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The AIA Corporate Architects and Facility Management (CAFM) Knowledge Community consists of architects working within and for businesses and corporations. Our mission is to share expertise in the strategic, tactical, and operational activities of real property and facilities management in order to deliver value to the owners we represent. 

10 Things to Know Before Building a House from Scratch

By Miles Wiseman posted 04-03-2019 06:26

  

Are you looking to do renovations on a budget? If so, use these 10 tips to avoid breaking the bank.

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1) Is An Architect Necessary?

 

Without a doubt, some renovation projects are best served by using either an architectural technologist or an actual architect. On the other hand, it's not necessary to use such services for every project, especially for internal remodels and small-scale extensions. If you'd like to renovate without breaking the bank, then there are other choices you have in terms of your plans:

 

A: Draw up the plans yourself. This is very acceptable from the point of view of most planning departments, so long as you provide every piece of information they need. Keep in mind that you'll need your drawings for the purposes of building regulations, depending on your jurisdiction, and that these drawings are also going to be the ones you hand over to builders to do the job.

 

B: Hire a draughtsperson. This technical artist is one capable of putting your ideas into specific plans. If you decide to employ a draughtsperson, be sure that they have sufficient professional indemnity insurance that's appropriate to your project size.

 

C: Ask your chosen building contractor to be the one who comes up with the set of plans.

 

2) Suppliers: Bigger Isn't Always Better:

 

Flashy websites, slick-tongued sales reps, and glossy brochures can easily seduce you. However, keep in mind that even if a tradesperson or supplier has lots of employees or stunning sales literature, that doesn't always mean they'll do better work than a single professional or contractor. What it likely does mean is that they'll charge you more.

 

3) Act As Your Own Project Manager:

 

Most homeowners who are trying to stay within their budgetary limits when doing renovations often find that a great way to manage costs is actually to manage their build on their own, meaning they pick and then employ the various trades as they need. Don't underestimate the role project managers pay, as the decisions you need to make and the time you'll put into the built will be more consuming than you might think. One plus is that when you're your very own project manager, you're in total control over what gets spent on materials and labor, leaving you free to pick which jobs you go alone as a DIY task.

 

4) Shop Around Some:

 

It can be appealing to buy all of your building materials or a whole kitchen or bathroom suite all from a single supplier. It's simple, it's quick, and it's surprisingly not always cost-effective. Shopping around is something that can really pay off in regards to new kitchens. Nothing says that you have to get all your worktops and appliances from the same business supplying your kitchen units. Research the plethora of alternatives available so you can be assured of saving money. The same applies for bathrooms.

 

5) Get More Than One Quote:

 

It's shocking just how many renovators don't get multiple quotes for their work, and the quotes that contractors offer can vary by hundreds of dollars. Keep in mind these pointers:

 

A: Get a minimum of three quotes.

 

B: Get trustworthy recommendations from reliable sources.

 

C: The cheapest quotes aren't always the best bang for the buck.

 

6) Think About An Unfinished Look:

 

Anything that minimizes labor is usually good news. For instance, think about exposed brickwork or birch-faced ply as a finish, meaning you won't have to have a plaster finish, which is a project best handled by a professional plasterer.

 

7) Reuse Older Materials:

 

A lot of renovations involve demolishing ramshackle outbuildings. You can save a lot of money by reusing any original bricks you can. On a similar note, if you have roof slates and tiles that are still in good condition, reusing them won't just save money but also help any new additions blend in well with the old.

 

8) Mix Standard And Premium Products:

 

High quality doesn't automatically go hand-in-hand any longer with high cost. Not every cheap kitchen or bathroom suite will offer you bang for the buck, but the truth is that a lot of off-the-shelf ranges have leaped ahead in the last few years. You can skip designer ranges in favor of standard unit fronts before sprucing them up using striking and/or unusual handles, worktops, and concealed lighting. For example if you add some premium handles and features to these internal doors for self build projects, you could really impress.

 

9) Look Ahead For Sales And Bargains:

 

Organize some storage space so you have the option of buying ex-display kitchens, fixtures, and appliance when the bargains are too good to pass up. Don't wait until right before you need your new kitchen to start looking. You can get great savings as you find bargains and then save them for later.

 

10) Do It Yourself:

 

One of the best ways to save money is rolling up your sleeves and doing what you can on your own. How far this can take you depends on your skill level and confidence, but remember that some tasks, like plastering and electrical work, are better off in the hands of dedicated professionals.

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