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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
To all trades that go into building a house -

You know how in commercial projects they usually seem to build men's and women's bathrooms right next to each other, back to back sharing the same wall and plumbing I would guess in order to reduce costs?

What things have you learned through experience that could reduce the cost of a house while not compromising on the quality. Say if you were able to look at preliminary plans and make suggestions for changes that would go into the final drawings?

Or in details, like ordering Hardy board pre-stained to benefit a net savings since you wouldn't have to paint it after installing it.
 

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Mike, I can see a real can of worms being opened here. "If you were an architect, what would you do differently?"
Are you planning on selling this info?
Let's roll with it and see what happens. I'll chime in later.
 

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Very interesting. When I move it would be neat to find a place with a shower and coffee pot in between the truck that’s parked next to my bed. :cheesygri
 

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I work with new construction, and I have always found it a good idea to place the laundry room upstairs with the rest of the bedrooms so there is easy access to all the rooms when the laundry is done.
A bonus would be if the laundry had a door that accessed the master WIC.
 

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I suppose that we are not to discuss 1,000 sq. ft. bathrooms with Roman tubs, 600 sq. ft showers w/his/hers entrances and 40 shower heads and 1.6 gal. per flush toilets?
 

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From my understanding of your post I gather that you are talking about production changes rather than design, and if so then pre-glued floor joist for the sub-flooring to adhere to or (saves the one man with the glue gun out in front of the Advantech layer), water piping that has hot and cold back to back in one stick, keep power entrance close to kitchen, make sure all subs are completely finished and do not return before doing final punch-out, have three fingers of Glenn-livit EVERYmorning before work whether you want it or not, make it six, visit every job every day or twice a day, and oh yeah, no changes...yeah right.
 

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And I forgot, if your house has 140 recessed can lights for mood lighting this number can probably be reduced.
 

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New construction? Don't bother calling me until the roof is all framed and all penetrations are installed, and all brick surfaces which will require flashing are installed.

If the job is truly 100% ready I can probably finish in one day, but new construction usually requires 3 return visits because the builder doesn't care about my schedule.
 

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If you can find any info on DiVosta homes, check it out. It's the most efficient company that I have ever seen. These folks have turned homebuilding into an artform.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Florcraft said:
I work with new construction, and I have always found it a good idea to place the laundry room upstairs with the rest of the bedrooms so there is easy access to all the rooms when the laundry is done.
A bonus would be if the laundry had a door that accessed the master WIC.
That makes sense. In some high dollar homes, I have seen a laundry room on each floor now.

But your comments are a design issue and not a cost saving issue, unless I am missing how an upstairs laundry room would be a cost saving design versus a 1st floor one?

What about new construction in regard to flooring? What have you learned that you could pass on? For instance if the plan showed hardwood floors in the foyer and into the dining room, and tile in the 1st floor bathroom and kitchen, let's say that 60% of the 1st floor was going to not be carpeted, could you see an advantage for the builder to go to say 1 1/4 subfloor throught 1st floor instead of 3/4 and avoid installing underlayment for the tile and hardwood and get a net savings? This example is probably full of holes but just to use it as a way to help you understand what I am looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
sentry said:
and if so then pre-glued floor joist for the sub-flooring to adhere to or (saves the one man with the glue gun out in front of the Advantech layer),
What does pre-glue mean? Are you talking about gluing the subfloor in addition to nailing or something else?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Grumpy said:
New construction? Don't bother calling me until the roof is all framed and all penetrations are installed, and all brick surfaces which will require flashing are installed.

If the job is truly 100% ready I can probably finish in one day, but new construction usually requires 3 return visits because the builder doesn't care about my schedule.
If you and I were working together and I said to you, "Grumpy, I want you to do the roof of this new house, what can I do to reduce the cost of the roof you put on for me? I don't want you to charge less or use cheaper materials, just what can I do to allow you to do this roof as cheap as possible because you can spend less time on it or because of a couple of design changes in the roof line would save a lot of money?
 

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Thats right Mike, my framers run titebond floor adhesive (or other floor glue) on every joist before nailing or screwing sub-floor.
 

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I owned a new townhouse in the early 90's. The builder used pre-fabbed 2 x 4 floor trusses. When I asked him why he used trusses, when most other builders seemed to be using enginneered joists, he told me trusses allowed him to accomplish better ceiling lines and realize overall savings by lowering the cost of mechanical system installs.
 

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To add to what Pipe said above I agree, even thought his isn't my area of expertise I have see the floor trusses where slots/pockets for the mechanicals have already been shaped in the truss. Obviously for this to be possible someone needs to pre-design the locations of all the MEP's.
 

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I'll take a stab at it from the carpentry perspective:

The new OSB I-Beam floor joists are cheaper, as well as stronger and easier to work with...

Simple things like vinal flooring instead of hardwood or tile, painted vs stained trim, use OG profiles for you base and casing, buy metal clothes rods/shelves for the closets, they aren't as nice as well built wood ones, but they are a whole lot cheaper and some people like the look better. Plus, production trim carpenters dont do shelving worth a crap (at least in MI). There's a lot of places to cut costs, I dont know exactly how you wish to cut them (cheaper materials, cheaper labor, better methods?)
 

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Alot of the builders are not putting plywood over the subfloor where carpet areas are. Only in areas where the vinyl goes.
you all probably know this, but it makes it a real strain when the client changes things out down the road.
But they will balk at the price if you add it in the construction costs.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
PPro said:
There's a lot of places to cut costs, I dont know exactly how you wish to cut them (cheaper materials, cheaper labor, better methods?)
See, this is a tough one.

I'm looking for ways to do it better and cheaper by doing it smarter, definitly not by making somebody work for less or subbing a cheaper version of something, it a tough one, but I know everybody has learned a few trade specific things that are diamonds waiting to be mined. :Thumbs:
 

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From what I can tell, cutting costs can have as much, or more, to do with reducing the duration of the build-out (ground-breaking to settlement) as it does with trade/material unit costs. It seems to me it's about coordination, coordination and coordination.
 

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Mike if I were to be a builder, as I may someday in the next ten years, I would try to use the same subs over and over once I found good ones. That seems logical.

Here is what also seems logical but I've never been asked in my whole life:

The builder asks the subs "Hypothetically, if I were to cater to you describe to me your perect setup. What should I do to make your life easiest?"

How will that reduce costs you might be asking yourself. Well it might not on thr FIRST job. Let's talk second and third jobs etc... When I price new construction I always throw on an extra $300 because I know I am going to need to go back there and spend a few hours finshing some flashing at least 2 days after the bulk of the work is complete. If I had a builder who had everything ready for me before I even sent out my crew, he'd save $300 right there! BTW that $300 is for travel, setup and headache.

The post above about pre-stained cedar siding is damned true. Have you priced out what it costs to paint a whole house vs what pre-stained siding costs with a few minor touch ups? People are in awe, even some builders, when I explain that to them.
 
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