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This is an overview of planning your design as well as building budget. For more details download Alchemy’s Brochure.


At Alchemy, each project is unique, and each calls for special considerations. Planning the timeline and budget gets started during Alchemy’s Feasibility Study.

Budgets dependent on many variables. The best source for site work numbers is a local, licensed general contractor. Project budgets include: Structure Cost + Infrastructure Cost + Foundation/Site Work + GC Fee + Alchemy Fee.

A frequently asked question is: “How much does a weeHouse/barnHouse/custom house cost?” We can’t answer that because every site is unique, every project has slightly different specs, and every project has its own priorities. What we can do is share, in general terms, the costs of past projects. From these projects we gather average costs per square foot. Average costs provide a starting point. Throughout the process, we work with you on making decisions that will impact your final costs.

We do share some cost examples in our brochure. These are numbers based on past projects, and may help you.

We talk about project costs and work with you to prioritize options and plans to reach your assumptions. Project budgets stay in flux until the building starts—as designers, we know there will be rewards and sacrifices based on the team’s work.

Each build method (factory, on-site, panelized) involves different efficiencies and costs. When you are building just one house, the end price will be similar regardless of method. (It may be possible to see significant cost savings on a multi-module development. This possibility would be discussed during Alchemy’s Feasibility study.) Alchemy value engineers our buildings to gain the most efficiency inherent to each process.

For single family residential projects that are new builds and small commercial projects, Alchemy’s fee is 15% of the project’s cost (less infrastructure charges including sewer, water, and utility hook-ups).

We’ve been designing custom homes for over 25 years, and each project produces new learning experiences. We play a large role in the coordination of all parts of the project, so hav- ing a fee that covers everything is the most straight-forward and transparent option. We maintain an open accounting system, and hourly reports are available upon request.

The Owner is advised if Additional Services (costs outside the 15%) are needed for items including custom lighting and furniture fabrication, outbuilding design, meetings with code or homeowner association officials, and coordinating consultants including landscape architects, engineers, and specialty contractors. Additional Services are approved by the Owner in advance, and are billed on an hourly basis.

Fees for renovations and remodels of any size/type are invoiced as hourly projects. Hourly fees are explained in the Design Services Agreement discussed in Feasibility. Fees for large commercial projects and multi-family developments are assessed on a case by case basis.

Our building partners determine the bulk of a project’s pricing. Alchemy reviews, negotiates, and guides the overall pricing by making certain design decisions. For more detailed information download Alchemy’s Brochure.


Project designs suit program needs, the site, and follow parameters established during Feasibility. Time spent during Design Development (DD) is based on program, site variables, and communication. This phase requires considerable communication between all parties: the architect, builder, and owner, and also the vendors who will contribute to the project. It’s where we “push and pull” ideas, prioritize and schedule, research and study, draw/toss/draw again, and work on budget assumptions and priorities. Engineers are consulted, and the team comes together for the entire project.

The fee is 5% of the projected project budget.


The Construction Drawing Documents are the graphic and written record of the design process. The CD set contains all the information needed to construct the project, and is utilized by permitting authorities, lenders, and builders. It is often the lengthiest part of the process, and varies considerably based on the build method.

The fee is 5% of the current estimated project budget (this may have changed from the DD phase).

NOTE: A Sworn Construction Statement (SCS) is often requested by financing institutions. An initial estimates from a builder/contractor is not the same as a SCS. Typically, a SCS comes after the Contract Documents (CD) Phase. In other words, you may need to get through the Feasibility/Design/CD Phases of a project before lenders agree to financing.


Alchemy works closely with the builders and the project team through the entire construction cycle. This valuable phase produces an efficient and financially viable project.

The fee is 3% of the current estimated project budget (this may change from the CD phase).


Goodrich Bungalow project is featured on this page. Top photo by Alchemy; bottom photo by SpaceCrafting.

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