There are only two tips that will always save you money during a building project: don’t cut corners and pay attention.
The fact is: there’s no trick to keeping the cost of your house extension down, but here are 7 things you can do to ensure that you’re making value-adding decisions (without having to settle for less).
support your planning permission or lawful development certificate application
help your builder provide you with an accurate quote for your extension
form the legal basis of your contract with your suppliers
Ask your architect in advance to specify exactly what output they provide for their fee. If the price seems low, there are probably going to be details which will need to be filled in eventually...for a price.
Don’t wait for someone else to charge you double later in the process. Always choose a reliable architect who provides a comprehensive package, even if you have to pay a little bit more.
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You should never start building your extension before you have the final go-ahead from the council, as delays in paperwork can hold your entire team up. This also means making sure that your appraisal, building control, surveys and party wall matters are settled before you start. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get everything sorted, and you’ll probably find you’re able to get a more competitive quote.
Luckily, planning permission is valid for two years after approval, so you can get started on your plans first and get the ball rolling on everything else once you’re ready to go.
It’s also important to make sure that your builder provides you a fully costed quote, so you understand the price of each element. That way, if you need more of anything, you can reference the original price per unit.
In addition, don’t skimp on exploratory work - from CCTV surveys to checking the quality of the roof and foundations. Anything you can do to reduce surprises down the line will help you to budget accurately from the start.
However, remember that cheaper isn’t always better: it’s about finding people who are offering you value, quality and trust.
It’s often possible to save money by sourcing your own contractors, rather than allowing one builder to handle the entire contract. However, you’ll need to be extra careful that everyone has a good idea of their responsibilities and how they interact, or mistakes can end up adding time and money in the long run.
If there’s anywhere you shouldn’t be cutting corners, it’s on finding experts you can trust.
Sometimes this will matter, and sometimes you honestly won’t be able to tell the difference. You don’t always need to go for the best; you just need to find what works for you.
Pricing everything out as accurately as possible before you make any decisions is the easiest way to stay on top of your spending.
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