It’s a well-known stereotype in the home building industry that any new construction project will inevitably cost more than you expect. Most blog posts and articles warn you to have a sizable contingency fund on hand to cover unexpected expenses.
Historically, there is truth behind the cliché. Building a new house in Houston encompasses numerous variables, and you can run into issues that you didn’t plan on—just like with any facet of life. Anticipating a few minor hiccups is a good way to stay flexible and reduce your stress.
However, custom home building is a process, and as such, there are cost control elements that can be implemented along the way to keep your expectations and reality aligned. These measures also help prevent expensive scope creep that inflates your bottom line, enabling you to get your luxury home completed on time and on budget.
What is Cost Control in a Construction Project?
As the phrase implies, cost control in construction is simply the means by which you manage various expenses—including material, labor, and overhead costs—to keep your project on budget. There are several techniques wrapped up in this process.
Once you are in the construction phase, you’ll have to trust your Houston home builder to control costs by scheduling efficiently, properly installing new materials, and ensuring each task is completed correctly the first time so as not to create waste. This is all the more reason why choosing the right Houston builder to oversee the creation of your custom home is vital.
Opportunities to control costs, however, show up much sooner. You can take steps during the design phase of your new home build to keep expenses in check. It mostly comes down to the processes and methodologies you use to set realistic expectations, establish specifics and get accurate estimates. The good news is that by implementing cost-control measures early in the process, you increase your capacity to achieve your budget-related goals for the project.
How Can Project Costs be Controlled?
Before you even start your new home build in Houston, you need to establish a preliminary budget—or at least a ballpark range for how much you can and want to spend—along with your project priorities. What are must-haves in your custom house and where can you compromise? This information will help guide the process and give you a way to gauge whether you are on track.
Once you’ve entered the design phase, here are some steps you can take in collaboration with your home builder and architect to preemptively control construction costs:
1. Reduce Scope and Complexity
It may seem like an obvious strategy, but one of the most effective ways to stay within your budget is to change the scope of your project. That could mean decreasing the overall size of your new custom home or eliminating certain spaces and more pricey features. By doing so, you decrease the amount of time and materials it takes to construct the building. The results can vary, though, based on the space you choose to alter or eliminate. For example, shaving a few square feet off a bedroom or another space with simple finishes won’t reap the same cost-savings as reducing the scope of a kitchen or bathroom. It also depends on the complexity of the design. More complicated and intricate projects take longer to construct, and time is money in the building industry.
2. Change Materials, Features and Finishes
Your main expenses when building a new home are labor and materials. While you can be prudent when choosing your team, scheduling the crew and trade partners, and making sure their time is used efficiently, labor costs are going to be relatively the same on a regional basis. If a company is offering a significantly lower per-hour rate for labor, you should be skeptical as to why. Materials, on the other hand, are significantly easier to control. Your overall project price depends on the level of finishes and special features you choose. For example, prefabricated cabinetry, economy grade appliances and stock light fixtures are noticeably less expensive than custom, hand-made cabinets, high-end appliances and designer light fixtures. You will make dozens of choices during the design phase, and each one is an opportunity to control your project costs.
3. Use The Specification Method
You can’t reduce the scope of your project or make more cost-effective selections without pricing information. That’s why you also have to integrate the right design-to-cost methodology to control expenses. This specification method focuses on transparency and collaboration with your home builder and architect. With their help, you make preliminary selections and design your new home to the point where a pricing proposal can be created. Your team can provide you insight on how much each item will cost, so you get a more accurate estimate for the overall project price. If it’s not where you expected it to be, you can go back and make changes to the plan, and then your team will price the project taking those new modifications into consideration. Estimates should become more accurate as time progresses and choices are nailed down. Having your builder involved in this process allows for more meticulous feasibility determinations and cost estimates.
Additionally, because you have the opportunity for informed decision-making and cultivating confidence about your selections, the specification method prevents scope creep and reduces the number of change orders requested during the construction phase. You won’t have to scramble to make adjustments to keep your project on budget while your team is already on the ground working. Since change orders often cause delays or the need for new materials to be ordered, avoiding them is an effective way to control project costs while building your custom home in Houston.
Maintaining Control of Your Custom Home Build in Houston
Spiraling costs not only put strain on your budget; they also can make the home-building process in Houston more stressful and unenjoyable. At Southern Green Builders, we know how important proper management and maintaining control are when it comes to creating a luxury home in Houston and having a positive experience along the way. That’s why we come onboard early in the project. With our help, you can get a jump-start on implementing cost control elements to put your home build on the right track and save yourself time and headache later on.