When planning and designing the house of your dreams, it’s quite common to go over the top.  Once we add all extras, features and luxuries, the estimated cost of the build can often come back more expensive to what you may have hoped. 

What is the best plan of action in this situation? Before scrapping the idea entirely, or waiting for the secret benefactor to top up your bank account, there are some cost-saving measures you can take to reduce the construction costs during the planning stage. 

  1. Scope
  2. Complexity
  3. Materials or systems

Reducing scope

Reducing the scope of the project is probably the most effective way of saving a significant amount of money. This strategy will have the biggest impact on the overall budget so should be one of the first things to consider. 

Reducing the scope and size of the property by eliminating certain spaces from the project helps not only to reduce the floor area but everything else that goes with it. These may mean that there is less excavation, site work, floors, walls, ceilings, insulation, roofing, foundation, not to mention materials and labour costs! 

Reducing the scope of the build should ensure more usable and utilised spaces. But it is worth to remember that cutting down on the size of bedrooms won’t have quite the same effect as cutting down on i.e. kitchen or bathroom sizes as these are more expensive per m2 with all expensive appliances etc.  Do you really need the super American fridge or the 2 additional guest bedrooms?

It is also worth noting that by compressing the size of your project, your price per square meter will go up so don’t be put off by this! 

Reducing complexity

Complexity can have many shapes and forms, starting with complicated floor plans, angels and curves, elaborated house front or decking in the back… The reason why reducing complexity can help a more affordable house is the labour involved in the project. 

When considering a build with complex high-end elements it’s not only more time consuming but will also require more skill and experience. If you are after some unique material or techniques, you will need to add additional time on sourcing these. All of which brings the costs significantly higher.

Changing systems or materials

In a recent blog article about DIY, an example was given of a gorgeous, large and modern house in which, instead of the uber-modern kitchen, owners had to substitute marble kitchen tops for plywood…We don’t suggest such a big compromise, rather, we would prefer to advise on what to do to avoid that kind of a drama. 

Once you have reduced the scope and complexity of your project, switching materials is probably the last strategy to consider. Doing this is usually not as cost-effective as the previous two methods, simply because more often than not by the time you add labour costs, saving on the material isn’t as great and you want materials to be as durable as possible.

We would advise thinking about how much are you willing to sacrifice? Not many people are in a position to compromise on quality or aesthetics. Evaluate what’s most important to you – is it cost, quality or time? And then make decisions based on those priorities. It’s important to remember that changing materials or systems isn’t as straightforward as we assume. For example, house design with an eco heat pump may not have space or compatibility for a traditional heating system. 

Whatever your aspirations are, think of ways to save time and money is the way to a stress-free build.

JDW Architects

With our wide range of expertise, here at JDW, we work to deliver the best possible solutions for our clients. If you need advice, please speak to a member of our team on 016 3324 5020 or email us at info@jdwarchitects.com.

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