provide and perform the “general contractor” service within our process, but the Step 3 construction phase happens only after the preparation of the Design (Step 1) and Construction Documents & Selections (Step 2) phase.
Our Mosby process is easily described as: Plan the Work & Work the Plan. Our reputation and timely performance comes directly from our thorough preparation. Clear construction documents and selections are the basis of agreement. These documents guide our construction crew to meet the expectations discussed during the two design stages, allowing us to meet your goals. In summary, we offer you an orchestra with a conductor. Please don’t start your orchestra (construction project) without a conductor (planning & understanding).
Thousands of decisions will be made on your project and you will only have to answer some of them. I compare our Mosby process to a marriage or committed relationship: it is improved with constant and effective communication. Not all issues can be discussed, and some surprises will inevitably occur, so a strong understanding of goals and desires within the relationship is critical to reach the shared goal. In a remodel, the goal is on-time completion at the agreed budget creates a happy client.
I also compare remodeling to school work and taking a test. The test is the actual construction project itself, and the planning is the study and homework prior to the test. When the study and homework is thorough then the test goes well. If little or no planning happens prior to the test (construction) then surprise is common, lack of understanding exists, which results in poor performance.
The lack of planning and preparation before construction begins results in many surprises, change orders, crises in the middle of the job, missed completion times, and an increasing budget due to lack of clarity. Without planning, understanding, and selections, there really is no budget or possibility of meeting a completion date. Planning enables positive performance. Lack of planning assures lack of satisfactory achievement.
I heard many desires and expectations from you during our meeting: saving the marble in the bath, leaving the marble shower, replacing some leaking plumbing waste pipes were some of the things we discussed. How that can happen, if that can happen and “what-ifs” are ahead of us in planning this project – way before we begin construction. It is important that all of us study and understand the project, that you understand what is probable, what is possible, what is achievable and what is not achievable.
I propose that our process allows us to “make our mistakes on paper.” Let’s explore and make changes on paper so that the construction crew spends time and your money on accurately constructing the project. The design fee is money very well invested in preparation and understanding.
Q: How do design fees apply to the construction budget?
A: They do not apply. No design fees apply to the construction budget, as that is a separate fee. However the $325 consulting fee that has been paid directly applies to the design fee. This $325 reduces the first phase of design fee. For example, if your design fee is $6,000 it remains that, not $6,325.
Q: When does the hourly engineering rate or fees begin and how is that decision made?
A: This is primarily for exceptions during the design stages. Sometimes our projects evolve into exterior projects like adding exterior decks and patios that affect St. Louis City Historic Preservation Districts and neighborhood indentures that require additional drawings, renderings and sometimes personal presentation to the decision making boards. This hourly rate is for satisfying these regulatory authorities whose time requests vary substantially by project. Another issue we may face in your house is discovering a sagging floor where floor joists were cut so severely during previous remodeling or repairs that structural engineering and correction becomes prudent.
I will say that our design and planning process uncovers most of these “surprises” early on. We have used this hourly rate only a few times in the past two years. That being said, your house is a prime candidate for hidden surprises from a century’s worth of (possible) poor work on past remodels. We don’t like to use this hourly rate any more than you do.
Q: Do we have a nearby client you can speak to and visit their project as an example of our work and professionalism?
A: Yes, there is a home similar to yours in the Central West End that we completed just last year that is descriptive of our skill and quality. I am certain they will be proud to share their home and experiences with you. I will provide their contact information with their permission.
Q: Are we willing to use new products that advance sustainability and green practices?
A: Yes, we are an advocate of sustainability. These methods and practices are incorporated into the product choices during the design stage, our disposal and recycling methods during the construction stage and the general respect within our company culture for both people and our environment. We are all inextricably connected.
Our traditional practices for the past 20 years are now being termed “green” and sustainable. We are considered experts in energy conservation and green practices. The green issue is best clarified during our two design stages where an understanding of what is to happen occurs. There are additional costs to some green practices and product selections that affect the final price. These issues are best shared, specified and understood up-front in the design stages. This is another benefit to you with the Mosby Design-Build process.
In summary, I look forward to serving you, and the privilege of working on your historic home. You and the home both deserve a thorough plan, skillful workmanship and an understanding of what is ahead during this project.