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How to manage a self-build budget

At the heart of any budget should be a very, very good spreadsheet to show you how to manage a self-build budget according to TV presenter and architectural designer, Charlie Luxton.

Charlie worked on the budget for his self-build project with a quantity surveyor, who gave him the bones, and he spent many nights adding in costs and fine-tuning as the project went along in order to stay on track. This is important – or costs can spiral.

To keep on time and budget, you may need to take on the role of contractor and living on site can allow a greater level of project management.

For anyone else undergoing a self-build project, Charlie has shared a few tips to help you stick to your budget:

1. Get an accurate costing and leave stuff in if you think it has been overestimated. This gives you a greater contingency than the standard 15–20 per cent you will add on anyway.

2. Use your quantity surveyor’s expertise to help you make sure you get the best deals. Their costings should work as a benchmark when receiving quotes.

3. If you are project managing or on site a lot, you can risk paying your subcontractors on day rates. You will be there to manage deliveries and tidy the site at the end of the day, rather than expecting them to do it.

4. Buy in bulk.

5. Rope in friends and family to help with non-skilled work such as moving materials round the site and tidying up (it’s a nice gesture to slip them a bit of cash in return).

6. Get multiple quotes for materials. Loyalty to your regular supplier is a nice idea, but if they can’t give you the best deal, look around.

7. Recycle, sell or trade surplus and waste materials from any demolition work.

8. It can sometimes be cheaper to buy and sell on, than hire – even portable toilets and temporary buildings can be bought and sold.

Sherratt Builders have been working on extensions and self-builds for well over 20 years and can offer you plenty of guidance and advice. Just give us a call on 01743 791815.

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