Diamond Certified Companies are Rated Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise.

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Diamond certified companies are top rated and guaranteed

Why Trust Diamond Certified Design and Build Contractors Rated Highest in Quality?

Photo: HOUSEworks, Inc. (2012)

You are the customer. If your goal is to choose a design and build contractor that will deliver high customer satisfaction and quality, you’ll feel confident in choosing a Diamond Certified design-build contractor. Each has been rated Highest in Quality in the most accurate ratings process anywhere. And you’re always backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. Here’s why the Diamond Certified ratings and certification process will help you find a top-rated design-build company and is unparalleled in its accuracy, rigor and usefulness:

1) Accuracy: All research is performed by live telephone interviews that verify only real customers are surveyed, so you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews.

2) Statistical Reliability: A large random sample of past customers is surveyed on an ongoing basis so the research results you see truly reflect a Diamond Certified company’s top-rated status.

3) Full Disclosure: By clicking the name of a company above you’ll see the exact rating results in charts and read verbatim survey responses as well as researched articles on each qualified company.

4) Guaranteed: Your purchase is backed up with mediation and the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee, so you can choose with confidence.

Click on the name of a Diamond Certified company above to read ratings results, researched articles and verbatim customer survey responses to help you make an informed decision.

More than 200,000 customers of local companies have been interviewed in live telephone calls, and only companies that score Highest in Quality in customer satisfaction–a 90+ on a 100 scale–as well as pass all of the credential-based ratings earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, the Diamond Certified program eliminates mediocre and poorly performing companies. Read detailed information about the ratings and certification process.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS IN THE San Francisco – Contractors – Design & Build CATEGORY

Jeff Kann is owner of HOUSEworks, a Diamond Certified Company since 2006. Jeff has spent many years developing ways to remove the stress and risks from home renovation projects. He can be reached at (415) 578-9560 or by email.

Jeff Kann

diamond certified contributor profile and expert article

Jeff Kann: Building a New Path

By Matt Solis, Editor

SAN FRANCISCO – Many construction professionals spend their whole lives surrounded by builders, often learning the intricacies of the craft at an early age from family members or friends. Others come to the job organically from a related industry like painting or carpentry. For Jeff Kann, owner of HOUSEworks, the path to the construction industry didn’t reveal itself until later in life, but once he found it, he knew he was home. “I started HOUSEworks in 2005 after spending 25 years in banking,” he explains. “At a certain point, I realized I wanted to be involved with a service industry that was tangible; that created things you could touch and feel and see every day. I thought I could bring the business experience I gained from the banking industry together with quality craftspeople, and it turned out to be a great combination.”

Jeff says his years of experience in the business world give him a unique perspective on how to optimize the construction experience for his clients and employees alike. “In construction, good administrative and project management is just as important as good building skills. Most people have or have heard stories about remodeling projects gone awry, whether the work took too long or the construction company didn’t keep its promises. Often, these problems occur not because the people doing the work aren’t good at building, but because they don’t have the business skills to deliver the full package. I’m able to position my builders for success because I handle the administrative side and let them focus on the actual work.”

Delivering quality construction projects on time is undoubtedly made easier by the temperate weather of the Bay Area, but Jeff says it’s the housing stock of San Francisco that’s the most attractive aspect of working locally. “The buildings we have to work with are just amazing. San Francisco houses have a lot of character—most of them have been carefully and thoughtfully put together, with good bones that have sustained an incredible amount of use. The people are also fun to work with. They’re generally bright, entrepreneurial types with diverse backgrounds who take a lot of pride in their homes and want to invest in unique projects, which makes it exciting for us.”

When he’s not managing construction projects in the city by the bay, Jeff takes advantage of the Bay Area’s perpetually sunny days to indulge his other passion: golf. “We live in golf’s Mecca—not only can you play year-round, but the availability of beautiful courses is unparalleled,” he says. “I’m a big fan of the outdoors in general, and that goes hand-in-hand with golf. I walk every course I play, and I enjoy the walk just as much as I enjoy the game. Some of my favorite courses are Chardonnay in Napa, Boundary Oak in Walnut Creek and Half Moon Bay Golf Links.”

Jeff also enjoys exploring the Bay Area’s diverse food and wine scene with his wife, Ellie, who has recently started helping him with HOUSEworks’ day-to-day operations. “Ellie stayed at home with our kids when they were growing up, but now that they’re out of the house, she’s joined me in the family business,” he says. “Our son, David, attends Becker College in Massachusetts, and our daughter, Jacqueline, is at Santa Barbara City College. Actually, both of them have spent time working for the company. David usually spends his summers and breaks working for us or some of our trade contractors, and Jacqueline has worked for one of our designers. We’re a family business in every sense of the word!”

When he reflects on both his careers, Jeff points to one attribute above all as a catalyst for his success. “I believe it’s important to listen more than you speak,” he says. “Remodeling is a deeply personal process—we’re inside our clients’ homes, and they have specific ideas or visions about how they want to live in their homes and how they want them to look, so the only way to make that happen is to listen. That’s the most necessary aspect of any type of work.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What’s your favorite sport?
A: College ice hockey. My son plays defense for Becker College, and he played on the Junior Sharks when he was growing up. I’m also really passionate about baseball. I love the Giants.
Q: Have you ever read a book more than once?
A: Yes, Catcher in the Rye. I read it in high school, and then I read it with my kids when they were in high school. It really hasn’t lost its core meaning over the years.
Q: Have you ever had a conversation with a famous person?
A: I sat next to Betty White on a plane and it was sort of a bumpy flight, so we talked to take our minds off air turbulence and travel for a little while.
Q: What’s your favorite fruit?
A: Blueberries.
Q: What country would you most like to visit?
A: Actually, I’d like to travel throughout the United States. There’s just so much I haven’t seen yet, like the Grand Canyon and Snake River.
Q: What’s the best James Bond movie?
A: It’s a three-way tie: The Spy Who Loved Me, Goldfinger, and Live and Let Die.

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How to Get Accurate Bids for Your Remodeling Project

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SAN FRANCISCO — When planning for a remodeling project, homeowners are generally advised to get bids from at least three contractors so they can compare apples to apples. However, when the bids come in, homeowners are often confused and/or discouraged by what… Read more

Designing Your Home for Aging in Place

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SAN FRANCISCO — When planning for a home remodeling project, one thing to consider is “aging in place”: a design approach that anticipates your long-term needs. In particular, it addresses elements of your home you use every day and designs… Read more

How to Take the Stress out of a Remodeling Project

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SAN FRANCISCO — Remodeling can be a stressful process for some people, but that doesn’t mean it has to be for you. To get the most out of the experience and make sure your project turns out exactly how you… Read more

Expert Video Tip

Video: Managing Costs With Home Remodeling

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Complete Video Transcription:

SAN FRANCISCO — Host, Sarah Rutan: When planning for a home remodeling project, it’s wise to be proactive about managing the costs involved. Today we’re in San Francisco… Read more

SELECTED PHOTOS FROM THESE TOP RATED COMPANIES

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INDUSTRY INFORMATION AND RESEARCHED ARTICLES BY THE DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESOURCE

  • Andersen

  • Caesarstone

  • Cambria

  • James Hardie

  • Kohler

  • Marvin

  • Milgard

vacation homes
luxury homes
split-level homes
craftsman homes
chalet-style homes
beach homes
A-frame homes
green homes
sustainable homes
Victorian homes
commercial buildings
log homes
high-end homes

tenant improvements
commercial building construction
bathroom renovations
custom home designs
luxury home renovations
home floor plans
kitchen designs
interior design-build services
exterior design-build services
design-bid-build services
home design-build services
home addition design-build services
home remodeling designs & construction

Barbary Coast
Bayview District
Bernal Heights
the Castro
Cole Valley
Cow Hollow
Diamond Heights
Duboce Triangle
Eureka Valley
Excelsior
Financial District
Fisherman’s Wharf
Fort Mason
Glen Park
Golden Gate Park
the Haight
Haight-Ashbury
Hayes Valley
Hunters Point
Inner Richmond
Inner Sunset
Jackson Square
Japantown
Laurel Heights
Marina District
Mission District
Nob Hill
Noe Valley
North Beach
Outer Richmond
Outer Sunset
Pacific Heights
Potrero Flats
Potrero Hill
Presidio
Rincon Hill
Russian Hill
San Francisco
Sea Cliff
South of Market Street (SOMA)
Sunset District
Telegraph Hill
the Tenderloin
the Presidio
Treasure Island
Twin Peaks
Union Square
West Portal
Western Addition

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Design-Build Institute of America (www.dbia.org)
ABC Associated Builders and Contractors (http://www.abc.org/)
AGC of America Associated General Contractors of America (http://www.agc.org/)
ASA American Subcontractors Association (http://www.assaonline.com/)
CBIA California Building Industry Association (http://www.cbia.org/)CSLB Contractors State License Board (http://www.cslb.ca.gov/)
DCA California Department of Consumer Affairs (www.dca.ca.gov)
HBANC Home Builders Association of Northern California (http://www.hbanc.org/)
NAHB National Association of Home Builders (http://www.nahb.org/)
NCBE North Coast Builders Exchange (http://www.ncbeonline.com/)
NSCA National Systems Contractors Association (http://www.nsca.org/)
NUCA National Utility Contractors Association (http://www.nuca.com/)

Know What You Want
Deciding What You Want Before Hiring a Design & Build Contractor in San Francisco

Many factors should be considered before selecting a design & build contractor in San Francisco, including the smaller neighborhoods of the Castro, Laurel Heights, Presidio, Twin Peaks, Eureka Valley, and Haight-Ashbury, that will meet your needs the most successfully. Write down everything that you’re searching for before you begin your research. Consider the following questions before making your final selection of a design & build contractor.
1. Do I want a Diamond Certified design/build company that is rated best in quality and backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee?
2. What is my budget?
3. Are there any changes I’d like to make personally before to the design/build team begins construction in order to offset costs?
4. What do I want remodeled or built?
5. What is the time frame for completing the build & design project?
6. What personal and professional characteristics would I like my San Francisco design & build contractor to have? (These may include good communication skills, honesty, reliability, cleanliness, etc.)

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What To Ask In Person
What to Ask When Speaking to a San Francisco Design & Build Contractor in Person

The next step is to interview design & build contractors in San Francisco, including the larger neighborhoods of Sunset District, Richmond District, Mission District, Tenderloin, and Bernal Heights . Questions you may want to ask include the following.
1. What will the construction companies’ timing be on bidding and completing the home construction?
2. What professional organizations are you a member of?
3. How do you perform your work—what time do you start, how will you protect my carpets, how will you handle trash and debris, etc.
4. How many projects that are similar to mine have you completed in the last year?
5. How do the residential general contractors in San Francisco price building construction?
6. Will construction permits be needed? If so, will the general contractors be responsible for getting them?
7. Do the construction firms hire subcontractors or do the general contractors and their employees perform the work?
8. Does the general contractor carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
9. How and when do the San Francisco general contractors clean up the construction site?
10. What type of warranty does each of the construction companies provide and what are the terms?
11. Do the general contractors specialize in the type of work you need? If so, ask the builders to provide some examples of similar work in San Francisco they have completed.

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  • What To Ask References
    What to Ask When Speaking with Previous Customers of San Francisco Design & Build Contractors

    It’s best to choose a Diamond Certified design & build contractor because all certified companies have passed an in-depth ratings process that most other companies can’t pass. If you want quality contractor work in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, you can have confidence choosing a Diamond Certified company. Diamond Certified reports are available online for all certified companies. And you’ll never be fooled by fake reviews. That’s because all research is performed in live telephone interviews of actual customers.
    If you can’t find a Diamond Certified design & build contractor within reach, you’ll have to do some research on your own. If you do, it’s wise to call some references provided by your design & build contractor. Keep in mind, though, that references provided to you by the design & build contractor are not equal in value to the large random sample of customers surveyed during the Diamond Certified ratings process. That’s because references given to customers from companies are cherry-picked instead of randomly selected from all their customers. So the contractors will likely give you a few customers to call that they know are satisfied.
    If you do call references on your own, specifically ask for a list of the company’s 10 most recent customers. This will help avoid them giving you the names of only customers they know were satisfied.
    1. Would you recommend this design & build contractor to your family and friends?
    2. Did the contractor provide answers to questions to your satisfaction?
    3. Were there any unexpected costs? If so, what?
    4. Did the design & build contractor show up on time?
    5. Did they finish the job on time?
    6. If you need a design & build contractor in the future, will you consider hiring this general contractor?
    7. Were you satisfied with the service from the (design & build contractor name)?
    8. What type of design & build project did you hire the general contractor to complete?
    9. Do you feel like the general contractor charged a fair price for the quality of the work?
    10. Did the contractor seem receptive to your input?
    11. Did the general contractor clean up after completing the job?

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  • Review Your Options
    Selecting a First Rate Design & Build Company in San Francisco

    The Diamond Certified symbol has been awarded to companies that scored Highest in Quality in an accurate ratings process.

    Your choice of design & build contractor is important to you and your family. So before deciding on the best design & build contractor in San Francisco for you, it’s important to consider the following questions.
    1. Is my design & build contractor of choice well-established in the community?
    2. Does my general contractor of choice have good references that I have checked?
    3. Is my design & build contractor of choice charging a reasonable price for quality work on my design & build project?
    4. Which general contractors in San Francisco offer the better warranty for the overall cost?
    5. Is my design & build contractor of choice listed in the Better Business Bureau as having complaints filed against him? If so, were they valid complaints that required disciplinary action?
    6. What is my time frame for this design & build project: when do I intend to start it and when do I need to have it accomplished?

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  • How To Work With
    Preparing to Sign a Contract with a Design & Build Firm in San Francisco

    Once you’ve hired a design-build company in San Francisco, including the smaller neighborhoods of Fisherman’s Wharf, Glen Park, Marina District, Noe Valley, Rincon Hill, and Union Square, you will have an initial meeting between you and the contractor to discuss your requirements and the contractor’s qualifications. An estimate of the projects and its feasibility is drawn out. Furthermore, you will discuss the budget and design of the project as well as any restrictions and permissions that will be needed. The contractor will provide you with an estimate based on the design specifications. He will also offer choices in terms of designs and construction. Once the final contract has been drawn, the next step will be applying for permission. Last of all, the construction and financing process will begin.
    Be Contract Specific
    Once the contract is drawn up, it should be signed by both parties: you, the project owner, and the contractor. If any sub-contractors will be involved, they should sign the contract as well. The contract should protect the interests of both you and the contractor. As a result, it should include the following:
    • A clear, concise, and complete description of the project, including start and completion dates. It should also include who will be responsible for each aspect of the project.
    • Contractor’s name, physical address, mailing address and phone.
    • Quote of the project.
    • Terms of payment schedule as well as the payment schedule for the contractor, subcontractor(s) and suppliers.
    • Who will be responsible for obtaining necessary permits (this is usually the contractor).
    • Warranties should be written and the length of time as well as limitations should be covered. Warranties should cover materials and workmanship, and names and addresses of the warrantor. This may include the contractor, manufacturer, and distributor.
    • Detailed materials list: product, size, color, type, model, and brand name. Any additional or alternate materials that may be used if necessary should also be listed.
    • How “change orders” will be handled. Any changes or additions to the project should be written up in the contract so that the conditions for change are pre-determined. Furthermore, the contract should list how and when payment will be made for adjustments. Because change orders are common aspects of most remodeling jobs, it is common for remodelers to require payment before the work actually starts.
    • Any oral promises made.
    Take Precautions to Protect Yourself
    Taking precautions will help protect you and your home project investment. It will also increase your chances of success. Consider the following guidelines:
    • Do not make final payment until the work completed meets agreed upon specifications, building code requirements, and that subcontractors and suppliers have all been paid.
    • Do not sign a contract or any document until you have thoroughly read through it and filled in any blank spaces.
    • Do not sign a contract that uses vague terms. Make sure that all terms are specific regarding project requirements and the work that will be performed.
    • Don’t agree to finance your project through your contractor. Shop around for better loan terms.
    • Agree to make payments as the project progresses, contingent upon completion of a determined amount of work. This way, if work on the project is delayed, payment will be delayed as well.
    • Before deeding your property, be sure to first consult an attorney or knowledgeable friend or family member.

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  • Be a Good Customer
    Planning to be a First Rate San Francisco Design-Build Company Customer

    It’s the design & build contractor’s responsibility to complete a successful design & build project for you according to your specifications. But you play a big part in the success of your design & build contractor, too. Here are a few simple steps you can take to be a good customer when hiring a San Francisco design & build contractor.
    • Before you hire a design & build contractor in San Francisco, including the larger neighborhoods of Excelsior, Pacific Heights, Nob Hill, North Beach, and Bayview District , restate your expectations and goals, and reiterate to the design & build contractor your understanding of the agreement. Most problems with local design & build contractors occur because of a breakdown in communication. By being clear about your expectations and theirs, you can avoid most conflicts.
    • Be clear and upfront with the design & build contractor. Let them know what you want from your design & build contractor, the long-term outcome you’re expecting and specific ways they can satisfy your expectations.
    • Ask your design & build contractor if you should call to check on the progress or if he will call you with updates.
    • Be sure your design & build contractor has a phone number where they can reach you at all times while they’re completing your design and build project. The work will move along more smoothly if your design & build contractor can reach you for any necessary updates, questions or work authorizations.
    • When your design & build contractor contacts you, return calls promptly to keep the design & build contract work on schedule.
    • Pay for the design & build contractor’s work promptly.
    • Remember, a friendly smile goes a long way!
    Why would you want to be a good customer? Design & build contractors in San Francisco appreciate customers who are straightforward, honest and easy to work with. Your good customer behavior sets the tone from your end and creates an environment conducive to a good relationship. Things may very well go smoother and any problems may be more easily resolved.

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Check The Work
Check the Completed Work by a Design & Build San Francisco Contractor With the Invoice

When the design & build contract work is completed, your design & build contractor is required to give you a written invoice. This must include:
• The name and physical address of the design / build contractor
• A list of all work performed, including the warranty
• An itemized list of all merchandise purchased or included
• The total design & build project cost, including the amount charged for labor, if any

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Written Warranties
Protect Yourself with Written Warranties from Local San Francisco Design & Build Firms

Before the design & build contractor leaves, confirm any warranties offered by the design & build contractor in San Francisco, including the larger neighborhoods of Sunset District, Richmond District, Mission District, Tenderloin, and Bernal Heights . The written warranty document must detail the following:
• The design build contractor’s name and physical address
• Your responsibility in the case of a problem with the building project and what you need to do in order to redeem the warranty.
• If the design & build contractor warranty coverage is transferrable to the new owner in the event that you sell the home or building in which the contractor has designed and built.
• The length of time as well as limitations should be covered. Warranties should cover materials and workmanship, and names and addresses of the warrantor. This may include the contractor, manufacturer, and distributor.

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Top 10 Requests
Popular Services Offered by San Francisco Design/Build Contractors

Design & build contractors in San Francisco, including the larger neighborhoods of Sunset District, Richmond District, Mission District, Tenderloin, and Bernal Heights , provide all types of design and build projects. Following is a list of the most popular projects.
A-frame homes
A-frame houses feature steeply-angled sides that usually begin at or near the foundation line and meet at the top, creating a home that looks like the letter A.
Green homes
Green homes are built using a process that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life-cycle. This “green” process includes design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. The purpose of a “green” home is to reduce the overall impact of the home on the human health and natural environment.
Luxury homes
Luxury homes are high-end homes in affluent communities. The high-end status is determined by location, property entry, architecture, décor, decadent amenities, entertainment capability, grounds, etc.
Split-level homes
A split-level home is similar to a ranch home. It features three levels of living space on a floor plan that makes economical use of the building lot.
Home additions
Home additions can be added to your home in order to increase its value and comfort. These additions include sunrooms, pop-top home additions, multi-level additions, or multi-room additions.
Beach homes
A beach home is a home designed for the beach. Typically beach homes are a form of a vacation home rather than a permanent residence.
Victorian homes
Victorian homes are usually two story homes with steep roof pitches, turrets, and dormers. Typically a Victorian home has a large porch as well.
Craftsman homes
Craftsman homes is an American architectural design tht began in the last years of the 19th century. It has its origins from the British arts and crafts movement, emphasizing the hand-made over the mass-produced. Craftsman homes feature simplicity of form, local natural materials, and visibility of handicraft.
Log homes
Log homes are structurally identical to log cabins because they are made from logs that have not been milled into conventional lumber.
Chalet-style homes
Reminiscent of homes on alpine ski slopes, chalet style homes are rustic homes based on Swiss alpine cottages. They have a rectangular shape, big lofts, large windows, and steep gabled roofs.

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Glossary Of Terms
Glossary of Terms Used By Local Design/Build Contractors

Below are key design/build contractor terms and descriptions that will help you through your design and build project.

blueprint
A blueprint is a paper reproduction of an architectural design. Usually these paper drawings are on white paper with blue lines but it is a generic term for any detailed architectural design.

Also known as: the blueprint, home blueprints, half pipe blueprints, house blue prints, blue print maker, construction blueprints

change order
A written order to the contractor that details changes to the specified work quantities or modifications that are in the original contract.

Also known as: construction change order form, change order request form, change order form template

commercial building construction
This is a reference to constructing a commercial building that will be used for business purposes.

Also known as: industrial building construction, building construction companies, commercial building, commercial building contractors, commercial buildings, metal building construction, commercial building contractor, construction cost for commercial building, residential construction companies, commercial building construction costs

commercial buildings
A commercial building is a building used for commercial use. Types include retail, such as convenience stores, shopping malls, etc., warehouses, and office buildings.

Also known as: commercial buildings for lease, commercial storage buildings, prefabricated commercial buildings, steel commercial buildings, commercial building plans, commercial building designs, commercial building inspection

custom home designs
Custom home designs are designs for home that are modern and unique.

Also known as: custom home plans, home designs, custom designed homes, luxury home designs, custom design homes, small home designs, new custom homes, custom home construction, contemporary home designs

design-bid-build services
This is a reference to a project delivery system used in the construction industry. In this method, the design and construction services are contracted by a single contractor or business known as the design-build contractor.

designers
Designers have expertise in certain areas of home remodeling and decor, such as kitchens or bathrooms.

exteriordesign-build services
This is a type of construction in which the exterior view of a property is designed and built by a single entity known as the design-build contractor.

Also known as: exterior design, design build companies, exterior designers, design build firm, exterior design ideas, exterior home design, design build architects, house exterior design

generalcontractors
General contractors manage all aspects of a project. This includes hiring and supervising subcontractors, obtaining materials and building permits, and scheduling inspections.

Also known as: certified general contractors, association of general contractors

high-end home design/build services
High-end homes are luxurious homes in affluent communities. The high-end status is determined by location, property entry, architecture, decor, decadent amenities, entertainment capability, grounds, etc.

Also known as: luxury homes, high end homes for sale, high end real estate, high end mobile homes, high end home builders, luxury houses for sale, luxury home for sale

home addition design-build services
This is a reference to the design and construction services being contracted by a single contractor or business known as the design-build contractor to add an additional room or rooms to a home.

Also known as: home addition plan, home additions, home additions remodeling, home addition design, home addition designer, custom home design build, home addition plans

home floor plans
This is the blueprint or design for a home that is typically drawn up by an architect.

Also known as: luxury home floor plans, log home floor plans, ranch home floor plans, small home floor plans, home floor plans free, modular home floor plans

home remodeling designs and construction
In this method, the design and construction services are contracted by a single contractor or business known as the design-build contractor to remodel a home.

Also known as: home remodeling design, remodeling design, home remodeling contractors, kitchen remodeling design, home remodeling kitchen, kitchen remodeling designs, home construction remodeling, home remodeling plans, homes remodeling, room additions, home remodeling contractor, house remodeling plans, home remodeling companies, home remodeling additions, remodeling designs, home remodeling company

interiordesign-build services
In this method, the design and construction services are contracted by a single contractor or business known as the design-build contractor in order to remodel the interior of a home or building.

Also known as: office interior design, interior design office, interior designers office, office interior designers, interior designs office, interior design services

kitchen designs
This is a reference to the different designs or constructions of a kitchen.

Also known as: galley kitchen designs, best kitchen designs, kitchen designs photos, traditional kitchen designs, kitchen designs with islands, outdoor kitchen designs, kitchen design software, kitchen design gallery, kitchen designs on a budget

licensedarchitects
Architects who have met the standards for licensing by the California Architects Board are licensed. This includes completion of the two state-run intern development programs known as CIDP and IDP; completion of the Architect Registration Examination; and completion of the oral examination known as the CSE.

specialtycontractors
Specialty contractors install particular aspects of a project such as the plumbing or electrical work.

standard bid
The traditional cost that is associated with the materials and labor needed to construct the project.

subcontractor
Any constructor who contracts to perform parts of the work of a project that the original contractor contacted to do.

Also known as: subcontractor agreement template, subcontractor agreement, subcontractor agreement form, sample subcontractor agreement, subcontractor agreement, subcontractor agreement construction, subcontractors insurance, insurance for subcontractors

tenant improvements
This is a reference to improving an apartment complex through renovations that is being rented by tenants, or renters.

Also known as: tenant improvement contractors, tenant improvement allowance

vacation home
This is a home that is used seasonally as a vacation residence rather than being lived in year round.

Also known as: vacation home plans, rent a vacation home, vacation homes for rent

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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ for Local Design/Build Contracting Companies

Q: Why choose a Diamond Certified design and build contractor?
A: Diamond Certified helps you choose a design and build contractor with confidence by offering a list of top-rated local companies who have passed the country’s most in-depth rating process. Only design and build contractors rated Highest in Quality earn the prestigious Diamond Certified award. Most companies can’t pass the ratings. American Ratings Corporation also monitors every Diamond Certified company with ongoing research and ratings. And your purchase is backed by the Diamond Certified Performance Guarantee. So you’ll feel confident choosing a Diamond Certified design and build contractor.

Q: What are the advantages of a design/build project?
A: There are several advantages to a design/build project that include sole source responsibility; it’s a straight-forward approach to design with greater flexibility; better quality control; participation by the client in selection of materials; rapid response to changes in scope with minimal paperwork, and more.

Q: What are the design/build contractor’s responsibilities?
A: His responsibilities include quoting on work within his area of expertise; stating clearly in his proposal exactly what will be done, what is not included, what the price will be, and what the schedule will be; producing a functional system that actually functions completely to the satisfaction of you, the client.

Q: What are my responsibilities as a client?
A: The client’s responsibilities include treating the design/build proposal as confidential rather than shopping the proposal on the open market; checking references of those submitting proposals; and pay the hired contractor for the work done.

Q: Why doesn’t a design/build contractor sell design services alone?
A: It may represent a loss of alternate design/build business as it ties up a design staff. Furthermore, the typical design/build contractor does not carry liability insurance to cover his designs if they are installed by somebody else.

Q: Is it possible to use a specific design/build contractor yet retain competitive prices?
A: The answer is yes because typically contractors agree to provide a complete design and construct project on a “guaranteed maximum” basis. They will agree to charge a set amount for a project and no more, assuming the scope does not change. If the costs are less than originally estimated, savings are passed on to the client on a pre-agreed basis.

Q: How long will my construction project take to complete?
A: That depends on the job. When you meet with your contractor, they should be able to fairly accurately determine an estimated end date.

Q: Do design/build contractors operate a clean worksite?
A: It is a good idea to check the work of a design/build contractor before hiring to see if, in fact, they operate clean worksite. Check to see if they use floor protectors and put plastic sheets for dust containment. Note if there is a line item in the contract that includes jobsite setup, cleanup, and portable facilities.

Q: If I am a contractor, can I work with a design/build team on my project to reduce the cost?
A: Many design/build contractors are happy to work alongside their clients as long as they are qualified. However, sometimes lesser skilled, free labor can actually increase the overall cost of a project.

Q: How do I know that a design/build contractor is not marking up your credit allowances?
A: A quality design/build firm will have open and transparent paperwork. They should be able to show you receipts for what has been purchased, including contractor discounts.

Q: Can a design/build contractor give estimates over the phone?
A: That depends on the job. A simple job such as putting up a fence can generally be quoted regarding the price of various fencing materials. But more complex jobs will require an on-site inspection in order to quote an accurate estimate.

Q: Are estimates of design/build companies negotiable?
A: Generally they are not. A quality design/build firm will give a fair estimate based on current market prices for your community. They may be able to work with you in lowering the overall cost by using different materials or coming up with a more efficient design.

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