Think small to save on building costs

Thursday March 1 2018


By Monitor Reporter

The cost of constructing a house is affected by a number of factors such as the cost of building materials, labour and design amenities, among others. But the most important aspect of cost depends on the “cost efficiency” of its design. According to Tony Ojok of Wazo Design Lab, “Square footage, affects the overall cost, but the home’s design can play a significant role, no matter the size. For example, the fewer the corners in a foundation wall, the less expensive it is to build. The same holds true for the roof.”
He says a simple roof is less expensive to build than a complex multiple-pitch hip roof. Ojok, therefore, says it is possible to build a cost effective home without sacrificing thoughtful floor plans or stylish curb appeal and for this to happen you consider a number of things.

Choosing the plan
The first step is to choose a pre-drawn plan instead of hiring a residential architect to create a custom home. However, “not all pre-drawn plans cost the same to build, so you need to inform the architect of your budget.”

Choose a reasonable size; a larger home costs more to build and more to light and maintain.

The design
Go for a simple design which can help to keep materials and labour costs down. When building a home, be realistic and start with the amount you can actually spend and then work backward from there. Deciding on what and where you can afford to build your house is crucial in keeping its construction costs down.
Track expenditures
This includes decorative details as well as structural elements. If you and your builder agreed, for instance, that a particular brand of insulation would be installed, do not accept a lesser brand at least not without a cost adjustment.

Use a certified contractor
The experience of a well-qualified contractor is invaluable to the home-building process. In addition, seasoned professionals have established relationships with suppliers and subcontractors something you cannot possibly hope to get without years of experience.

Keep the roof simple
Complex roof lines not only increase costs, but the risk of future leaks. A simple roof will protect your investment over time.

Spend only on those things you truly cannot live without. However, don’t skimp on structural components or doors and windows — for the safety and security of your home, you will want to purchase the best you can afford in these areas.

Do not overbuild for the neighbourhood. A home that is better and bigger than any other in its area will not command a fair price at resale. Instead, the assessment will be coloured by the lower-priced homes around it.
Monitor construction allowances as the home is being built to ensure you are getting what you asked for (and are paying for).
The least expensive homes are simple rectangles and squares. You can add curb appeal with great colours and a few attractive architectural flourishes, such as a great porch.