How to keep cost down building a home?
Mandy Sharp
July 9, 2014 in Design Dilemma
We are in the process of deciding if building is a financially viable option, but the whole process is a bit overwhelming! Draftsman vs architect, kit home vs 'display homes'? Although we do have some definite ideas of what we like, I'm wondering how we can reduce costs? Or at least be a bit more aware of the hidden ones. Smaller footprint, single pitched roofs, simpler shapes I guess would help, any advice/ experience is much appreciated!
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I think your best ally here is going to be an experienced professional, likely an architect who has designed a lot of houses before. Cost management is notoriously one of those things that really only comes with experience, you just have to have taken your lumps, made some mistakes and learned a few things before you get it right simply because there are so many moving parts involved in building anything. The other reason is because, in my experience, people who are new to the building world (both in commercial construction and residential) have a tendency to nickle and dime the wrong things. Yes footprint and roof pitch can have an effect on the overall cost, but you might actually save more through other things like careful selection of finishes, or a very well though out architectural design that takes advantage of things like minimizing plumbing or HVAC runs, utilizing natural light effectively to help manage costs like electrical bills down the road. A good chunk of design is less about where to cut line items and more about being smart, and this mostly comes with people who are 1) very well trained and 2) very experienced.

You'll likely get a lot of advice on here from people who are in respective trades. A contractor might give his two cents, an interior designer might give hers, someone who has built before might give their advice. But for my money your best friend will be an experienced architect because they are trained to properly mediate all of these different competing interests and design for you the best house for the money. That's literally their job. I've seen some great architects do some really great inexpensive homes by careful and clever articulation of the building program, selection of materials and finishes, understanding what the typical cost per square foot is in your region, having an arsenal of good vendors and so on. They also may have already built up relationships with reputable contractors, may be able to provide interior design and landscape services (or recommend good people), and if they are part of a design/build outfit might even able to keep costs lower by not having to bid out the job (this may or may not always be true, and you may have to weigh the merits of a contractor-led DB firm vs an architect-led DB firm in terms final product because there may be different philosophies driving each). All of these things can contribute to keeping the costs manageable and less headache on your part.
July 9, 2014 at 10:28pm     
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Google your question with the term 'forum' to find other forums where this is discussed in detail.
July 9, 2014 at 10:46pm   
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