Frequently Asked Questions


General Questions

A general contractor is responsible for organizing, overseeing and managing all aspects of your project. A general contractor must have expert knowledge of design, materials, safety, the building code, and how to get your job approved and permitted. A general contractor also must be an effective leader who can assemble the highest-quality team of craftsmen possible and to keep them on task and on time. A general contractor must have a passion for beauty and building, and be detail-oriented, down to the smaller aspect. Unison is a Class A (unlimited) general contractor, which is the highest level, and allows us to work on all manner of projects.
Yes, you need an architect and potentially a designer as well. We can hire these professionals or use yours. Unlike other general contractors, we like to be involved in this stage and bring extensive design experience and idea. The objective is to transform your ideas and dreams into construction documents. Your contractor will need specific blueprints and engineering plans to get started. If you do not have an architect yet, let us know and we can either handle that aspect or send you to the best architects in Colorado. You will also need professional blueprints to submit to the building department for approval.
Unlike most other General Contractors, we have a designer on our team. A designer helps you select your finishes such as tile, plumbing and electrical fixtures, exterior finishes and accents, built-in and custom furniture, paint, and much more. The designer’s creativity and imagination is important to a luxury project.
All of Colorado’s counties and municipalities are different. After you submit your blueprints and engineering plans, you can generally expect on average about 4 weeks to get a permit if no changes are requested by building officials. In certain highly regulated areas, the processing time for permits is far longer and can be bureaucratic and frustrating.
Contact several different firms and discuss your project. Test their customer service. Narrow down your search to the firms who are responsive, diligent, and who have a passion for quality. Compare any preliminary renderings they provided. Plan on spending a significant amount of time comparing proposals. Be aware: the lowest big is rarely the best bid.

Questions About Unison Builds

Heck yes. We can fill pages with special skills our team members have developed over the past 25 years. We have wonderful photos to share with you of nearly anything you could ask from us. From clean contemporary design to mountain rustic, we can do just about everything.
We focus on quality, working with Colorado’s best craftsmen, and delivering the best product. While our deep relationships will save you money, if you are looking for “builders grade” or economy work, we are not going to be a good fit.
Surprisingly yes, most of the time. Working with the best craftsmen yields a level of reliability that most general contractors have a hard time getting from average subtractors. While every project is different, we align your interest with ours by writing into nearly every contract incentives for early delivery, and penalties for late delivery. Our “job clock” starts when your project is approved and all permits are issued, however. Bear in mind that can take a while, especially if you live in a highly regulated part of the state.
Absolutely yes. Most of the work on your project will be facilitated by subcontractors who specialize in a specific area. All of our subcontractors have been in the business for years, and are experts and often master-craftsmen. One of our biggest advantages is our network and our long and deep relationships with them.
From start to finish, you will be assigned a Project Manager. In addition to our other team members, your Project Manager is responsible for scheduling, working with you to order materials based on lead times so they are available when needed for installation, being on-site to make sure the project progresses smoothly, coordinate subcontractors, quality control, compliance with local building codes, meeting with inspectors, handle all zoning variance issues, permits, inspections and licenses, job site clean up, liaison between the client and the architect, engineers, subcontractors and building officials.
Our network of subcontractors is statewide, so we evaluate jobs on a case-by-case basis. That said, we prefer to work within 90 minutes from Denver.
At this time, probably not except for Winter Park, Copper, Vail/Eagle, and Steamboat Springs, where our team members have experience. Ski Towns are extremely specialized, have a short building window, and can be very hard to get to get to.

Questions About How Unison Works

Our preference is to be involved from the very beginning, to take a leadership role, and to work with you somewhat intensively at first understand and then transform your vision into a reality. Once we have your final plans and renderings, we become mostly autonomous. We will still need to consult you on various design and other issues that come up during construction. Construction is, however, mostly predictable once plans are finalized.
All payables will go through the general contractor. You will be assigned a project manager and/or a job supervisor to your project. One of the duties of the project manager or the job supervisor is to keep track of all billing and payables for your job.
You will typically be billed every two weeks. If you are relying on us (our preference), the project starts with a deposit to cover architectural, design, planning and other initial work necessary to get the project moving.
Absolutely. We can post a surety bond which is a common request on large commercial projects. There is a small charge associated with this as the bonds are expensive.
We will give you guidance on what type of contract is best for your project. Our goal is to align your interest with ours in every respect from start to finish. In construction, contract selection is most often determined by how well you have defined the scope of your project. Here are the three most popular types of contracts:

Cost Plus Contracts: This is usually the right contract for customers who need us to handle the project from start-to-finish, including selection of architect and design professionals. We work with you to establish a timeline for the job. We then work with you to create financial incentives for us to meet (or exceed) the deadlines. There are also penalties if we fail to adhere to the timeline. This is the most cost-effective contract for most customers.

Fixed Price (Lump Sum) Contracts: In a fixed price or lump sum contract, one price is agreed upon for all of the work shown on the plans. This contract is only appropriate, however, when the customer can completely describe the work through finalized plans and written specifications. While fixed price contracts sound appealing, we find that prudence requires us to “bake in” to our bid a variety of risks and worst-case scenarios many of which do not occur.

Moreover, items that were not shown and items that are changed after the plans are submitted to us are an additional cost (“change orders”). Time and Material (T&M): If the plans are poorly done or too basic, we cannot provide accurate pricing. This contract is usually used for short term, small dollar amount projects, and only offered as a courtesy to handle quick jobs for existing customers.
Yes, but they almost always pencil out, creating value for their owners. Mountain homes are usually built on sloped land, away from construction material supplies warehouses, and require longer commutes (even temporary relocation) for most workers. And as to non-mountain luxury construction, our homes are simply more costly because we are building with the finest materials and the most-able craftsmen we can work with.
It all depends upon what you want and where. But here are some generic, as of June, 2022, the average cost to build a luxury, mountain home in Colorado was $411.09 per square foot. Semi- luxury, was $324.51 per square foot. We do not do “best-standard” homes, but that average rate was $207.87.

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Contact us today to get a quote on your project or learn more about our company. We look forward to speaking with you.

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