It’s a common tale. You set out to build a custom home in Houston and you follow the 'standard' procedure for doing so: develop plans with an architect, selecting the lowest bid from a short-list of local contractors, and then initiate the construction process. Yet, somewhere along the way, things become confusing and unclear and when there is a lack of proper communication, the project starts to go wrong. Why?
Either there is miscommunication or misinformation about your vision that has to be addressed with change orders during construction, or you find out that the bid you were given doesn’t cover the types of materials, fixtures and finishes you were expecting. The final product ends up costing more than you expected while the process itself is stressful and disappointing.
This kind of outcome is what makes many future homeowners nervous about the custom home-building process, but it is certainly avoidable. What you’ll often find missing in those types of experiences is an essential element of a positive, rewarding home-building experience: transparency.
Watch to learn about Southern Green Builders' Pre-Construction Process.
What Is Transparent Construction and Why Is It Important?
Transparency in the process of building a new house in Houston is openness and honesty at every step of the way. When a custom home builder is transparent, particularly during the pre-construction phase, there is a significant reduction of surprises and unexpected changes.
What are the ways an experienced home builder will implement transparency in the home building process during pre-construction and why is it important?
1. Tracking Revisions and No Surprises
New home construction in Houston is an iterative process, especially when you are creating an entirely customized space. You start with a rough schematic design; then, as your architect works with you to refine your vision and make selections, the design plans evolve. Each iteration brings you closer to the complete construction drawings needed to build a new home to your exact expectations.
However, each revision may also change the overall cost of the project. If your home builder and architect are collaborating from the beginning, they will be able to better track each change, as well as the price difference. This provides a superior level of cost control and detail capture during the pre-construction phase.
With each meeting, you are able to see the updated cost and scope of your project. You can compare where you are now with where you started. If the cost is exhausting your budget, you have the opportunity to choose different options during the design phase that will get your budget back on track.
2. Transparency Means Sparing No Details in the Bid
Ultimately, the cost of your new luxury home in Houston is based on what you put into the home, from the layout and features to appliances and finishes. Bids from various builders often times lack specificity, and this is something that should be evaluated when choosing a builder for your project.
If a bid or proposal fails to provide a sufficient breakdown of costs, this could leave room for unexpected changes later on.
Often, the issue isn’t revealed until construction has started, at which point a change order is necessary to get what you assumed would be included in your new home. This often causes delays and alters your overall project price. By working with a builder that line-items every cost, you’re less likely to incur costs that push your project over your budget. After all, a bid is not a binding contract, so going beyond the bid price is always a possibility when a construction company isn’t transparent about every line item.
As a homeowner, it’s valuable to have a home builder by your side who will identify gaps in information and show you where you can have input that will impact the cost. This leads to quote transparency and the assurance that you’ll get what you pay for.
Another value that comes from a transparent approach is having access to your home builder’s wealth of industry knowledge and expert opinion. Most homeowners aren’t deeply familiar with different types of construction materials or the building process itself. A transparent and honest home builder won’t use this lack of knowledge against you but will instead take the time to explain important steps and include you in the decision-making process. This way, you can make informed decisions that work towards your budget and timeline.
Additionally, if your builder is open and transparent in giving information, they’ll likely be open when receiving information. They will listen to what you want, your general vision and goals, and they will provide suggestions on how to get there. It is empowering as a prospective homeowner to work with a home builder who can say, “In order to achieve your vision and maintain your budget, you should use this.”
They familiarize you with what you need to know and enable you to make informed decisions about each aspect of your project, from big-picture items down to windows, doors, hardware and other features. You also get to know upfront the cost of your selections and how they impact your overall project price.
4. Transparency Shows Honesty
Transparency facilitates trust in your builder, and your end result will be a custom home you envisioned at the budget you expected. Building a custom home is a major investment and you’ll want your builder to show that you can trust them with that investment. A builder that’s transparent has nothing to hide and will earn your trust by being upfront on challenges, costs, answering your questions, and your available options, so there are no surprises.
How to Ensure Your Home Builder Practices Transparency in Construction
One way to avoid working with a builder that lacks transparency is by having an architect and a home builder who will collaborate on costs and design from the start. If you’ve chosen your architect first, request recommendations on a home builder, and vice versa. They’ll likely have a good professional rapport and will work well together to see that your project is well-planned, from feasibility to staying within your budget, while delivering the best quality. This is because having both professionals collaborating from the beginning offers a system of checks and balances as well as proficient knowledge-sharing.
Another sign that your contractor practices transparency is their use of construction management software. Construction management software is a system you will have access to before and during construction that allows you to see the project details, construction schedules, etc., and offers a direct line of communication to your project manager. You’ll be able to stay engaged and kept aware in a convenient manner throughout the entire process.
Finding a Transparent Home Builder in Houston
As you prepare to create your new dream home in Houston, you don’t have to settle for a process that will be stressful and inefficient.
At Southern Green Builders, transparency is a key component of what we have to offer. We take the guesswork out of the home building process by collaborating with your architect in the pre-construction phase and providing you the insight and information you need to make decisions, control costs and create a luxury house that meets your expectations. Contact Southern Green Builders to schedule a consultation and learn more about our process.