@Jay Thomas - A good contractor should be able to give you a ballpark. But my guess is he doesn't want to be held to a SOW that doesn't include everything the architect puts in. Depending on how long your due diligence period is, you might have to get plans drawn up and get a full SOW from the contractor to satisfy the loan requirements.
A lot will depend on your lender and the program as well. Some hard money folks don't really care about each line item on the budget as long as you end up fairly close to the estimated total.
I'm an architect and also have build. If the addition and renovation is simple enough, then yes your GC should be able to give you a good estimate. However, architect drawings are a very important to have as part of your contract documents with your GC. Without drawings you don't have a baseline to bid from or control change orders. I would say get the drawings, it's an additional layer of protection against cost increases on the construction side.
The next best thing, if you don't want to invest in drawings this early, is to write out a detailed scope of work that your contractor can bid off of. Go through the CSI construction divisions and detail out each category with estimated scope of work. Include estimated sq ft numbers and estimated dimensions for the different areas. This will get you a lot closer to an accurate number before you have drawings.
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