The Remodeling Process

The Remodeling Process

Braitman Design/Build specializes in remodeling and additions for older homes. Our business model is unlike others in the business. Why? Because I started out as the client — using contractors to remodel 7 of my own houses — and I know what the client wants. So I’ve organized Braitman Design/Build to solve the problems that I encountered as a homeowner.

The natural curves  of the Pergola fins provide a sense of enclosure and security and also privacy from the close neighbor.
The natural curves of the Pergola fins provide a sense of enclosure and security and also privacy from the close neighbor.

As a client there were 3 problems inherent in the industry that needed fixing:

  1. Not really understanding what the finished home would look like — leading to very costly change orders and/or dissatisfaction.
  2. Not being able to get a good handle on the true job costs and finding that the true costs were often much greater than the original contract price.
  3. Not having a relationship with the contractor sufficient to understand what I, as the client, could do to control costs — whether that’s when decisions were made or changing my requirements slightly in ways that reduced cost without sacrificing my satisfaction.

The process I use eliminates these problems.  As any of my clients to confirm that this is so.  

Why Braitman Design/Build Instead of an Architect?  We eliminate the problems typical of the architect/general contractor approach to remodeling:

  • Bids coming in substantially higher than the budget
  • In-fighting and finger-pointing between the architect and the general contractor
  • The contractor cutting corners or not building to the architect’s specifications
  • Paying architectural fees for a design that doesn’t work.

The design/build process eliminates these problems. We take full responsibilities from the conceptual design through construction. Knowing the budget up-front and having extensive, current knowledge of construction costs and processes, our jobs come in on-time and in-budget — with no surprises.
Because we subcontract all major construction tasks except project management we also achieve the benefits of “architect-as-owner’s-representative”. We have developed a network of trusted tradesmen and craftsmen that we can call on short notice. We know the high quality of their work and the strong work ethic of their crews.
We truly believe that we offer our clients the best of both worlds. Please talk with current and past clients to judge for yourself. Follow this link to comments from clients. At the initial consultation we will provide a list of references for you to call and talk with.
Why Braitman Design/Build instead of another D/B firm? We also eliminate the problems typical of the Design/Build approach to remodeling:

  • Jackie Braitman is an architectural designer. Most Design/Build shops are first and foremost contractors without strong design skills. Design is just a way to get you to move forward with construction. With Braitman Design/Build, Design is separated from Building and you can choose to stop at the design process or bring our design to someone else.
  • Many Design/Build shops have crews of employees that they need to keep employed and the design reflects the skills they have. At Braitman, all specific tradecraft is subcontracted — without sacrificing accountability — so your design is specific to your needs and not what employees the Design/Build firm has on-hand.
  • Many Design/Build contractors have supervisors that are on-site at best once-a-day. Braitman’s lead carpenter/supervisor is on-site throughout almost the entire construction process. 

Steps in the Process:
Conceptual Design: Design starts with understanding a client’s goal and needs:

  • The immediate problems that prompt a desire for remodeling – perhaps the need for a larger kitchen or the desire to connect with the outside.
  • Lifestyles – a home for a couple that enjoys frequent formal entertaining is different from a home for a couple that work at home and “cocoon”.
  • Dreams – the dream lifestyle that you think is beyond your means or the home’s bounds.
  • Budget Constraints
    I need to get to know you to turn your current home into your dream house. The primary product during conceptual design is one or more conceptual design alternatives that meet Client’s goals along with 3-dimensional drawings (see renderings) to help clients visualize the alternatives. These alternatives help focus the discussion on more concrete choices and the inevitable trade-offs in the remodeling process. After one or several iterations, we will agree on a preferred design to take to the next stage.

Construction Feasibility & Cost Reduction Alternatives: After conceptual design but before spending money on detailed construction drawings, I prefer to bring in engineering and construction specialists to review the design for feasibility and cost. This allows us to modify the design with the client to achieve the goals with less cost or disruption.

Construction Documents & Permit Approvals: The design needs to be translated to construction drawings to guide the contractor and to secure permit approvals. These drawings are prepared only after conceptual design is agreed upon. Preparing these documents — which are detailed construction blueprints — is time consuming. We prefer to save you money by going through the process once with an agreed upon conceptual design.

Construction: Braitman Design/Build takes full responsibility to build according to the agreed upon plans, to successfully gain required building inspections, to build according to the budget and schedule agreed upon in advance, and to manage the inevitable change orders that will occur keeping the client fully apprised of changes to budget and schedule.

Further, we will commit to a satisfactory construction process with minimum mess and disruption to your lives.

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2 thoughts on “The Remodeling Process”

  • Howdy, I am looking for ideas for our new home that we plan to build. I realize you remodel home not build homes. You do a wonderful job and I have always wanted everything buildin just like in that beautiful bedroom i saw on your website. We want to size down since we are in our 80s but don’t really know where to start to get what we really want and need for the future. Thank you so much for allowing folks to see the wonderful work you do.
    Yours truly
    Emilie

  • Emilie – Thanks so much for checking in. So great that you’re starting a new adventure in your 80’s. Best of luck on building your new home.
    – Jackie

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