Costing Your Project
This is an important part of a house building project that few amateur builders do accurately, and they usually underestimate the cost. If an accurate costing is not made, the project will be held up, and if the extra money can not be earned or borrowed it may remain unfinished for years, or even be abandoned.
An accurate costing guarantees a lot of work, and there are no shortcuts. In the building industry quotes for a house are often based on a cost per square foot or square metre. These figures are not accurate for amateurs who are doing work themselves. Professional builders are looking for a profit, and also have to pay wages, and they can usually buy materials cheaper than an amateur. Sometimes insurance companies will ask a home owner to fill out a questionnaire which estimates the cost to rebuild a house, and because these questions are available on the Internet some amateurs use them to cost their project. They should be avoided because they usually give a figure which is much higher than what it will cost an amateur to build. The only way to achieve an accurate overall cost is to systematically cost each item.
If you are planning on doing almost all of the work yourself from the ground up this costing will take quite some time, but it should not be seen as wasted time. You will have to work out the quantities of all the materials anyway, so if you do it accurately for the budget you will not have to do it again later. If you are buying a kit home, your costing will be simpler.
The first job is to draw up an accurate list of all the items that have to be paid for. It is a big help first to break up the items into categories. These categories approximately follow the sequence of the project. The following list is a guide, but the exact list must be worked out for each individual house.
Costs of permits and charges by government agencies
Site preparation including waste water
Linking the site to power and water
House foundation and floor (also plumbing if a concrete slab is used)
House walls and roof frame
Covering of the external walls and roof; eaves and gutters
Windows and doors
Wiring, gas (and plumbing)
Ceilings and inner wall coverings
Kitchen, bathrooms and laundry
Wardrobes and cupboards
Electrical fittings plus gas fittings if used
Heating and / or cooling
Tools and consumables (fasteners, glue, paint etc.)
Next, draw up a list of all the items in each category. An existing house is a big help with this job, such as not everything that is in a bathroom (not forgetting the drain). Finally, when the list is complete, price everything at the suppliers. For materials which have to be cut, add an extra ten per cent for waste. For items which you may not be buying for a year or more, make an allowance for price increases.
Even if you plan to do as much of the work yourself as possible you will most likely have to employ one or more tradespeople. In many countries an amateur is not allowed to do electrical and gas work, which is an excellent safeguard against tragedy. If you plan to do less work yourself you will be employing more tradespeople. In either case, you will need estimates. Most tradespeople will give quotes or estimates, and you can double check by asking other people what they paid.
Many amateur builders plan to pay for their project by saving money from their wages while they are building. If you are thinking of taking this approach it is important to be aware that money is not spent even during the construction. The figures will vary from one project to another, but as a very rough guide builders doing most of the work themselves should expect to spend at least half of the budget to reach lock-up stage, which may take only one quarter of the total project time. Then the inner wall covers and ceilings can not be installed until the electrical cables, gas pipes, and water pipes are fitted. It is not unusual to spend three quarters of the budget in the first third third of the project time.
The topic of preparing to build your own home is continued in Part 4.
Source by David J Ainge