Architects Guide to Saving Money on Construction

We all agree that the Australian dream is a costly investment. Some people startle after knowing how much money they need to build a new or remodel a house.


Here’s the thing: it’s possible to cut the cost of your construction project. Our friendly Melbourne architects over at Superdraft Pty. Ltd. share ideas which can help you save dollars on your new home. Here’s what they said:

1. Collect estimates from different firms

Before you dive into the design of your home, you must collect project estimates. Yes, design firms and builders only provide approximate costs, but these documents will help you foresee your project in the future. Then, take time to understand the entire building process from design plans to construction. If you understand the so-called hidden costs of construction, you can modify your plans to fit your budget.

2. Watch out for “budget” lots

A cheap lot is a lot different from an affordable lot, but both appeal to homeowners. Don’t buy a piece of land which will require builders to do  additional work! Always go for the most economical option—the developed areas that has access to electricity, water, and gas.

3. Keep it simple

If you’re working on a strict budget, the complex ceiling designs and curvy architecture may not be suited for you. Go for simple shapes like squares or rectangles because it’s faster and easier to do. For the bold homeowners out there, you might want to try a dome-shaped home. This is approximately one-third less surface area to the outside than a box-style structure.Chances are you’re going to use less building materials.


4. Go tiny

There’s a trend of tiny homes are affordable and easy to maintain. We can’t argue with that fact. You can use the dollars you save for your home’s plumbing and heating systems.

5. Or you can push for a two to three storey home

If the tiny home lifestyle doesn’t fit you, go for a compact house design. It’s the most affordable type of house out there—you can never go wrong with it.

So instead building of a single story house that stretch out in your lot, go for a slimmer two or three storey one. Take advantage of that vertical space! You will enjoy equal or more living space, without much roof and foundation material. The costs for ventilation and plumbing may be lower with multi-storey structures.


Here’s the thing: building tall homes may require the use of special equipments such as scaffolding, cranes, or elevators. All of this depends on your where you live and the local building codes you should abide to.

6. Livable vs Empty spaces

The cost of building livable spaces such as living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, and outdoor entertainment areas is different from the garage, basement, small balcony, and attic. Know the spaces that you’re paying for.  

7. Don’t splurge on cabinets

Customized cabinets are one of the reasons why kitchen, bathrooms, and home office projects go over the budget. If you’re working under a strict budget, it’s best to find low cost alternatives. Go to the nearest home improvement store and purchase prefabricated cabinets. Cabinets with open shelves or frosted glass doors are economical choices too. You can also buy second hand cabinets from businesses that are closing their stores.


8. Salvage materials

You can save money (and the planet) by using recycled construction materials. Look for the important stuff: recycled steel, pressed straw paneling, cement composites, solid wood doors, and windows. Who knows what else you can find in salvage warehouses? You might end up with vintage light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, fireplace mantels, and other treasure-worthy decorations.

9. Postpone the frills

Purchase simple door hardware, faucets, and light fixtures from your local home improvement store. You can change these little details in the future. Don’t let these extras add up to the cost of your project

10. Make quality your top priority

Invest on your home wisely. Only use construction materials that can last for a longer period of time. Also, be careful in purchasing construction materials on sale. Always demand for their item’s warranty details. Lastly, never skip maintenance. You don’t want your house to deteriorate in less than a decade, right?


11. Employ green features

The most economical house is the one you can live in for many years to come. Therefore, invest in good insulation, renewable sources of energy, energy efficient appliances, and an HVAC system which matches your climate.

12. Invite some friends over

The term DIY wasn’t invented if homeowners can’t get their hands dirty once in a while. If you do, why not get a little help from your friends and family. You can finish the paint job and some of the landscaping duties.


13. Consult a professional builder

However, being able to DIY doesn’t mean you can overlook hiring a pro. Getting help from architects and designers can help avoid costly mistakes. These professionals may also have connections and resources that can help cut the costs. To cut your consultation fees, it’s best if you have a clear vision of your project.