What is the BOLT Proposal Process?

What can you expect when you contact us to talk about your dreams for your home? Whether you’re ready to start remodeling your kitchen, add on more space for your family to enjoy, or build your dream home from the ground up, the building process can be a little overwhelming. One very important step in getting your home from where it is now to where you want it to be is the proposal process. This step gets the ball rolling, gives you important information, and makes sure everyone is clear about what work is to be done and how much it will cost. Read on to learn about the BOLT proposal process and get ready to get started on your Virginia, DC, or Maryland home remodel or construction project!

Nice to Meet You

We always start off the proposal process with a virtual consultation. You’re interviewing us, getting to know us and our team, and deciding if you’re comfortable working with us. We’re interviewing you, too–learning what you want to be done and discovering whether we’re the best people to do it for you. We enjoy meeting you and hearing about your plans for your project. We explain our whole process to you here, so there won’t be any surprises if we all decide to proceed. 

Budgets and Builders

During that initial meeting, we also talk about your budget. It’s tricky to work out what the project will cost at this point, but we will clearly explain to you how we reach a final budget figure. You may still be price shopping and meeting with multiple builders at this point–but we want you to know that selecting your builder early on in the process is very important to you in meeting your goals and feeling like your project was a success. (Not sure how to choose a builder? Click here for help!) If you choose a builder early on, we’re able to partner with you for the whole scope of your build. We are able to be resourceful for you and identify value engineering opportunities. 

What is Value Engineering Exactly?

Value engineering is a term we use to describe our problem-solving, creative process where we look for the best, most functional solutions for you at the lowest cost. Here’s what the process of value engineering looks like:

  • Information gathering: we gather data so we know what the project is, what your goals are, what materials will be used, etc.
  • Function analysis: we think about what elements are necessary for the project to be successful.
  • Creative speculation: we think outside the box and come up with alternative solutions, if necessary, that meet your goals.
  • Evaluation: we think through the solutions we’ve come up with and see which ones are viable and positive options for your build.
  • Cost analysis: we consider how much each element will cost, not just at installation, but over the life of the property. Are there better solutions available?
  • Development: we develop a plan that includes solutions with the highest value and lowest cost that will meet your needs in the best possible way.

In order to really use value engineering to its fullest, we need to implement the process early on, during the planning and design stage of your project. This is why it’s so important to decide on a builder early.

On With the Show

After the initial virtual meeting, assuming we’ve all agreed to work together, we begin to develop a plan (or if you already have one, we review the architect’s plan). Usually at this stage, the plans are schematic, meaning they are simplified, showing just the main parts of the project design and not every detail. So we spend some time adding in the details. We visit your home and do an assessment based on the existing conditions. We have a very detailed checklist that we use for this part of the process so we can thoroughly survey your home and talk through your needs.

During this stage, we’re adding project specifications and a detailed scope of work to the plan, and you will be involved and provide input. We want to make sure that the project we’re planning is the same as the one you’re dreaming of. 

Preparing the Proposal

From here, we take ten to twenty days to prepare a detailed proposal that will highlight

  • the scope of work: exactly what will be done.
  • all the specifications: the details of what materials will be used, what methods of installation will be required, etc.
  • the budget.

Our proposals are very detailed and clear–they can include as many as 40+ pages of information. We spend a good deal of time on the process in order to collect as much information as possible. We use this proposal in part to refine the budget and make sure the project is workable for all parties concerned.

Since the plans are schematics at this point and not complete, detailed plans, we use this part of the process to add, delete, or make changes to the plans as needed, before they are fully developed and nailed down.

Proposals, Estimates, and Quotes, Oh My!

These three terms are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably, and it helps to have a working understanding of what each one is and how it fits into your construction project.


This is the document we give to you which details what we propose for your project. It includes outlines o the work that we will do, quotes from subcontractors on what their work will cost, materials and labor involved and the costs for those, plans for the project, and more. It’s a comprehensive and complete document that explains all parts of the project.


An estimate is an explanation of the expected costs to complete a project. Less detailed than a proposal, it’s an educated guess on what a project would cost. It helps when you’re still gathering information and looking for a ballpark figure but not an exact amount.


A quote gives you the exact amount you can expect to pay for a project, broken down to show the cost for various parts of the build, materials, and labor. Quotes have a time limit since the costs of labor and materials can fluctuate.


After you approve the proposal, the schematic plans go into construction document development. This means we make them into actual blueprints that we use to build your home. We overlay the structural, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing plans over the architectural drawings for a complete set of plans. We highlight many of the assumptions we made within the proposal, and sometimes the plans evolve a little here. We can add or delete items and make them perfectly reflect your goals for your project.

Next, now that we have a complete set of plans, we compare our pricing to the proposal pricing and submit to you a revised proposal for the construction scope, as necessary. When you approve this second proposal, we convert it into a construction agreement.

Almost Done…

At this point, we give you the construction agreement which highlights all the contractual parts of the plan. We lay out the following:

  • a schedule of work–what you can expect to happen and when.
  • payment schedules, so you know what will be due at what point.
  • inclusion and exclusion, which explains exactly what is included in your build and what isn’t.
  • general contract articles and provisions to provide further clarity for you and for us.

Proposal Phase: Complete!

After you approve and sign the construction agreement, we call this stage a wrap. Next up is the preconstruction planning phase. Your project is well on its way!

If you want the best bathroom remodel, kitchen remodel, new construction, addition, or new build in Maryland, DC, or Virginia, contact us today, and let’s talk. We’re ready to help you dream, design, and build the home of your dreams.