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How To Stop Home Build Budget Blowout


Building a property that has everything you need is on a lot of homeowners’ bucket list. However, it’s a lengthy and risky process that’s not for the faint-hearted. Nonetheless, with careful planning and budgeting, you can build the home of your dreams at a manageable cost, i.e. within budget and time.

Here are some tips to keep costs manageable to avoid budget blowout and manage the build duration.

Choose the right site

Starting with the construction of the home. Look past the surface, and you may find that a site’s location or composition brings with it certain challenges which can inflate your costs and add to build duration. Therefore the location of where your home will reside is the starting point of the new build process.

Avoid choosing a site for your home because you’ve fallen in love with the view or the size. There’s more to it, with most of the cost to build a residential property going into its construction. Site location and assess to it as well as the composition of the ground on which the home will reside can vary dramatically and with it the investment required. So many people want to get away from it all, far away from urbanisation and this has made a TV show on impossible builds very popular.

Impossible Builds

Impossible Builds is a UK TV show that documents homeowners quest to build new homes in remote or challenging areas. Today, with technology, we can construct living spaces almost anywhere. However, there is always a trade-off for those spectacular views or privacy and its a combination of time and money.

Any home build site requiring engineering ingenuity will need more of your budget hence the importance to do your research on the suitability of the site how much the construction will cost before you commit to it. Once the site purchase is complete, there’s little you can do to mitigate either the investment or the time of the build. Your compromise may be a smaller home to meet your budget. Thus, proper budget management stems from choosing the right site.

Start with the Architect or The Builder?

Most homeowners believe once the site has been purchased, it’s time to get the home designed by an Architect. Architects love what they do, i.e. designing nice looking buildings so if you go to them with an open cheque book and blank canvas expect an amazing architectural plan that you’ll need to alter to meet your budget. Each revision of the plans will cost you, and that will dig into your budget. Approaching your preferred builder is a good starting point, to understand the cost per square metre and from there you have a budget, and then you can meet with your architect to get a plan that works for you and your builder.

It is not uncommon for builders to say they can not build what’s on the plans, so getting the okay from your builder while the Architect is creating the plans will save time and money.

Choose a builder with a proven track record

Accuracy is everything when it comes to budget management. When you’re going through the process of selecting a builder, if they know, it is a competitive bidding situation, they will likely underquote. You don’t want your builder providing inaccurate quotes (especially when these are on the low end) it can quickly lead to a budget blowout. With that in mind, choose a builder whose track record includes similar self-build projects. Ask to see previous examples of work carried out and, where possible, speak to their previous clients.

Contingency Budget

There are always unforeseen costs with construction, therefore make sure you allow for it with a slush fund. Do your research on home building and work out what you need to cover extras, as the norm is to spend more than you have for the build. ‘Scope creep‘ will happen with tweaks here and there all adding up. Changing the layout, or material or choosing better quality cabinetry or appliances. All these changes add up, and before you know it the build has taken longer and cost a lot more than y our budget.


Managing a home build is stressful, but it is easier when you do a lot of preparation before construction. Remember stress is always lessened when you’re in control so work on what you can control from the outset. Do your research and take your time. When you’re prepared, you can enjoy the building process and get the home you desired.