What is Design/Build Construction?

And other FAQs . . .

A custom home or whole house renovation is one of the biggest investments you’ll make in life. As a result, you likely have many questions about design/build, both generally speaking and specifically as it pertains to mePatrick Perkins—the owner of J.E.P. Contracting.

Some of the more common questions and answers are below. Got a question that’s not on here? Please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.

  • What is design/build construction?

    The design/build process is the quickest and most efficient way to renovate a space from concept to completion. Why? Because a single source—the design/build firm—handles all of the design and construction elements from start to finish.

    With other construction methods, over 80% of projects designed are never built. There are many reasons for this, but the main reason is the design exceeds the budget. See, design professionals are paid whether the project gets built or not. Architects’ and designers’ main source of income comes from the drawings, not the construction.

    At J.E.P. Contracting, I’m proud to say that over 95% of my project designs get built. This is mainly because you know the budget before the designs are drawn and paid for.

  • So, does that mean you won’t work with my design professional?

    At this time, I don’t collaborate with outside design professionals. My passion is designing gorgeous, functional spaces, so I prefer handling the design in addition to acting as the project manager throughout the build.

    Admittedly, this is a bit unusual (for the owner to be the designer and project manager), even for design/build firms, but I find this process works best for my clients and me.

    You can learn more about my design/build process here.

  • I‘d like to remodel my home. What’s the best way to go about it?

    Renovating a home, whether it’s one room or a whole house, is an incredibly exciting journey. Here are some steps to get started . . .

    • Step 1: Research different approaches to building. The big question you need to consider is this: Should you hire a design/build firm or bid your plans out? Remember, a design/build firm will handle everything, from design to construction. With the more traditional design-bid-build approach, you’d work with a separate architect/designer and then contract the designs with a builder/contractor. I might be biased, but I feel design/build is the most efficient and economical way to build a custom home or renovate a home. But you need to make the best decision for you.
    • Step 2: Talk to your family, neighbors, friends, and business associates about recommendations and referrals. Check out local professional associations as well (like the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Central Massachusetts or the National Association of the Remodeling Industry). Read reviews on Houzz, Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc. When reading reviews, keep in mind that every contractor will have an occasional bad review. But an overabundance of bad reviews citing the same concerns should be a red flag.
    • Step 3: Review the referred contractor’s website and call for an initial phone meeting to learn more about the contractor. There should be no charge for this initial consult. Things to watch for: how does the contractor talk to you? Do they listen? Do you feel there’s chemistry and you could work with them?
    • Step 4: Invite three contractors to your home for an onsite interview. Be prepared for this with questions and concerns—as well as your ideas (like mood boards, Houzz ideabooks, and so forth). You want to share the same info and ask the same questions of all three contractors. This way, you can compare “apples to apples.”
    • Step 5: Make a selection and let the process begin! Remember, the contractor you choose should see—and embrace—your vision. He or she should be organized, professional, and a clear communicator throughout the project. The contractor should complement your personality, and you should feel very comfortable with them.
  • How much will my remodeling project cost?

    It’s important to establish a realistic budget that will allow you to make the changes that you desire. There are many variables that play a large factor in the cost of any remodeling project.

    The best way to determine price is to let us know what you’d like to have done. Get in touch and request a consultation.

  • Why shouldn’t I think of a home renovation in terms of the cost per square foot?

    Remember, every home renovation is unique to the existing home. There is no cookie cutter design—or cookie-cutter project scope or cost estimator.

    Thinking of the cost per square foot might give you a very general sense of the overall cost, but that estimate can change dramatically based on so many different factors, such as the age of the house and your goals for the space.

    This is why the design/build methodology is so effective—and so cost efficient. The designer of the space is the same firm that handles the construction.  When you work with a design/build firm, they’ll get a sense of your budget (and whether it’s realistic for what you want to do). Since they understand design and construction and will be managing both for you, they can create a design that will actually meet your needs AND budget—and, most important—be feasible from a construction perspective.

  • Why can’t you simply come out to my house and give me an estimate on the work I want done?

    Without a concept plan—and a good clear scope of work—we can’t provide an accurate estimated cost. (See the answer to the previous question for more details.)

    When I work with a client and do my initial site assessment, I do exactly that: I assess the site, discuss my client’s vision, and share my ideas. But I can’t provide an instant estimate based on that site visit alone. I need to develop an initial concept plan first—one the client signs off on.

    Only from there can I develop a preliminary budget estimate to make sure it’s economically feasible.

    For example, if you’re adding on, I need to think through this carefully: Because how an addition connects to the existing home is one of the most important parts of the design. And the approach (and subsequent costs) will be different from house to house. It has less to do with the amount of square footage we’re adding, and more to do with how and where we’re adding it.

  • I read in one of your testimonials that J.E.P. Contracting strives to make everything "turnkey" for the client. What does this mean?

    There are numerous aspects of a project that can be overlooked or hidden: We call these holes. Many contractors escalate the total cost of the project and make profits from the holes. If you aren’t looking or don’t know where or how to look for the holes, you could end up paying much more than you thought you would.

    J.E.P. Contracting looks to fill all the holes in a project up front. All my proposals include everything from the design and permits to the final coat of paint and cleanup, unless otherwise stated. In other words, we make it completely turnkey.

    A typical job for J.E.P. Contracting will have a minimal amount of extra cost. Most often, these extra costs are bona fide changes at the client’s request. Extras are always brought to the client’s attention and approved by the client before any work is done. You’ll never be presented with a bill for work you did not approve. The price you pay will be for the work you want and agreed to.

  • Can you provide references?

    I’m happy to provide references provided the references are used as the final qualifier. I respect my clients’ time and privacy and wish to limit the number of calls for references that they have to field. If you’ve decided that J.E.P. Contracting is the company you would like to work with, I’ll happily provide them to you.

    That said, I know how important references and reviews are when homeowners are conducting their initial research. I invite you to check out J.E.P. Contracting’s testimonials on the website and the reviews on Houzz.

  • Are you licensed & insured?

    Yes. As well as being a “Certified Remodeler,” I’m licensed through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (License # CS 72366). The Commonwealth requires all contractors to register with the Board of Regulations & Standards (registration #136642). I provide a certificate of insurance as well. In addition, I’m a licensed Lead-Safe Renovation Contractor (LR002796).

  • Do I have to get involved with the city for permits or will you provide them?

    I interface with your local municipalities and obtain the necessary permits as part of my service.

  • What measures are taken to keep my house clean and reduce the amount of dust?

    For interior jobs, we use plastic dust barriers around the construction area. Our workers clean debris and sweep the area before leaving for the day. We try to minimize our interaction with non-construction areas and use walk cloths on finished floors that we may need to walk on to access the construction site (for example, a hallway to a bath).

    For exterior improvements, like roofs, we use tarps around your house to fully protect your landscaping and the sides of your home. My subcontractors do a walk around at the end of each day to make sure there is no visible debris in your yard. We treat your home like our own and strive to minimize any disruptions to your life.

  • What types of warranties does J.E.P. Contracting offer to its clients?

    J.E.P. Contracting offers some of the best warranties in the contracting, remodeling, and service business. On our initial consultation, I’ll provide you with a copy of our warranty.

  • Do I need to leave my home during the remodeling process?

    Not necessarily. In fact, most of our customers stay in their home during the remodeling process. As such, my team of subcontractors pays special attention to your living space during construction. We understand that remodeling is a stressful process, and we try to make the process as easy as possible. For example, if we’re remodeling your only bathroom, we guarantee that you will have a working toilet at the end of each day.

    Some clients involved with whole house renovations will choose to vacate the home during construction. Thanks to the design/build process, we have a tight rein on the project timeline; the goal is always to complete the job in a timely manner so we can get you back in and enjoying your new space.

  • What if I have concerns or changes that I want to make during the project? How will they be handled?

    Communication is a critical part of my design/build process. I meet with you weekly during the construction. At these meetings, we discuss all changes. I write them up and price them out, and you would sign off and approve before any work begins. Bottom line: You remain informed on the overall budget every step of the way.

  • What type of payment schedule do you have?

    For the majority of our jobs, I typically break down the payments into five installments. Larger jobs, such as new home construction, can be broken down into more payments, oftentimes in conjunction with a bank or other lender’s construction “draw” schedule.

  • What geographic areas do you work in?

    J.E.P. Contracting is located in Millbury, Massachusetts, and services Worcester County. However, I have worked in other communities outside of Worcester County and would consider larger construction jobs farther from my home base in Millbury.

  • Does J.E.P. Contracting provide insurance restoration services?

    Yes. You can learn more about our insurance restoration services here and review the following FAQs regarding this service.

  • If my home is ever damaged by, say, a flood, fire, or tree through the roof, how soon after the damage occurs should I contact an insurance restoration company like yours?

    As soon as possible. I can help you through the negotiations with the insurance company. Call 508-865-4063.

  • When it comes to insurance restorations, how much will I pay out of pocket to get my home back to the way it was?

    You won’t pay anything beyond your deductible UNLESS you decide to upgrade or renovate the damaged space.

  • How much do your insurance restoration services cost?

    In the monies you receive from your insurance company, a portion is allocated for construction. Our fees are part of that construction budget.

  • Have you done insurance restoration work before? Are you licensed?

    Yes and yes. We’ve done this work quite a bit, from isolated tree damage up to entire home losses. My license covers insurance restoration contract work. This work does require a special skill set, particularly when it comes to negotiating with insurance companies.

    Bottom line: You shouldn’t assume that general contractors (or even other design/build firms) have the necessary qualifications. Make sure you ask/clarify.

  • During the insurance restoration work on my damaged home, will I be able to live in the house while the work is being done?

    It all depends on the type of damage—and the extent of the damage. This is something I’ll discuss with you at the outset.

  • If I can’t reside in my home while the insurance restoration work is being done, how long will it take before I can?

    Again, it all depends on the type of damage, the extent of the damage, and how extensive the repairs. For example, are we simply bringing the house back to its original condition, or are we doing renovations on top of that? I know dealing with a damaged home can be incredibly stressful. The good news is that the design/build methodology I follow involves a realistic and transparent timeline—one that we communicate on every step of the way.

  • What’s the story behind the name J.E.P. Contracting?

    Back in 2002 when I was getting ready to launch the business, my wife, son, and I played a game one Sunday morning around the breakfast table: “What should we name the business?” Everyone had ideas and wanted to be represented. What we settled on: J is for Justin, my son. E is for Eliisa, my wife. And P is for me, Patrick Perkins.

    Just like that, J.E.P. Contracting was born. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Do you have a question? Get in touch and let me know!