An incentive for the homebuilder to get as many architectural revisions…as well as identifying structural engineering conflicts through constructability analysis…made during the design phase while the project is still on paper…is that typically the hourly cost for the framing carpenters for revisions for the sales models can be as much as twice the hourly costs for framing labor on the competitive lump-sum bid for the production work.

Computer aided design (CAD) is very sophisticated and highly illustrative…enabling parts of the new houses to be shown from several viewpoints…and altered at the click of a computer mouse.  Such things as arched openings, pot shelves, fireplace mantles and surrounds, and reflected ceiling plan designs, to name only a few, can be viewed on a computer screen for aesthetic architectural and interior design decisions to be made…while the project is still in the design phase.

Design changes are important during the sales models construction to achieve the desired look of the product.  But some things must actually be built full-scale to see that final look.

But some owner’s changes are made during the models construction simply because they were not identified on an activities action list during the design phase…and simply fell forward into the construction phase by default.

For example, money spent having the framing contractor change a fireplace mantle and legs design four or five times, or change the width and depth of a soffit on a living room ceiling several times…are aesthetic decisions that could have been made quickly and easily in front of a computer screen using CAD.

I have seen builders spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for design change extras paid to the construction trades during the sales models construction…most of which could have been done while the project was still “on paper”…then wonder why there is not enough money left over at the end of the project to pay subcontractors and to fund the customer service phase.