Understanding Design And Construction

Many people who are at the beginning of their process of planning for a custom home project benefit from understanding the components of the process.   The costs below are only an average of typical projects and will include the following:    

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 Design and Engineering

  • Good planning and design adds value.  Good planning, creative design, co-ordinated trades, integrating the home, to the land all make for a home of lasting value. These are some of the pieces of that work:  
  • Septic & well:  $30,000 - $45,000  (if needed)
  • Storm water management,  piping, & erosion control  $30,000 - $100,000  for new homes,   $5,000 to $20,000 for additions between 500 sf and ~ 1500 sf.   SWM is almost always required over these sizes
  • Utilities, site work, grading, paving:   $50,000 - $100,000. :New home, not including long driveway, terraces, decks, pools, landscaping.  
  • Engineering:  (for the above):  surveyors plan including topo, existing features, utilities, easements, zoning information, Percolation test (one each for septic if no public sewer and for storm water structure) , Septic design (if needed), Architectural design, structural engineering, lighting, cabinetry, furniture layout, $20 /sf to $30/sf 
  • Renovations and additions:   Some or all of the services above will be required.  
  • Comparing fees:  here is a link to information from an outside source
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  • Construction of Structure, New Home: $175 / sf (nice basic custom) to $300 to $400 / sf (fully custom design and detailing)  custom level design and features.  
  • Renovations and additions:  vary with the type of room, from $150/sf ~$200 / sf for a nicely trimmed simple (higher for special features) spaces to ~ $400-$600 / sf for kitchens and bathrooms.   Renovations will include site restoration, storm water management and tend to involve adjacent spaces which will increase the scope of the work.    Cost / sf analogies may not be appropriate for renovations but may indicate probable costs.  
  • Building Permits:  2% to 3% of the costs of construction.
  • Understanding Construction Costs:  Here is information on construction costs from an outside source.  


  • Expect a good building lot, with all required approvals and improvements to cost about one quarter of the market value of a home.   Individual large lots will start at $90,000 / acre , varying with location, availability and desirability.    These costs will vary widely based on supply and demand, and location.  
  • Zoning, Site Analysis.  Assure that any land considered for a project is able to be developed for the use you intend.  We recommend working with clients during land acquisition if possible. 
  • "Custom" means just that.  If these costs fit with your expectations, let's talk further