“PRICING THE JOB” Fourth in a Series

A lot of work needs to be completed before a reasonable and reliable pricing exercise can begin.

With an understanding of the scope of the job, which includes the design, areas of responsibility, financial resources at hand, as well as the aesthetic sensibilities of the owner, can we start to “price” the appropriate materials and resources for the project.


Many stages, many elements, and many different skill sets are needed in the building of a Home or Cottage. Sequencing of tasks needs to be understood, working conditions considered and material sourcing timely and efficient, and the level of difficulty of the in constructing of the design.

Pricing must consider all these elements in order to be realistic and meaningful.

To be to respectful of all the challenges of the creating realistic pricing, we have developed a three-part system. Each stage has its unique characteristics defined by ease of scope development, logical project progression and complexity in sourcing and decision making, for each stage.


This stage is inclusive of all the work, and materials required to enclose the structure. This typically includes items like foundation, framing, windows, exterior doors etc. The typical timing of final selections is relatively quick. A firm price can be established in short order once the design has been finalized.


This stage is inclusive of all the mechanical work and rough preparation required for completing the site for inspection. This stage is generally referred to as “ready for cover”.  Simply put, the site must be prepared for mechanical inspection and ready to drywall the structure.  

What drives pricing in this stage, is the size of the structure, nature of heating and air-conditioning, specialty lighting and/or fixtures. Again the ability to develop pricing for this stage is short and relatively reliable. What is required are decisions for room layout, kitchen layout, and bathrooms in order to price and complete this phase.



Stage C includes all the finishes and items that need to be sourced and installed before the homeowner can move in. Kitchen cabinets, counter tops, interior doors, trim, tiles and flooring etc.  The decision-making can be involving, contentious and time consuming.  We guide our clients through the process with an eye on the budget and the aesthetic tastes of the client.

Trade offs are made in some areas to accommodate spending in others.

It is this area where self control and discipline is required the most. In the age of“architectural media programming” clients are exposed to many products that are gorgeous, and as is often the case, expensive. Too expensive.

“But I love that….”, but the budget cannot accommodate the fine Italian marble or Peruvian tile etc.  Sometimes it is best for our clients to allow us to present the products that best meet both the criteria of budget and aesthetic appeal… rather than blow the bank on an item or items that are beyond their resources. 

If they really want the Italian marble then that is both a budget decision as well as a design finishes decision.

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