Square foot costs

A very common question our customers have when planning an addition is the cost per square foot. The reality is that it depends on dozens of decisions made using the triangle model of budget-quality-quantity. The shape of the structure has an impact. In the March 2006 issue of The Journal of Light Construction, Dennis Dixon noted that a 100 square foot structure built 10×10 or 2×50 resulted in a 40 linear foot and 104 linear foot outline respectively. That is a 260% difference in materials and labor. While not a realistic comparison, it certainly points out issues of geometry and how it significantly contributes to the cost of construction. The other factor I call “soft costs”. Soft costs are what you are going to put on or into your project. A window with 6 over 6 panes in an architectural wood series vs. a vinyl window will create a difference of approximately $500 or 140% difference per window. How much interior and exterior molding, built-in cabinetry and other millwork will be part of the equation as well. So what is the current trend? More people are leaning to a higher quality home with amenities rather than more square footage that is plain vanilla.