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The Playbill

The Playbill

Mountain Life
By Hal Clifford
posted: 08/14/2001
  • HOW MUCH YOU'LL SPEND Ski town construction is expensive. Get over it. Costs in Telluride, typical of Colorado resorts, run from $150 per square foot to $450 or more.
  • FINDING AN ARCHITECT AND CONTRACTOR You are entering into a deep, meaningful relationship; do so carefully. We repeatedly interviewed a half-dozen architects and three contractors. Visit what they have designed and built, and check references.
  • DEALING WITH CITY HALL You'll be dependent upon your architect and contractor to get you through the paperwork. We selected individuals who had long histories in Telluride.
  • SEASONAL WORKLOADS There's always a rush for building permits in the spring; apply for yours in autumn. Many homeowners want work finished by Thanksgiving or Christmas; set your deadlines for off-peak times.
  • STAYING ON BUDGET With a fixed bid, the contractor promises to build your house, as drawn, for a flat fee. With a negotiated contract, the contractor makes an estimate based on the plans, budgeting A for cabinets, B for bathroom fixtures, and so on, and then adds his fee. So when you pick the bathroom lights, you must stay within the figure you're given.
  • STAYING ON TIME This is a dance. The contractor leads; the homeowner must follow with timely decisions. The critical element is subcontractors. Our contractor paid subs immediately, enticing them to show up on time.
  • REVIEW CONTRACT WITH LAWYER A common safeguard: Retain a portion of each monthly bill-say, 10 percent-until the next month, to ensure everything gets done.
  • FIXING PROBLEMS A reputable contractor guarantees work for a reasonable period of time (often a year). When the in-floor heating didn't work, the dining room ceiling was flooded and the windows bulged, it was the contractor's job to fix and pay for problems.
  • MOVING IN You will get a CO before your house is done. Relax about getting it all finished, but make sure you can hold the final payment until the punch list is completed.
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