5 Ways to lower buildings costs

A mason at a construction site. The style of your house greatly determines the cost
A mason at a construction site. The style of your house greatly determines the cost. PHOTO/NATION
As the cost of construction continues to escalate, many builders are choosing to postpone their projects until the economy and the markets improve.

But even in these harsh economic times, it is possible to lower building costs – without compromising on quality and style – by adopting the following simple strategies:

1.) Find great prices – Rather than having your contractor purchase the required building materials, go buy them yourself. This way you will get the materials cheaper than if the contractor billed you for them. Most contractors usually mark up the price before billing their clients.

2.) Minimize change orders – Planning before embarking on construction can greatly reduce the number of change orders in your project. Change orders are the most common reasons a project exceeds the budget as they are not planned for in the original budgeting. Always be watchful on any changes to the original plan as you will be responsible for the extra costs unless otherwise agreed by you and your contractor.

3.) Consider size, style and shape of the house
(i) Size – Consider building a house with a depth of less than 32 feet so as to eliminate the need for specially designed trusses. It is also advisable to work with even numbers and to have the size of your house rounded up or down to the additions of two feet. By doing this you stand a chance to reduce the amount of wasted materials.

(ii) Style – The style of your house greatly determines the cost. For example, a two-storey house will cost less (per square foot) than a single-story house of similar square footage. The former will have a smaller roof and foundation. Besides, ventilation and plumbing in a two-storey house tend to be more compact.

(iii) Shape – Consider minimizing corners and angles in your house as they increase the amount of materials and labour required to complete the house. If possible go for a rectangular or dome shaped house as it will cost less to build.

4.) Site preparation – Readying a construction site can have a huge impact on the cost of a new house. You can lower your costs by building on a relatively flat lot or one that does not require lots of grading, clearing of debris or large rocks blasting.

5.) Bargain, bargain!
It might sound lame, but this is one of the easiest ways to save cash on your project. Ask for discounts whenever you go shopping for materials. Look for stores offering annual sales and compare prices with other stores and go with the best.

Building a house, as you will realize, does not have to be so expensive. However, you must engage professionals in all your construction projects.

Besides saving on costs (in the long term), professionals – architects, quantity surveyors, engineers, etc, – will advice you on how best to carry out your project from the actual planning to implementation.

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