The Process


Phase 1:

  • Complimentary initial consultation and preliminary planning assistance

  • When appropriate, establish a pre-construction service agreement

  • Site analysis-feasibility

  • Project scope, definition, and budget forecasting

  • Designer/Architect selection


Phase 2:

  • Facilitate architectural design process

  • Facilitate interior design and product/finish selection

  • Preliminary design/cost analysis – checkpoint value engineering as required

  • Initiate permit process

  • Preliminary project schedule

  • Final qualified estimate


Phase 3:

  • Dedicated Project manager

  • Monthly cost of work billings and budget reconciliation

  • Regular owner/builder site meetings

  • Regular schedule up-dates

  • Project Punch List

  • Project close out/warranty/home care manager

Our New Home Process

We’ve been in the construction business for over 40 years and along the way, developed streamlined processes to ensure project efficiency, value, and satisfaction.

New Construction FAQ

What is the cost per square foot for quality custom construction these days?

On average we see cost per square foot range from about $300 – $400 for new homes. Since the very nature of custom construction is unique and variable it can be difficult to establish an average range of cost per square foot. The cost is directly related to the “level of finish” you choose for your home. Therefore, you have significant control of the cost and can make choices to maintain a budget and secure quality construction

How do I get an accurate cost estimate for my new home?

The best way to get accurate pricing is to have your project well defined. Complete plans and specifications will give a solid basis for current pricing since the preferred products and finishes have already been identified. This will narrow the window for “guessing” or unrealistic allowances that may significantly skew an overall estimate. If you plan to obtain competitive bids for your project, be sure the bidders follow the plans and specifications exactly. This will eliminate any “corner cutting” to produce an unrealistic or impractical low bid

What factors will drive up the cost of my new home or remodel?

Certain parts of home construction cost more than other parts. Kitchens and baths are more expensive to build than bedrooms or closets. Likewise, certain elements and finishes of the home will tend to drive up cost significantly. Custom construction typically utilizes higher grade floorings, roofing, countertops, carpets, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, and a host of exterior low maintenance products. In estimating the overall cost of your home, be aware of the selections that will quickly add to the cost. The overall design of the home will factor into the average cost as well. A two-story rectangular shaped home with a simple gable roof will cost less than a home with many jogs or angles in the exterior resulting in multiple roof lines. The careful combination of all these factors in the design phase will produce a balanced result within the budget of the Owner. Another factor that can potentially drive up the cost of your new home is making changes to the plan, design, or finish selections during construction. Making finish selections or design detail decisions while construction is underway opens the door for unexpected changes that can have a ripple effect throughout the whole project. Therefore, you as the Owner, can avoid expensive changes by making choices and decisions during the design phase.

Is it wise for me to get multiple bids before I choose a builder?

The choice to get multiple bids on your project is completely up to you. For some this is just a standard procedure to hopefully get the best deal. Overall, competitive bidding must be carefully balanced to get a good price, good value, and good quality. In custom home construction the best price will not necessarily be the best quality. Reviewing and comparing bids can be confusing if you are not familiar with building products or building methods. Everyone wants a quality-built home, so they must trust the Builder to use good materials and construction practices. Therefore, selecting a builder becomes more a choice of trust rather than cheapest price. Find someone you can trust and that has a good reputation in the area. Ask for references from previous Owners and take some time to research your options

What are change orders?

A change order is a written request by the Owner or the Builder for a change to a construction project already in process. The change order is issued when a customer makes a change that revises the scope of work and the cost of the work ordered by the contract. The change order should outline what the change is, how it changes the contract amount, and how it affects the construction schedule if applicable. Once a change order is processed by the Builder, it must be approved by both the Owner and Builder before the change takes place. While change orders can slow construction progress, they are an important tool to track schedule revisions and budget changes. They also provide a clear way for an Owner to communicate and execute changes to the project – which helps avoid expensive mistakes and misunderstandings.

Do I need to hire an Architect?

The choice of what design services to hire is completely up to you. There is no requirement in the State of Washington that a home be designed by an architect. If you have seen and liked a particular architect’s work, it would be a great idea to meet with them and talk about your design. Architects are highly skilled in the design profession and can offer advice and guidance on developing a particular design theme if you are not even sure where to start or what you want in a home design

How much will a custom home design cost?

This is largely dependent on the size and complexity of the home and what type of design/development services you hire. Licensed architect fees typically range from 8-12% of the cost of the construction. Non-licensed home designers can typically develop a new home design, produce all of the technical drawings, and complete the specification package for around 3-6% of the total cost of the construction project. Again, complexity plays a big factor in the cost of the design.

How do I get a custom home design suitable for permit and construction?

All new home construction will require a building permit from the appropriate county or city building department. For the permit process a complete plan of the proposed construction with specific details is required. With the new building codes, energy codes, and structural engineering requirements, it can be difficult to develop this working blueprint on your own. If you are working with an architect or designer to develop a home design, the result should be a blueprint that’s suitable for permit and construction. At Yonkman Construction, we offer pre-construction services to aid and guide our clients through the project design and permitting process.

How long does it take to design a custom home?

The design process can take several months to complete. It all depends upon who you hired to do your design work and the size/scope of the project. It can also depend on the quality of the design and completeness of the plan. Development of an average design can take 3-5 months and can even go as long as 6-10 months. Much of that time involves the client deciding what they really want and settling on their preferred layout and exterior design. Since developing a custom home design is creating specialized space for you to enjoy, we strongly encourage clients not to rush through the design phase. The actual drafting of the final plans is a relatively small percentage of the time investment once the layout and features of the home are decided upon.

Will structural engineering be required for my design?

Basic structural engineering by a licensed engineer is not required by the building code. In some specific cases, the building code will require engineering if the design varies from the basic design parameters set forth by the code. Architects and home designers typically hire a structural engineer to review the plans and produce structural calculations. Due to the wide range of building design in custom homes, this process will ensure a quality structure.

What are custom home “specifications”?

There are hundreds of choices to make when building a new home. As the Owner makes selections for their project, this information must be recorded. This record becomes the specifications for the project. Most often it is the responsibility of the architect or designer to compile the specifications of a project since they are working with you to make these choices and recommend products and finishes. Since it is nearly impossible to get all the Owner’s choices and selections written into a construction blueprint, the specification manual becomes an orderly way to compile the smaller details of the project. The specifications become a supplemental manual to the blueprints. It is also easier to update the specifications rather than the plan when selections change. In custom home construction, detailed specifications are very important. They provide the guide for cost estimating and resource during construction to ensure that every detail an Owner requested is included in the project. We typically produce a specification package for every new home design that we produce. Our specification manuals can sometimes be 40-50 pages of information detailing every part of the project. During the pre-construction phase we will often consult with the architect/home designer and Owner to develop the specifications manual. We feel that this attention to detail is essential to the quality standard that sets us apart. Specifications are a very important part of the decision of who you hire for design and actual construction. Typically, is the architect or designer’s job to produce detailed specifications for the projects they design, therefore, it’s important to find out what they will provide. How complete will the specification package be? It is inefficient for a builder to have a blueprint that lacks good specifications since so much time is invested into figuring out all the finishes, products, and fixtures for a home as it is being built. This inefficiency is greatly reduced when the home specifications have been determined and approved by the Owner prior to construction. It is an extraordinary benefit to have accurate specifications in the estimating phase of the project. If products, fixtures, finishes, flooring, doors, windows, siding, etc. are all selected ahead of time, it becomes much easier to price out the project accurately.

Can I buy a “ready-made” plan rather than start a design from scratch?

The answer is, yes. There are thousands of plans available through websites, books, and magazines that are “stock” plans developed by architects and designers. They can be purchased at a reduced rate since the design/drafting cost is recovered through selling multiple copies. The difficulty comes when you want to make a change to a stock plan or update it to local building codes. These things can sometimes be done by the plan seller, but it usually is an extra charge to the basic plan fee. Overall, the decision to buy stock plans must be balanced by the value of the product you get. How complete are the plans? Is a site plan included? Do they include specifications? Will they require engineering? Do they meet local building codes? Will the local building department accept the plans as sufficient for permitting? How many copies of the plans will I get? Is this really the design/layout I want? We believe that custom home construction is all about individuality and creative design. By utilizing a local architect or designer, you will have the flexibility to express your ideas completely and modify your plan as your ideas develop.

What is a Feasibility Study?

A feasibility study is an evaluation of the suitability of your proposed building site for residential construction. The purpose of the feasibility study is to provide you with a report that will give you the assurance you need to build on your site. Knowing potential site issues before you build can save you money and disappointment down the road. In some cases, it may be worthwhile to complete a site feasibility study before you purchase a building site. That way, you will have an opportunity to discover and evaluate unforeseen site issues prior to building the home of your dreams. Major issues a feasibility study looks at:

  • Power Availability
  • Septic and/or Sewer Issues
  • Well or City Water
  • Easements
  • Restrictions and Covenants
  • Zoning
  • Clearing Cost
  • Property Access
  • Required Permits
  • Mitigation / Impact Fees

Basic “High Cost” issues to be aware of:

  • Distance to Nearest Power Source
  • Distance to Sewer Connection
  • Distance to Water Connection
  • Sloping Topography
  • Drainage and “Perk-ability”

Will I need a Feasibility Study?

The decision to obtain a feasibility study for your property is a personal choice. There is no requirement to obtain one. It should be noted, however, that your Purchase and Sales Agreement has a Feasibility Contingency Clause. This Contingency Clause puts the responsibility on the Buyers shoulders to verify that the property can be platted, developed, and/or built on. The Feasibility Contingency allows you time to research site issues and feel comfortable with your findings.

These are some of the many issues that the Buyer should investigate before closing on the purchase of unimproved real estate property. Some of the many items you should verify are:

  • Specific building requirements, including setbacks, height limits and restrictions on where your home may be constructed
  • Building Permit availability – what will the County or City ordinances require?
  • Is your property in a development with its own specific Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions?
  • Are there any growth mitigation or impact fees that must be paid?
  • Are the property lines clear and the property corners located?
  • Is my property located in a Critical Area (wetlands, shorelines, endangered species habitat, flood hazard area, archeologically sensitive area, noise zone, etc.)?

What to do:

You may feel overwhelmed with the research required to answer these feasibility questions. Don’t worry, we can help. At your request we can perform a site review and issue a feasibility study that will cover pertinent building issues. Our professional and experienced staff can review your site and offer sound advice on how to deal with potential challenges. The site feasibility report will give you the confidence to purchase property and build your dream home, knowing you have made a fully informed decision.

Our Renovation Process

Remodeling can be disrupting, but we take systematic steps to make it less so. The Yonkman team will work together with you to set the stage for your next phase of living.


Our design build processes were created to maintain transparency in all planning, budgeting and construction matters. This means that before we begin your remodel, you’ll have a qualified and professional estimate on cost and timeframe. 


The time tested, step by step process noted below ensures a coordinated, effective path for planning, budgeting and remodeling your home or office.

Remodeling FAQ

Why should I remodel my home?

Most people remodel their homes to create more living space. Others renovate to update the look of their home, such as a new kitchen or bath, or adding a deck or other exterior alterations. No matter what the reason, you should carefully plan and weigh all options and issues before beginning any remodeling project. There are many factors that can affect the feasibility of a project such as zoning regulations, neighborhood building covenants, building setbacks to property lines, your budget, and considerations for potential return on investment. Feel free to contact us for a consultation to discuss the general remodeling process.

Why do I need to hire a General Contractor (GC) for my remodeling project?

Hiring a qualified GC will bring their expertise into the preparation, building, quality control, coordination, and completion of your project. It is the best way to ensure your project will proceed in a timely fashion, and with the fewest possible “surprises”. Homeowners that run their own jobs tend to not get the same attention and service from subcontractors and suppliers that the qualified GC will get. Remember, the Homeowner represents only one job for the subcontractor or supplier, while the GC represents many jobs. While you may save a little money trying to GC your own job, it will be an enormous amount of work, and will most definitely take longer to complete the project.

How do I choose a qualified General Contractor?

Choosing the right GC is the most important decision you will make during your project. What to look for in a GC depends on what your needs are. A full-service GC, such as Yonkman Construction, will provide a complete slate of services including pre-construction consultation and expediting (permits, material selections, etc.), in addition to the actual construction. You should make a list of questions to ask prospective GCs, the first being whether they are licensed and insured. You should only use a fully licensed and insured GC. You can call your local consumer affairs office, and they will be able to tell you the status of his license and insurance, as well as any complaints that have been lodged against him. Get references from the GC for former customers and contact them for feedback. Ask them about all phases of the project - the attitude of workers, the cleanliness of the jobsite, the responsiveness of the project supervisor, and the duration of the project. You may want to ask the GC if you can visit a few jobs, both completed and in progress. This will let you see not only the finished product, but also give you an idea how well a jobsite is maintained.

Do I need an architect?

This will depend on scope of the project, as well as local zoning requirements. Generally, if the local jurisdiction requires a permit for the project, it will also require architectural drawings along with an accurate site plan. Yonkman Construction is prepared to work with your plans or recommend an ex There are some GCs that only offer construction services and will not even meet with a potential customer unless they already have architectural plans. Yonkman Construction is a full-service GC and will provide full or partial service. You can select the level of service you need.

Will I need to get a building permit?

Many jurisdictions only require permits and plans if you are changing the actual size and structure of your home. Others will require permits for just about any type of work. It is best to begin by contacting your local building department in your jurisdiction to find out what the requirements are for the type of project you are considering. The GC should be an integral part of the permit process. He must be identified on the permit and have the proper proof of insurance on file with the jurisdiction. A full-service GC will prefer to be responsible for the permits and will be named as the applicant on behalf of the Owner.

How much should my project cost?

The project costs will be as varied as the projects themselves. The GC should be able to provide you with a detailed breakdown of the costs for all phases of the job (i.e. demolition, framing, electrical, plumbing, trim work, etc.) once plans and project specifications have been prepared. If you do not get a detailed cost breakdown, comparing quotes from different Contractors will be difficult, since you won’t know if they both include the same things. To sell the job, some Contractors will provide generic estimates that may provide everything required of the plans, but don’t allow for the myriad of other costs and upgrades that crop up in every project. After the job starts, the Homeowner is often presented with a lot of additional work orders with the excuse, “it wasn’t on the plan”. Either way the Homeowner still pays, but without the benefit of knowing up front what the costs should be. However, even with the most thorough plans and specifications, along with a detailed estimate, additional work can still occur. Additional work usually falls into two categories: 1) additional items asked for by the Homeowner and; 2) work that could not have been foreseen prior to starting the project. An example of this might be that after demolition, structural problems are discovered that require repair prior to continuing the project. You should allow for at least 5% to 10% of the contract price for additional work, especially when dealing with older structures.

How long should my project take and when can you start?

The GC should be able to provide you with an overall project schedule. This may be included as part of the payment schedule. Milestones are generally identified for certain payments to become due (i.e., start of work, start of plumbing, installation of sheetrock). Although approximate start and end dates for the project may be provided, they cannot be absolute. There are many factors that can cause delays when remodeling, such as weather conditions, availability of materials, and additional work requests. Constant communication between the GC and the Homeowner is vital for keeping a job on schedule. If there is a delay, the Homeowner should be informed. One of the most important things a Homeowner can do to help prevent delays is to make sure that they make their material selections early so they are ready for delivery when they are needed. Most established Contractors will have a backlog of work, and generally will not be able to start a job immediately. Be careful if you are in a rush to get the job started. If a GC says he can start right away, that would be concerning as it’s not practical.

What should be included in the contract?

The contract should include detailed specifications and cost guidelines (estimates) for all work to be completed, broken down by phases. A detailed payment schedule should be included. Most GCs will require a deposit, which can be anywhere from 5% to 10%, and is usually due at the contract signing and before work can commence. Any items that are the Homeowner’s responsibility should be clearly defined. Both the Homeowner and the GC should get a signed copy of the contract.

How do I prepare my home for the project?

Any renovation project is disruptive and stressful for the Homeowner who must live through it. Most people do not have the option of moving out of their home during a major renovation. For extremely large projects affecting the entire house, this may be the only option, but that is rare. The more preparation done prior to start of the job, the easier it will be to deal with it.

What should I expect from my Contractor during construction?

The most important thing a GC can do is to keep an open dialog with the Homeowner. This will ensure there are no surprises. A lead man or supervisor should be assigned to your job and should be available to handle any questions or issues you might have. You should be receiving constant updates on project schedules, additional required work, or other problems that crop up. You should expect all workers and subcontractors to be courteous, professional, and helpful. You should expect the jobsite to be cleaned daily, with debris gathered, and all walkways clear. You should expect the work areas to be as contained as possible, and to protect the non-work areas as best as possible. You should not expect there to be workers on your job every day. There will be days that, due to scheduling, subcontractor availability, and material deliveries, there will be no workers on site. You will be aware of this if the GC is properly communicating with you.

What will my Contractor expect of me during construction?

You should consider your GC a partner in your project. You will need to work together to coordinate and schedule the vast array of tasks that need to be completed. There will be many things that the GC will need from you, the most important being the timely selection of materials. The last thing you want is to have work stop because materials aren’t available. Some materials may be special order and will require long lead times. If you haven’t received one, ask your GC for a list of those materials you will need to select. This process should start even before the actual construction begins. The GC will also need full access to the jobsite. The best way to do this is to give the GC a key to your home, or some other means of entering, like a garage door access code. Many customers feel uncomfortable allowing a GC into their home while they are not there. This is understandable, but unless someone will always be home, limiting the GC’s access to your home will cause delays in your project. The bottom line is if you can’t trust your GC to be in your home unattended, you may want to find another that would be a better fit.

Can I do part of the work myself?

We recognize that each client and their desires, needs and budget are unique. Some require start-to-finish turnkey construction, while others wish to do some of the work themselves. With Yonkman Construction you choose the level of service you need. We can discuss the pro’s and con’s of this type of collaboration with you.

Can I supply some of the construction materials and fixtures myself?

We believe building and remodeling should be a team effort. Reasonable people can find equitable solutions to almost any issue. Yonkman Construction will allow the Owner to supply some of the construction materials, fixtures, and associated labor to be incorporated into the job. For any Owner supplied materials, fixtures and labor, the Owner shall assume the responsibility, cost of the delivery and warranty of such items. Yonkman Construction will install Owner supplied items, but will only warranty our installation workmanship, not the materials or products supplied by the Owner.

Do you provide interior design, kitchen and bath design, color selection and product selection assistance?

Yes, Yonkman Construction partners with professionals in Interior Design. Designers are available to assist you early in the project planning stage and throughout construction. Many levels of service are offered, and you select the degree of service you need.

"Yonkman Construction built a beautiful dream house for LeeAnn and I.  What attracted us initially was the reputation of the company and personal interview with Scott.  Being 1000 miles away, we needed a contractor who would provide the personal touch we could not during the building process.  What we found out was the company is defined by integrity from Scott to the sub-contractors hired.  We are superbly satisfied with the results and made lifelong friends in the process."