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Avoid Budget Blowouts During Your Build

Budget blow-outs during a build can be extremely worrying and stressful for homeowners, but with careful planning and selecting the right building professional, you’ll be able to confidently stay within your budget and remain in control throughout the build.

1. Plan carefully

You may be keen to get cracking with the construction side of things, but you’ll save time and money in the long run by spending more time on planning in the early stages. This early stage planning will help you to avoid costly mistakes, once the build has started.

2. Don’t go to an Architect or Designer First

Don’t make the mistake of going to an Architect or Designer first for an estimate on costs to build, this never works. It sounds logical, but unless the Architect/Designer is a Builder, who can do an accurate quote for you, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Make sure you include the Builder right from the start, especially during the design process. This will ensure that the Architect, Builder and Clients will all work together as a team, to design and construct your new home within your budget requirements. 

We hear stories from people all the time, they go to the trouble of engaging an Architect, who completes a design for them and advises the project will cost approximately $800,000 to build. The clients then go to a Builder to receive an accurate quote and are told $1,500,000. This can be very upsetting for everyone involved and sometimes means that the project doesn’t even get started. Please ensure you get a cost plan early on by an experienced and trusted Builder.

3. Pay for a Quote

The quoting stage of the build is very important to ensure you have an accurate figure to work with. If a Builder does a ‘free quote’ you have less than a 20% chance that the quote will be accurate.

Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. When Builders charge for a quote, you will receive a well-prepared, itemised quote, which will normally be refunded if you hire the Builder. If you don’t hire the Builder then you still have a proper quote to use as a benchmark for other Builders. It’s money well spent and definitely one of the most sensible things you can do if you’re undertaking a complex building project. If you pay a Builder to give you an accurate ‘cost plan’ you’ll have a lot more peace of mind that your project will come in on target.

4. Provisional Sums & Primary Cost Items

Many people are also unaware of what provisional sums and primary cost items are. These items are parts of the build that can’t be accurately quoted early on and are given an estimated allocation by the Builder when quoting. It’s extremely important to pay attention to these figures. It’s when these numbers are ‘low-balled’ by some Builders to make the end figure look more attractive, that many people are hit with a very uncomfortable surprise in cost jumps later during the build. For example a Builder may include a PC for tiles at $40/sqm, when in actual fact the tiles you end up selecting are $80/sqm. The end figure looked good at the start, but you end up paying more down the track.

5. Dream within your means

Have a very clear picture of what you want and what you can realistically afford. It’s easy to get carried away, but never lose sight of your budget.

6. Try not to make too many changes during construction

We rarely complete a project without a couple of changes, which is fine and totally normal, but making constant variations during your build, is hands down, a sure fire way to blow your budget. Plan carefully, try to include everything from the start and stick to the plans you signed off on.