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Old 07-12-2006, 08:16 PM   #1
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Howdy,

I just received an estimate range of $125.00 to $150.00 per square foot for an addition shell in the Washington DC/Baltimore Maryland corridor. The addition is roughly 650 square feet, with a studded basement level to line up with my ground level walk-out basement, a main level, and attic trusses on the roof. This cost includes the foundation, "basement" slab, framing, vinyl siding and roof. I'm buying the windows and handling the permits. The addition is a boring 16'x40' rectangle.

Maybe it's time for me wake up and realize construction ain't cheap, but boy this really smarts!

Is this cost in the ballpark or should I keep looking.

Thanks.

r/Tom

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Old 07-12-2006, 10:52 PM   #2
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


$125-$150 per square foot is cheap for an addition by today's standards and material and labor costs....especially for DC and environs...

Depending on what goes into you 16X40, a 640sf addition, $125-$150 psf can be a dead cheap giveaway on the contractor's part...especially if it involves a bathroom, kitchen, or other costly add-on...

You can keep looking as you like, but to find prices quoted other than you have been given..unlikley or actually higher...

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Old 07-13-2006, 12:07 AM   #3
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Thanks manhattan42. You said depending on what goes into the addition $125 to $150 is cheap. Well, the contractor is putting nothing into the addition. It's only framing with the exterior finished, and of course the foundation. I would be finishing the addition with cost over and above the contractors estimate.

One of the things that bothers me is that there is a local modular home builder that will put up and entire 840 square foot house with full basement, heating, wiring and finished interior for just about the same cost per square foot. Of course there are the added unknowns of dealing with an existing structure, and maybe my contractor is building in some insurance.

Thanks for your thoughts! r/Tom
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:38 AM   #4
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Sounds very high to me...I think I would explore a few more bids before buying into that expense...I don't care how many people say costs are in line for a given area, but material costs DO NOT vary that much across the country. Unless framers and others are making 200% more then a lower market, there is no reason for a small shell to cost more then a finished custom home..anywhere.

Aftwer talking with other GC's across the land and following many forums on building costs, it seems the market labor and land costs (lots) are the primary reason for seeing skyrocketing home prices. I can build and sell a 1200 sq ft home here for 95k, but the lot only cost me $3000...same home in OKC, 145k....

I used to live in Rockville, Md., and I wonder what 2x4's cost there now compared to what i am paying for them?
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Old 07-13-2006, 07:26 AM   #5
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


I agree with joasis,

We are based in New england and do these kinds of additions, but to a finished completion.
The costs of materials around here and land, as well, are some of the highest in the nation.
I wouldn't mind getting that kind of money for such an addition as you describe.
By the sounds of it, we would definetely beat that price and include all the drywall, wood trim, paint, carpet/flooring, roofing, electrical, etc...

My suggestion also is to get some more estimates...

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Old 07-13-2006, 07:36 PM   #6
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Joasis, AtlanticWBConst,

Thanks for your comments. Given your recommendations, I will get another estimate. The modular home builder I mentioned in my last post also does stick-built and is thought of highly by a couple of my co-workers. I'll post the results.

Joasis - a 2x4x8 at one of the big chains costs $2.26. A precut is $2.21.

Thanks again!

r/Tom
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Old 07-14-2006, 07:20 AM   #7
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Cheaper then we pay here...so go figure.
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Old 07-17-2006, 01:25 PM   #8
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


some folks I know of here in the Seattle area (suburb about 30 miles south) just paid about $122/ft for a 360sq ft add on. no bath or kitchen, but did have a couple other exepensive add ons. I think the slab cost more, two sky lights, and river rock on the outside I think was around $2500 extra or something like that.

I'm hoping to do a large add on soon myself but I'm going up as well so I hope to find a much better cost per ft...
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Old 01-22-2007, 12:21 AM   #9
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Ourzoo, what did you end up going with? What was the final cost for the shell? Currently in same situation in so. california. Thansks.
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:41 AM   #10
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Sort of similar but dated info. In 1998 I paid about $22/sq ft for a second story addition, 700 sq ft. Included Anderson windows, clear grain Western red cedar siding, tyvek, roof and tie-in to house. No foundation as this was going up, not out. A lot of complicated framing due to dormers, angles, etc. $22 was shell only, water tight and finished on the exterior. Contractor paid the permit fee out of his cut. In and out in 9 days. His was not the lowest price. I went higher price for faster start to completion time to minimize the amount of time I had a big hole in my roof!
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Old 01-22-2007, 08:06 PM   #11
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


wow I'd be more than happy to pay $22/sq ft for the upstairs!

I have my official drawings in hand, now it's a matter of having contractor quote it. I hope to have prices for my project very soon. (not to hijack this thread...)
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:10 PM   #12
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Yes, $22 is amazing. Dustin, please keep us updated on what you hear!
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Old 01-25-2007, 09:57 PM   #13
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Hankdoll and all..

Thanks for the comments. I had completely forgotten about this thread since my posting in July. I did a Google search on shell estimates for more information and this thread popped up with recent postings.. what are the chances.

I'm more frustrated now than ever. I've been introduced to three builders since the July post and two seemed enthusiastic at first then didn't take the time to develop even a rough estimate. I even offered to pay them for their time but no luck, they just didn't have any interest. Two days ago I received another estimate for a "finished exterior" shell, no insulation, no wiring, no plumbing, just an empty shell. I was planning to purchase the windows. The addition is about 44'x16' with a full height basement/foundation. The contractor wanted $85.00 per sq-ft. Sounded good but just to be sure I asked if this was a building footprint sq-ft or total floorspace sq-ft. They stated that this would be 44'x16'x2(floors)x$85.00 or $120,000. Guess there's more work than workers around here. I can't believe these costs.

This addition is very uncomplicated. Just a box stuck on the side of a Cape Cod. The "basement" floor level on the addition side of the house is level with the ground (walk-out basement) so the only excavation is for the footings. So the basement is actually framed with siding.

I'm now thinking about breaking this project down and getting foundation and framing estimates on my own to see why this thing is costing so much. I'm about ready to have the plans formally drawn-up ($6,000 which also seems high) and GC this myself.

Thanks for asking! -r/Tom
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Old 01-26-2007, 06:05 AM   #14
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


As A drafter they 6k seems like a good deal Esp. since a Architect or Engineer needs to sign off on them. The One i used to work for Just the Signoff was 1500 (sometimes He'd cut deals for friends)......
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Old 01-26-2007, 01:56 PM   #15
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Addition "shell" cost per square foot - is this reasonable?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ourzoo View Post
I'm more frustrated now than ever. I've been introduced to three builders since the July post and two seemed enthusiastic at first then didn't take the time to develop even a rough estimate. I even offered to pay them for their time but no luck, they just didn't have any interest. Two days ago I received another estimate for a "finished exterior" shell, no insulation, no wiring, no plumbing, just an empty shell. I was planning to purchase the windows. The addition is about 44'x16' with a full height basement/foundation. The contractor wanted $85.00 per sq-ft. Sounded good but just to be sure I asked if this was a building footprint sq-ft or total floorspace sq-ft. They stated that this would be 44'x16'x2(floors)x$85.00 or $120,000.
That seems really pricey and it's probably no more than $30-40k in materials.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ourzoo View Post
Guess there's more work than workers around here. I can't believe these costs.
It's funny because I do compensation for a major southern california real estate developer and home builder and the market is not nearly what it was 8 months ago for construction. I was hoping the current slow down would translate into cheaper building costs for moi...but I've yet to see it. Good luck if you try going it alone.

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