Our Design Build Process
Welcome to Sebring Design Build, we are Chicago Suburbs and Nashville Suburbs high quality home design and renovations company. We have personal designers on staff to hold your hand through the entire remodeling process and help you select cabinets, tile, paint colors, etc. so that your home project has those special touches that make it look like it should be featured in a magazine.
You’re ready to move forward with your possible home project and you’ve started doing some online research to try to figure out where to begin and who to call. You may be feeling excited, overwhelmed, or even nervous about the process ahead, don’t worry, that’s completely normal and our steps below will help you define what you need and how to get it done.
Our guide helps you through the process from start to finish. Below we will explain our process and what you can expect from our team.
*This Process is for Kitchens, Bathrooms & Basement Projects.
*If you’re remodeling within the existing structure of your home, we will utilize our in-house CAD software. For new additions, we will meet with an architect to determine the cost for drafting plans. Already picked an architect? No problem. Contact us when your drawings are permit ready, so we can meet to review them to make sure we set a realistic budget.
STEP 1: EDUCATE
Explore Ideas & Formulate Must Haves
Start your journey by exploring the internet for your likes, dislikes, and everything in between. Take a look through our project portfolio for ideas. You can also check out our idea books on Houzz.com. Our blog has many great articles on design trends and tips on hiring a contractor.
Get Specific About Your Project
What type of project are you looking to start? Is it a kitchen only or is it actually the kitchen and hardwood floors throughout the first floor? Getting specific about how you plan to use the space before the next step will help you get realistic with a budget before talking with a potential contractor.
Formulating a Budget
Use the must haves list you just created to understand what a realistic budget would be. There are great tools online to help with getting a general idea or remodeling costs. Check out the Cost vs Value Report and our Pricing Guide page.
Start researching sites like the Better Business Bureau, Angi.com, Houzz.com & Yelp.com to help in your search for the right design-build contractor. We wrote a blog article to help you research contractors using online review websites. It’s very helpful, so check it out.
Before Calling Us
We know that good communication is the number one way to achieve a successful project and happy customers, so from the first phone call we will be asking lots of questions to learn how we can serve you best. So to prepare for our first conversation, take a look below about what we will discuss.
During our first phone call, we’ll talk about your project including both your wants and needs. We will also talk about the type of contractor you’re looking to hire. We understand that we’re not always the right fit for everyone and each project. Let’s talk about it and find out together.
- This initial call will take 15-20 minutes
- Items we will discuss during our first phone call:
Your Key Information:
Where is your home located?
- We have a very specific area we serve because we want to make sure we can manage your project with a high level of customer service and attention. Take a look at our service area page to find out if we work in your area.
What project are you looking to complete?
- We want to make sure we are the right fit for you, so this question is an important one. For more information on how we run your project check out our FAQ page.
Why do you want to do this project?
- We love partnering with our clients to help make their home a place to make lasting memories. So tell us the deep reason on why you are ready to make such a significant investment in your home.
When are you looking to have the project completed?
- Do you have a deadline of when you are looking to complete your project? Whether it is a graduation party, or an expected newborn, let us know if you have a date in mind so we can go over how long your project design, permits and build-out may take.
How much are you looking to invest?
- Setting the right budget is the most important part of any project. Without the numbers lining up, you’ll be wasting your time. Let’s talk about what you are looking to spend. If your budget is realistic, we can help come up with ideas that will provide the best value for your investment. Check out our pricing page for guidance in setting a realistic budget.
Some other questions we will ask:
- What year was your house built?
- How long do you plan to stay?
- Primary reason for the project?
- Are you planning to get a permit?
- Have you ever remodeled your home before? How was that experience?
- What is the number one thing you are looking for in a contractor?
- During your research for this project, are you talking with other contractors?
- How are you planning to determine who to work with?
At the end of our conversation together we will determine if it make sense to set up an appointment for the discovery meeting. If it doesn’t seem like we are the right fit for your project, we will try to refer you to another qualified contractor that can serve you better.
STEP 2: DISCOVER
Once at your home, we will spend 30-60 minutes getting to know each other better. We will hear what you have in mind, give some advice, and talk through your goals, desires, and any fears you may have regarding the project. We won’t get into the small details, but we will talk about your vision on a higher level. We will discuss the feasibility of your ideal budget range. While we won’t know the exact cost of your project at this point, by starting this discussion and talking about some practical numbers will go a long way in helping our team direct you in the best way forward. Inevitably you will have lots of questions for us and we will leave time to answer those. We will also talk over our process and the next steps.
There are 3 possible outcomes from this meeting:
- OUTCOME 1: We set up a meeting in our showroom to meet our team, go over some pallet selections, basic layout, and a 3D drawing. We provide these details by executing a Discovery Partnership Fee, which is typically 1% of the projected cost of the project.
- OUTCOME 2: We move to a partnership Design Agreement, and a retainer fee is typically 5% of the preliminary estimate. If we agree that you are ready to start this step, we will set up a meeting with the designer, we will also inspect, measure, photograph and document the existing space. In some cases, people bypass this step and move right into contract (we will discuss options that fit each individual project). During this step, we will review material selections appropriate for you project, review a preliminary scope of work and provide a refined estimated budget. For some projects, we will create a Good-Better-Best estimate so you can get an idea of how your selection choices can affect the final price.
- We will talk about design ideas that could affect the price.
- We will review a demo of the online project management scheduling and communication system we use.
- If the preliminary scope of work and investment range are agreed, we execute a fee based partnership agreement to move to the Design & Selection Phase. This fee is typically 2-5% of the preliminary estimate.
- OUTCOME 3: We agree that we are not the right fit for your project.
STEP 3: DESIGN
Once the Design Agreement is signed and retainer is paid we start the design & selections phase.
Schematic Design Ideas
We will create for you a few “rough drafts” of possible design solutions for you to view with us. In this phase we will narrow down the ideas you like best, and hone in on a final design. This is an exciting step because we show 3D renderings of designs for all cabinetry in kitchens, bathrooms, and basement bars. Once you love the final design we move right into the selections phase.
Interior Material Selections
Now that you have essentially viewed and approved the overall design/layout of your project (the big picture design), at this point in the process we will start selecting all of the fine details and finishes your project will need. These include things like cabinets, countertops, flooring, plumbing fixtures, tile, paint colors, etc. All of your decisions are made before the construction portion starts, making the process go much smoother for you in the long run.
Estimating & Documentation
While you are working with our designer, our team will also be hard at work finalizing all of the important construction details, so that we can have a fully completed set of construction documents ready to go. This will include any additional jobsite visits, adding dimensions to drawings, creating wall sections, adding important notes and (if necessary) having any engineering work evaluated for code compliance. After this phase, you are ready to start construction!
Now that all of the details and associated costs for your project have been figured out and your selections have been finalized, we will prepare for you a “Construction Agreement”. This is the contract that outlines the scope of work, the schedule, and the payment terms.
Keep in mind, as long as you sign the fixed price Construction Agreement before the expiration, any design fees that you paid previously will be credited towards the first payment.
STEP 4: BUILD
Turning ideas on paper into reality begins at this phase.
After your permit is approved, we schedule and start your project. Our craftsmen arrive at your home each day, equipped to transform your ideas into reality. Your project manager regularly meets with you and our contractors to review the progress. With our skilled tradesmen, you’re in good hands. We’re also ready to answer any questions you have as the project moves forward.
We will prepare and submit to the appropriate building department any necessary permit applications. This can take anywhere from two weeks to two months, depending on where you live. No matter how long it takes, we take care of all permits and inspections.
All of your project information is uploaded to our online scheduling software at this point. All communication is recorded through our website, which can be accessed through your smart phone or computer at any time.
Prior to showing up for the start of the project, we will schedule a “Pre-Construction Meeting” where we review all of the details about your project, and make sure we are all still on the same page. This meeting includes everything from parking and dumpster location to accommodating pets. We will go over any questions you may have about the project schedule.
Probably the main reason why we have so many happy clients is clear, timely communication during the project. Your assigned project manager visits the project daily and will go over any questions he or she may have. We also utilize the online scheduling software to communicate back and forth.
Our in-house construction staff will take over from here. You will be assigned a Project Manager and they will be your daily point person for your project. They will be performing and scheduling the work, answering questions, problem solving, updating the schedule, etc. Remember, with our process, 99% of the details are decided on in the design phase. This helps the Build step go much smoother.
STEP 5: ENJOY
We stand by our work and have extended our workmanship warranty to cover 5 years, which is much longer than most of our competitors and certainly longer than the industry standard of 1 year. Our craftsmanship always conforms to the guidelines stated in the NAHB Residential Construction Performance Guidelines.
So what does this mean for you? Peace of mind. When your home remodeling and construction project is completed, your relationship with Sebring Design Build continues on. If you have issues, we will be there to make sure they are taken care of promptly.
We believe that a well thought-out, organized process gives you a great experience. Contact us to see if this process will be the right fit for your project.