Cost to build a large custom home (5,000 square foot 5 bed six bath)

This article is part of a series of posts on real project costs.  New Avenue is the leading national design/build system.  Homeowners and contractors enter bids  in our system and send and receive payments for completed work.  Any changes are submitted by the contractor and approved by the owner before the budget changes.  This keeps your project budget transparent, fair and under control.   It’s like PayPal for remodeling and building.  We get a unique ability to collect the complete project costs.  We share these costs to help inform owners, architects and contractors. 

If an owner does not have a team in place, we have a network of proven architects and contractors who are committed to creating homes that make owners healthier, wealthier and happier. 

A custom home is often a once in a lifetime project.  A dream home that is custom designed, permitting and built within two hours of a major city is an entirely different project from a tract home or existing home.

This following budget is for a 5,000 square foot custom home.   This was architect designed and custom built.  The construction costs include every detail needed for the contractor to complete the home. Your project will certainly be different however costs for a home of this quality are comparable outside of any major metro area.

 

Here is a list of the almost 100 line items used to track the progress and pay for work as it is completed.

General Conditions Allowance

Mobilization $ 1,500.00

Sanitary Facilities $ 1,500.00

Dumpsters $ 6,500.00

Progress Cleaning $ 1,000.00

Final Cleaning $ 1,500.00

Project Supervison $ 25,000.00

Shop Drawings & Samples & Mock-Ups $ 4,000.00

Silt Fencing & Erosion Control $ 1,800.00

Sub- total $ 42,800.00

Site Work

Demolition $ 19,500.00

Excavation $ 18,000.00

Backfill & Drainage $ 17,000.00

Rough Grading $ 14,000.00

Rain Gardens $ 9,500.00

Utility Trenching $ 12,000.00 *

Road Cleaning $ 2,500.00

Driveway $ 18,680.00

Tree Clearing $ 1,000.00

Excavate for Retaining Walls and Propane Tank $ 5,000.00

sub-total $ 117,180.00

Concrete and Masonry

Concrete Foundation and Slab $ 55,200.00

Foundation Waterproofing $ 2,100.00

Boulder Wall and trench drain $ 25,000.00

Stone Veneer on Foundation $ 30,800.00

Chimney veneer $ 5,500.00

Front Entry Step $ 2,800.00

Polished Concrete Floor $ 5,000.00

Division 3- sub-total $ 126,400.00

Division 4- Metals

Structural Steel $ 2,500.00

Gutters $ 2,000.00

sub-total $ 4,500.00

Wood and Plastics

Framing Materials $ 55,000.00

Exterior Materials $ 30,000.00

Interior Materials $ 16,500.00

Framing Labor $ 80,000.00

Exterior Labor $ 45,000.00

Interior Labor $ 82,000.00

General Labor $ 8,000.00

Porch /Deck/Railings(allowance) $ 31,500.00

Outdoor Shower $ 3,500.00

sub-total $ 351,500.00

Windows/Doors

Anderson Windows and Exterior Doors $ 43,000.00

Garage Door- (allowance) $ 3,000.00 A

Interior Doors $ 6,500.00

sub-total $ 52,500.00

Thermal and Moisture

Insulation $ 28,000.00

Roof $ 23,600.00

Roof top Snow Melt $ 2,500.00

sub-total $ 54,100.00

Division 8- Finishes

Drywall $ 21,200.00

Exterior Painting $ 20,500.00

Interior Painting $ 28,000.00

Kitchen Counter(allowance) $ 8,500.00

Flooring- Wood $ 29,900.00 A $6.50 per sf for material

Tile Material (allowance) $ 11,000.00

Tile – Install, waterproof, setting(allowance) $ 18,500.00

sub -total $ 137,600.00

Millwork

Kitchen Cabinet (allowance) $ 35,000.00

Bath Cabinets and Counters (allowance) $ 15,000.00

Master Walk-in Closet (allowance) $ 3,000.00

Closets and Shelving (allowance) $ 5,000.00

Bunk Beds and other Cabinets (allowance) $ 7,500.00

Fireplace Surrounds and Related (allowance) $ 3,500.00

Medicine Cabinets (allowance) $ 1,200.00

Stairs $ 19,500.00

Workbench $ 1,500.00

Balcony Rail $ 2,300.00

sub total $ 93,500.00

Specialties

Door, Bath and Cabinet Hardware (allowance) $ 16,750.00

Plumbing Fixtures, Shower Glass and Mirrors(allowance)$ 25,000.00

sub-total $ 41,750.00

Equipment

Appliances(allowance) $ 35,000.00

Generator – 22kw $ 8,500.00

Zero Clearance Fireplace Unit (allowance) $ 8,000.00

Appliance Install $ 3,500.00

sub-total $ 55,000.00

Mechanical

HVAC $ 55,000.00

Plumbing $ 29,000.00

Propane Tank $ 4,300.00

Gas Piping $ 1,200.00

HRV/ERV $ 4,000.00

sub-total $ 93,500.00

Electrical

Electrical Service $ 5,900.00

Electrical Rough in $ 52,800.00

Electrical Fixtures (allowance) $ 20,000.00

Alarm Install (allowance) $ 2,000.00

TV, Data (allowance) $ 25,000.00

sub-total $ 105,700.00

Landscaping

Stone Paths $ 2,530.00

Soil/Seed (allowance) $ 12,000.00

Irrigation(allowance) $ 5,000.00

Stone Dock(allowance) $ 15,000.00

Shore Protection (allowance) $ 35,000.00

Stone Patio $ 5,750.00

Landscape Misc(allowance) $ 10,000.00

sub-total $ 85,280.00

Sub-total $ 1,361,310.00

GC Fee- $ 204,196.50

Total $ 1,565,506.50

No matter what you are considering, the New Avenue platform is the easiest way to get organized, get bids, hire a team and manage your project.

You can download the full budget in the New Avenue system format here: Country House Budget

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Architects and Contractors… Who’s the Project Manager?

At New Avenue we are often asked what we charge for the Project Manager.
The short answer, is our network of proven architects and contractors manage the design and construction so well that a project manager would be a waste of time and money.
Architects manage the design and permitting. Contractors manage all of the sub-contractors and on-site construction.  With this done right, there is no need for an extra project manager.
 An hourly project manager fee would be redundant to the services the architect and contractor should provide.  That fee would be $100/hour or more and that adds up to $30,000 or more during the course of a project.  It is a waste of your money.  Even worse, you can get a project manager who ends up playing the telephone game and relaying messages back and forth between the owner, architects and builder. Our platform does that for free, and it has a better memory than any person can ever have! 🙂
Part of the role of the contractor is to be your on-site project manager.   If your project is big enough (near or over $1,000,000) then your contractor will most likely have a site foreman who acts as a project manager. This person is part of the contractor’s crew.  Part of the role of your architect is to provide an addition pair of eyes and the professional opinion as a design professional.  All of these services are quoted and billed hourly.
At New Avenue we built the management platform and recruited a network of over 1500+ people who can deliver an exceptional experience and quality anywhere in the country.
Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started
Have any questions? We are available to discuss your goals & ideas. There’s no fee or commitment. To request a time for a call from our founder, Kevin Casey, just click here and tell us when to call you.

How to pay your architect or contractor without the usual risk or headaches

At New Avenue we try to make it as risk free and as easy as possible to pay for architecture and construction services.  We provide bid management, invoicing and payment service to owners for free.  You can hire a New Avenue architect or contractor, or you can hire your own architect or contractor, or both!

First you have to get a Design Proposal or a Construction Bid that you want to accept.  Of course, we are always eager to provide either. This article assumes you’ve already met with an architect or contractor and you want to accept their proposal or bid.

Architects give proposals while contractors give bids.  We always bill hourly for architecture but do fixed price bids for contractors.  It’s just best to do it this way because design and permits are so open ended.  While construction is much more concrete.

Once you accept a proposal or bid, we send out a form for you to set up an EFT, or electronic funds transfer.  This is the same way almost all employers pay their employees and how online services like PayPal work.  This is easier and safer than checks so almost all of our clients set that up.

When you get an invoice from either your architect or later your contractor, you can review the invoice and if it looks good you can click approve.  By clicking approve that authorizes your bank to send the funds through our system and pay the person who invoiced you.

The limit for any payment is the amount you approve when you click that approve button on the site.  Payments range from a few hundred for small design tasks up to $100,000+ during construction.
Ideally your architect or contractor will bill you every single month.  It’s actually in your best interest as an owner to ask for an invoice if you haven’t received one.  The invoicing is the best way to measure progress.

How tall can my guest house or accessory dwelling? 14 feet is bad, 18 is good!

The City of Berkeley is currently updating their accessory dwelling codes and height is an issue that is being reviewed.  Many cities struggle with this.  This is a summary of what you get for 14′ vs. 18′

To calculate the maximum height you measure the height of a building from the soil to the peak of the roof.

An 18′ tall design the foundation is 1 foot, the first floor is 8 feet, a second floor is 7 feet, the floor between the two is 1 foot and the roof is 1 foot.  That adds up to 18′ total.   You get a decent second floor with a 7 foot height at the peak in this design.

In the 17′ tall design below you can see that the peak of the upper floor is 5’11”.  This design is for a guy who is 6’8, so we have a major design flaw forced on us by the height limitation.
Guest House 17' Height
In the seconds design below, we were constrained to a 15′ height.
The owner here insisted on an above ground crawl space. Owners that don’t listen to our advice is just one of the countless challenges architects and contractors have, that’s another story though:)
In this design, the foundation is 1.5 feet.  The ground floor height is 7 feet 6 inches. The floor thickness between the two floors is almost 1 foot, the upper floor is 5 feet 1 inch and the roof is one foot thicks.  1.5+7.5+1+5+1 = 15 feet total height.
This owner was not happy to have a 5 foot 1 inch tall upstairs.  No one was happy with a 7 foot 6 inch main floor.  Excavating and creating a dug out lower floor can solve this but then you have four retaining walls and a concrete floor and moisture issues that get expensive and frankly, it’s not that nice to walk down three of four steps to your main floor.
Guest House 15' Height
Adding a second floor can cut the per square foot construction cost in half – from $500 per square foot to $250 per square foot. That per square foot cost is how construction is measured and it is one of the best ways to create valuable usable space affordably.

How to Work With New Avenue

You can hire us for as much or as little as you’d like.  We start with a $250 flat fee for a Design Session with an architect in your home. They will:

  1. Review your Goals and Ideas questionnaire before they meet with you. Then they’ll discuss it with you
  2. Discuss their design ideas for your project. These are preliminary. You won’t get a finished design, but you will get some great ideas.
  3. Discuss the permits you will need.
  4. After the meeting they will go back to their desk and write up a detailed Design Proposal.

If you accept the design proposal we bill hourly for architecture and do fixed price construction bids based on the materials and labor rates at the time of bidding.  Costs can range from $200 per square foot to over $1,000 per square foot. We can tailor our service to either end.  Design, soils engineering (if needed), structural engineering, a survey, permits, site work, tree removal, drainage and utility upgrades are the typical hidden costs that surprise you during your process.  When you diligently plan on these expenses the cost will easily be over $300 per square foot.  I’d recommend you budget at least that.  Just keep in mind that every $100,000 in project costs is about $500 per month in mortgage payments.

We always offer to design and then you can get bids from other contractors to compare our prices to theirs too. If you do hire someone else to build it, we can still manage the budget and payments to make sure the project stays on budget.
We’ve done modular, panels and other forms of pre-fab construction. It ends up being more expensive than onsite custom construction. Well managed custom construction is better quality and a better price than pre-fab.  So we focus on the best management we can provide.

How to start a new architecture or construction project

At New Avenue we have three simple steps to start every project:

1 – Get started online for free: There is a Goals & Ideas questionnaire that is as much for you to define your goals as it is for our architect to start preparing for a meeting with you. A Roadmap on your project page. The design agreement on your project page spells out every step start to finish.

2 – The hiring process starts with the meeting at your home, which is what we charge the $250 for. We introduce the one and best designer we have in your area.  That’s part of our service is that we’ve interviewed hundreds to narrow it down to the one we believe is the best fit.  Design requires meeting on site and that takes at least half a day’s work.

3 – The platform is for you to work with the architect and later the contractor.  Project management is provided by the designer/architect during the design and permitting process.  Then during construction the contractor provides the project management.  An additional project manager would cost $160/hour and just a few hours a week adds up to $30,000 over the course of a project.  We don’t offer that “extra cook in the kitchen” as it is not a good use of your money.

Who owns architecture plans? You paid for the service, not the plan

If you are a typical owner, you want to “own” your plans.  Ownership of plans is a bit tricky, but the industry standard is very reasonable once it is clarified.
First a nightmare scenario:  Fairly often, an owner hires a high end architect, they progress through a certain amount of design and it’s just not working out.  The owner decides to fire the architect and the architect says “This is my design, you can’t use it, we can negotiate a price if you’d like to buy it from me”.
The owner’s mind is blown! They just paid many thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for someone to work for them and then they are told that he or she “owns” what he was just paid to do?
While a nightmare, this is often a communication error that can be easily mitigated.
Most importantly, what you want as an owner, is what you get with New Avenue and with many (but not all, and not even most) architects.
There is a nuance with architectural plans that is similar to buying a book. You have the right to use the documents created by the architect for your project and your project only.  This is similar to having the right to buy and own any copyrighted material.  Frankly, you can fire the architect and hire another one or you can hire your own contractor and use the plans.
There are two big limitations though:
1.  You don’t have the right to replicate the designs or use them build another home on another site. There are several reasons for this:
– There are always specific site conditions that need to be considered by the architect for plans to be safe to use.
– An additional project increases the legal liability of the architect so it is not allowed.
– You did not pay for the vast majority of the “details” in the plans.  Those are crafted over decades and are used over and over again on projects.  Since you did not pay for the years of development to make them, you don’t own the right to use them or copy them.

2. You don’t have the right to use incomplete plans to build the home.  For example, you can pay to just sketch up a floorplan in the Schematic Design (Phase II in our process) and then stop. You can then use these completed Phase II documents (i.e., the floor plan and design) to work with another designer or architect but you can’t get half way through the construction documents (Phase IV in our process) and then fire the architect and try to build the home with an incomplete set of drawings.  This also creates liability as mistakes inevitably occur and it leads to liability, lower quality construction that leads to lawsuits.

Why you need insurance when remodeling or building a new home

Insurance is a good thing when remodeling or building.
At New Avenue we require that you have homeowners insurance for your current improvements on your property.  Improvements are basically your home and anything else built on your property.  A typical homeowners policy covers these buildings.  Our lawyers tell us of scenarios where something bad happens when a consultant, architect or contractor is on site.  For example, a dog knocks over your grill and burns your garage down.  This happens while the surveyor is also there so you blame him or her. Your insurance covers this and protects the surveyor.
There’s no need to fear this though.  Check your current homeowners insurance and you should be covered so you don’t have to buy anything new:)

New Permit Rules for San Leandro Accessory Dwellings Are Coming Soon!

The permit rules in this attachment are important. We have been following the rules and contributing our two cents when possible.

Don’t be deterred.  The picture on the cover is a shed! That’s not what wea are talking about here. Accessory Dwellings are homes.  Many of them are two bedrooms with an upper floor, a large kitchen and all the comforts of any custom home.  So the first pic you will see has got to go!

San Leandro Accessory Dwelling Unit Memorandum_Dec2016

If you are a homeowner, the bottom line is that you have the right to add an accessory dwelling.  Almost everyone should be able to get permits. It will be a process, but it is possible.

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started

Redwood City is Removing Parking Requirements for Accessory Dwellings

A series of changes are coming up in the Redwood City zoning code.

This PDF lists the currents changes:

Redwood City Accessory Dwellings – PublicNoticePCFeb212017ADU

Most relevant for many homeowners is the easier parking restrictions. You won’t have to pave over a big section of your yard to make parking work.  They are removing the parking requirement entirely for most projects!

If you do need parking, smaller existing spaces are allowed.

You can build a bigger accessory dwelling too.  Increasing from 640 square feet to 700 opens up the possibility of much nicer two bedroom accessory dwellings in Redwood City!

 

Sign up to see example budgets, example floor plans, or to use the New Avenue system for free here: Get Started