The prospect of building your dream house is not only exhilarating but also provides a sense of empowerment. Who does not like to explore endless possibilities when it comes to creating a new home for themselves and / or their loved ones. Generally, all building projects are restricted by time, cost and quality with cost being the most pertinent and complex factor. Consequently, achieving an accurate cost estimation is vital which will manage the scope of the project ahead.
For estimating construction costs, people usually seek professional help as the nature of costs is technical. Unfortunately, they hire architects to estimate these costs which has its drawbacks. Here is why you should not refer to your architect on this most important element of your construction project.
Architects vs Builders
Architects can draw up plans, give valuable input in the design materials and process and deliver accurate documentation. Essentially, they can take good care of your needs and wants and most importantly, to fulfil your hearts’ desires. However, they do not have the actual experience at determining construction cost estimates versus realised construction costs as builders do. For instance, they might draw up the extra shelves in your study for your classics collection but subsequently, suggest compromises on wood quality to keep the costs low.
The problem with architectural cost estimates is that they are oversimplified; in fact they are calculated in terms of an estimated “rate per square metre”. On the contrary, builders understand the technicalities and practicalities of construction adequately and how much various structural and design elements cost to supply and establish. For example, an elevated sitting area in the living room with an extraordinary fireplace will look fantastic in the plan sketched by an architect but the cost of double flooring or additional foundation work can only be correctly estimated by the builders who have on-the-ground experience.
During the design development phase, the architect and owner sit down and put the owner’s ideas on paper. They plan out the materials and details in the project and then eventually the builders will bring those ideas to life.
Estimating a project that’s very early in development can only produce ballpark figures that will be subject to change in all stages of construction. Unfortunately, most people put these numbers in front of the builder with the expectation that they can build within the stated cost.
Lots of things happen on the job site which are mostly unforeseen in the estimating process such as difficult field conditions or a lack of space for equipment or a need to excavate something inside the building or simply that the painter used the wrong paint colour! In such situations, costs previously estimated will no longer be accurate.
The answer to avoiding the above-mentioned stressful situations is simple. You should always use a builder to determine the cost of construction by bringing them in at the start of the design process, not the end. Research your chosen professional well who has a track record of working to budgets. Further, it is smarter to keep a contingency for potential overruns on site.
Builders purchase materials on a daily basis and have a sound knowledge on paying trades and local construction laws to avoid any legal trouble or red tape halfway through. They are efficient in finding construction solutions and are able to accurately forecast hurdles faced in meeting your design expectations. In the end, all you want is a perfect home at a price you can afford.