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Cost To Build FAQ

How long does it take to get a HomePlans.com Cost-to-Build Report?

Many house plans have reports that are instantly available to download as soon as you purchase. Others are emailed within 2-3 business days of the order being placed.

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Where does the home construction cost report data come from?

The construction cost data used in HomePlans.com Cost-to-Build Reports is compiled from real world market information supplied by industry professionals with resulting data currently produced for over 430 geographic and economic markets throughout the USA and Canada. Construction cost estimating industry leader Xactware compiles and provides this data using a team of construction analysts with over 175 years of combined experience in the construction industry. Additional information regarding the calculated construction costs is listed below:

Calculated costs include factors for all materials, labor, and equipment needed to construct the home according to national building codes plus any known adjustments required for seismic, wind, frost and snow-load conditions. Cost for permit fees, general contractor overhead and profit, and any applicable sales tax for your area are also factored into the total.

Costs are reflective of building the home on a relatively flat or gently sloping lot. Additional costs will need to be added to account for lots which slope greater than 15 degrees.

Certain assumptions are made of the quality and quantity of specific building materials found to be common for the type, style and size of the plan chosen. Custom additions or changes may not be reflected in this value if they fall outside of the standard practices for this type of construction.

Costs are based upon finishes and features outlined in the plan you have chosen, and the actual building of the home may increase or decrease these costs. We recommend a contingency amount of 10-15% be added to address these possibilities.

Our numbers are not based on national averages, and our reports are not "canned". Each estimate is made to order for the house plan, construction quality and postal code you choose.

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What items are included in a Cost-to-Build Report?

The construction materials, labor and overhead data in our reports are very comprehensive and include the items below. It's important to understand the quality of construction you choose can make the resultant report vary significantly. Be sure to check out the assumptions we make for the level of quality you choose when preparing your report.

Foundations: Concrete that is used for the footings, foundation walls, basement floor slab (if required), garage floor slab, as well as any concrete columns that may be required for post/pier foundations types.

Heating/AC: Includes furnace, central air conditioning unit, and all metal ductwork needed to provide hot and cold air for the entire home. The number of furnaces and air conditioning units is determined by the total square footage of the home.

Rough Framing: Wood framing used to build the structure of the home. This includes all walls, floor joists, and roof trusses. It also includes any plywood sheeting used on the top of roof trusses and floor joists, as well as outside of the exterior walls. Also includes any insulation in the walls and ceiling.

Floor Covering: Includes any material used to cover any floor in the home. It also includes any needed sub-flooring material and carpet pads. A standard ratio of 80% carpet and 20% Vinyl Tile, unless the plan indicates some other material, such as stone or hardwood flooring should be used.

Exterior Finish: The finish material that is added to the outside of the exterior walls of the home. This can include any combination of brick, stone, stucco or siding.

Appliances: The electrical appliances typically supplied by the builder when a home is built. This usually includes a range, dishwasher and garbage disposal. If additional appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, and trash compactors are chosen in the system, these will be included as well. (They are not usually selected.)

Windows: Windows for the home, including any specialty, accent or transom windows, as well as mirrors that are normally installed in the bathrooms. The material for the window frame varies depending on the size and quality of the home, from aluminum to high-grade wood horizontal sliding windows. Currently, the system does not use high energy, or insulation windows in the calculations.

Interior Finish: Anything that covers the wooden structure of the walls and ceilings, and brings the interior of the home to a finished state. This includes all sheetrock, drywall finishes and paint. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets are also included in this section. 100% paint finish is selected for all walls and ceilings.

Roofing: The material that is installed on top of the plywood sheeting above the roof trusses. This is usually some form of shingles, but could be metal panels, copper and gravel style roofs.

Electrical: All electrical options for the home. This includes rough wiring that is installed prior to any finish, all outlet and lighting fixtures and the main connections from the available power source to the home.

Plumbing: All plumbing options for the home. This includes all rough plumbing installed prior to any finish, plumbing fixtures for the bathroom, kitchen, and utility rooms, a water heater typical for the home, and the main connection of the water and sewer lines.

Special Features: These options are selected by default depending on the size and quality of the home. They include the following: Water Softener, Central Vacuum System, Fire and/or Burglar Alarms Systems, Intercom Systems, Programmable Lighting, Home Management Systems, Fire Sprinkler Systems and Solar Panels, swimming pools, hot tubs, fountains, and home theater systems that would be included in this category.

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What items are not included in a Cost-to-Build Report?

HomePlans.com Cost-to-Build Reports do not include:

  • Site preparation of any kind
  • Removal of existing structures
  • Purchase of the lot
  • Preparation of the lot
  • Flatwork (like driveways
  • Detached garages or other structures
  • Landscaping
  • Modifications/customizations to the house plan
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What is included in "Other Fees and Taxes"?

This estimated cost breakdown includes Permit fees and other misc. fees, in addition to Overhead and Profit (Detailed below):

Permit cost is an amount added to Cost-to-Build's total estimate to cover building permits typically assessed by local governments for residential construction. A flat fee of $500 is added by default. Permit costs can be lower or higher than this depending on your local government's assessment.

Fees are added to cover the cost of any work associated with local home design compliance and structural engineering. We add 3% to the total estimate for this. These fees can be lower or higher than this depending on the specific issue.

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What is included in “Overhead and Profit"?

Overhead expenses are those costs incurred by the builder or general contractor to operate their business, but are not attributable to any one specific job. We add 10% to cover contractor overhead. Overhead costs can vary significantly from contractor to contractor. Some examples of overhead costs are general and administrative expenses, office rent, utilities, office supplies, salaries for office personnel, depreciation on office equipment, licenses, and advertising.

Profit is formally defined as the excess of the selling price of goods over cost. Profit is typically added to the cost of a construction-related job to allow the home builder performing the work to grow their company through reinvestment. We add 10% to cover contractor profit. Profit can vary significantly from contractor to contractor.

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Foundations

Foundation Shape

Economy

Rectangle or L-shape.

Standard

Rectangle or L-shape with one or two offsets and/or cantilevers.

Above Average

Mostly L- or T-shape with several offsets or cantilevers.

Premium

Irregular more often than not. Multiple offsets and angled sections with cantilevered areas such as bay or bow windows.

Foundation Offset

Economy

None

Standard

One or two offsets and/or cantilevers.

Above Average

Several offsets or cantilevers.

Premium

Multiple offsets and angled sections with cantilevered areas such as bay or bow windows.

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Roofs

Type

Economy

Straight gable.

Standard

Gable or hip with one or two overbuilds.

Above Average

Gable or hip, with several overbuilds and/or dormers.

Premium

Gable, hip, or combination. Multiple overbuilds to accommodate shape of the home, with several dormers as well.

Style

Economy

Manufactured roof trusses or conventional stick frame.

Standard

Manufactured roof trusses or conventional stick frame.

Above Average

Manufactured roof trusses or conventional stick frame.

Premium

Conventional stick framing (due to the complexity of shape).

Slop

Economy

Less than 6/12.

Standard

Less than 6/12.

Above Average

6/12 to 8/12.

Premium

Often 8/12 or higher.

Materials

Economy

Asphalt composition or asphalt shingle.

Standard

Asphalt composition to lower-end architectural composition or asphalt shingle.

Above Average

High-end architectural composition shingle to metal and/or concrete tile.

Premium

Highest quality roof covering. Metal, slate, or clay tile not uncommon.

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Exterior Walls

Siding

Economy

Vinyl or aluminum to Masonite.

Standard

Medium-grade vinyl or aluminum siding to Masonite or natural wood (based on climate).

Above Average

Depends on style of home (colonial vs. contemporary): high-grade vinyl or aluminum siding or Masonite or natural wood.

Premium

Depends on style of home (colonial vs. contemporary): any siding is highest quality of vinyl, aluminum, Masonite, or natural wood.

Veneer

Economy

Small amount of brick veneer (like wainscot).

Standard

Often masonry veneer on a portion of home.

Above Average

Possible masonry veneer or stucco finish on entire home.

Premium

Often masonry veneer or stucco finish on entire home.

Decoration

Economy

None usually.

Standard

None usually.

Above Average

Columns, pediments, or ornate handrail on porch.

Premium

Quoins, keystones, columns, pediments, or ornate handrails on porch standard.

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Interior Walls

Material

Economy

Plaster on wood lath or gypsum drywall .

Standard

Plaster on wood lath or gypsum drywall.

Above Average

Plaster on wood lath or gypsum drywall.

Premium

Plaster on wood lath or gypsum drywall.

Coverings

Economy

Paint or inexpensive wallpaper or sheet paneling.

Standard

Paint with wallpaper in the bathroom/kitchen. Possible higher-grade sheet or natural-wood paneling.

Above Average

Paint with high-end wallpaper in bathrooms/kitchen. Wallpaper borders and natural wood paneling common in some rooms.

Premium

Paint with high-end wallpaper in bathrooms/kitchens. Wallpaper borders as accents is normal. Natural hardwood "judges" type paneling common in some rooms.

Molding

Economy

Minimal moldings.

Standard

Painted or stained, chair railing or crown molding in one or two rooms.

Above Average

Painted or stained (which can be slightly oversized), chair railing or crown molding in several rooms.

Premium

Usually oversized, painted or stained with highest-quality multi-coat. Multi-piece chair rail, crown molding, and baseboards common.

Extras

Economy

None/minimal

Standard

None/minimal

Above Average

Some built-in bookcases, wet-bars, etc. in rooms other than kitchens and bathrooms.

Premium

Columns, built-in bookcases, wet-bars, or other cabinetry in rooms other than kitchens and bathrooms. Curved or ornate staircases. Door/window casings are fluted or reeded with use of rosettes and plinth blocking.

Doors

Economy

Hollow-core legacy-style Masonite or lauan.

Standard

Hollow core colonist style Masonite.

Above Average

Hollow-core colonist style Masonite to stained birch door.

Premium

Typically solid 6 or 8 panel.

Ceilings

Economy

Standard 8' ceilings.

Standard

Vaulted ceilings in some areas.

Above Average

Vaulted or trey ceilings common with possibility of exposed structural or decorative wood beams.

Premium

Vaulted or trey ceilings common as well as 9-12' ceilings throughout with possibility of exposed structural or decorative wood beams (depending on style).

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Cabinets/Fixtures

Cabinets

Economy

Solid pine or other soft wood to pre-fab modular box style from particle board with "photo finish" veneer

Standard

Solid pine or other soft wood to pre-fab modular box style from particle board boxes with hardwood frames and door fronts.

Above Average

Solid pine or other soft wood to pre-fab modular box style from particle board boxes with hardwood frames and door fronts.

Premium

Solid hardwood to pre-fab modular box style made from solid hardwood and hardwood veneers.

Cabinet Door Fronts

Economy

Standard.

Standard

Could have flat recessed panel style.

Above Average

Often raised panel door and could be cathedral style or have glass panes.

Premium

Raised panel doors, could be cathedral style or have leaded or beveled glass.

Countertops

Economy

Flat-laid or post-formed laminate style.

Standard

Flat-laid or post-formed laminate style, possible hardwood edging installed.

Above Average

High grade, flat-laid or post-formed laminate style top with hardwood edging installed. Solid surface material or ceramic tile common.

Premium

Highest quality solid-surface material with decorative edging, or solid natural marble or granite.

Bathroom Vanities

Economy

N/A

Standard

N/A

Above Average

Bathroom vanity tops cultured marble with integrated sink bowl.

Premium

Bathroom vanity tops can be cultured or natural marble with an integrated sink bowl.

Bathtubs

Economy

Bathtubs are cast iron with ceramic tile surround or one-piece fiberglass tub and surround.

Standard

Bathtubs are cast iron with ceramic tile surround or one-piece fiberglass tub and surround.

Above Average

Often cast iron with ceramic tile or cultured marble surround, possibly a jetted tub and/or separate shower unit. Often have glass doors installed.

Premium

Usually cast iron with a cultured or natural marble tile surround. Jetted and/or oversized "garden" type tubs, as well as large walk-in shower areas surrounded by cultured or natural marble common. All bathtubs and showers have high quality glass door installed.

Faucets

Economy

Faucets are inexpensive chrome-plated style.

Standard

Faucets are medium grade chrome plated or polished brass style.

Above Average

Faucets typically a higher-end chrome-plated or polished-brass style with decorative handles.

Premium

Faucets are highest quality chrome, polished brass, or even gold plated and commonly have decorative handles.

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Flooring

Floors

Economy

Low end "economy" or "builders grade" carpet and sheet vinyl.

Standard

Varied (based on decor), limited to medium-grade carpet and sheet vinyl with ceramic tile, hardwood, or laminate flooring in limited areas.

Above Average

Varied (based on decor) usually a mixture of high-quality carpet and sheet vinyl with some ceramic tile, hardwood, and/or laminate style flooring.

Premium

Varied (based on decor) but will usually be a mixture of very high end carpet (i.e., wool), ceramic tile, imported marble or slate, and select hardwood.

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