At Hip & Gable we understand that whether you’re building your first custom home or your fifth, the process is daunting when it comes to time management and the overall design process. That’s why we’ve used over 20 years of experience in the custom home building industry to develop a streamlined building process that allows you to focus on the fun while we focus on the details of your custom home.
Your time and money is as important to us as it is to you. As such, you can rely on Hip & Gable to pay extreme attention to detail, quality, and craftsmanship, as well as to commit to excellence during every stage of the building process.
The process of building a custom home is not one size fits all. Each project is as individual as the clients we serve. However, the following outline describes the general “path” by which we guide our clients through the process from start to finish.
During this stage of the build we listen. We gather information that helps us assess where you are in the decision process, and we use that information to determine how we can best help you achieve your objectives.
After the initial consultation, we begin our process by working with you to solidify your dream home design. If a plan has already been selected, this may be a matter of making decisions regarding the specific design details for the interior and exterior of the home. In the case of a grass roots design, we work closely with you and an architect or design professional to develop your plan — helping you make smart decisions in regards to design, features, and, perhaps most importantly, budgets. This planning stage often includes such steps as assisting in lot selection, house placement and site considerations, as well as decisions related to energy efficiency, accessibility, and more.
While we remain mindful of your overall budget in the preceding steps, at this point in the process enough information is available to begin accurately estimating the project costs. We produce comprehensive estimates which logically break down building costs into 36 categories. The level of attention to details in this phase is one of our greatest strengths, and we share ALL cost information with you so that you fully understand every aspect of the cost to build. Simply stated, we provide you with detailed, easy to understand, and realistic estimates that greatly minimize the chances of going over budget.
With the design and features finalized and costs identified, we move forward with signing a contract. We use a simple contract that is easy for you to understand. This document includes all the necessary descriptions of the project and definitions of the agreement between us and you. Our contract has been used, virtually unmodified and without problems, for over 15 years!
Let the fun begin! At the top of our list of strengths is our ability to manage the construction of your custom home with a keen eye for proper construction details. We use tried and proven vendors and subcontractors that work with us as a team to produce predictable, reliable, and consistent results. There are many factors that go into making our product one of the best in the industry. It begins with our knowledge of how to properly build a foundation; it continues with the use of top notch framing contractors. With our oversight, these two steps assure that our homes are built straight, plumb, square, and rock solid.
In construction, the devil is in the details. Many costs can be cut out of the build process by skipping and skimming on proper materials and techniques — and sadly, almost everyone has heard horror stories involving builders who don’t take pride in what they build. Our reputation in the Upstate is built on quality construction, and we stand firmly behind every house we build. Your dream home deserves close attention.
In our view, the primary reason some builders give a stated warranty is to intentionally restrict their obligation to stand behind their product. We believe it is our responsibility to ensure that every aspect of your home performs and lasts as well as can be expected. Clients who contact Hip & Gable before, during, or after project completion can expect the call to be answered or promptly returned. Many of the products used in the construction of a custom home carry manufacturer warranties; above that, any problem that is the result of faulty materials or improper installation will be promptly addressed by Hip & Gable, no questions asked!
Many believe that the main determinate of a custom home’s cost is the square footage, but it’s not! In the world of truly custom homes, the canvas is blank, which means that every aspect of your dream home is open to a wide variety of choices. We offer an almost infinite level of custom options with regards to design and selection, and costs are driven by:
A larger home generally costs more to build than a smaller home, but a large home typically becomes more economical on a per unit (per heated square foot) basis. As the size of the house increases, only some of the costs to build increase — there are some costs that are fixed or constant in nature. As the size of the house increases, many items — like the water meter, water service line, sewer connection or septic system, landscaping, driveways & walkways, exterior doors, garages, and fireplaces — don’t increase at all. Or the cost increase is disproportionate to the size increase.
Perhaps the best example of all is the kitchen. When a home grows from, say, 2500 square feet to 3500 square feet, that space is not typically added in the kitchen. In fact, the kitchen, which is the single most expensive part of any home, may not increase in size at all. Therefore, building larger homes affords the customer “economies of scale”.
The shape of a house plan has a dramatic effect on the amount of money required to build it, since the shape of the house essentially determines its complexity. You could build two houses that are the same size, have the same features, and are of the same quality; if you only changed the shape of the floor plan, that could dramatically affect costs as it changes the amount of materials needed to construct the foundation, drywall, and more.
The features of a home plan are fairly straightforward. A house either has a garage or it doesn’t, and most features add costs without increasing square footage. Therefore, they increase the cost per square foot to build a plan. Other examples of features that a plan could have include fireplaces, decks, porches, media systems or home automation systems, central vacuum systems, and interior or exterior architectural items like beams, brackets, or decorative details.
Quality is a relative term. Every builder uses the term “quality” as a marketing mantra. It’s easy to say, and to people who don’t understand what it truly means in construction, it’s difficult to dispute. Certain features that are often associated with upper end homes are touted as if they indicate the quality of a builder’s product. Materials like granite countertops, stone, brick, windows, doors, and hardwood floors are often cited as characteristics of a “quality” product. While these materials might be a better choice than some alternatives, they are not indicative of quality. For example, all granite countertops are not created equally. Even when the same description is given, there can be considerable differences between products.
Further, perhaps the most important determinant of quality is fabrication and installation. Builders often cut corners during this stage of the build, which results in poor quality. Unsuspecting consumers don’t know to look closely enough to realize that the product is not fabricated and installed in a quality fashion; they are at an extreme disadvantage because they don’t know what quality means with regards to many aspects of home construction.