House Renovation Cost in Houston – Marwood Construction

11:44 Feb 2023

House Renovation Cost in Houston

House renovation cost is always a key factor when considering any type of home renovation or remodel project. Home remodeling cost can amount to a substantial investment, depending on the type of renovation project you are going to tackle.

Although home remodeling cost are what the market dictates, I am going to say that controlling your Houston home renovation cost is what owners should focus on while planning and executing home renovating.

We will prepare a discussion about planning estimated Houston house renovation cost and offering some ideas for remodeling cost spending control during the remodel. This includes the methodology used in developing preconstruction estimating and the qualification for developing the basis of the home remodeling cost.

In many cases the owner must hold themselves accountable for cost control by eliminating changes and holding to the spending allowances of the renovation.

There are many contributing factors to determining the Houston house renovation cost of  luxury home remodeling and renovation. When developing the construction cost, the general contractor can use an area square footage estimating method or a technical take-off and unit cost process.

Understanding the client’s needs for this information is what ultimately influences which level of pricing information best suites the project.

In the early pre-design discovery phases of planning a renovation project there are typically no developed construction documents to create accurate project pricing. The early stages of design will usually warrant the need of only a targeted investment budget.


The budget is the estimated construction cost, which is often based upon either the clients comfort level of how much they are willing to spend or based upon a dollar per square foot (sf x $) unit figure an experienced remodeler has offered them.

Either of the estimated dollar per square foot dollar amount or a dollar limit established by the owner are moving targets, regardless of how they are arrived at. Either estimate is an only a benchmark to financially guide the planning and design process.

The development of a needs and wants list is essential to begin the production of the proper documents for accurate construction cost pricing. There is an extremely high likelihood that the actual construction cost will be much different than the early estimated construction cost.

There is a very defined and detailed approach used in developing accurate home renovation cost. The construction cost development process is a method to qualify and quantify the materials, labor and equipment required to carry out the scheduled task of creating house renovation cost.  

We will examine in detail the tried and tested method of creating accurate house renovation cost Houston.

Understanding the development of home renovation cost

Qualification of Home Remodeling Cost

Early in the pre-design phase of developing construction plans and specifications it is necessary for the general contractor to understand the scope of a project and the intended client selected products & materials used. This information provides the basis of early qualification of home renovation cost.

For instance, let’s examine a kitchen remodeling project; If the owners’ goals are to update the kitchen, then painting the cabinets, purchasing new appliances and installing a new kitchen sink may be sufficient to achieve their needs.

On the other hand, if the owner wants to change the layout of the kitchen and move the location of the kitchen sink, this will create a completely different scope of work and construction cost for the project.

One of the common misconceptions for owners that are inexperienced with home remodeling is that they often confuse home improvement needs with the wants of home remodeling. For this discussion of home renovations, home improvements will be considered independent tasks like painting or installing new flooring, replacing the air conditioner, ect.

Although when planning a home renovation project, it is cost effective to include home improvements in the scope of work, it is not the primary home renovation cost factors we want to focus on when qualifying home remodeling cost.

The generally accepted use of the term home remodeling traditionally includes multiple tasks associated with a project. For instance, using the kitchen remodeling example, in a major kitchen renovation the painting and flooring replacement would be incorporated into the kitchen remodeling project, along with many other tasks.

This example demonstrates the need for clearly defining the magnitude of the scope of work early in the design process.

Quantifying Home Remodeling Cost

Qualifying home remodeling cost is normally completed after the construction documents have been completed. During this stage of construction cost calculations, the general contractor develops take off quantities from the dimensional plans.

These quantities are placed in a detail spreadsheet according to the divisions of construction. Unit cost are then applied to the quantities to arrive at a home renovation cost for that particular line item.

The same methodology applies to labor associated with the task. Composite labor rates are used as a multiplier for total man hours required to complete the skilled tasks to arrive at a total labor cost for the line item.

The quantification process of calculating building cost is not a perfect science, but if the general contractor has recorded a historical record of unit material and labor prices the remodeler can set a fairly accurate cost benchmark.

During this same phase of gathering construction cost the general contractor is soliciting bids from independent contractors. These bids support the qualification cost development process and fill in the gaps on items that that the home remodeler may not have a history of unit pricing for.


Remodeling & Home Renovation Cost Development Process

The creation of the pre-construction remodeling and house renovation cost development process is very much like building a home. There are procedural steps that are required to be made in order to obtain an accurate construction cost.

  • Preparing a Target Investment  Sharing your target investment budget is essential for your remodeler to understand the feasibility of your project as early as possible. Most professional remodelers can place a reasonably accurate estimate based upon a description of materials with a +/- 25% contingency factor.

The owner not being open about sharing this information only waste time and causes mistrust. A professional general contractor has no intention of using the owners shared investment amount to base the construction cost estimate upon.  

The targeted investment budget is just that, an owner targeted amount to spend on renovation. If the target budget is significantly high or low from the general contractors experienced estimate, that should be discussed to properly align the budget with the scope of work. There is little value to be spending everyone’s time focused on buying a Ferrari if the budget limits the owner to a Chevy.  

  • List of Wants and Needs  The wants and needs list provides both the owner and the home remodeler the organized information required to develop the criteria for the home remodeling plan design. The list defines the desired direction of the design and provides a higher confidence of creating a plan that fits the expectations of the owner’s lifestyle.

The list also provides the owner a method to carefully prioritize their needs over their wants if the construction cost budget balloons outside of an amount the owners does not want to spend. Adjustments can be made to the allowance schedule and the details of the design to reduce materials and labor without sacrificing the intent of the design.

  • Design to the Owners Lifestyle  Understanding the owner’s lifestyle is essential to adapting remodeling design features to a new floor plan. Are their children in the household, do the owners entertain frequently and where does the family gather are just a few of the main design functions that require exploring.

Having photo images available of design appointments, products, colors and materials also makes a considerable impact in assisting the design team to realize the owner’s goals. Imagination is a critical part of the design process, but has little value if it does not address the owners wants and needs.

  • Defining an Accurate Scope of Work  Establishing a clearly defined scope of work is also very important to establishing the construction cost. A scope of work incorporates the details of the blue prints with the qualifications of the general contractor. It communicates the construction work plan of how the home remodeling project is going to be executed.

The scope of work establishes material and product baselines that may have not been selected and addresses the areas of the home plans that have not been quantified such as work hours, non-selected material allowances and items like rental equipment.

  • Establish Take Offs and Developing Construction Cost  Once a scope of work has been developed and the construction plans completed the general contractor can calculate the materials required. This is done through a method called take-offs.

This is accomplished through geometry exercised from the project plans. Linear footage, square footage and circumferences of areas are calculated including counting pieces to arrive at the correct total amounts.

These measurements and piece counts are then placed into a spreadsheet and extended to a dollar amount through multiplying them by a unit price. A very similar practice is used to determine the labor cost associated with various task.

Defining total labor cost is by done using an hourly composite rate which represents the average hourly rate of a crew. The trick is determining the number of hours it will take the crew to accomplish the task. Then multiplying the rate times the total hours.


The cost of home remodeling and renovation is a scientific approach of determining construction cost. If developed properly and procedurally both the owner and the general contractor will find themselves in a much more trusting and rewarding construction project.

Developing construction cost for home renovating is a required discipline to maintain home remodel cost controls for the project. For a deeper dive into the entire home remodeling process visit; https://www.marwoodconstruction.com/home-remodeling/

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