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13 May 2020

12 Design Considerations When Building to a Budget

Know what can influence the final price of building your new home before setting your design wish list in stone.
12 Design Considerations When Building to a Budget Which renovations offer the best return?

If you are building to a budget, let your designer know from the onset. 

There are a lot of design and construction considerations that affect the cost of building your new home. Knowing your budget, your designer can give you creative design solutions which can help you stick with it. 

Without a clear budget, it is impossible for your designer to help you make the most of your money. Worse, you might end up with a design that you can’t afford to build.

I’m building to a budget. How do I stick to it?

It is crucial for you to know about the factors that affect your project’s cost to avoid future problems and disappointments. When you know the things that drive costs up, you will be mindful of what you put on your wishlist. It will be easier for you to stick to your budget. 

Take these things into consideration when planning your new home on a budget: 

1. Size of the building

The bigger the house, the more expensive it is to build. 

If your budget doesn’t allow you to build a house as huge as your neighbour’s, consider building something a little smaller. 

Building a slightly smaller house stretches your budget, giving you room to implement all those exciting design features that you have in mind. You won’t be denied the pleasure of living in an amazing, bespoke home.

2. Access to the construction site

Site access is an issue for homeowners building in high-density cities and inner suburbs.

When there is limited access to your site, it is a challenge to drop off and keep building materials there. If you can’t store your building materials onsite, you have no choice but to order in batches and deliver the items when needed. 

Transporting logistics from one place to another multiple times during the construction phase adds up to the final costs. 

3. Shape of the building

It is easier and faster to build a structure with a simple shape. Quick turnaround time translates into cost savings. So, minimise curved walls, twists, turns or other designs that are too complicated to build. Modern, contemporary straight lines can help you save money and keep your budget in check.

4. Number of storeys

Most homeowners who are building to a budget opt for a single-storey home. There is no need to build indoor staircases. All the rooms are on one level, so there is no need to rent scaffolding, hire extra people to work upstairs, and cart building material on the upper levels.

5. Selection of building materials and tradespeople

One way to keep the costs down is to limit the number of trades working on your project. Consider using a single type of material to build a home, so you only need to hire one kind of trade. For instance, this timber house with a wooden deck only requires a carpenter. 

Meanwhile, multiple trades were required to build this home. The cladding of this home required a variety of tradespeople skilled in using different materials (e.g. render, stone, timber, and metal). Individually, the cost of each finish may be reasonable, but collectively they can add up to a significant amount.

6. Roof design

The more complicated and fancier the roof is, the more expensive it is to build. 

The more hips, valleys, gutters, downpipes, and flashing your roof design has, the more it is going to cost. 

Building a home with a flat roof that drains water towards one direction will significantly reduce the costs of construction.

7. Grounding your home

If you are building your home on a sloping site, you need to assess your chosen construction method. Are you going for the conventional way (which involves major excavation and building retaining walls), or are you going to look into raising your home on posts? 

Excavating, cutting away parts of the land, and building retaining walls and concrete footings to stabilise the land before construction could cost a lot more. 

Meanwhile, building a home raised using posts and stilts requires fewer site changes and works, which significantly reduces construction costs.

Building near Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast? Reach out to our Brisbane-based designers.

8. Alterations and additions to an existing home

If you are planning a home extension, try to limit alterations to the original structure if possible. In other words, try to work with what you have and don’t make any structural changes if you don;t have to. 

9. Bespoke detailing

You want a home that’s unique to you, but you are building to a budget? 

Yes, custom-designed details cost money, but you don’t need to let go of everything you’ve dreamed of. It’s all about having the right balance between off-the-shelf products and custom-made features. 

10. Going underground

Because land is expensive, a lot of homeowners are thinking about building an underground swimming pool, wine cellar, and a parking garage. Digging underground frees up space, but excavating is very expensive. Stabilising the soil and draining water incur extra costs too. 

Talk to your designer about alternative design solutions, so you don’t have to miss out on these luxurious spaces. For instance, an above-ground walk-in cellar could be a great substitute to an underground cellar. An inground pool could be substituted with an above-ground pool surrounded by an elevated deck.

11. Combination of custom-built and standard design features

One of the keys to keep your project within your budget is to combine custom built and standardised design features. 

You can have a custom-designed kitchen layout with custom cabinets and a Quartz benchtop, then furnish the house with items from Bunnings or Ikea. 

You can achieve great savings when you ask your designer to have a combination of custom and standard designs, and only use high-quality off-the-shelf products that won’t compromise the overall design.

12. A crystal-clear recipe

Building your home on a budget is like building a cake — and you need to follow a very specific recipe. If you had to guess the ingredients, your cake won’t turn out exactly how you want it. 

Your builder needs an exact plan on how to build your home too. They need a complete set of architectural drawings and project specifications. There is no room for mistakes here. 

Architectural drawings tell the builder exactly how to build your home and what it should look like. The more drawings you provide, the more accurate their interpretation and their work will be. 

Project specification is a detailed list of all conceivable items that will be incorporated into the building. It has a comprehensive description of every item’s model number and supplier, so the builders deliver exactly what you have paid for. 

We, in Superdraft, are able to provide you with a crystal clear recipe for your builders. Our architectural drawings are always well-detailed to avoid misinterpretation and potential conflict with the builder.

Are you building to a budget?

Keep these design considerations in mind to keep your project to budget. And, try not to save money at the ‘recipe’ stage to avoid disasters. 

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