We want to discuss the nature and scope of the project you have in mind and what your budget is. We will ask you a few key questions about what your project goals are and determine if they fit roughly with what you hope to spend. If you haven’t come up with a budget yet, we can usually help you establish a broad range over the phone. By the end of this first conversation you will have a basic sense of how we do business and whether or not the amount of money you hope to spend for your project is realistic. We then schedule a time for one or both of the company owners, Steve Kuhl and Dan Murphy, to visit with you to further discuss your project. We usually assign you a little homework to complete prior to our meeting. This helps you get as much as possible out of the time we spend together.
First meeting homework
One or both of the company owners will visit with you in your home. Plan on one to three hours because we like to talk. We will take some time to listen to what you are thinking about doing. We ask a lot of questions. You take us on a tour. We take notes and photos and listen to the ideas you have collected. After that we introduce you to how we do business, our values, our methods and our people. The main purpose of this first meeting is to see how we all gel as team. We talk a little about some of the design possibilities, but mostly it’s about exploring the possibility of working together. We do not charge for this meeting.
The Next Move
After our first meeting you can take one of two paths: A feasibility review or a design retainer.
Some of our clients are skilled at visualizing their architectural dreams and thus require less detailed designs to get them where they need to go. Most, however, enjoy seeing a number of options. Some have clear ideas about what materials and finishes they like while others need more guidance. After getting to know where you fall on the spectrum we draw up a Kuhl Design Retainer. This agreement puts our talent into motion towards the design of your project by spelling out in clear terms what we are going to do for you. It addresses questions like: Are we using our in-house design talent or are we working with an architect you bring to the table? How many hours of our interior designer’s time have we included? How many design redraws are included? Do you get a 3D tour of your space? Who is responsible for what?
Our design retainer is a completely separate contract from our construction agreement. This preserves the independence of the design team and allows you to get to know how we operate before signing a construction agreement.
For information on our interior design division click here.
Whether we are working with an architect you bring in or with one of our designers, our first responsibility is to translate your wishes into meaningful plans and do so within your budget parameters. We listen to what you want, make suggestions and then draw. If you are going down the wrong path we are not shy about saying so. We are here to provide guidance to you.
For deeper information on our design process click here.
During the latter part of our design process we bid out every component of your project. By seeking competitive estimates we are able to ensure the best value for you. We solicit bids from a small set of preferred Kuhl vendors and subcontractors. After the designs have been completed and all of the interior selections have been made we synthesize the plans, the schedule, the selections, the estimates and the scope of work into an exhaustive construction contract. We like to spell everything out to avoid confusion.
During construction our designers remain actively involved in the project so the people building your home are never left in the dark. We monitor the project to assure strict adherence to the original drawings and specifications. We also closely scrutinize all requests for payment to ensure that they comply with the original proposal.
In working with us during your design phase we are able to lock in the start date of your project weeks or months in advance. We use scheduling software to create a dynamic, critical path plan for your project. Dependent activities are linked. Key dates are noted. Payments are tracked. Items with a long lead time are ordered. All of this helps us determine the rhythm of your project while bringing you a little peace of mind in the process. (sample calendar)
We hold a pre-construction meeting with you and all of the key players from the Kuhl team in your home. In this meeting we cover such topics as dumpster placement, site security, material storage and dust control. Not terribly exciting stuff but important nonetheless.
Our project managers are seasoned veterans of the remodeling industry. Their skill sets range from understanding the subtle nuances of residential construction to catching your cat if she escapes the house during the project. Our project managers are in charge of daily jobsite communications, monitoring project budgets and schedules, vigorous site inspections and weekly client meetings. They manage your project from beginning to end, ensuring that all of the elements come together seamlessly. If seams do occur, the project managers are there to listen, to understand and fix whatever went wrong.
Our site foreman will manage the day-to-day activities of the site, ensuring that your property is left secure, clean and tidy at the end of each day of work.
As your project is coming to a close we schedule a project review with you. This meeting is all about wrapping up any remaining details and answering any questions you have about your new home. The final stages of a remodeling project can be a daunting time. That is why we pursue job completion with vigor.