Connect With Our Team
We meet you at your level of readiness.
Our goal is to help you move forward.
Whether you are just thinking about living in a better home or are ready to begin that journey, we’re here to provide the information you need and the guidance you’re missing. Let’s start by getting acquainted.
Describe where you’re headed and how we can help you get there.
What happens next?
Five steps to move forward
Project Feasability & Orientation
Our Project Feasibility and Orientation phase is the starting point for every project and is designed to provide you with the information and guidance you need to move forward with confidence.
During this phase you will meet with your design team, establish a clear understanding of the budget framework for your project, learn about its opportunities and challenges, understand how design and construction work together, and get a roadmap and plan for moving forward. You will be given access to an online communication hub where we can continue to engage. We will present and provide you with a summary report we call “Project Snapshot”. All of this occurs before entering a full design agreement to ensure you have all the necessary information and guidance to begin designing with confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost per SF to build/remodel?
This is indeed our most frequently asked question and oh, if only it were that easy. Cost per SF is a blunt tool because every SF is not the same and what is counted as a SF is not often clearly defined. SF costs can be useful to create broad budget expectations and are best for new home areas with separate amounts for the house, the garage, porches, patios and walks as well as site infrastructure. In remodeling the areas are too small and the project character usually too diverse to usefully generalize. “What’s possible at what cost?” is the more important question and we have a deliberate process to answer it more and more accurately as we move through the design.
Is it more expensive to build a high performance home?
A high performance home that is designed to require very little energy spends a bit more for insulation and air sealing, better windows, and a more sophisticated ventilation system (but less for simpler heating and cooling). For the approximately 500 line items for a new home, about 10 are for these features and they cost appx. 5% more than a conventional home. A solar energy system would be in addition to this cost and is based on the size of the system.
How will the budget be managed?
Every project we do begins by setting broad expectations about likely project costs. This guides the design of the first schematic options which provide us with the ability to outline the scope of work and produce a “reality check” budget. This budget framework provides clarity about how much project will be comfortable to take on, sometimes motivating a phased approach to a project. With that clarity we develop the design in detail, and with that detail comes the opportunity to identify every dollar that will need to be spent. We do this side by side with you and consider this guidance as important as the architectural design.
How long does a project take?
The time a project takes to design is proportional to its size and scope, its complexity and any regulatory challenges, and your ability to make timely decisions. We guide this process with an interest in sustaining momentum and it can take anywhere from a few months to a year accordingly. Construction schedules are dependent on some of the same variables, as well as material and trade availability and factors like weather. With clear plans we mobilize and manage our construction team to move steadily forward in the face of all the potential challenges.
Are there incentives for building a high performance home?
Between the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act and programs like energizeCT’s New Residential Construction Program we are often seeing incentives for our clients that can total $7-10K. In addition there are strong tax incentives for Solar and Battery Storage systems, as well as compensation for energy produced or made available from the battery.
Can you help with financing?
We can help you navigate the ways in which the high performance features of the homes we build are appraised by lenders.
I have plans already. Can you work from them to create a zero energy home?
First, we only build what we design, that’s essential to our practice and the value we provide by integrating both practices. We’re also designing for high performance from the start. It’s something that has to be baked in and can’t be pasted on. We do use existing plans as a way to understand your intentions and use them to inform the design work we do.
Who does the building?
Janet Downey manages the construction of all our projects. She works with a team of trade partners who are experienced in working with us and each other. She begins building your project team early in the design process as the plans begin to take shape, relying on their experience to inform design detailing and project budgets.
Do I need land, or will you help me find the right site?
We work both ways. If you have property to build on we evaluate its features and design to take advantage of sun, views, vegetation and topography. If you’d like guidance we can connect you with a favored realtor or assist you in evaluating available options.
Are there limits to where you work?
We prefer to do remodeling work within a 40 minute travel radius from our Avon office location, and will build new homes at a 60 minute distance, which covers all of central CT but limits our ability to serve the SE and NW shoreline and the RI and NY border areas.
What is Design/Build?
Wolfworks integrates design with construction to produce value. Rather than hire two separate companies to design, then construct a project you are taking advantage of the experience of both: a designer who incorporates a builders practical experience with building, budgets, schedules, and project management AND a builder who has been involved in the design of the project from the beginning. Not to mention seamless communication between both.
What are the advantages of this system?
Grounding design in the practical reality of build ability and budgets keeps your project on the rails. Projects without this integration too often come in over budget or require complex construction methods without an early opportunity to evaluate where things are headed. Projects that are designed by one party then bid out to others set the stage for scapegoating when expectations are not met.
Why shouldn't I hire a builder and architect separately?
Hiring an architect first, having them produce a complete plan with all the details, then seeking bids from qualified builders is the most common alternative to the integrated way we work. For those lucky enough to find both a good architect and builder this system can produce great projects. It requires two rounds of finding, interviewing, and selecting each service and it puts you in the role of assuring everybody is playing nice. It also presumes that the architect has a good handle on building costs and affordable methods and has designed to fit your budget. There is a risk that you may discover well into the process that what has been planned will not be affordable.
If I don't get multiple bids, how will I know I am getting the best value?
It’s alluring to be able to choose a builder based on cost. This allure loses its shine when you factor in the tradeoffs. Design intent is communicated thru documents, so every detail better be perfectly clear. Missed or unclear items can lead to additional costs. Disputes about this can create adversaries out of people who should be collaborating.
Who deals with zoning and building regulations?
Understanding regulatory requirements is a critically important part of any project. This is our responsibility as the designer and carries forward into the building phase as we coordinate required inspections and assure they meet approval. You may be required to supply property surveys if the design requires it. For some projects we may even need to apply for variances and appear to support the case for them.
How will I make product selections?
Once we have established a project scope within a comfortable budget framework we will guide you through the process of product selection. We don’t make this effort until we are clear about where the project is headed. This is the fun part, but it can feel daunting. We learn what you like then guide you toward options suited to the project and your taste. We recommend showrooms with experienced staff, as well as online resources and even material samples we may have here at our office.