Frequently Asked Questions
Have any questions about Bentley Built, your project, or your eligibility to build? Check out some of the more common questions we get about everything construction:
Bentley Built has been in operation since its humble beginnings in 2005, when it mainly operated as a simple design and drafting service.
With over 20 years of construction experience under his belt, Bentley Built’s Founder Nick Bentley ventured out on his own, leaving his long-time position at A.W Allen’s to pursue his dream of building the highest quality homes in Western Nova Scotia. Nearly 10 years later to the day, in 2017, Nick returned to purchase A.W Allen’s to expand his award-winning team’s reach in the region.
With the addition of A.W Allen’s to the Bentley Built team, we are proud to boast over 50 combined years of construction services in the Valley, to pair with the latest and greatest technology the industry has to offer.
To find out more about Bentley Built’s deep history, please visit our About Us page.
Probably the most common question we get regarding new home construction is “how much will it cost per square foot to build my home?”
Cost per square foot is a commonly used pricing measurement in the residential construction industry across North America to quickly gauge a customers’ affordability. Unfortunately, although square footage costing provides a quick and easy answer, it is horrendously inaccurate.
There are numerous decisions and choices made by homeowners that can influence the final cost per square foot of a newly constructed home, including the following key areas:
- Energy Efficiency Options – technology is increasingly impacting more of the design choices we make in new homes. Not only in how we heat and insulate, but also how we build to accommodate the many energy efficiency options available today.
- Architecture – for every additional change in roof lines or corners in foundations, project costs can expect to be higher.
- Siding choice – vinyl siding, the generic option on most home designs, is significantly cheaper and easier to install than most any other option available.
- Flooring choice – square footage costs of flooring choices, and their installation requirements, vary as drastically as any area in new home construction.
Any changes to designs involving the above categories can greatly impact the accuracy of a cost per square footage estimate, as well as the homeowner’s ability to affordably finance the project.
With that all being said, higher quality new home construction costs in the Annapolis Valley generally run around $165.00/sq ft (based solely on finished living areas, excluding basements and garages). Basement space can generally be finished in the $80-100/sq ft range, and attached garages generally range $55-65/sq ft.
*All prices per sq ft exclude sewer, water and other site preparation costs such as clearing, driveway, etc…
The starting point for most people usually involves finding the perfect plan for them. Whether you spend hours digging through web plans, driving around to view houses, or drawing up your own design, you must know what it is you want before you can know if you can afford it.
Once you have your desired plans in mind, we can begin to help you plan for what is often the most important investment most people make in their lives. From writing up preliminary budgets, to lining up meetings with banks and financing groups, we are there every step of the way to help you find what is affordable and best for you.
For more information on how we help our customers with their budgeting and affordability concerns, please follow this link to Our Process.
Your Atlantic Home Warranty arranged through Bentley Built provides the homeowner with a 2-part warranty.
Bentley Built, and other Builder Members* who offer the Atlantic Home Warranty provide one (1) year for labor and materials to repair any defects due to faulty workmanship or materials. As part of this warranty, the Builder Member is responsible for contacting you at year’s end to do a one-year inspection. Incomplete or deficient work that is covered by this warranty is carefully outlined in the detailed Construction Performance Standards Guideline which is available online at awhp.org.
Additionally, Atlantic Home Warranty provides a limited seven (7) year extended warranty for any major structural defects. In the event the builder defaults and doesn’t take care of your issue, the warranty program offers an insurance policy to have the defective work completed.
*Note: Builder Members are required to meet strict financial and training requirements to obtain and keep their membership.
Any reputable home builder should provide both workers compensation and liability insurance coverage as part of the building agreement for a new home. Customers shouldn’t just assume this, however. We encourage all new home construction customers to ask their builders for worker’s compensation clearance letters to assure that coverage is in place and that the builder is in good standing. Customers should also ask for certificates of liability insurance. Given the nature of the construction industry, and heightened levels of risk for employees on site, the minimum you should expect would be $2,000,000.00 of liability coverage.
Worker’s Compensation covers injuries to workers on your job site, no matter the cause or outcome all parties are covered. If someone gets hurt while building your home, you want to make sure you aren’t legally vulnerable, and that work won’t be held up during that process.
Liability insurance offered by your builder provides coverage for any damages as a result of errors or omissions on the part of your builder, his employees or subcontractors. Acts of God, on the other hand, such as windstorms and lightning strikes aren’t considered the builders responsibility or fault, but they also are covered by the homeowners liability in case of damage to the home as a result of their occurance.
There are many daunting decisions that homeowners have to ask themselves once they decide to build a new home. At the top of that list, you can usually find questions such as “What heating system is is best for me?”. Heating system choices often have the biggest impact on your home’s comfort level and affordability, more so than any other component or major design choice you have to make for your new home.
The home-heating debate has evolved greatly over the past several decades, advancing from one new technology to the next, making it difficult to keep up with the best modern options for your home. Take for example, electric baseboard heating in the 1970’s. Government incentivization programs and low installation costs made baseboard heating systems a very attractive option to a lot of home owners. Unfortunately, while initial costs were low, operating costs were through the roof, wiping out any cost benefits felt by customers early on. This led to quick development of a negative reputation, and it wasn’t long before baseboard heaters were a thing of the past. This highlights the importance of looking at your new heating system not simply for its initial installation and startup costs, but for the opportunity it can offer with rebates on cost of installation and discounts from efficient, ongoing operating costs.
Another key consideration to make when weighing your home-heating options is the efficiency level of the building of your home. With today’s strict building standards and energy codes, new homes are very well insulated and air tight in comparison to houses built even 5 years ago. The real questions then become “how efficiently does the building use heat it produces?”, “Is there more value in investing better efficiency in the home, or better performance from the heating system?”. Those are questions that we can help answer through deeper analysis of your budget, design plans, and personal preferences.
When it comes to upgrade or renew your housing arrangements, choosing between renovating your current home or building a new one can be a very difficult decision. There are so many different aspects to consider, but probably most crucial among those considerations is price. If you’re looking to expand because your current home is too small or you have a growing family and need more space, you may be able to renovate your current home to make better use of the space you have, or add a new addition. Of course, you may decide that it’s best to just move on and build something new for you and your family.
So which option is cheapest?
Oftentimes, renovating an older house can become a much more costly project than building new. Depending on the amount of work that needs to be done, the age of the house, and the demo work that may be required in order to begin renovation work, your budget can be maxed out before you can even begin considering what type of finish work you want done on a house. There can be a lot of uncertainty when it comes to renovating, since there’s no way of knowing what’s inside the walls until you start tearing them down. Things tend to go much more smoothly when dealing with fewer surprises and more straightforward work when building new, and when you know what you’re getting into.
Another consideration to make when evaluating whether to renovate or build new is the cost of your mental health and stress management. Not only can they become a complete guessing game as to the amount of work that will required, but living and working through renovations can also be very stressful. Things can get quite messy, both on site with dust and debris and materials flying around, and off site with trying to track budgeting, important decision making and your everyday life.
Renovations can of course result in very successful and rewarding experiences, but when compared to building new, they often tend to become much more demanding financially.
Everyone who plans to build a new home has a budget. Regardless of the size of that budget, everyone wants to get as much house for their dollar as they possibly can. Along that line of thought, one of the most common beliefs that we hear from potential customers is “it’s cheaper to build up a storey than it is to build out like a bungalow”.
So, is it true?
Yes, this can be true, provided that the overall square footage of the build-up ends up being close to the same square footage of the build-out option. Building costs tend to vary by finished living area, so whether it’s on a second level or main floor doesn’t make too much of an impact on overall costs.
As a result of this, building up can often end up being much more costly than building out. This is because people typically require more square footage in their main living area for day to day living than they do for bedroom space. For example, a family of three would probably thoroughly enjoy a 1,200 sq ft one level layout that would give them adequate living space, whereas they would likely struggle to live in a house with 600 sq ft on each floor of a two-story house.
There are of course exceptions to every rule, but building up rather than building out usually requires more overall square footage in the home, and ultimately higher building costs.