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Project Cost Saving Top Tips

1. Save on Your Plot.

Save by choosing the right Location

Think about your location carefully. A remote location may seem nice but could cause problems when it comes things like electricity and sewage systems. Not to mention getting planning.

Save by ensuring there is good Access

Is the site easy to access? Can you get an articulated lorry to your plot easily or will you have to have smaller loads or hire a crane. These things can increase the cost of your building very quickly so you should factor these in to your budget at an early stage.

Save on Planning – Do your Homework!

Has the plot previously had planning applications rejected? Are there any Tree Protection Orders or Conservation Orders on the site? Are the surrounding buildings going to limit what you can build? Are there height restrictions on the site?

All these things will add to the time it takes to gain planning and may also add to the cost of your design and planning application itself. Do your research – find out as much about your plot as you can before you buy.

Save on connection to Amenities

Think about power and water supply, are you going to generate your own power? If so it is important you factor these in to the design of your building right from the word go. If you cannot connect to the main drainage system you need to look at cesspits and  other forms waste disposal. These may require additional planning permissions and will add to running costs of your home due to maintenance and cleaning.

Save with Surveys - Ground & Soil Type

The soil type and ground make up can have a big effect on the cost of your foundations. Simply Self Build recommends that you obtain a geological survey for your plot. This will ensure you are using the correct foundation system and also flag up any potential problems in the soil at an early stage avoiding any problems later on which can be very costly.

2. Save on Your Design.

Think about things like materials and energy saving items at an early stage. Use an architect or designer who has experience in dealing with your chosen materials. Where possible try to stick to standard sizes of windows and doors if this is not possible talk to your supplier about lengths of materials and try to design with as little waste as possible. Once you have firmed up your design avoid making changes especially once your home enters the manufacturing stage.

3. Save by keeping your Budget on Track.

Think about your budget early on. Plan what you need to spend and when you will need to spend it. Work out how much you think your build will cost then add a 10% contingency. Remember that on a construction site any number of things can go wrong, giving yourself a contingency fund will help keep your project on track and allow you the extra cash needed if things don’t quite go to plan.

Read payment terms carefully and avoid unnecessary hold ups and charges by paying on time. If you are struggling with your budget talk to your suppliers they may be able to help.

4. Get your foundations Right and Save Time and Money

Get your foundations right first time. This is the most important part of your build. In most cases if your foundations are dealt with correctly the rest of your build will be much smoother. Get a geological survey done if there is any doubt about the ground make up. Don’t hire on price, hire on reputation. Remember if you get your foundations wrong you will have problems throughout your build.

Order your timber frame before you lay your foundations as you will need the structural calculations and always make sure your foundations comply with the latest Building Regulations. Failure to do so could result in having to completely redo them.

5. Create a Building Plan to Avoid Hold Up and Save on Standing time and Equipment Hire

For this start at the end. Think about when you want to finish your build and fill the critical dates backwards. Talk to your suppliers and work out the lead times needed for each part. Remember some parts are more important than others. Make sure you keep to the critical dates to keep your project on track and avoid standing time on site.

One of the most common causes of hold ups on site is failure to return signed drawings on time. Most companies will not continue with your project without this written confirmation. Always be sure to check drawings thoroughly, especially heights and measurements and don’t be afraid to raise queries. Remember mistakes on drawings are much easier and less costly to fix than mistakes on site.

6. Hire a Project Manager and take advantage of their expertise and trade Contacts to Save on Materials

A good Project Manager will normally cost between 8 and 12 % of your build costs. This may sound like a lot of money initially however managing a build site is a full time job. If you cannot be on site to keep an eye on things yourself a Project Manager would be a very good investment.

On top of this Project Managers are good at keeping your budget on track and will always strive to get the best prices for you using their contacts, knowledge and expertise. A Project Manager can give you a rough price per square metre initially but will not be able to give you a firm price until they have sat down and discussed your specification in detail. Be prepared to listen, a good Project Manager knows the industry and although they will try to get you the highest specification possible your budget will always effect what they are able to achieve.

7. Save in the long term with good insulation and airtight buildings

With fuel costs sky rocketing and Building Regulations getting tighter you should always think long term. If you are looking into energy saving devices such as solar panels and ground source heating it is important that these are considered at the beginning of the design process.

Think about things like airtightness and insulation. An airtight and well insulated house will heat up far more quickly and more importantly stay warm. An energy efficient house will be very attractive to any potential buyers in the future and will ensure you and your family enjoy a warm cost effective home for years to come.

8. Saving Energy with Eco Features and renewable Technologies

With fuel costs sky rocketing and Building Regulations getting tighter you should always think long term. If you are looking into energy saving devices such as solar panels and ground source heating it is important that these are considered at the beginning of the design process.

Think about things like airtightness and insulation. An airtight and well insulated house will heat up far more quickly and more importantly stay warm. An energy efficient house will be very attractive to any potential buyers in the future and will ensure you and your family enjoy a warm cost effective home for years to come.

9. Use The Code For Sustainable Homes to save on your Self Build.

Remember, reducing waste is also a key part of the governments green building programme. The Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) was bought into practice in 2007. It awards points for creating less waste during your build and for simple additions such as recycling facilities and composting bins.

Gaining Code status level 1 is compulsory for all new buildings and is fairly easy to achieve. In fact building to current Building Regulations will in most cases achieve Level 1.

There are grants available for certain aspects of the Code. Although this is a fairly new system embracing

certain aspects of the code can help to reduce your bills and make your home more efficient. Building to

code level 6 will ultimately give you a Carbon Zero home. This means that your home will generate its

own energy and be self sufficient.

10. Save by Building With Timber Frame.

When it comes to choosing your building material there couldn’t be a simpler choice. Timber frame ticks all the boxes to ensure your home will be enjoyed by you and your family for years to come.

  • Suitable for all plots and particularly good for tight sites.
  • Designed and manufactured in a controlled environment producing less waste.
  • Measured and manufactured to within a tolerance of 5mm ensuring better fittings of windows and doors and less room for error.
  • Up to 30% faster than wet builds reducing the time you are on site and saving you money on hiring of health and safety and plant equipment.
  • Lightweight construction material therefore foundations are usually not as deep saving you money on groundworks.
  • Most manufacturers have lead times between 8 and 12 weeks however this can be longer or shorter depending on the building type. This helps you to plan your site works and foundations ready for your timber kit.
  • Timber frame can be put up in all weathers unlike wet builds your site doesn’t stop for the rain.
  • Timber Frame is a great natural insulator and is very airtight saving you money on energy once you move in and in most cases surpassing current Building Regulations.
  • Timber frame is the only Carbon Neutral (up to the point it leaves the factory gates) totally renewable building material. It is the ultimate green building material that doesn’t cost the earth and can save you money.

11. Grants for Renewable Energy Systems

The UK Government has set up grant systems for the various types of renewable energy sources. Although you may not be eligible for all of them it is certainly worth looking into.

There are grants available for technologies including:

Talk to your Local Authority and see what grants you are eligible for.

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