Budget in any build can be a contentious issue. We know what we want, and how we want it, but can we always afford it?? Rule of thumb is to allow yourself room to breathe within your budget for the word that no one likes to hear but is a reality in any building situation, variation. Depending on the size of your build, whether an addition or alteration, new build, knock down rebuild, or even a difficult site position, the variables to the cost should be reasonably 5, 10 ,15 or 20% of the total build.

Here’s the why – x-ray vision is not readily available to the average builder when costing a job. Internal structures can be degraded, plumbing and electrics found to be in poor condition which require an upgrade to meet current standards, and the ground works!!…. the mystery of what lays beneath.  Of course educated assumptions can be allowed for in the contract, it can be a very real possibility to uncover surprises.

Change of mind – during the building process, seeing the actual spaces grow to life can be far from the imagined space on the piece of paper you have been looking at. A new aspect of the build may be uncovered when walls or windows become reality and change of mind is inevitable, even if any builder tells you to stick to your plan to maintain your budget, it’s not always possible when new opportunities are so tempting. Be critical during the planning process, it will inevitably incur added labour and material costs if changes are been made on the fly after construction has begun.

What you can do to help soften the blow – be aware, be realistic, leave breathing space, and most importantly, be specific from the outset. If you have been given an allowance for items, make sure you research these items, what are you getting for that money? Make changes in the early stages of quoting so the figure in the contract is realistic to the standard and quality of items you are expecting. Be specific on brand names and colours and materials. The more information supplied by you, the more accurate your contract price will be. Don’t wear blinkers and think it will be OK if you just leave it. The more informed everyone involved is, the more likely everyone is on the same page and less likely for conflict.