Construction Cost Management

Building a house: How your choices affect the cost of building

The costs

The cost of building a home can often take you by surprise, both before and after the build. The unfortunate truth is that time and time again we hear of people facing significant overspend whilst building a home. But there are choices you can make to cut the chances of that happening to you.

What does it cost to build a house?

The cost of building a home in New Zealand can vary wildly. You’d be looking at somewhere in the region of $1700 per square metre to over $4000 per square metre but it all depends on what kind and size of home you are building.

Build costs vary right from the start

There are some key items that will significantly impact the cost of building a home:

  •     Size – larger houses generally cost more than smaller homes, but this doesn’t have to be the case on every build
  •     The section – the amount of work involved in building a home on a sloping site can be high because of the earthworks needed to stabilise the ground, introduce retaining walls, install drainage etc
  •     Materials – the higher the quality, the higher the cost. And it isn’t just quality. If you’re wanting unusual materials or sourcing things from abroad, you may face some hefty bills
  •     Access – if it isn’t easy to get onto the site, or there’s no power, no water or no driveway present, the costs can mount
  •     Location – labour costs vary by region, and so will some materials and fittings if they have to be transported
  •     Fees – as well as fees for architects and engineers, you’ll also be paying council fees for consent etc

The design will also affect the cost

As a general rule, the simpler you can make your design, the cheaper your build costs. Here’s what to consider:

  •     The shape of the building – keeping to rectangles and 90-degree angles will save your build budget
  •     Ceilings – although many people love high ceilings, they generally come with a high price tag
  •     Dimensions – by sticking to standard sizing, you’ll cut costs. Building materials from kitchen units to sheets of Gib are generally sold in 600mm units so stick with multiples of 600mm to cut waste and achieve value
  •     Windows and doors – the number, shape, and design of these can make a huge difference with the best savings coming from standard dimensions
  •     Roofline – if you’re watching your budget, play it safe with a simple roofline
  •     Verandas, balconies, and decks – although lovely, adding these can make building a home more expensive
  •     Bathrooms – the more you have, the more you pay
  •     Landscaping – this is an essential part of building a home but it is also an area where you can cut costs

Other ways to save on a building a home

As well as making choices about your section and the design you choose, you can also make choices about how you run your project.

Calculating the cost of building a home is not an easy job. Neither builders nor architects are actually qualified to do it. They can guess based on years of experience in their profession, but they don’t have the up to date skills and necessary training to calculate the total cost of a construction project. This is why some builders often bring in a quantity surveyor to do the calculations on their behalf.

As a rule, only quantity surveyors hold the official qualifications needed to create an accurate budget and manage the finances throughout the build.  They are also able to help compare build quotes, choose cost-effective materials and negotiate the construction bills on your behalf so you’re only paying for the things you should be paying for.

Using a quantity surveyor when building your home will keep costs under control. Find out more about how a quantity surveyor manages the cost of building a home.

Our work spans residential and commercial projects, as well as the sum insured insurance valuations

Covering All Aspects of Quantity Surveying

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