Quotes and Research

We had recently purchased our home, and it was a fixer-upper. I had my hands full with renovating the house. I knew I wanted a garage that was built right the first time, with plenty of room for whatever our vehicle needs would be now and in the future, plus enough storage to keep our house from being cluttered. I wasn't sure how I was going to accomplish this though. The first step once I had a general budget was to obtain some quotes. The quote process helped me to answer some questions I had about construction, and it ultimately forced me to abandon the idea of having the garage built by someone else.

Factors affecting the cost...

Weather: I live in an area with beautiful but severe weather. Cold winters with very high winds and lots of snow. These factors meant that my garage had to be built to handle higher loads than typical of most areas. I learned that my wind load was 120 miles per hour, exposure C (whatever that means), and my snow load was 75 pounds per square foot.

Distance: I live in a rural mountainous area. I am in a small neighborhood and I receive regular mail and package delivery, so it isn't too terribly remote. But what I learned is that contractors prefer not to come here if they don't have to. Also, materials delivery is more expensive, especially concrete.

I started getting quotes. I researched various types of garage construction so that I knew what the contractors were quoting. What I was receiving back were incredibly expensive quotes for very minimalist construction practices. I had quotes ranging from a low of $28,000 to a high of $50,000, just to build this garage. Most of them were very basic post and beam construction with dirt floors. Most of them had exclusions for soil quality and/or the presence of rock.

Unforeseen Problems...

After looking over my quotes, I knew that I had huge problems. I knew that not only were the prices not do-able, but they were going to be much higher down the road as the contractors ran into the usual "unforeseen problems". I had spoken to someone in my area that was attempting to build his own home using subcontractors. He was quoted $11,000 by an excavating company to prepare his site for the foundation, which he accepted and work began. But at the first sign of rock, the quote went out the window and he eventually wound up paying over $40,000 just for site preparation. The poor guy looked like he was about to put a gun to his head. And after all, we live in the Rocky Mountains, were the excavators expecting to NOT find rock?

Live and Learn:

The process of obtaining quotes helped me to narrow down the choices in terms of how I wanted my garage built, where on my lot I wanted it, how big it needed to be, etc... I learned a lot from the process. Above all, I learned I was going to have to build it myself. I realized that I was at least going to have to serve as General Contractor. I didn't know who would actually be doing the work, but I knew I didn't have time for it.

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