Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get an authentic historical look for my new home?
The best way to achieve a classic look is to adhere to proper proportions for all elements of the home including porches, columns, windows, doors, dormers, shutters, trim, and roof lines. They all must relate properly to one another. We work with architects and clients to make sure each detail on the home we’re building relates properly to the appearance of the home as a whole.

How can I “spruce up” the appearance of my current home?
There are many options depending on the style of your home. If you are going for a historic look, the best way is to use authentic materials in place of synthetic sidings or asphalt roofing. For example, using real cedar siding with Spanish cedar trim, a real stone facade, functional shutters, and a cedar, slate, or other natural material roof can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home.

We’d like to build a new house. How do we finance it?
We have bankers we work with who will set you up with a construction loan. Throughout the construction process we make draws against that loan as we hit milestones. Interest on the loan is applied against the amount outstanding. When construction is complete, you convert the loan into a mortgage.

We want a new home. Where/how do we start the design process?
It’s always a good idea to keep your eyes peeled for existing homes you like. It’s also a good idea to start clipping pages from magazines of things you like. You can bring that kind of information to a meeting with us, and we’ll use that context to help move you in the appropriate direction.

We want to build a new home. Do we need a lot?
No. Just give us a call. We have several lots in and around Moorestown, and we have relationships with realtors who give us early “heads up” when a new property comes on the market.

Is my project too small for you?
No. We do a little bit of everything. Our jobs range from putting up crown moulding in a living room to multi-million dollar new homes. We only turn down jobs if we feel we cannot provide the proper amount of supervision. In the last few years we have added project managers, this has allowed us to take on more work and accept smaller jobs than we may have in the past.

How is your fee structure set up?
Every job is different, but generally we charge a fee for site supervision, a percentage for our overhead costs, and a percentage for profit. We believe in transparency and building a trusting relationship with our clients. Therefore, we show you our costs, and then what we make for the services we provide.

I’m thinking about buying an existing home and having work done to it.
Will you help me figure out how much it’s going to cost?

We provide consulting services for prospective home buyers trying to determine costs associated with renovation. If you have us do the work, then our services and estimate are free.

I’m thinking about doing a new kitchen or bath. Where do I start?
Give us a call. We provide design consulting services to help you plan everything from the configuration of the kitchen, bath, or renovation to the flooring, paint colors, cabinetry, trim work, etc.

Do you have architects you generally work with?
Yes, we have several local architects we have worked with in the past who we recommend.

How do you present your estimates?
The layout of the estimate will vary from job to job, but we generally try to itemize as much as we possibly can. If we’re doing a kitchen estimate we will show you our costs for everything from the cabinetry, appliances, flooring, walls, paint, framing, duct work, electrical, fixtures, etc. We will add another layer of detail with project sequencing & timeline as we go under contract so you will get a better feel for how we will approach your project, how long it will take, and what impact different options will have in price and scheduling. Our estimates are generally regarded to be the most comprehensive of any of the local builders.

How long does the construction process take?
It all depends on the project. A new house up to about 4,500 square feet will typically take 9 months from first shovel in the ground to us handing you the key to move in. More complex designs, fewer specifications before the project begins, and larger projects tend to take longer. Additions, renovations, kitchens and baths all vary drastically based on complexity, size, etc. A good rule of thumb for a kitchen remodel would be 3-4 months. Finishing existing spaces like basements or attics usually take 4-8 weeks. A bath renovation might take 4-6 weeks. A 20’x20′ two story addition with basement would be in the 4-6 month range.

What kind of contract do you work under?
We work under two types of contracts. Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) or Cost Plus. Under a guaranteed maximum price we bid out the entire job and will not charge you for another thing unless you make changes to the defined scope of work. Under the Cost Plus arrangement, we meet with you and set up a budget for the project. We then bid out every major portion of the work with at least three different subcontractors. After we gather the numbers for each section we will generate a report and meet with you to discuss our suggestions on which sub to use and why. You would make the ultimate choice in this case on which subcontractor we use.

How accessible will you or my project manager be?
You will have the cell phone numbers of all of our project managers and all of our email addresses. We are available twenty four hours a day and seven days a week. If something goes wrong with your house, we want to know about it, and we will be on site as soon as possible.

What’s your payment schedule?
We usually structure payment schedules one of two ways. One version is based on percentage completion either for the overall job, or for specific portions of the job. That percentage completion is usually determined by us, and then verified either by an architect or bank inspector. Another option is based on milestones within the project. For example, a draw might come after footings are complete, another upon completion of framing, after sheetrock, trim, paint, etc.

How liveable will my house be during construction?
It depends on the extent of the renovation you’re doing. The most disruptive type of renovation is the kitchen. It’s the heart of the house, and is where people spend most of their time. However, it’s also the most rewarding area of the home to renovate. There’s nothing like a brand new completely customized kitchen laid out to your exact specifications. In any renovation we will work with you to preserve an area of your house that will remain untouched to become your temporary living space. We can also make provisions to set up temporary kitchen facilities for you, or anything else you might want to make your time under construction more pleasant.

What precautions do you take to ensure the part of my house not being worked on will stay in good condition?
We will work with you to determine the level of protection for your existing house. The minimum we would do would be to tape and plastic any openings to the existing house and seal off any heat/air return ducts. We always protect existing floors with temporary carpet, plastic, and paper. In some cases we have built temporary walls between the area we’re working in and the existing house. The level of protection will vary by job, and we will be sure to meet with you before starting the project to determine a level you and we are comfortable with.

How has the economic downturn affected your company?
We are seeing more clients decide to stay put and transform their current homes, rather than sell in this housing market. The attention to detail and level of service we bring to new home construction is a perfect fit for major home upgrades and additions. We work hand in hand with our clients, and often with their architects, to build in the space and features they would want in a new home.

How do you see the relationship between yourself as a contractor, and me as your client.
We see ourselves as your agent in the construction process as we represent your best interests in engaging the right team to work on your home. It is our job to provide you with the best home for the best price possible. We bring our years of experience in the construction industry to guide you through the construction process. Our attention to detail in the construction process, planning capability, contacts in the industry, eye for design and proportion, and our level of service and responsiveness are all parts of what we bring to the table.

How close will the final cost of the project be to the estimate you provide?
As long as you stick to the allowance numbers, and don’t make changes, your house will not go over the estimate. When people do start making changes and selecting finishes over and above the allowances the average increase to the total number is 10%.

What is an allowance?
A condition that often applies to the Guaranteed Maximum Price is the concept of the Allowance. For example, if you are unsure at the outset of the project as to what type of tile you want to use in the master bathroom floor, the process is as follows: we will do a square footage takeoff of that floor, meet with you to make a suggestion on a price per square foot to use, and then use that number as your allowance when we go under contract. Months later, when you pick your tile, we will show you our costs for that tile, and apply them to the allowance. If the amount is less than the original allowance number, then we will issue you a credit, if the amount is more, then we will bill you for the difference.

Do you do any commercial construction?
We do. Although we primarily specialize in residential, we have experience in commercial construction including schools, assisted living facilities, retail stores, warehouses, office buildings, municipal structures, and banks. We are able to take on all types of construction.

I’m thinking about subdividing my lot. Can you help?
We have helped many homeowners through the subdivision process. We have attorneys and engineers we have worked with on several subdivisions. We can advise you on the process, and help you to work your way through the approvals system.

I’d like to do an addition but I think I need a variance. How do I find out?
The first step in this process is to find your survey. If you can’t, then contact us. We have working relationships with many surveyors in the South Jersey area. Most of them keep records on file for several years. If we can find the one who did your original survey, they might still have it on file and will print it up for you at a nominal cost. Otherwise, we can engage the services of a surveyor for you. Once that’s complete, we will look at the required setbacks and their relationship to your existing house and the addition you’re considering. If you do require a variance, then we will guide you through the process!

We Believe in transparency and building trusting relationship with our clients.
Paul Canton

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