We created this page to provide an overview of the costs involved in building a home, and to explain what is and isn’t included in Plant cost estimates. Please visit our FAQ page for additional information.
Determining your "all-in" costs is a collaborative, multi-step process.
Here’s a reality about building a home (with Plant or anyone else): In order to determine the final cost of your home, you must complete the entire design process (including picking finishes, fixtures, appliances, and other details), and then complete engineering on that final design. In order to determine the final cost of your site work (things like grading, constructing a foundation, building out utilities, etc.), you have to get a soils test and then a structural engineer must make a specific plan for your site based on your soils report, lot topography, and local code requirements. This applies whether you are building on-site or offsite.
Costs that are unique to offsite construction include transportation (trucking) and installation (craning), which are determined by your project design, location, and specific site conditions.
Plant addresses all of these costs upfront by conducting a detailed analysis of your design, zoning, and lot, and preparing a rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate based on similar, past projects. We then refine that estimate as you finalize your design, translating assumptions into real costs. A benefit of building with Plant is we’re able to lock in your home prefabrication costs as soon as your project enters production.
Costs listed online are estimates only.
We update our site frequently, but the cost of transportation, labor, and especially materials (wood, steel, windows, etc.) fluctuate constantly with the economy. That’s why we prepare a personalized estimate for you that accounts for both your unique project details (see point #1, above) as well as up-to-the-minute pricing from our suppliers.
Services & Vendors
Building a home is a multi-step process. Here’s a breakout of the services and vendors involved in building a home with Plant:
Design, Engineering, & Permitting
Transportation & Installation
What is it?
Designing your home and then coordinating the engineering and permitting processes
Prefabricating your home in our factory and then preparing it for transport
Preparing your lot, building a foundation, and then completing finish work once the home is installed
Trucking the home to your lot, assembling it on your foundation, and making structural connections
Who does it?
An architect of your choice
Note: You can hire the Plant Design Studio, a Plant Design Partner, or any other architect.
A local general contractor of your choice
Note: Plant can help you source a contractor and will coordinate closely with them.
A transport company and a crane operator
Note: Your general contractor will source and coordinate these vendors.
What will it cost?
We give you a rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate at the beginning of your project that accounts for each of these expenses. We then update the estimate with increasingly specific numbers as you refine your project details.
Services Provided by Other Vendors
We help you ballpark the costs you’ll incur from other vendors as a part of our initial rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimate. We then update that estimate with increasingly specific numbers as you refine your project details. We coordinate closely with all parties throughout your project.
Design & Engineering Costs
In order to build a custom home, an architect/designer is needed to design the home and then get it engineered, permitted, and translated into construction drawings. You can work with the Plant Design Studio, a Plant Design Partner, or any other architect of your choice.
Design fees typically range from 10-15% of your hard costs, depending on who you hire and the size and complexity of your design. (Hard costs are the costs for all materials, factory work, site work, transportation, and installation of your home; learn more about hard costs on our FAQ page.) Engineering fees typically range from $20-25/sf for most single-family homes, depending on the size and complexity of your project.
Note: If you bring us plans from another architect, there will still be some Plant design fees to adopt your plans for prefabricated construction at Plant. If you choose a LivingHome, there will still be some design fees to site your home and adopt it to meet your specific municipality’s code.
Your local Planning & Building department must review and approve your project before construction can begin. Permit fees vary widely from one municipality to another, and you will be responsible for paying these fees (to your architect, or directly to your municipality).
Note: The state of California also charges fees to review and approve the prefabricated components of your home, but Plant manages that process and thus includes those fees in our home prefabrication costs.
Transportation & Installation Costs
You’ll need to hire someone to transport the prefabricated components of your home from Plant to your lot, and then install them on your foundation. Some general contractors do this and manage the entire process, but some don’t. Plant can make referrals, and we coordinate closely with all parties throughout the project.
The cost to deliver (truck) your home will depend on the size of your home (bigger house = more to transport), the size and weight of the prefabricated components, and the location of your lot in relation to our factory. For most recent jobs, transportation costs ranged from $12-15 per truck, per mile from our factory, plus pick-up costs assessed by the transport company (typically about $1,500).
The cost to install (crane) your home will depend on the size and weight of the prefabricated components, the distance from where the crane is sited to your foundation, and the accessibility of your lot. Most projects require at least a 140-ton crane and some projects require up to a 350-ton crane. A one-day crane rental can range from $10,000 - 25,000 depending on the size and type of crane required.
General Contractor & Other Site Costs
You’ll need to hire a general contractor (GC) to do your site work (things like grading, building a foundation, running utilities, building a driveway, and completing finish work after installation). If you need help finding a GC, we’re happy to make a referral. Whoever you hire, Plant will coordinate closely with them throughout the project.
Site costs vary significantly based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the condition and topography of your lot, the composition of your soil, the size of your home, and the complexity of your project. For example, a home being built on a hillside that requires the construction of a retaining wall will have site costs that are orders of magnitude larger than the site costs for a home being built on a flat, easily-accessible lot with good soils.
After your home is installed on its foundation, you’ll need landscaping. This work is typically done by a landscape designer. Again, if you need help finding someone, we’re happy to make a referral.
LivingHome Cost Estimates
Each of our LivingHomes lists a cost for the LivingHome as well as a rough estimate of your total hard costs. These costs are estimates only and subject to change at any time; see “Important Disclaimers,” above, for details. Here’s what’s included in the numbers:
LivingHome Cost Estimate
This is an estimated cost for the prefabricated components of your LivingHome that we build for you, wrapped and ready for pickup at our factory. This includes your choice of our high-quality, base-level finishes, fixtures, and appliances, including flooring, tile, kitchen cabinets and countertops, plumbing fixtures, kitchen and laundry appliances, exterior siding, and best-in-class smart home technology. Optional upgrades are additional, and any changes to floor area or construction detailing, as well as any changes to meet local code requirements, will impact the LivingHome cost. We provide you with a full and transparent estimate once all project details have been specified. The LivingHome cost does NOT include costs for design work or tasks completed by other parties; see “Services Provided by Other Vendors,” above.
Hard Costs Estimate
This is a rough estimate for all the hard costs—that is, the LivingHome cost as well as site prep, construction of the foundation, transportation (trucking), installation (craning), and post-installation site work to complete the home. This estimate is based on a flat lot with good soils, located within 100 miles of Plant’s Rialto, CA factory. It does not include any costs for design, engineering, permitting, or landscaping; see “Services Provided by Other Vendors,” above.
If you’re serious about building a LivingHome, please submit a project inquiry for a comprehensive estimate that accounts for your specific needs and location.
LivingHomes Design Fees
People sometimes ask why there are still design fees when they select one of our standard designs (LivingHomes). Every local municipality has its own zoning requirements and building codes, so our design team must research these requirements and create site plans and construction documents based on your specific lot with your specific LivingHome design. Then, they must submit the plans to your local building department and manage any requirements they send back. The design fees for these services are far less than the design fees for creating an entirely new home design.
LivingHomes also offer dozens of customization options for you to choose from, including interior and exterior finishes, fixtures, appliances, and smart home technology. Though we make the customization process as easy (and fun!) as possible, most folks want a little help from our design team.
Custom Project Cost Estimates
We don’t provide estimates for custom work on our website, because custom projects are, by nature, custom! Recent custom projects we’ve completed have ranged from a 400-square-foot accessory dwelling unit to multi-unit dorm. Costs have ranged from $150 - 350+ per square foot for the home prefabrication, and $250 - 600+ per square foot for the total project.
If you have plans for a custom project, we will happily create an estimate using your architect’s design and specifications. Or, if you haven’t yet created a design, we can discuss your project and give you an estimate for design and construction. Please submit a project inquiry to get started.