Construction Costs – Park City Modern House

I finally had a few minutes to sort my actual construction expenses and put them in some reasonable categories. This is a brief summary of the construction costs.

First, the basic parameters of the house:

  • 4348 sq-ft of space, including the garage
  • 3-level “walk-out” design
  • 2092 sq-ft footprint
  • 4 bedrooms
  • Cathedral ceilings in upper levels
  • 5 bathrooms
  • Enclosed deck on upper level
  • Front and rear paver terraces

The total construction costs were $619,000. This is every dime I spent from the time we applied for a permit to the time we received the certificate of occupancy. It does not include the design fees (architect + structural engineer), which were about $60,000. It also does not include the cost of about 15 trips from Philadelphia to Utah, which cost about $10,000.

The cost comes out to $142/sq-ft of enclosed space. The square footage includes the garage but does not include the enclosed deck off the master bedroom, nor the covered terrace. I believe the calculation should include the garage, because the garage basically has the identical finishes as the rest of the house (same concrete, framing, drywall, paint, windows, casing, electrical, etc.).

In many ways calculating by the square foot is misleading. So, I’m providing a lot of detail on the costs by category in the following PDF file. This breaks down the costs by item with the usual “units” that are used to calculate the costs. For instance, the counter tops cost $7489 and comprised 135 sq-ft for a cost of $55/sq-ft.

ParkCityHouse-Costs-2010 (PDF File)

If I had been on site full time and done all the GC work myself, I might have saved another $40k, which is what I paid my friend to coordinate the job.

I believe that if I had hired a conventional general contractor for this job, it would have cost quite a bit more, but I don’t know how much more for sure. My guess is that the bids would have come in at around $750k and that the change orders would have pushed the total cost to $800k.

My original budget was $550k. I expected to spend at least $50k more, because that’s what happens…and that is basically what happened.

The “just in case” and “nice to have”  items I added (mostly during the design phase) and which pushed up the cost were:

  • Snow bars above hot tub $2000.
  • Cool-vent ventilated roofing panels $3000.
  • Ice shield on the entire roof $1500.
  • Heat recovery ventilator instead of normal bath fans $5000.
  • Spray foam insulation $5000.
  • Granite or quartz on all counter surfaces and vanities $2000
  • Handmade backsplash tile $1000
  • CVG fir doors (instead of a less expensive species) $2000
  • Programmable “landlord” thermostats in 9 heating zones $1000
  • 5/8″ drywall instead of 1/2″ drywall $1000
  • Ipe decking instead of synthetic wood decking $1000

Thus, I think if pennies were pinched, this house could have been built for about $25k less.

The only other way to have fundamentally changed the cost structure of this house would have been to engineer out the steel, which probably would have required manufactured roof trusses instead of the conventional rafter and truss system we used, and some changes to a few walls. We could also have supported the front terrace awning/roof with columns instead of the “store front” tie rods. These actions together might have taken out another $15k.

Still, I’m glad I didn’t pinch the pennies and I’m glad I didn’t do the roof or awning differently. The $40k is worth it for what are some of the most distinctive features of the house. All things considered, $142/sq-ft is a screaming deal for a highly custom contemporary home like this.

13 thoughts on “Construction Costs – Park City Modern House

  1. tim hanser


    That is superb info , i live in York in the UK but have skied Park City and would like to retire to Park City or at least spend the ski season every year post age 58. As far as i can see to buy the vacant piece of land and to develop it out yourself is the most cost effective solution , i am herefore looking to buy a piece of land in Park City close to the lifts , i have seen a piece advertised at $179,000 , the drawings are partially approved for a ground and 2 upper floor town house approx 2000 sq ft so applying your costs that would run to app $300,000 if i project managed the work myself.
    Thanks very much for sharing the costs , very useful indeed


    Tim Hanser


    1. KTU Post author


      Two thoughts on applying my costs. First, if it is a town house, the lot may be in Old Town in Park City. Those lots are quite a bit more expensive to develop, as they are usually steep and narrow. That means that excavation, foundation, and construction logistics may be more challenging. Second, some of the costs don’t vary much with house size, so smaller houses will probably run somewhat more expensive per square foot than larger houses. If you are in P.C. this winter, check out the house going up in my neighborhood, which is being built in a very cost-efficient manner. I think it is just under 3000 sq-ft.



  2. Erin

    Such great info! We are looking into building in Park City now. Can you recommend a builder? Who was your architect? Just beginning the process and getting a bit overwhelmed 🙂

    email reply would be great.

    Thanks so much!


    1. KTU Post author

      Hi Erin,

      I was did an “owner build,” so I was the general contractor. I don’t recommend that unless you are very hands on and have a lot of time to supervise and get involved in the details. You might talk to John Phillips (Phillips Homes) who is my neighbor and seems to really be quite attentive to details. My architect was Eric Logan of Carney Logan Burke (Jackson, WY). They are very good.


  3. Brian

    Very helpful info…bought a lot in park city and preparing to design and build…what do you think costs would be today in jan. of 2014 and would you be willing to give an address so I could do a drive by to take a quick look at your house (understand if that is a no.) Thks Brian


    1. KTU Post author

      Hi Brian,

      I suspect costs have increased by 20 percent or so. Mostly this is because the marginal subcontractors were forced out of business in 2009 and 2010 and so supply has been reduced. I still don’t think there is a huge amount of construction going on in PC.




  4. Brian

    Thks again…how would you try to work with mr phillips(or another contractor) i can be involved and have a fair amount of experience building but i feel I need a local presence who knows the local subs, inspectors, etc. Brian


  5. Eric

    Hi Karl
    Congrats on your build. I agree; at $1.42 per ft, you did a fantastic job of building a great house and keeping costs down. My wife and I just bought a ski in/out lot in Park City and are excited to plan our build. We are still figuring out the style house we want, so we have a lot of work to do! I was wondering, what was your schedule for this? Also, any chance you could forward me the contact for the sub-contractors you liked? Lastly you mention Phillips Homes; is that who supervised your build for you?
    Thanks again


    1. KTU Post author

      Hi Eric,

      We broke ground around May 1 (snow just melted) and got Certificate of Occupancy on December 22. That’s just under 8 months. No way we could have done it that fast if the economy had been better. Things were slow.

      re: Phillips Homes
      He did not supervise the build, but he’s a current neighbor in the subdivision. He’s a good builder, but mostly does his own small developments. I don’t think he’d do a consulting arrangement like I had, but he does do some full-service general contracting.

      re: Sub Contractors
      I especially liked Eric Epps for finish carpentry and closets (Epps Construction), Contractor Window Supply for windows, Hansen Insulation, (Troy) Jolley Electric, CRS Mechanical (Cleve Smith) for plumbing and heating, Green Painting of Utah (Joel Marsh), and (DuWayne) Gough Concrete for flatwork.




  6. Bob Williams

    Stumbled across your post looking for information on building in PC. Could you take a stab at what you think current sf. prices are to build around PC. How would you go about finding a lot?

    Thank You
    Bob Williams


    1. baubilt Post author

      A lot in my neighborhood that was listed for $400k when I built just came on the market at 2+ million. I think land is very tight in the resort areas.

      I suspect construction costs are running $400 – $600 / sf. Again, things are very hot right now. The exact opposite of when i built in 2010.



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