Oregon Custom Home Building FAQs

Winsome Construction believes that building your dream home is a process of “Joyful Creation”.  That means that we not only collaborate with our clients in a respectful and integrative manner, but it’s important that it is also creative and joyful collaboration. This is not your everyday business transaction, this is a very meaningful and major journey. We will see you through this journey from beginning to end, and upon completion leave you with a one-of-a-kind, custom home that will last a lifetime and beyond.

We hope that we can answer some of your questions here, however, this is just the starting point! If you have more questions, we are here! Email, FB, call 503.472.7402 and Sign up for our Monthly Newsletter to follow the trends on Custom Building!

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Questions & Answers

What is your typical construction sequence?

Our process includes three separate phases: Preconstruction, construction, and post-construction. Preconstruction involves design (architectural, interior, lighting, landscape, automation, etc.), specifications, selections, site analysis, budgeting, bidding, contracting, and permitting. In the construction phase, we implement the design and specs. We use BuilderTrend management software to manage the process, provide excellent documentation and communication. Post-construction is for educating our clients about how their home functions and transitioning clients into living in their homes.

How will you determine the exact costs necessary to build our home?

We have three pricing checkpoints. The first is before signing a preconstruction service agreement (PSA). This takes a couple of hours. We interview clients, then use the information to create a high-level budget. If this sounds right, we sign a PSA contract. During design, we then make a unit-based estimate. Once we can create the unit spreadsheet with our Planswift software, we create a unit-based budget as a feasibility check. This allows the design to finish with confidence that we will be on budget. Lastly, once the plans are complete and engineered, we will bid with our subs and vendors. This final budget is used for the contract documents.

What happens if there are cost-related discrepancies during the building of our home?

With a closely bid based budget, these are typically not a huge problem. Sometimes commodity prices can go up, or there are unforeseen issues found during excavation (like high water levels, unsuitable fill, or expansive soil). We try to plan for contingencies such as these in the budget.

What is your typical experience about the kinds of things that generate change orders which increase time and cost?

We typically see 5% in change orders on a project. This can be much higher if you aren’t realistic with expectations in the preconstruction phase. We build on a cost-plus basis; change orders are the same. We do not use them as a profit center, so the billing rate is consistent with the base scope. We prefer not to have them at all. They are a lot of work for everyone. Our specification process during preconstruction helps to minimize change orders. A contingency budget is built into the account to help plan on the unexpected. The project’s schedule is modified with each change order.

How will our project’s supervision be handled?

With the complexity of the processes, we have a team approach. A project manager, site superintendent, our craftsmen, and bookkeeper are all part of the process. We are very process-driven; everyone has their role to play to keep the process moving along.

Do you use subcontractors to construct the home? If so, who and for what aspects of the project?

We have an excellent subcontractor roster, and they perform the majority of the work on our sites. My grandfather used to build 90% of a home with his own crews. Today this is impractical. The training, insurance, and licensure requirements alone dictate this. The process is also too detailed and specialized to expect generalists to perform the way we need them to. We employ six very skilled artisans. They mainly do radiant flooring, decks, ICF block construction, timber frame raising, light excavation, material handling, clean up, and specialty carpentry.

What kind of warranties or guarantees does your company provide?

The State requires us to offer a one-year warranty on everything installed and a ten-year warranty on concealed items (structural, mechanical). We also provide a third party 2-10 warranty on each home.

How many homes are you able to build in a year?

That depends on the year and size of the homes we are building. This year we have three very large, complicated homes so that we will build six total. In a more typical year, we would build 9 or 10 homes. Our preconstruction phase can take six months to a year. We currently have five signed for next year.

“Questions are creative acts of intelligence.”

— Francis Kingdon Ward