How to Properly Identify Price Per Square Foot

If everything in life was as easy as comparing apples to apples, our job as general contractors would be a whole lot more straight-forward. Unfortunately, in commercial construction, accurately evaluating a project’s price per square foot (PPSF) is rarely cut and dry. Numerous factors go into estimating a project’s cost, which can be especially complex when it’s a brand new project that is purely conceptual.

Factors to consider when identifying price per square foot

When evaluating projects that are very similar to one another, we can benefit by looking at historical data to help identify a generalized price per square foot for the project. New conceptual designs, however, need to be looked at differently. We do this in broad strokes by weighing out the following factors, among others:

  • Location – One of the biggest factors to influence PPSF is location. It’s not surprising to pay a premium on a prized location, but what can be surprising to some is just how much it can vary from location to location. Our team at Seacoast Construction is intimately familiar with the South Florida market and is able to help you understand how much your project could cost based on your desired location.
  • Design – There can be wide latitude when it comes to design costs, but the good news is that it’s possible to achieve many of your design goals while still staying within budget. Having some honest conversations about your goals and where you may or may not be willing to flex can influence your bottom-line numbers.
  • Materials and availability – Supply and demand are a driving force in the cost of materials, and increased tariffs have caused things like steel, aluminum, and copper to increase, thus affecting overall PPSF.
  • Labor – Similarly, labor shortages, like the one we’re currently experiencing in South Florida, will affect overall project costs.

Where to draw the line

Understanding what’s included and what’s not included as part of the price per square foot estimate is a critical part in evaluating and comparing new properties and new builds. Even smaller details, like a project owner supplying their own light fixtures, can influence the overall PPSF estimate. At some point, the line needs to get drawn, so working with your general contractor to know where that line belongs is important to having a more accurate understanding of your project’s estimated cost and value.

If you have questions about the best way to identify and compare price per square foot among properties, give us a call at Seacoast Construction. We believe that the best way to go into any build or purchase decision is to have the most accurate information and trusted team at the ready.

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