Among the first budgeting questions I get asked during an initial project interview is “What’s this going to cost?”.  My response of course is to find out the following answers-before responding:

How big?

How quickly?

What level of finish?

Where is it located?

What is it being used for?

Who is building it?

Each of these questions has an impact on cost and delivery of the project.  When we don’t get the answers, we are forced into this dialog of “Just gimme a ballpark feel for the budget”.  OK, so here goes the thumbnail approach:

(a) We divide up the project into segments related to their use and construction type then (b) multiply the size of the segmented portions of the project in square feet times a rough dollars per square foot to obtain an order of magnitude/ballpark figure:

  • -New residential wood frame construction for single family homes in our area varies between $250-400 psf. (bathrooms and kitchens are 20-40% additional) in our area in 2019. Clearly these costs are heavily influenced by region, demand, new regulations, etc.
  • -Heavy residential renovation  (gutted)  areas that include moving walls, new mechanical, new electrical, new finishes runs about $150-200 psf.
  • -Office space interiors , i.e. tenant fitout with medium level of fixtures, finish and equipment we budget around $75-150 psf.  (Yes it’s a big Ballpark)
  • -One story commercial building $250 sf for core and shell (meaning that the space is raw and awaiting tenant improvements-see above)
  • -Some site improvements include new asphalt for driveways or parking include:  figure $6/psf including decent gravel base and curbs.
  • -Regrading averages very widely due to site characteristics,  but at a minimum of $10,000-30,000 for site work for an medium sized addition in Westchester County NY which would include 2 medium drywells for drainage.
  • Don’t forget a contingency budget for when things don’t go according to plan!

So start with some graph paper,  count up those squares and start doing the math!or better yet give Steve  a call and let’s talk 914 980 5532…..ask away!



Article by Steven Secon