Remodeling in Northern Virginia-From Design to Construction-Our Process

June 19, 2017

Are you considering an addition or a remodeling project at your home? Finding a contractor to discuss your ideas with is the easy part. But what comes next? Not all contractors have the same “process”, and it’s important to have a thorough understanding of what you can expect. 

At Lensis Builders, we have our own way of taking our clients from the initial meeting to the beginning of construction.


Image via Lensis Builders, Inc.

Step One: In Home Consultation

When you schedule a meeting with Lensis Builders in your home, you’ll be meeting with one of the Owners – Richard or Stacy Lensis. Not a Salesperson, not an Estimator – an Owner. At this meeting we’ll discuss your needs, wants, and essentially your “Wish List” for your home. You’ll find that we ask A LOT of questions about your existing home, and what areas are causing you the most pain. Photos and preliminary measurements of the existing spaces will be taken, property plats will be reviewed for addition projects, and any questions you have will be answered. If a new Kitchen is on your list, you’ll even be left with a Kitchen Design Survey to do as “homework”. 



Image via Lensis Builders, Inc.

Step Two: Opinion Of Probable Cost

One of the things we’ll discuss in your home will be your investment comfort level. Let’s face it, even if cost isn’t your only driving factor, everyone has a “budget”. We use the Design/Build approach.  Although the information we obtained from our first meeting with you is helpful, it’s very difficult to do a 100% accurate cost proposal based solely on this preliminary information. However; we will be able to provide you with an Opinion of Probable Cost – which is a cost analysis of your project based on previous projects we’ve completed with a similar scope of work. This won’t be a construction proposal, but a probable cost analysis – typically a cost range with which we will work toward during the design phase. If you are comfortable with this potential cost range, we will then move forward with the design and materials selection process.   



Image via Lensis Builders, Inc.


Step Three: Design & Materials Selection Agreement

Based on our initial meeting, and the Opinion of Probable Cost we’ve provided, when you decide Lensis Builders is your contractor of choice, we will ask you to sign off on our Design and Materials Selection Agreement. There is a design retainer fee for this service – 3% of the proposed cost. Rest assured, this upfront fee will be credited toward the cost of our construction. What do we promise to give you when you move forward with this vital step? You will be provided with excellent visual communication, to include a detailed, 3D design model created in our CAD software. You’ll see exactly what you’ll be getting and how the design will match and work with your existing home. We also provide the necessary construction documents and engineering for the permit process after the construction proposal is ratified. Please keep in mind that it’s important to detail out your project before any type of work starts. It’s much less expensive to adjust your design on paper and in 3D views than in the field during construction. AND we want you to know what your project will cost before we enter into an agreement. By solidifying all design details, there are no “shades of gray”. The construction proposal you’ll receive from us will be 100% accurate with no cost overruns/change orders. However, there is ONE more important step to ensure our final construction cost is exactly what you want.



Image via Lensis Builders, Inc.

Step Four: Materials Selection

Material selections help us produce an accurate, detailed construction proposal with no surprise cost overruns. A big part of ensuring the cost accuracy of a construction proposal is the materials selection process. We will work with you in our showroom, assist with your selections, and guide you through each choice with your investment comfort level in mind. Not all contractors follow the same approach to Design/Build projects as we do – so “buyer beware” when dealing with estimates that have “allowances” listed instead of an actual item you’ve selected. Some contractors will even issue what we like to call “low ball allowances” to make their estimates come in lower to win the job. Then when the project starts, and you begin to pick your finish materials – they hit you with change orders/cost overrun charges. Unfortunately, this is common practice – and we feel like it’s just bad business. Our process includes a thorough design, complete material selections made at our showroom with the assistance of Rich and Stacy Lensis, and then a very detailed, accurate construction proposal. We provide proposals, not “guesstimates”. We want you to know exactly what your project will cost before we enter into an agreement.



Image via Lensis Builders, Inc.


If you live in the Northern Virginia area and you’re interested in a free estimate, or would like to know how Lensis Builders, Inc. can make your home even better, give us a call at 703-367-8999 or fill out a short contact form. If you’re looking for inspiration for your next project, visit our Pinterest page. 

Schedule Your Project and Cost Consultation