For Prompt one my mentor at Beau Clowney Architects choose to expand on budgets as the topic. Kate explained how most of the budgets for residential work goes through the contractors.
After the client has chooses our firm, we will recommend contractors based on past work experience and tell the clients which contractors we find easiest to work with. This can is usually based on how well the contractors can communicate and are organized. The client always has final say who they hire. A contractor will send a bid, which includes a estimate (15-20% off) of construction and material costs. This bid is like a receipt on cost and labor. My mentor Kate was able to show me a couple examples of budgets from past projects and showed when changes were made to it or when unexpected costs were added. Depending on the contractors this can be very detailed (explain each cost) or very vague. If the client agrees, we do not require them to sign a contract with the contractor but ask for a real commitment since changing contractors mid project can cause issues. I asked what happens if the contractors make a mistake such as breaking windows or if they install the wrong materials. My mentor said if they break something and its their fault they usually pay to replace the item, but in many cases if its has to do with transport or common issues they let the client know a head of time and they have to pay for it. If something is installed wrong or the wrong material was installed, a “change order” needs to be made. In many cases clients will end up eating this cost. Overall, I learned that budgets are very dependent on the contractors who take much of the responsibility if mistakes are made but if changes are made then the client has to pay. If things are over budget and the client wants to cut cost, we have a process of cutting things from the plan. These are usually changes that don’t change the overall project but just a few aspects such as removing a fireplace or an expensive arrangement of windows. Sometimes bigger things such as a pool or whole room are cut to make sure its under budget. Unfortunately most projects go above budgets due to unexpected circumstances or based on a clients wishlist. We make sure the client is aware of the costs and changes through out a project.
Overall, I found that budgets are primary worked through the contracts on the job. Communication is a huge part of any project, but if it is strict or tight budget it is essential.