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"The project comprised conversion of an undeveloped basement (concrete slab, minimal electrical and plumbing) into an independent, integrated and self-contained basement" apartment (
-compliant). Initially, a dig-out was not anticipated. When it became clear that would be essential for the project, I was very glad we had
(BC) on the job. After
electrical clean-up, BC cracked the slab around the perimeter and, in five sets of sequenced excavations of 3' sections of the foundation, fitted molds and poured reinforced underpinning blocks to a depth of 3' below the existing shallow foundations. (The house is 100 years old, with very shallow foundations beneath the existing basement floor.) I've attached a few photos of the before and during work phases. This sort of work -- a full basement dig-down to 3' -- is very messy. We expected the significant disruptions to our back yard, from where all the mechanized equipment worked; plan to set aside large outside areas for the staging of materials and the movement of mechanized equipment -- this simply goes with the project. The disciplined effort that BC put into the project kept everything moving. The foundation work, especially, was unlike anything I've observed a contractor undertake before -- top notch work, done purposefully, but not in a rush or cutting corners. And the new double sump system will take any deluge that nature might ever throw at this house: it is redundant and high capacity. The finishing work, after the new slab was poured, went as most such framing and finishing projects go. No surprises. Getting everything just right at this point becomes a BC fetish: the finishing work may initially appear rough, but the final go-through renders everything highly polished and satisfactory, while saving significant time on the construction process. We had regular meeting (usually on a Saturday or Sunday) with the owner and his colleagues, and the workers were on site most Saturdays and some Sundays. The work crews on site were the right size for the work and the confined space; it is hard to imagine the project proceeding quicker than it did (although it didn't feel that way sometimes). Communications with the company were optimal.

-d R.

"We independently interviewed several contractors to have the repairs done in the back, and consulted with a structural engineer for a paid evaluation.
" was the one who seemed the most knowledgeable about the structural issues, recognized the need for a consult with a structural engineer, and agreed with all the recommendations of the engineer. They came in higher than most of the quotes, but several were recommending alternative types of repairs that sounded like shortcuts and concerned us. For work execution, it couldn't have been better. They used quality paints, and other parts from what we could tell. We got the sense they were very concerned about doing good work and making sure we were happy. They were extremely quick, efficient, and clean. They left everything really tidy both during the work and after. They were also always around when they said they would be, and would call to ensure we were happy with the progress. They were really willing to work with us before and during the job, providing several estimates and letting us choose only the parts of the job that we wanted done. Finally, the end result was quite nice too, and we were generally happy. They finished the job cleanly, very quickly, at the cost they estimated, and did exactly what we asked for. In short, I wouldn't have any concern about the dependability or quality of the work. The only issue was that the price as a bit higher, but in our case it was worth it for the convenience and confidence in the end product.

-Leah M.

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Angie's Answers


Bids are NOT done based on a multiplier on top of materials cost to get labor cost. Think of the consequences in the example you gave - by that method using say plain home depot tile made in Honduras might cost $5/SF materials, so by your method $10 labor. Now, same floor, with Carerra marble or Barre Granite at $75-100/SF - so do you want him charging you $150-200/SF labor when it takes almost exactly the same time regardless of material ?

To put it in simple terms, contractors:

1) figure the amount and cost of materials and consumables needed from the plans and specifications, applying a markup (from 15-50%, depending on contractor and how fancy or specialized a job it is).

2) Then they figure the equipment needed and the operating time to be used or elapsed time to be rented or leased - either opperating hour or elapsed time, or combination of both, especially if it consumes fuel

3) They then figure the labor time for the various trades required to do the job, maybe add an efficiency or ease of work multiplier to those hours to fit the job conditions, multiply those hours by the hourly pay rates, then multiply that times the "load" or "Labor Overhead" to account for employment taxes, workman's compensation costs, health plan, etc, etc.

4) Then they add in the cost of any architect or engineer plans or certifications that are needed, government permits and inspections, etc.

5) Then they add in any subcontractor bids, with appropriate contingency amount for each.

6) All those above totals are added up, an appropriate overall contingency added if needed (typically 5-10%, but on remote site jobs I have seen as high as 200%), and (depending on how contractor figures his costs) at least all the "in-house" costs like his equipment, consumables, and labor costs have a percentage overhead and profit added to them - typically about 100-150%. Some contractors use a lower overhead percentage but apply it to the total estimated job cost, not just in-house costs.

This "company overhead" or "general overhead" or "G&A - General and Administrative Overhead" covers the costs of financing and running the company, management and secretarial and general supply and maintenance costs, buildings and equipment yards lease or mortgage cost, working capital cost, insurance, loan interest, general shop equipment payments, profit, etc. Some contractors use a lower overhead and apply it to every cost in the job, some (especially those doing government work so havingto adhere to government accounting rules) apply a "markup percentage" to materials and rental costs and outside subcontract services, and apply G&A overhead only to in-house costs.


That being said, for a general class of work it does generally (on normal jobs) work out that there is a general multiple of labor to materials cost. For instance, yard work and residential tree work is heavy on labor, so it might have a labor to materials ratio of 3:1 or even 5:1.  Detail foundation hand excavation and underpinning can run to 5:1 or more. Many types of building construction like plumbing, tile, carpentry, etc. do end up with a very roughly 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of labor to materials cost. At the other extreme, high energy efficiency or hurricane rated glass installation or a fancy full-building computer and communications system or high-end entertainment center might have a labor to materials ratio of 0.25-0.5 because it is designed to go in pretty fast, but the materials cost a lot.

For your case, a hardscaping ratio could run from 0.5:1 or less to as much as 3:1 or more, for installations with very expensive imported stone and fancy woods and a lot of bought decorative items such as statuary, to the opposite labor-intensive landscaping with lots of sidehill terracing and hand-planted flower beds, hand-dug irrigation system trenches, and manual-placed concrete block or railroad tie walls. Each job should be figured on its own merits - using a "rule-of-thumb" is where people commonly get unpleasantly surprised. That is why you typically get 3 bids unless you have a contractor you trust from prior experience and are confident will give you a fair shake regardless of being sole-sourced. Personally, both for my own purposes and professionally in the design and construction business, I have found sole-source to trusted contractors you have experience with is, in the long run, a BIG money and time saver, as well as making it far more likely to finish on schedule and let you sleep at night.


You need a general contractor - prefereably one who specializes in additions, because you have excavation, waterproofing, concrete, concrete cutting, carpentry, door and window, etc trades to coordinate.

The cost will depend a great deal on your topography around the house - if the base of the window will be above ground level at least 6 inches, then could run about $500 for a legal egress window purchase and about $1000-2000 for installation, depending on how deep into the concrete you have to cut.

If the bottom of the window will be below ground level, then to call it a bedroom (which mandates legal sized second egress and usauully at least one window)  then you will have two choices - bring it out into a solid watertight concrete storm cellar with collar to keep water out, stairs, and and weather and bug-tight cellar door that is inward-opening, which means a lot of space for stairs and landings top and bottom, or bring it out into an oversized window well at least 36 inches in diameter, and with steps to ground level, with adequate drainage and waterproofing to keep it dry. Either way, sometimes about as easy to put in an outside door as a window, and might raise property value more. Cost from $2-5,000 depending on how deep into concrete wall you have to dig, whether concrete wsall needs reinforcing with steel frame because of the depth of cut, how easy the digging is, and what your water conditions are near the foundation. The last thing you want to do is create an easy water or vermin ingress with your egress.


The cost to install the veneer stone has a wide range do to many factors. It can range from around $9 to $17 per square foot. It depends on the location, the stone being used, job access, skaffolding needs, wall prep and such. I would think you would be on the lower end of the scale. Your job is on a concrete surface so it eliminates one of the biggest problems they are having with this product, wall preperation. This one of the things that separates the high bidders from the low ones. There are million dollars homes being torn down because of improper wall prep. One a wood frame house a backing system that allows drainage is a must or the moisture absorbed by the veneer can rot the walls behind with alarming speed. Some have had makor damage within the first four years. On a concrete wall the veneer needs no such prep at most wire mesh applied if it is an older concrete wall.




Is the wall that the garage is sloped toward and adjacent wall of the home?


If not, it should not be of real concern. 


Try to keep the water out of the garage with a gasket on the door. 




If the state requires a contractor's license, then he needs to have a license in each state he intends to work in - plus state/local business licenses as applicable.


This does not mean there are not a lot of contractors who cross state lines without proper licensing - the penalties in may cases are not real severe and are just a fine, not criminal, so many take the chance.


As you say - argh  - many contractors are not really businessmen and have zero legal education, so many people get burned.


All Foundation Contractors in Washington DC

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

Active Home Renewal

1409 Broadwood Dr

Affordable Renovations

10218 Rodgers Rd

AJ Ross Service

5406 Riverdale Rd

Alba Stone Masonry

6914 Gillings Rd

Americas Best Contractor

2972 Ps Business Center Dr

Americrete Llc

3844 Ironwood Pl

Archiquest Inc

5412 Woodway Dr

B.K. Services

504 kibler circle

Barratt Construction

PO Box 60463

Bartley Corp

16613 New Hampshire Ave

Bianco Design and Build Corp

7501 Presidential Ln

BJ Global Enterprises LLC

11160-C1 S Lakes Dr

BLD Lanscapes

17700 millcrest Dr

Bonillas Contractors Inc.

13408 Tamarack Rd

Bonn Group America Inc

1629 K St NW
Washington Dc



C&G Masonry

4607 Winding Stone Cir

Capital View General Construction Inc

1618 7th street

Chesapeake Builders, LLC

2508 Cherokee Street

Chryst Brothers Construction

6450 Old Dominion Dr

City Masonry, LLC

816 N Washington st

Classic Construction Group

26008 Brigader Place

Concrete Now

5015 Cook Rd




5503 Munsey Pl

Construction service

4810. Kellogg dr

Contractors Consortium LLC

6412 Brandon Ave.



Cx Energy

1518 K St NW, Suite 503


1112 K ST SE

Eco construction

138 Forrester St SW

Eco Construction


Elite Development

4401 Connecticut Ave NW

Franklin Construction LLC

10377 Green Holly Ter

Freddy's Lawn Service

1709 Dennis Ave

G C Construction LLC

9201 Gilmore Dr

Gauto J Corp

3500 Courtland Dr

General Home Care LLC

4029 Postgate Terrace

General Remodeling Group

11722 Newbridge Crt, Reston, Virginia 20191


15064 Sawgrass Place

Graham Restoration LLC

11271 James Madison highway


822 viers mill rd

Home Contractors Plus

8402 Quill Point Dr

Home Duty

1733 Northridge Lane

HP Drywall

5824 Ridings Manor Pl


4509 Kentmore Dr



In The Mix

7730 Arborview Dr

J&M Concrete

PO Box 962

J.E.S. Services

6204 Julian St

J.R Remodeling Inc

1485 Eden Drive

Jabs Construction Inc

17869 Fraley Blvd

Jdrestoration Llc

6112 Scotch Dr

JP Companies Inc

43543 Braddock Rd

jr construction

3218 9th Pl SE



Khane Development Group LLC

3750 University Blvd


24901 Stringtown Rd.

King Koncrete LLC

610 Grafton St

Limitless Design & Build, LLC.

12587 Fair Lakes Cir #263

M & F Concrete

9515 Contractors Ct

M Taylor Enterprise

9914 Tenbrook Dr


5840 Cameron Run Terrace




6799 Kennedy Rd. Ste-D

Magee Design

21438 Steptoe Hill Rd

Magna Construction

2405 Benning Rd NE

Martinez Irrigation

12138 Central Ave

Mobile Heat hvac

6137 leesburg pike #201

Molina's Contruction INC

7532 Quail Run Ln

Morales Masonry Inc.

7451 Rosita Ct

Mr Basement

832 Oregon Ave Ste H

My Hunny Do

PO Box 6091


2375 Duvall Rd



New Era Construction LLC

22582 Forest Run Drive



Noel Design Build

3224 Northampton

O'Leary Asphalt

9629 Doctor Perry Road

Omar's General Contracting

3705 Plyers Mill Rd


18109 royal bonnet circle

Patriot Mobil Mix

7920D Woodruff Ct

RAM Stone Work

2378 Glenmont Circle #212

RC 4 Construction, Inc

5504 Peppercorn Drive

Regal Home Improvement

4002 Hermitage Rd

Renaissance Restoration

2124 Briggs Chaney Rd

Renew Home Improvements

4995 Threshfield Ct.

Shenski Construction

36856 Dannys LN


5464 Annapolis Rd

SNF Landscaping

14720 Bristow Rd

Stone Worx

15707 Smith Rd



T&B Renovation Company, LLC

3615-H Chain Bridge Road

Taylor McDuffie Development & Contracting LLC

1920 Martin Luther King Ave

TDI Construction Group Inc

13800 Coppermine Rd

TF Construction LLC

4119 Postgate Ter Apt 302

The Gorham Development Group

902 K Street NE

The McGill Group, LLC

1776 I St NW

Tidewater Construction, LLC

221 Laysan Teal Court

Tonken Remodeling

1421 Fallswood Dr.

Toro Concrete Inc

16101 Braggs Corner Rd

Triple A Paving

23900 Hawkins Creamery Ct

Universal Maintenance

65173 Seventh Road

USA Interiors, LLC.

P.O. BOX 9272

Van-Q construction, LLC

17822 Buehler Rd


Song Sparrow Lane

WW Brothers, LLC

5416 Woodway Drive

Youth Concrete Service, LLC

9606 Coral Street
Upper Marlboro

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