Every project has a budget. Often times, an owner begins with "just the basics", "no frills", or "bare bones" to gingerly request minimal design services. The implication is the general contractor and client will "figure it out as they go". Understandably, the misconception is that he or she is asking for a Ford rather than a Mercedes. A more accurate allusion, however, is the choice between a fully assembled car and a pile of automotive parts. The upfront cost of the pieces is less, but the time and money spent assembling (and reassembling) them is seldom worth the initial savings.
In the end, a complete set of documents better serves the client, providing a more comprehensive design and cost-efficient process. Below are some Construction Document excerpts from a small, seemingly simple bathroom and mudroom addition. This followed an extensive design and pricing exercise. Small projects benefit immensely from thorough planning. Our design-build contractor was thrilled with the documents as well, and commented that they will probably save about $5,000 throughout the course of construction - consequently, our fee.