Actual Cost of Elevation vs. Xactimate Cost Estimating
When tasked to estimate the costs of elevation for a new home you have to use tools that clearly identify the specific components to be used in your project. Many in the industry use the same formulas used for slab-on-grade builds as they do for elevated

By Murray Wennerlund published 12-22-2019 updated 8-25-2022

Actual Cost of Elevation vs. Xactimate Cost Estimating

"Does the cost for elevation end at the top of the columns or the top of the beams?"

This question may not seem that important to the homeowner, the costs are the costs. So what does it matter if the costs are up to the top of the columns and the home starts at the first beam?

The issue came up during a discussion with a few homeowners that were asked to itemize the cost of elevation and the cost of construction.

When I presented this question to several inspectors and a few contractors the only and best answer was this. "Your foundation ends at the base-plate."

This was the most logical answer.

In a slab-on-grade build the framing starts at the base-plate so the foundation is everything before the base-plate.
If a homeowner is asked to itemize the foundation costs the homeowner should follow the following process when building an elevated home.

  • Cost of Materials from below grade to sub-floor.
  • Cost of Labor from below grade to sub-floor.
  • Contractors Profit and Overhead.

Using the following information this would be how you present your foundation costs when asked.

  • $28.35 cost for Labor and Material per square foot. (Cost varies based on foundation size)
  • Elevation 6' above average grade.
  • 20% Contractors profit and overhead.
  • 2,441.39 square foot home.

Material and Labor: $28.35 * 2441.39 = $69,213.40
Contractors Profit 20% = $13,842.68
Total cost for foundation elevated 6 feet above grade = $83,056.08.

How many of you have been asked for a cost breakdown for your elevated home?

Your elevation costs end at the framed walls base-plate. In your Xactimate Payment / Draw Schedule you may see only "Slab Poured" which might be estimated at 12% of your total build budget. When you factor in other costs your actual costs could be over 20%. You might want to use a multiplier of 0.20 as a starting point for your foundation when you set out to budget for your new elevated home.