Frequently Asked Questions
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Land development is the process of altering a site to better meet residential, commercial, industrial, or recreational needs. It’s a detailed and complex process that requires much planning and varies from project to project. The process includes a thorough site assessment, zoning review, conceptual site design, town planning/development approval, and construction. A professional engineer is generally hired to handle land development. DESCCO has engineers on staff and has partnerships with engineering firms with vast experience in land development.
While the stages may not seem too complex at first glance, each stage breaks down into a series of more detailed steps that require the knowledge, experience, and skill of multiple professionals. During the land development process, project managers and engineering professionals perform many services listed below:
- Site planning, design, and layout
- Site feasibility studies
- Stormwater management, analysis, and design
- Streetscape design
- Exterior lighting
- Recreational sites and trail design
- Parking design
- Utility coordination
- Sewage facility planning
- Floodplain analysis
- Grading and earthwork
- Erosion control
- Public Highway access
While a civil engineer’s involvement is not always required by law for every project, any project that disturbs a land site should involve a qualified and experienced civil engineer since their involvement could save you significant time and money.
DESCCO can help select the right civil engineer for your project and work closely with them to ensure that unnecessary features are not included in the plans and costs are controlled. Our site construction experience brings a working knowledge of issues and practical efficiency.
Before starting a renovation construction project, you must consider the challenges of your current space and make a list of possible solutions that would fit into your budget and timeframe. If you’re looking for inspiration or guidance on an upcoming project, call DESCCO Design & Construction.
Before starting an addition or new construction project, you should consider the following:
- Land Development
- Architectural design and development
- Color Renderings/3-D Modeling
- Structural plans
- Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing plans
- Permitting and Code Review with Municipality
- Inspection, Permit, and Surveying Fees
- Site Work
- Building Construction
- Building commissioning
Hiring a Design/Build firm, such as DESCCO Design & Construction, Inc. eliminates the need to seek individual professionals to accomplish permitted plans for submission for code review and permitting with Township and County officials. DESCCO will coordinate and collaborate with all professionals needed for a complete project. This consolidation of effort will expedite the process and allow your project to progress timely as design and project budgeting take place simultaneously.
The construction process is as follows:
- Initiation: The stage in which you evaluate the feasibility of your project and hire a construction team.
- Planning: The stage in which you identify your project’s scope and identify the resources and strategy needed to accomplish it.
- Implementation/Execution: The stage in which you physically begin construction on the project.
- Performance and Monitoring: Coinciding with the implementation/execution stage, this is the stage in which you evaluate and ensure that everything is going according to the plan, address any issues, and work to resolve them.
- Closing: This is the stage in which deliverables are finally offered to the client. This is where you evaluate and ensure you’ve met all agreed-upon goals and successfully completed the project.
Design-build is a contracting system in which one entity manages the architecture, engineering, and construction under one contract. By having a single point of responsibility contract, the project owner’s risk is minimized. The delivery schedule is reduced by overlapping the design phase and construction phase of a project. In the design-build system, the architect, engineers, and contractor work together as a team to design the project and establish the budget. Each brings unique strengths and expertise to the team to deliver to the project owner the best value. Competitive bid projects make you responsible for finding an architect to draw your plans and a contractor to build it. You end up with multiple contracts and assume the responsibility for all coordination and communication. There is less collaboration or attention to designing the project within a set budget. On the surface, this may seem to be how you can get the best price for a project, but you are only getting the best price for a set of plans produced with little or no focus on construction methods or materials. These items can drastically influence the cost. With a competitive bid, if the price is over budget on bid day, you get to start over and do a costly complete redesign.
Call DESCCO Design & Construction to discuss which method will work best for your project. We prefer the collaboration and partnering of the Design-build but are equally comfortable with competitive bid projects. We have good people and efficient construction processes that make us very competitive. This provides good value in whatever procurement method you choose.
With design/build delivery, the Contractor and Architect work collaboratively at the project’s onset to maintain better control of the construction costs, therefore streamlining both the design and construction process, resulting in quicker project completion and a lower total cost.
DESCCO can offer you the advantage of planning, designing, and having your project constructed while dealing with a single company. We take responsibility to collaborate with other professionals, so you don’t have to.
The National Building Code (NBC) is a document that provides guidelines for the construction of structures – residential, mercantile, institutional, educational, commercial, assembly, storage spaces, or even hazardous buildings. Initially, NBCI was a voluntary code. Later, it was made a part of the local building by-laws in most states, which have made it mandatory and enforceable. The code is extensive, complex, and sometimes open to interpretation. During the design phase, licensed professionals determine how to best apply the code requirements to your project
When plans are submitted to your local municipality or county, they will administer a code review or hire a certified third party to administer a code review to ensure that the building and mechanical plans meet their interpretation of the code requirements.
- Assess if you can finance the expansion.
- Determine the additional carrying costs and taxes to be more than offset by the additional business that can be booked.
- Avoid bearing the cost of a full set of architectural drawings before understanding the scope of the project.
(In partnership with Professional Architects, DESCCO offers Master Planning services).
- Evaluate the existing conditions and get feedback from the church team
- A CADD plan can be created to reflect current conditions and uses
- Welcomes input from various departments, committees, and congregation
- A facility utilization form is provided to collect important usage for each space which helps to identify groups that may have too much space allotted for their area of ministry and which ministries need more space
- Surveys can be completed by various ministries and teams to help prioritize needs and wants
- A spreadsheet document can be generated using compiled information showing reasonable areas for various functions/li>
- Block plans or conceptual plans of spaces can be provided to show proposed additions to accommodate new program uses
- Adapt the conceptual plan with church leadership team input
- A high-resolution 3D exterior rendering can be created for a capital campaign or promotional purposes
- General Contractors can bring peace of mind as they allow you to manage your business while the professionals handle your project. They know industry standards and project management expertise and know which subcontractors are reputable and reliable. They’re aware of building codes, appropriate materials, proper construction methods, and safety.
- General contractors are responsible for the quality of all the work he or she oversees as part of the contract, and if something goes wrong during the construction, it is up to the general contractor to get it fixed.
- Hiring a professionally licensed and insured General Contractor takes the worry and stress out of the job. A general contractor will provide turnkey service from project conception to completion. If you act as the general contractor yourself, you assume liability for injuries and property damage.
A preliminary estimate based on a cost per square foot for commercial construction projects can give you a high-level view of your potential project cost to evaluate your capability of proceeding before you spend money on conceptual planning and a more detailed budgetary price.
We have provided a cost per square foot guide to give you a general range or preliminary estimate to get you started.
Commercial Interior Build-Out
- Low $50-$80 / SF
- Mid $81-$135 / SF
- High $136-$200 / SF
Commercial New Construction
- Low $150-$200 / SF
- Mid $201-$315 / SF
- High $316-$450 / SF
A final contract price is based on sealed drawings approved for permitting after the design development process is completed. Customers approve the design during the process to stay within acceptable budget requirements.
Hard costs, which may also be called “tangible costs” and include all costs involved with physical building construction. Hard costs include:
- Construction labor and materials: Wages for workers physically doing work on the property, overhead and profit for the contractor, and purchase costs for all relevant materials, including concrete, wood, steel, insulation, glass windows, and more.
- Landscaping costs: Typically includes costs for trees, grass, mulch, fertilizer, flowers, bushes, and any other landscaping elements.
- Site improvements: Land acquisition, demolition costs, paving/walkways, gazebos, permanent/fixed benches/outdoor furniture, and other exterior improvements.
- Utility installation: Electrical installation, plumbing, water/sewer hookup, etc.
- Interior finishes: Wallpaper, paint, trim, flooring, etc.
- HVAC: Full installation of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
- Life safety systems: Fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems, fire escapes, and other related systems.
Contingencies: At the final estimation, these usually come out to around 5-10% of total costs (for new construction), or between 15-20% (for renovations).
Soft costs are “intangible”, and are typically associated with the planning, permitting, and financing of a construction project.
- Civil engineering fees: Land development plans and storm water management requirements.
- Architectural and engineering fees: Conceptual plans, design development, final plans for permitting and construction, color renderings, 3-D modeling, structural plans, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing plans, fire alarm plans, and sprinkler plans, landscape designer, interior decorator. Fire alarm systems, sprinkler systems, fire escapes, and other related systems.
- Property and construction insurance
- Movable furniture and building equipment
- Legal fees
- Permits and taxes
- Code review
- Inspection fees
- Site Analysis: Surveying fees and geotechnical reports
- Accounting: Administrative expenses
- Financing fees: Including application fees, loan origination fees, interest payments, and appraisals
- Décor including window treatments
- Incidental interior and exterior signage