First, add ten or twenty percent to your budget! Seriously: How do you figure out what it will cost to build the house of your dreams? It’s an age-old question, with many variables and many answers, though the assumption is that the building process will not take longer than a thousand years, like, say, Windsor Castle, shown above — built, rebuilt, and successively expanded since the late 11th century (photo by Peter Packer courtesy royal.gov.uk). Cost estimating is an inexact science and actually more of a “liberal art.” It involves balancing quality with affordability and there will be inevitable trade-offs depending on the level of finish and detailing you require, as explained in the Cost To Build Report that can be obtained for each of our plans. Higher-end projects can get particularly fuzzy. As someone told me recently: “I gave my architect an unlimited budget and he exceeded it.”
So I asked Houseplans.com Chief of Design Nicholas Lee, AIA to offer some Construction Cost Tips. Here they are. Thank you Nick!
House Shape Is Key: Complex geometries such as angles, bump-outs, irregular shapes, and curves are more expensive to build. Simpler shapes, rectilinear forms, and shapes with fewer angles — as shown in Plan 461-2 by Brooks Ballard
— are less expensive to build.
Size Matters. Building a smaller house generally saves money for the obvious reason. BUT, there is an economy of scale in building a larger house: typically the kitchen and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms so an extra bedroom can be inexpensive square footage. For example, building a three bedroom house like Plan 17-2450 (shown here)
may not cost much more to build than a two bedroom house because you’re building the foundation, kitchen, and bathrooms anyway.
For the complete article on Eye on Design, click here.
To learn about running a "cost to build" estimate on any plan click here.