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IKB FAQ's Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process?

Chris Pandolfo started his career studying B.S. Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University; he is now serving as the President of the second-generation woman-owned local business, producing customer-focused designs like the beautiful Modern Palo Alto New Build. The estate’s interiors feature heavy light wood detailing, neutral-colored furniture, and a nuanced palette. 

Most folks reach out to IKB by email or phone after a referral from a previous client, or seeing a neighborhood sign. Our happy office staff will schedule a live or Zoom appointment for a visit with Chris Pandolfo. IKB is a general contractor firm that organizes the entire design & construction experience. IKB only hires licensed subcontractors.

There are 3 phases of a project. First,  the design schematic phase, then the "detail" phase & finally the build. Design hours are billed by the hour. After the client approval, a bid is suggested. An IKB includes all of the supplies, subcontractors, supervision & administrative fees involved with a project. 

Payment is divided in to installations determined by milestones in the project. 

How do you charge?

We provide a construction cost estimate at the end of the concept design phase; we are generally able to estimate construction costs within 10% at this point.

Included in our design hours is all the work to coordinate with the city and other experts that may be required (surveyor, soils, structural, title 24 etc depending on the project). Permit costs are typically paid by us on your behalf and billed through.

By doing thorough design and planning, we offer construction on a fixed price basis and our contract includes the anticipated start date and finish date.

Construction payments are based on the completion of milestones with a holdback after final permit approval to give you confidence we will complete all the items on the punch list.

Building Permits

Each of our cities (Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Cupertino) have different rules for building. When a building permit is needed, IKB will facilitate reception of the permit. The permit is paid by the Client. IKB has completed an ADU in both Los Altos Hills and 3 others in Los Altos. 


Anticipated timeline of project from contract signing to move-in: 6-12 months; could be shorter or longer depending primarily on how fast design and permitting go, any long lead materials needed, any significant changes for COVID safety, and how easy or difficult the site is.

Unanticipated concerns

We’ve completed nearly all of our builds on or ahead of schedule (see our Houzz reviews). We did stop several builds because of the COVID shelter-in-place but have since completed all of them. 

As for an ADU, unanticipated problems are unlikely for a stand-alone ADU but generally relate to the existing building or site being substandard or otherwise not meeting expectations. In these cases we work with you to make a plan for how to handle the new information and implement it as a change order. Also, during the design phase we scan for risks and do our best to prevent or mitigate them.

Experience adapting design to land

All of our additions and ADUs are unique to the site and require adaptation to fit the slope and soil conditions. We also have experience with severe slopes and foundations (we did a LAH project a year or two ago that required a huge foundation fix involving 19x20’+ piers, four large cement mixers and a pumping unit).

Who will manage my project, and does an architect stay involved?

You will have a dedicated architectural designer and project manager for the whole project as well as a dedicated construction manager who will supervise all on-site work and involve the designer/PM as needed.