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Old 06-08-2009, 03:49 PM   #1
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Who should I use to get cost estimates from?
1. Tearing out a load bearing wall and raising ceilings within three combined rooms.
2. Converting a 1000 sq ft. cottage into a day care facility.

My wife thinks that a General Contractor should be able to give us pricing without paying for a Architector.

Any suggestions?

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Old 06-08-2009, 07:54 PM   #2
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A GC should be able to give you cost estimates
Just be sure you know everything that you want them to do
Plans may need an engineer stamp on the size of the beam

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Old 06-08-2009, 08:01 PM   #3
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architect/engineer is for drawing up the plans, i thought, not giving estimates on a job....?

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Old 06-08-2009, 08:15 PM   #4
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There are many forms of beams...steel I, steel/wood combo, wood laminated, truss, Boxed truss, cost and space or height limitations above may dictate which way you go, but have it engineer approved. bill
BTW scuba dave nice avatar there bud!
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Old 06-08-2009, 08:26 PM   #5
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Well some architects/engineers have programs that will calculate the cost of all the materials
But they can't calc the labor

I actually fouind the avatar online years ago
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:02 AM   #6
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The contractor will be the one to give you accurate pricing. Hiring and architect is often a wise move, especially on a larger project. Don't bank on the contractor's competency.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:13 AM   #7
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Most Contractors follow the plans and calculations from an Architect. These are two different "trades" that carryout different jobs. Architects need to be certified, as do their plans. I am sure some contractors have an idea of how much load a beam can carry, but the office that okays the plans before construction have degrees in the field of construction.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:41 AM   #8
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Since, as is almost always the case with first-time posters, you give pretty limited information, this answer may not fit. But it sounds like you are nowhere near ready to even involve a GC.

A couple of years back, I helped with a renovation of a 1,500 ft house for a church school. Someone else's license, but they need dumb, strong and foolishly willing grunts aplenty. So my wife volunteered me.

You would not believe the volumes of compliance we had to wade through just for the design stage. I've been a GC for 26 years, and I know our local residential code almost by heart, but some of the requirements for turning that old house into an acceptable school structure sure opened my eyes.

Before a GC can tell you much of anything about costs, you are going to have to run this whole venture past an architect knowledgeable in such transformations. Trust me, if the GC is not familiar with exactly this esoteric type of work, he can easily get both himself and you behind the eight ball in giving an early quote.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:44 AM   #9
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My last house I drew the basic outline of my old roof & the new roof on yellow legal pad. I brought it to the Inspector & asked what he needed for plans.
He photocopied the sketch, good to go!!
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
My last house I drew the basic outline of my old roof & the new roof on yellow legal pad. I brought it to the Inspector & asked what he needed for plans.
He photocopied the sketch, good to go!!
Likewise for some decking work on my own home. All the head inspector did was sign his name to the pretty picture I brought him. But not so for anything involving children.

Everything in the house had to be tested for material safety and reports filed.
Because of the rise in teacher-on-student molestations and abuse, the entire structure had to be opened up, visually, so there was no place not always visible to a second teacher or surpervisor.
Bathrooms had their own set of requirements.
The kitchen area had to meet commercial standards.
Even the playground play area underwent a stringent examination. Equipment had to meet or exceed certain industry standards... with written and approved documentation. We even had to submit documentation on the type of material used on the swing set yard.
Storage areas... even toy chests... had to be "fail-safe" for accidental lock-ins.
The little kiddie's chairs and tables had to pass muster with the same sort of manufacturer's documantation.
Heights and types of locking systems were directed.
Property perimeter security was a big issue.

And none of this is even touching on the air quality testing... or the fire supression system. That was all a nightmare.

Lighting had to be engineered with type and lumins specified and approved.

In a nutshell, I can tell you that I might have foolishly way underbid something like that house transformation.
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Old 06-09-2009, 09:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Well some architects/engineers have programs that will calculate the cost of all the materials
But they can't calc the labor
Just my 2 cents. I'm a licensed engineer and a contractor, and I estimate all of our work, labor and material, plus I do estimates for contractors and homeowners across the US.

There are firms like mine out there. But the general vibe here is correct: you kind of need input from both the design side and the build side to get an accurate estimate. Without both, anything you put together might have to have an asterisk next to it.
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Old 06-09-2009, 12:26 PM   #12
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Well, I know you can calc labor - as an average or going rate
But I meant that you can only get an accurate labor cost from several bids. Since some will charge more/less then others
Are you able to get materials costs for different areas?

My "new roof" involved walls going up 6' 4.5", then a new peak 8.5' over that. The old roof peak was 11' up, the new peak was 12' over that old peak. Basically it was an unfinished 2nd floor

Day Care will be another thing entirely
Contact the local license board & see what they require
Min amount of bathrooms, sinks, emergency exits/lights, egress windows (1st floor only?), signage for exits, smoke & fire alarms, lighting, parking
You really need to get everything planned out & detail everything you will need to do. Otherwise you will be paying a GC/architect to design/redesign as issues arise
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:05 PM   #13
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I really wanted to get a architect/engineer in on this one especially for the day care facility. I have talked with the State Child Care agency and they will come out a go over with you concering their requirement. They also have a list of certified architects/engineers who know their standards. Since I've got to pay for them to come out and do the work on the day care, they might as well do the other work while they are on the property. Kinda kill to birds with one stone.

Thanks for all the input.
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:21 PM   #14
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Another heads up. States are starting to require day care facilities to put together Preliminary Assessments of the site to assess past hazards (oil tanks, industrial wastes, radon, soil contamination, pressure treated wood structures, etc), and submit them to the DEP. In New Jersey the day care operator gets back a No Further Action letter (NFA) from the DEP that says their building gets a clean bill of health. It's a pretty long list of things to check, but the cost is around $1500, and a licensed engineer has to do it.

The law was written after someone started up a day care center inside an old mercury factory.
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Well, I know you can calc labor - as an average or going rate
But I meant that you can only get an accurate labor cost from several bids. Since some will charge more/less then others
Are you able to get materials costs for different areas?
Yes, I can get region-specific pricing, based on zip code.

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