Frequently Asked Questions

Will I get the best price with F & C Construction?

We understand that for most people a home is their largest single purchase. Our focus is helping our clients get the best value for their investment — which may or may not be the same as the lowest initial price.

How long have you been in business?

F & C Construction was established in Massachusetts in 1990.

How big is your company?

We employ a team of seventeen individuals with a broad range of residential construction expertise, and work with sub-contractors as needed.

What kind of work do you prefer?

We prefer to work on well-designed projects within a 75 mile drive from our office. We have a particular interest in "green" projects that are energy-efficient and make use of low-maintenance materials of construction.

Do you build homes for a fixed contract price or management-fee basis?

Both. The vast majority of our clients prefer fixed-contract pricing for their home. We will build your home on a management-fee basis if you prefer.

What size homes do you build?

The size of your home is your personal decision based on your needs and budget. We’ve designed and built homes from 1,200 square feet up to 12,000 square feet of finished living area.

Do you build homes with basements?

Yes! Most of the homes we build have basements. It usually makes sense to build a basement or partial basement foundation for a home on a sloping lot. A walkout basement can provide attractive lower level living space and add value to your home.

How long will it take to build my home?

The time required to build any home depends on the size and complexity of the plan, the requirements of the particular site, the materials and finishes you select, and of course, the weather during the construction process. A typical construction time is around 5 months. Larger homes and homes with a high level of finish may take longer.

How much will it cost to build my home?

Cost, like the time required to construct a home, depends on the size and complexity of the plan, the requirements of the particular site, and the materials and finishes selected. We understand that every client has a budget. We partner with you to design and build a home that meets your needs and respects your budget. An important difference with our process is that the cost to build your home is accurately determined early in the design process.

What does your “standard package” include?

Each home we build is a true custom home designed to meet our individual client's needs. As such, we do not have a “standard package.” You can literally choose all the construction components as well as the finishes, appliances and systems to be installed in your home. While this may seem overwhelming, we'll help you make informed choices about which alternatives best suit your needs and budget.

What happens if there are cost increases in materials or labor during construction?

If we are building your home for a fixed-contract price we absorb the cost of any increases in materials or labor during construction. If we are building your home on a management-fee basis, you would pay the actual cost of materials plus a management fee.

Can I make changes during construction?

You may request changes at any time during construction. The feasibility of implementing any change will depend on when the change is requested. Please keep in mind that changes typically affect the cost and construction schedule. Changes affecting the home’s exterior usually need to be reviewed and approved by the architectural review committee in your community prior to implementation. Structural changes may require re-engineering and review by code compliance officials prior to implementing the change. If you wish to change your selection of a component that is already on order, a restocking fee may apply.

What does it cost to implement a change?

Some changes can be implemented at little or no cost. For example, if you ask us to change the location of a light fixture, electrical receptacle or change the swing of a door during the framing walkthrough. Changes that alter the scope of the project or that require review and approval by an architectural review board or re-inspection by code compliance usually involve additional cost. Before implementing any change we’ll advise you of the cost and obtain your approval.

What are cost allowances?

Cost allowances are good-faith estimates of the cost of various client selections (carpeting, appliances, tile, etc.) that have not been made at the time we enter into a Construction Agreement. Allowances are like a checkbook for any such items. If your selections cost less than the allowance, you receive a credit for the difference at settlement. If your selections cost more than the allowance, you are responsible to pay the difference.

Who supplies your cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, etc.?

We’ve developed an extensive list of preferred suppliers based on our more than twenty-eight years experience building in Central Massachusetts. Our objectives are to provide our clients with a range of alternatives, ensure quality products at fair prices, and ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. If we’re not able to obtain your preference of any item from our preferred suppliers, we’ll find a supplier of the item.

We need help making selections. Can you assist us?

Each of our preferred suppliers has a high level of expertise in their respective field and can help you make informed choices. We have also partnered with a local interior designer. Each of our homes includes up to four hours of her time to assist you in whatever capacity you need. Additional time, if required, may be contracted directly with the interior designer or with the designer of your choice.

What type of heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) systems do you install?

We have experience with a wide range of HVAC systems including high-efficiency gas furnaces, high-efficiency air conditioners, high-efficiency heat pumps, hybrid systems, passive solar, energy recovery ventilators and geothermal (ground source) heat pumps. We typically install zone controls to enable independent termperature control of multiple areas within a home. We'll work with you in the design phase to choose the option that's right for you.

What is the cost per square foot for your homes?

This question is similar to asking "how much does a diamond cost per carat?" The answer is "It depends on a number of things." In the case of a diamond, it depends on the cut, clarity and color-- each of which can be gauged on a standard scale. In the case of a home, it depends on the demands of a particular building site, the size of the home, the achitectural style, the materials of construction, the features, the quality of the trade labor used to produce the home, and so forth. When comparing different builders, a better approach is to tour homes under construction (or recently completed), look at the components, features, and quality level and ask about the cost to replicate each on your lot. Then ask about their servicev - how do they ensure your vision of "home" is achieved throughout the process?

How many homes do you build each year?

We are staffed to build approximately 8-10 homes each year and complete a variety of remodeling projects, depending on the scope. Each project is closely supervised to ensure quality, cost and schedule objectives are achieved.

Do you have your own crews or do you employ subcontractors?

We partner with the best local trade professionals (our trade partners) to perform some of the construction tasks. Each of our trade partners have worked with us for a number of years and know our quality standards.

Do the same crews build each home?

For the most part we employ the same trade partners on each home we build. Since most of our trade partners are small firms, we maintain two trade partners for long duration tasks such as framing and masonry work.

Do you have different quality standards for different size/cost homes?

No. We have a single standard for quality in all homes we produce regardless of cost or size.

Can I supply some of the items for my home?

In general, it works best if we supply all components for your home. Client-supplied items require additional logistics for shipping to ensure we have them available right before we need them. We will gladly accommodate your request to install selected items such as a Foyer or Dining Room chandelier from your former home provided the fixture(s) meets local code requirements. Please note that any items you supply are not covered under our limited warranty; you would need to work directly with the manufacturer if there are any issues.

I’d like to defer moving to Massachusetts until after my home is built. How many times do I need to visit during construction?

We suggest at a minimum that you plan to join us for three walk-through inspections during construction: 1.) When framing is substantially complete, please plan to attend a framing walkthrough at which we review the placement of all windows, doors, door swings, location of electrical receptacles, lighting fixtures, heating/cooling supply and return grills, etc. before rough-in. 2.) When drywall is completed, please plan to join us for a post-drywall, pre-paint walk-through to review the specific interior trim pre-selected for each room and to approve interior paint color samples applied by our painter, and 3.) About a week prior to completion of your home, please plan to join us for a punch list walk-through to identify any incomplete items or quality issues. Prior to your move-in, we’ll perform a pre-settlement inspection with you to verify that all punch list items are complete.

How are payments made during construction?

We request payment after key milestones are achieved during construction. The amount to be paid for any item is listed on our construction draw schedule. If you are financing your home, we make draw requests directly to your lender and provide a copy for your records. When the lender receives our request, they schedule an inspector to verify the work is completed prior to authorizing payment. We also inform your mechanic’s lien agent (a local real estate attorney) when we request a construction draw. Your lien agent ensures that the title to your property is free of any construction liens before payment is made.

Can I do some of the work myself?

For safety reasons and to ensure the on-time delivery of your home, we cannot permit you to perform any of the work during construction. We will, at your request and subject to the limitations required to obtain a certificate of occupancy for the home, leave portions of the home for you to complete after move-in.

Do your homes come with a warranty?

Each home we build is covered by a limited warranty. A copy of our warranty is provided for your information as part of the construction documents and included in the home Maintenance and Warranty manual you receive upon completion of your home.

Mike Frias & Tom Collins     |     Phone 978-562-3999     |     Fax 978-562-1846