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Building to a Budget: 5 Things to Be Aware of Before Embarking on a New Build Project

Building a new home is one of the most exciting and rewarding projects you can undertake and often starts with a long period of reflection on your dream house and envisioning the lifestyle it will offer. Then comes reality; someone has to pay for it all and that someone is probably you! Often this is the stage when either dreams come crashing back down to earth or you bury your head so deeply in the sand to ignore reality – at least for now. To avoid these outcomes and any future headaches, here are five considerations to keep in mind when planning your project.

1. Size

With a custom-built home costing anywhere from $2,000 – $12,000 per square metre, the idea that size does matter is certainly true. The larger the house the larger the cost, and often we fall into the trap of wanting more just for the sake of it. Instead, try and focus on a build of high quality that reflects our needs rather than a lower quality build that reflects our wants. This can be done by limiting the footprint and envelope of our home and redirecting our attention to spaces that can be cleverly configured and adapted.

Taking the time to map you and your families’ movements, finding points of conflict or congestion, and thinking about what each family member may need now and into the future are all important pieces of the puzzle.  Compiling a list of all the spaces you will require and ideally where they are situated can be a helpful next step. What range of activities do you hope to cater for? What will you do outside versus inside? Is there a space you don’t currently have that would make a big difference to your comfort or enjoyment? All of these questions and thoughts will help you create a wishlist that can be refined over time.

2. Form

While nature might be known for not having straight lines, cost efficient buildings do – simple squares and rectangles being the most obvious building forms. Deviations from standard shapes and angles will always come with additional costs and this tends to flow to all the trades required. Rounded shapes, irregular patterns, twists and turns should all be avoided unless these are designed as statement pieces. Essentially, anything that requires a non-standard building response should be carefully considered.

3. Finishes

As with irregular forms, complexities when it comes to finishes should also be restricted when building to a tight budget.  Whether you use unusual materials or a large combination of varying materials, their effect can be to dramatically increase the cost. To limit the number of tradesmen needed, consider using a single type of material, or a simple combination of materials, with one being predominant, to finish the outside of your home.

4. Site works

Before anything can be built, your land has to be prepared for what is to come and this involves a range of ‘site works’. In effect, this constitutes all the work that is carried out on the site that doesn’t directly involve the construction of your house. Regardless of whether you have a flat site or sloping land, the amount of work required to prepare and adjust your land can quickly escalate costs. Clearing land, cutting and filling land, stabilisation works, retaining walls and digging trenches or stump holes are all costly endeavours. As such, where you build on your site can significantly affect the construction budget with costs ranging anywhere from $10,000 all the way to $100,000. The rule of thumb here is that less is more!

See our ‘Site Works and Your Modular Home’ blog post for an overview of the process.

5. Access

Small sites can cost significantly less than larger sites but may involve hidden costs when it comes time to build. Storage and access to materials in the most efficient manner is often much easier on a large site and also creates costs savings through building efficiencies. Sites that have little storage areas or require materials to be moved and handled multiple times – often by hand – all add costs. This is a major reason why homes built in higher density locations attract a higher build cost. When buying a block, it’s always advisable to talk to your builder about what their cost expectations are for your particular site.

To discuss your next home project and the likely costs please contact a member of our team on 03 9316 6000 or info@modscape.com.au

2020-02-04T15:09:06+00:00 February 4th, 2020|Architecture, Design, Modscape|