Why is there no agreed upon standard for what constitutes a square foot? Remodelers and builders in residential construction have been having this debate for years. Andy Stauffer in Builder magazine discusses the ongoing debate on what square footage actually means when getting a construction estimate on a home.

Do estimates include finished square foot? What about unfinished basements? Does it also include square footage from a garage or deck? The answer depends on which builder or remodeler you are talking to.

It does take time to explain the rules, and to clearly delineate what is and isn’t included, to be sure. But this technique accomplishes two key objectives: First, the prospective client is able to determine how far she can expect her dollars to go, and second, the builder is able to qualify the prospective client so neither party wastes their time unnecessarily. Once the square footage discussion has been had, both the builder and prospective client can focus on the viability of the project and the possibility of working together.
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