Now May Be a Good Time to Start Design on a New Custom Home or Historic Renovation
After many months of historically high construction costs and delays, there are several reasons why starting the design process now may yield a cost effective, timely, and high quality project.
The Architectural Process Takes Time
Depending on several factors, the architectural process—including permit approval—can take anywhere from 6-12 months from the start of an architect’s availability. The construction process itself can take an additional 7-14 months. Adding 1 ½ to 2 years from the start of design allows for a realistic completion time.
When thinking about the economic conditions that will impact a project, it’s best to look at what the industry might be like in the next 1-2 years (rather than where it is now).
Elevation studies such as this pencil drawing by Luke Golesh are the result of extensive research, study, and careful articulation of composition and proportion.
Demand for Residential Construction is Easing
On a recent project of ours, a tradesperson we were excited to work with was booked solid for 12 months. Not only did this mean that they couldn’t take on the project, but it also meant that they (and their peers) had little incentive to keep costs down—the classic case of high demand and comparatively low supply.
Fortunately, various indices show that residential construction is slowing. While some contractors and sub-contractors are still booked up in the short term, an overall cooling of the industry will likely engender greater availability for projects starting construction in 6-12 months. After seemingly endless supply chain issues over the past few years, manufacturing is stabilizing. Whether it was plywood costs increasing multi-fold or an appliance taking 13 months to be available from the time of order, issues plaguing manufactured goods have been incessant over the last few years.
The good news is that the unprecedented high demand is easing along with various issues affecting the manufacturing industry (such as worker shortages and global shipping problems). While some issues still remain, a project that starts construction 6-12 months from now may hit a sweet spot in the manufacturing economy and avoid some of the pitfalls of recent construction.
Every Circumstance Is Unique
Each person and family has a unique set of circumstances that govern the timing of their project, and we can’t predict the future with certainty. However, there are many indications of an advantageous environment for projects starting the design process.