Why BGS: Avoiding Common Building Problems
You’ve heard the horror stories; maybe you’ve even experienced them yourself. BGS plans were designed for the Owner-Builder / DIY customer in mind. Each plan has comprehensive and clear instructions tailored to your building, site and process.
While building your own garage, barn or workshop can get you exactly the structure you want, the process often brings along with it things you definitely didn’t ask for. How to avoid the following common building problems:
- Construction cost overruns
- Unexpected, costly surprises
- Construction time dragging out
- Questionable contractor modifications
Construction cost overruns
Preparation is your best defense against cost overruns on your building project. Price out your building supply needs before beginning (easy with a BGS plan’s complete materials list), be thorough about your investigation of contractors before you choose one for your build (interview at least three, and be sure to talk to other homeowners who have used them), and use plans that are complete and detailed enough that costly surprises are unlikely. Most authorities also recommend that you factor in a 10% cushion for unanticipated expenses.
Keep in mind that your construction budget can only be as accurate as your building plans are complete. The more details not spelled out in your plans, the more room there will be for problems along the way. The lack of specifics and detail in free and bargain-priced plans can make them a costly liability in the end, so keep this in mind when selecting a plan. BGS plans, which started out as classroom tool, contain extensive details not included in other plans. Some of our clients, with no previous construction experience, have made the choice to build their garage or barn themselves because their BGS plan was complete enough to guide them successfully through the construction process.
Unexpected, costly surprises
There’s a learning curve with any construction project. If your plans come from an architect who has drawn them up specifically for you, be aware that the first-time building of any structure is going to hold some surprises. No project comes out perfectly the first time off the drawing board, be it a car, a new gadget or a custom-designed garage or barn.
The most common source of unpleasant surprises, however, is lack of detail in your plans. If they’re not very specific, there are any number of potential instances where elements will not fit together as they should. Each little problem that comes up is going to mean added time and money: time to figure out a workaround or to make changes (possibly involving building department approval), additional labor time to tear out work already done and re-do it: in short, more overall project time and higher total cost.
Detailed plans are your best defense against surprises. BGS plans have been used, refined and used again and again over many years, so you’ll find no unpleasant, costly surprises–a reason many contractors prefer them. With our plans you’ll be able to see exactly where each element goes–all studs, every post headers, all the roof framing–because it’s clearly marked on your plans. And if for any reason you do end up with a problem, just give us a call. Our commitment to our plans doesn’t end after we receive your payment.
Construction time dragging out
Slowdowns can come from various sources: delay in the arrival of materials, contractor or subcontractor scheduling, and of course unanticipated problems with the build itself. While BGS can’t do anything about the labor side of your build, we can help to address two of these problems: materials and problems with the construction. With BGS plans’ complete materials list, you’re able to go to several sources and ask for a package deal on all the supplies you’ll need for your build. Just as you can get a better new car deal by shopping around,
lumber yards will often give you a discount if they know it will get them your business on a large order such as this. And if you purchase all your materials at the start of the build, you’ll eliminate the possibility of your contractor and laborers waiting around for materials to arrive once the build is in progress.
The other common source of building slowdowns, unexpected problems in the construction process itself, are virtually eliminated with BGS’s detailed plans. Over the years, contractors have found that BGS plans provide a trouble-free build requiring less supervision of workers due to the detailed, complete nature of the plans.
Questionable contractor modifications
Changes cost your contractor time and money; they’re frustrating and can throw off his schedule for other projects as well as yours. Beyond this, everyone’s heard the stories about the less-than-ethical contractor who insists on the need for changes that seem to do nothing but put more money into the contractor’s pocket. Understandably, a request for a modification can leave you wondering if it’s legitimate.
Detailed plans can generally eliminate this problem. In most cases, the need for spur-of-the-moment modifications (as opposed to elective modifications, like moving a door or window position, which should be always done by modifying the plans prior to the start of construction), arises from lack of specific detail in your plans Suddenly, for example, you find you need to place an anchor bolt right where a stud sits. With BGS plans, each of these elements is clearly shown (yes, the placement of every stud in your building) on the plans you receive, so there’s no confusion, no unexpected problems, and no need for modifications. Perhaps best of all, our completeness offers you peace of mind by eliminating excuses for dubious modifications. And your contractor benefits, too, because the build goes smoothly and problems don’t crop up unexpectedly.
The Hidden Costs of Free: Engineering and Material List
Free is great, right? Your barn or garage will be an expensive enough project as it is, so why not cut your expenses by starting with a free or low-priced plans?
Let’s put it another way. Say someone offers you a free car. It could be a great thing, right? Free. Or cheap, at least. Think of all the places you could go, or how much money you’d have left over to spend on other things. Ah, but wait, you say. It’s not that simple! And you’d be right. You don’t really know what shape it’s in, or whether it may be about to throw a rod. It could even be a lemon. Why would someone give it to you for nothing? Worst case: it could leave you stranded, and your free car could end up costing you a bundle.
Unfortunately, most things aren’t as simple as they seem on the surface. To be sure your free or cheap car is really a good deal, you’d need to know what other costs it might bring along with it.
The same thing is true about free garage and barn plans: you need to know how they will affect your final cost free plans garage
Some facts about free barn plans and free garage building plans:
- Often, the lure of a free plan is a way to get you to look at a company’s other offerings. Then they encourage you to buy more detailed plans they have for sale.
- Free plans carry guaranteed additional costs. Other plans may state that “You are encouraged to have these plans evaluated for your area by a professional engineer.” That will add somewhere between $150-$500 to your ‘free’ plans. And they’re not simply making a casual suggestion; often an engineer’s analysis and signature are required by your building department in order to have your plans approved.
- Lack of detail: free or cheap barn, garage or storage building plans leave room for interpretation regarding construction details, giving contractors leeway to tack on stiff added costs to deal with problems not anticipated by the original plans. BGS plans are so thorough in their detail that guesswork and ‘surprises’ are not an issue. Which keeps you within budget, no small feat in construction.
- Partial (or no) materials lists: when you have to buy as you go along and discover the need for additional materials, you’re at the mercy of whichever supplier you go to at the time. With BGS Plans’ complete materials list, you have the bargaining power to submit your complete list to several suppliers at the outset and choose the one who can give you the best package price.
- No support when you run into problems. Found printed on one free garage plan is the following, “[Company] is not responsible for any costs or charges due to errors or omissions on these plans.” At BGS, we stand behind every plan we sell. As long as you have given us the proper information when ordering a plan (say, you didn’t indicate that you live in Seismic Zone C when you really live in Zone D), We personally address any concerns your building department may have with our plans and the building. There is no additional charge for clarification or corrections.
- Remember that ‘surprises’ resulting from lack of plan details almost always translate to added cost, stress and longer building times.
- Which is why we believe you’ll find BGS plans your best value when all factors are considered, saving you money on your overall project and bringing your build to a successful, happy conclusion.