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Ways to Save on Your Build Costs

Nobody wants to pay more than necessary to build, renovate or extend their home, and most people undertaking these projects on a tight budget.

Here are some great ways to help you save on your build costs, and ensure you get the best value for money, throughout your project.

  1. Decide on your budget

Determine your budget as soon as possible and clearly communicate this to your architect or designer. Your designer should have years of experience designing and building projects to a budget. Take advantage of this and make it part of the design process early on.

  1. Choose a simple design

Build simple shapes. The more complex a building is, the more it will cost to build and the more it will cost to run.

Every time you introduce a corner in an external wall you slow down the building process. Each time you introduce a valley or a hip, the costs of the roof timbers rise, and the labour timescale is extended.

  1. Stick to the plan

While building is not an absolute, a good design delivered with integrity will save both time and money. What you specify is critical to costing and delivering. If you keep changing your mind along the way, expect additional costs.

  1. Be creative with materials

Think creatively about cheap materials. Can you use plywoods, OSB (oriented strand board) or rough sawn softwood instead of expensive hardwoods? What materials have you got, or can you source for free that you can recycle or upcycle?

  1. Price work separately

Consider pricing out elements of your project separately. For example, price to supply your roof tiles yourself and then ask three accredited roofing companies to price to fit. The more packages you procure, the more you could save, but be aware of the work involved and how best to coordinate the separate trades coming in.

6.Opt for tried-and-tested methods

Don’t use materials or techniques that your builders aren’t already familiar with. Not only will this drive up the time that the builders will need to be on site, but it could also increase wastage, the number of snags that need correcting at the end of the process and could lead to a sub-standard finished product.

  1. Eliminate waste

Designing your home to maximise the efficiencies of your chosen build system is the first and easiest way to save money.

Using SIPs (structural insulated panels) as an example, the panels are 1.2m, so if you lay out your house on a 1.2m grid you won’t be cutting the ends of a panel. Every process carried out in a factory has a cost, so try and eliminate waste and unnecessary cuts!

  1. Do your research

Making significant changes once the build has started will inevitably add to cost, so it pays to put in the research prior to starting on site. Attending self-build shows, workshops, dedicated open days can help build your knowledge.

  1. Choose off-the-shelf

Opting for bespoke details can rapidly increase your build costs at any stage of the build. Try to stick to standard sizes where possible — this will reduce lead-in times and build costs.

Designing your home to include standard door widths, for instance, will allow you to choose off-the-shelf joinery — which will cost a lot less than commissioning bespoke items.

  1. Shop Smart

It is far easier to go to just one builders’ merchant, but for the cost of a couple of phone calls, it is surprising what savings can be made by shopping around for the best price. Also make sure you are asking for trade prices and know what materials cost before purchasing. Merchants may reduce their price if you pull them up on their prices being more than a competitor.

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