Materials Price List & Purchase Orders


What's in the Material Price Package?

  • Model Estimates - The “Material Price Estimate” is a compilation of virtually all the construction material necessary to build one of our Cottages.   Each Cottage Model has a customized Material Estimate with quantities and specified products that are unique to that Model. 
  • Unit Prices - Every item in the estimate has a current unit price that has been researched by us and represents a product and price that is currently available to Builders in the continental United States.   Current prices are obtained from posted National Retailers and online sources such as “Home Depot”, “Lowes” and numerous other national brands.  Our proprietary materials data base contains thousands of unit prices that are monitored by us and updated on a regular basis.  
  • Vendor Sources - Each of the products listed has an identified “Source Vendor” who can provide the Builder with each product at retail level.  Our "Vendor Purchase Orders" break down the required materials by Vendor and create a list for each Vendor that includes all materials he is to supply.  Quantities, descriptions and specifications are included in the PO, making ordering materials a quick and painless process.   In addition to product information the Purchase Orders also indicate contact information for each Vendor.
  • Product Specifications – Each Product in the “Material Price List” and in the “Vendor Purchase Orders” is specified in industry standard format to minimize incorrect material orders and to avoid confusssion.
  • Schedules - The “Material Price Estimate” is broken down by Construction Divisions.  These Construction Divisions follow standard industry practice by organizing the estimate sections roughly according to the sequence in which they will be constructed.  This sequenced breakdown is helpful in creating a time schedule for material deliveries, sub-contractors and construction cash flow. 

What’s it Going to Cost & Where do I Find It?

The first question people ask before they start a Do-it-Yourself Backyard Cottage Project is "What’s it Going to Cost?"  That question is quickly followed by " Where am I Going to Find All this Stuff?   Even if you’re a veteran builder, assembling the quantities, researching material prices and finding sources for purchasing everything can be quite a demanding and frustrating task.  To assist the builder with this critical job, we have created a custom “DIY Material List” and a set of “Vendor Purchase Orders” for each of our Cottage Plan Sets.  These two documents can save any builder countless hours of time by providing accurate quantity take-offs, maintaining current unit pricing and identifying the source of hard to find material.  In addition, our pricing products can save you thousands of dollars by eliminating costly take-off errors, minimizing incorrectly ordered materials and by providing competitive, internet based suppliers for those hard to find items.  Following are a few answers to questions about our Pricing Packages:

Why Do I need This Product?

Our Cottage Pricing Products were produced to assist the Builder, Amateur or Professional alike, with the budgeting, quantity take-off and ordering process for our Backyard Cottages. Despite the fact that our Cottages are small, they are, never-the-less, complete residential living units.   As such, they require nearly as many products as a full size house and nearly as much time to estimate, source and order. 

For a contractor building a small cottage, the administrative costs for these services can amount to a significant portion of the total cost to build.   For the Amateur Builder, just finding all the products that go into a Cottage is a long and frustrating task.  Asking the amateur to find competitively priced products that also meet modern building codes is just not realistic.

For these and a myriad of other reasons, we considered it essential that we provide a means by which the Builder of our Cottages can quickly:

  • Estimate the Cost of their Project
  • Accurately Order the Correct Quantity of Material
  • Specify Products in Terms Understandable to Vendors
  • Contact Obscure Vendors for Hard to Find or Discounted Products
  • Avoid Buying Materials That Do Not Meet Code

In order to help you understand and use this time and money saving product, we have attempted to answer some basic questions about “What Is in It” and “What It Can Do for You” .

What Can It Do For Me?

  • Project Budgeting – The primary use of this product is to provide the approximate total cost of materials for your Project.  We don’t promise that we will have every single screw or wire included in our estimates but the total estimate should contain 95% to 98% of the items you will need to complete your Cottage.  Material prices vary throughout the country but the large Home Improvement Centers and the Internet have gone a long way towards standardizing prices throughout the continental United States.

If you’re an energetic DIY Builder who’s doing all the work with friends and family, you’ll only have to add a small contingency percentage, some sales tax and the Permit Fees to arrive at a reasonable overall cost for your Project.  Recommendations for estimating contingencies, sales tax and permit fees are discussed  in the “How Do I Use It?  Section of the User’s Guide.

For the DIY Builder, who decides to sub-contract out some of the skilled trades, our material lists allow you to compare “labor only contracts” from a number of different contractors.   Obtaining and comparing “labor only” prices allows you to eliminate mark-up on materials and reduces many of the arguments that are generated when a contractor tries to substitute cheaper and perhaps inferior products.  Labor only contracts also eliminate a lot of the upfront administration costs for the contractor and should encourage more subs to participate in quoting your job.

  • Saving Time 
    • The Quantity take-off part of estimating a construction project is normally a very specialized part of the construction industry.  It normally takes years of experience to know enough about modern construction techniques to estimate an entire house.  The learning curve for the average DIY Builder would take far too much time to justify.  Our estimates eliminate this time consuming process.
    • Finding all the material to build even a small construction project can take countless hours roaming the aisles of a Home Improvement Center, plumbing or electrical supply house.  Not getting every item that’s needed means more trips to the store while your crew waits for parts and materials.  Our material lists attempt to define everything you’re going to need from 2x4’s, to nails, to toilet paper holders.  We might not list absolutely every single item but our list will certainly save you a lot of unnecessary travel and hunting time.
    • Finding Retail Vendors can be a long process if you don’t know exactly what you call a product, exactly how it’s used or what size, efficiency rating or VOC content might be required.  We have spent 1000’s of hours developing our Plan Sets and Price Estimates to include specific products sold by actual retail vendors.  Items such as code compliant windows, high efficiency heat pumps and environmentally friendly paint and caulking are just a few of the items you are going to have to research without this estimate.  Our estimates specify where to go or who to call to find almost everything.
    • Finding Competitive Prices can take a long time.  All the time spent on finding products and vendors normally leaves little time to compare prices adequately.  We do our best to, not only provide a price and vendor for each product, but also to find the best price.  We often specify materials from national Home Improvement Centers because they are usually the lowest price and most convenient.  However, specialized items and equipment is often cheaper through on-line vendors or directly from the manufacturer.  We research, compare and monitor prices at all levels to insure competitive pricing.
  • Eliminate Mistakes – It is beyond the experience level for most DIY Builders to accurately estimate the material quantities of a modern residential structure.  The same can be said of specifying the correct products to meet building, energy and green code requirements.  Incorrect orders and missed materials can greatly increase your Cottage costs and add to your frustration.  We design, estimate and research each Cottage and spend a great deal of time with each Cottage and with each piece of material in it.  Our intimate knowledge of our products goes a long way towards alleviating these costly mistakes in your project. 
  • Scheduling - Our Estimates, being divided into progressive Construction Divisions, provide a convenient way to quickly schedule your project.  Upon starting your project you’ll soon realize that you will need to set a specific date for such things as material delivery, sub-contractor work, equipment rental dates and inspections.  Your neighbors and friends will probably also want to know what weekends they should be expected to show up.  By referencing the sequencing in your Estimate’s Divisions you can create a basic schedule to keep up with people and materials.
  • Documentation for Financing – If you’re planning on financing your Cottage at the Bank or Credit Union, they will probably want to know what you’re up to and how much it’s going to cost.  Although most banks would prefer not to finance construction done by a DIY Builder, financing off the equity in your main house and land with a "Home Equity Loan" can make life a lot easier for the Bank and for you.  Assuming you finance the Project with "Home Equity" as collateral, there are no Construction Draws, Inspection Fees or arguments.  Regardless of how you finance, the Bank will want to see the estimated costs and the Plans.  Our Plan Sets and Formalized Estimate will go a long way toward making the bankers happy.

Some of our Certifications and Memberships