Q: When should I begin discussing a project with a builder?
A: As soon as you begin considering your home project you should start speaking with builders to get their input and perspectives. A trusted builder can help you evaluate the scope of your project based on your budget as well as the property itself for positioning the home based on building codes. They can also answer questions about building materials and site conditions which may require special considerations. For instance, is there an existing structure on the property or is it a vacant lot? Is the site level or on a steep slope? Is there easy access to the building site? Are there community restrictions about building noise? A builder with experience building in the county or area will be able to advise on permitting and scheduling too. Including a builder in your early plans allows you to identify the best builder for your project while giving you insights.

Q: What do you mean by design-build?
A: A company which offers a design-build service is providing a turnkey building experience, starting with architectural plans and proceeding through to the finished residence. At Lauer Construction we have forged partnerships with highly regarded experienced independent architects who may be selected by our customers to design their home. Our architectural partners have experience in designing homes to the requirements of waterfront and steep land properties, green building codes, and aging-in-place considerations. If you have not secured an architect, then we can introduce you to our architect partners for your consideration. Each architect has a different design style and you can select the architect best suited to your project. We are members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). We also build homes designed by our customer’s architects or purchased plans.

Q: Do you provide project estimates?
A: Once we have discussed your project and have a clear idea of what you need, the schedule, and any special considerations, we will provide a rough cost estimate for your review. Because of the amount of time and resources required to prepare building project estimates, Lauer Construction estimators do not provide estimates without first carefully reviewing the project with prospective customers.

Q. How much time should we allow for our custom home project?
A: Most home projects take less than a year to complete. The answer to this question depends on the complexity of the home to be built. We will be able to provide a time estimate and schedule once we have discussed your project with you.

Q: Do I need architecture plans before I contact Lauer Construction?
A: No. Many customers bring their own hand drawings, sketches, binders filled with magazine clippings, photos, and ideas. These materials give us insights into the home you envision. We can point out potential challenges and recommend options. If you are already working with an architect, we will work with them on the plans. If you don’t have an architect, we can recommend one of our architectural partners.

Q: What are some considerations for building a home on waterfront property?
A: We have built homes on open Chesapeake Bay properties, protected inlets, and along fresh water rivers and lakes. Building on waterfront property is all about environment, both elementary and regulatory. We have built waterfront homes and can assist you in navigating through the regulations that govern waterfront building such as set-backs, storm water management, and impervious coverage. Having built on water, Lauer Construction knows the importance of using specialized products to resist the wind, salt, precipitation, and UV exposure, such as quality windows, doors, ice paper, and door trays. We can help you choose the best products for the best results so you can enjoy your home for many years to come.

Q. What Green building?
A: Green building is the practice of building a home which promotes the health and well being of your family and the environment. At Lauer Construction we are very aware of the environmental impact of our projects and we urge our customers to incorporate environmental-friendly features into their homes. As members of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), we support the association’s soon-to-be national Green Building Program. The program promotes the conservation of energy, water, natural resources, sustainable and recyclable products, and indoor air quality standards. Read a one page overview about How Homes Become Green created by the NAHB. (PDF file)

Q: Does Lauer build homes with geothermal systems?
A: Yes! Lauer Construction has built homes which utilize geothermal energy systems. The geothermal home of one of our customers was featured in January 2007 on the “Going Green” segment of NBC News. Once installed, this system began saving the homeowner’s money in energy bills and is expected to pay for itself within 3-4 years.

Q: What is Aging in place?
A: Also called Universal Design, Aging in Place is an approach to building a home with features which will allow the residents to stay in their home as long as they want. Aging in place considerations include door knobs, counter top heights, lighting and storage, bathroom design, and other features. We are sensitive to the requirements of our customers and are constantly on the lookout for new products, including those which enable barrier-free living. If you are interested in learning more about aging in place and universal home design, we suggest browsing the AARP web site at http://www.aarp.org/families/home_design/ and the web site for accessible design/Universal design resources at http://www.makoa.org/accessable-design.htm

Q: Do you build Acorn house kits?
A: Yes. We recently completed an Acorn model home in the Annapolis area. It is featured in the book “Prefabulous: The house of your dreams delivered fresh from the factory” by Sheri Koones (2007, The Taunton Press). You can see photos of the house in our portfolio.