How We Work
We have developed a systematic process that every design-build project follows. It has been refined over the years so that you can stay involved, informed and excited every step of the way. While we also offer Time & Material (T&M) contracts, a Fixed price contract is the most common. Here’s what to expect from your construction project with Model Remodel:
Getting to Know Each Other:
Step 1 of 3
MEET & GREET
Like any good relationship, honesty is the foundation. During the initial phone call with our sales team, we’ll determine if we’re a good fit for each another. If a partnership makes sense, we’ll schedule a visit to your home or property to see the existing conditions, assess the scope of the project and talk about your goals for the space.
After we’ve had the chance to get to know one another, we’ll collaborate to establish a realistic budget. We’ll help you understand what current labor and material costs are. We are not a budget remodeler; we give quality estimates that are meant to inform you instead of surprise you—it’s The MRM Way. You’ll let us know what is feasible for you, so we’re sure to help you balance your goals with the project scope.
Next we sign a Design Agreement, so that our in-house design team can begin developing concepts for your project. We’ll discuss design priorities and aesthetic preferences, and you can share with us examples of homes you like. If you’ve already hired an architect or outside designer, that works too! We’ll typically enter an agreement called a Preliminary Construction Services Agreement so that we can spend some time reviewing the details of your design and crafting a Preliminary Estimate (see below) for your project.
Design Phase 1
Now for the creative part! Our team listens to your needs in order to create design concepts that match your taste and lifestyle. You’ll be presented with renderings to see your new or remodeled space in 3D, so you can better narrow down the choices. This stage of design is all about refining the design into something you love at a price within your budget. We call it “value-engineering.” It may entail swapping out fixtures, changing the layout, or any variety of tweaks that will help the project fit your budget more accurately. You’ll receive basic floorplan information for your favorite concept, which will help you add the finishing touches in the next phase.
From the chosen concept, we create a Preliminary Estimate. We press pause on the design process to make sure we’re staying true to your budget and goals, instead of working our way through all the design details. As your first estimate, this is an approximation to check that we’re on the right track before we discuss the finer details.
Making It Official:
Step 2 of 3
Letter of Intent
When we’ve reached a design and preliminary estimate that suits you, the next step is to sign a Letter of Intent. This ensures your spot on our construction calendar and allows us to move forward knowing we’re working as your builder from here on out. It’s like getting engaged. At this point in time, we ask you to put approximately 15% of the current project price down as a deposit.
Design Phase 2
We’ll take your design to the next level by adding elevations and making material selections. Our designer will help you choose fixtures by making recommendations or accompanying you to showrooms. Your choices will take shape into a “specifications sheet” aka Specs Sheet that lists all of your design choices.
Lead and Asbestos Testing
If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance it has lead-based paint. Deteriorating lead-based paint is a hazard and needs proper removal. We practice lead-safe abatement, which is the law for any surface greater than 6 sq ft. We’ll also test surfaces that we believe contain asbestos under the DOSH asbestos standard: insulation, surfacing materials and flooring are all presumed to contain asbestos in buildings built before 1981. Lead is a probable human carcinogen, and asbestos is a carcinogen that causes lung cancer and mesothelioma. We want to keep your family and our crew safe by properly removing these during deconstruction.
We will help you apply, or apply on your behalf, for any necessary permits with the the City of Seattle or your local municipality. Depending on the scope of your project, possible permits may include: Construction, Plumbing, Electrical, Refrigeration and more.
Now that we’ve got the details worked out, we’ll provide you with a Final Estimate. Our project team will get bids from subcontractors, so that we can include realistic numbers in the price. Keep in mind, this is still an estimate. We always suggest that anyone remodeling, not just our clients, keeps a 10-20% contingency fund for additions and/or changes. At this point we can also help you acquire the correct permits for your upcoming project.
Signing a contract means we’re in agreement on the scope, timeline and budget. We do our absolute best to stick to all three, and any changes will come to you ahead of time. We’ll go through the contract in as much detail as you’d like and give you expectations for construction. Then we’ll sign on the dotted lines and receive a deposit to make it official!
Step 3 of 3
With your timing preferences in mind, we will decide on a start date. With the construction schedule established, our project team will plan everything: subcontractors, crew members, inspectors, material deliveries and more.
And we’re off! We have a pre-construction meeting with the whole team, including you, which covers everything from alerting neighbors about construction to ordering cabinets. Who can you expect to be a part of your team? Typically, every MRM construction project has a project manager, supervisor and skilled crew members. Our built-in management structure is what keeps Model Remodel projects on target, helps us solve problems immediately, and gives you peace of mind that your home is in great hands.
We’re as thorough in the last week as we are in the first. Every day, our supervisors and project managers track your project, which may include: photos from the day’s work, who was on-site, work completed and upcoming tasks. We also have an internal, bi-weekly budget review to make sure your investment is on track. We’ll hold Weekly On-Site Meetings with you, at your chosen time, to discuss the progress. We want you to be a part of your project and know what’s going on.
Depending on the size and scope of your project, inspections may need to take place with the Department of Planning and Development or other third parties. From pre-construction inspection to final inspections, and everything in between, we’ll manage the inspection process and scheduling.
It’s natural for a project to have a few changes during construction. If they arise, whether due to unforeseen conditions or your own design changes, you will be the first to know. We have a simple system for making these modifications. A Change Order is a signed document that amends the original contract and details the additional work, new materials and cost to complete.
As the project wraps up, our management team and crew remains in constant contact. We check and double-check the details, as if it were our own home. Your happiness is our priority! When we’re certain the majority of the details are in exceptional condition, we’ll schedule a final walkthrough with you and the project team.
Punchlist & Warranty
During the final walkthrough, your MRM team lead will present you with a Letter of Substantial Completion & Warranty. This letter serves as a notification that the majority of your project is complete and your space is ready for you to move back in! We provide a window of time in which you may compile a list of items or tasks that aren’t of urgency called your “punchlist.” Upon completion of this period, MRM will return to your residence at your convenience to complete the Punchlist items. You will also receive a one-year warranty, during which time you should contact us immediately to resolve any concerns you may have with your space. We stand behind our high-quality craftsmanship, and hope that you don’t need to use your warranty, but rest easy knowing we’re here to help and will do everything we can to fix the issue. We’ll always be your contractor and friend.