Chronicles of an Architect: 7 Ways to Save Money as You Build Your Home

By Soko Directory Team / Published June 18, 2019 | 8:52 am





Many first-time home owners are always apprehensive about the construction process and what they need to do. A lot of the fear they have is as a direct result of the terrible stories they have heard of what could possibly go wrong.

This article is for you if you are planning to build your home and you have that limited budget, time on your hands and you are prepared to increase your stress levels by being on site often.

It is not for you if your time value at your workplace is more than your time value at the construction site. You are better off delegating that job to a qualified building contractor. Let us discuss some ways that would help in saving costs.

  1. Plan the right way and have the right plan

Planning the right way involves developing a Cost Plan, a Time Plan and a Quality Assessment Plan.

The Cost Plan involves the budget at hand and all the expenses to be incurred. A Time Plan involves the available time for the project from the time for design all the way to the time available for construction.

In a Quality Assessment Plan, the client becomes aware of what checks and balances they need to put in place to get the most value for their money.

Having the right plan will mean involving an Architect to interpret your brief and develop a design based on your budget. They would be able to design as per your site context and give a design that is optimum for your project.

  1. Develop a simple plan and stick to it

Your Architect should work closely with you to develop a cost-effective design that seeks to avoid wastage of space, is sustainable in the long run, and one that meets your needs.

It could be a design with fewer corners since corners increase the surface area of walling and roofing. The pitch of your roof could also be modest.

A Structural Engineer will come in handy in advising on the most appropriate foundation for your structure and the most cost-effective structural system.

At this point, you would be better off getting a cost estimate from the Quantity Surveyor.  They will prepare a bill of quantities that you would also use in obtaining finance from financial institutions if need be. Try to stick to your design as much as possible and avoid making unnecessary changes on-site.

  1. Consult with your Design Team

To avoid costly mistakes with your project later, it would be a good idea to involve your Architect and Structural Engineer in supervision at critical stages. Their key roles would be to ensure that the necessary architectural and structural standards are adhered to at all times.

The key stages of your construction project during which you will need to involve your Architect and Structural Engineer are during:

  • Setting out
  • Laying foundation
  • Casting of slab
  • Setting out of walls

READ ALSO: Chronicles of an Architect: Understanding the Mjengo lingo Spoken in Kenya’s Construction Sites 

  1. Ask your Quantity Surveyor to prepare a material schedule

The material schedule will be prepared by the Quantity Surveyor at an additional cost but it will help you to buy materials in bulk and sometimes from the factory, thereby saving a lot of money in the process.

  1. Ask your Engineer to prepare a bar bending schedule for your reinforcement

A bar bending schedule can also be prepared by the Structural Engineer at an additional cost depending on the arrangement you have with them.

A bar bending schedule helps you to know the quantity and type of reinforcement required, thus enabling you to buy them in advance and in bulk which translates to savings.

  1. Ask your Architect to prepare a door schedule, window schedule and a finishes schedule

Your Architect can also prepare a door schedule showing the quantity and type of doors in your project, a window schedule showing the quantity and type of windows in your project and also a finishes schedule showing the areas and finishes required.

Armed with this information, you can buy in bulk and negotiate for a discount. In addition, you could invite quotations from two or three would-be suppliers and fabricators of the doors and windows. Compare and select your best.

  1. Ask your foreman to break down the work to be done in measurable quantities.

Since you will be handling all the aspects in your construction site, you should be warned that the labor force could be quite expensive if poorly managed.

With your foreman, break the project into measurable quantities so that you pay for work done and not just a daily wage. For example, a good mason needs to lay 150 pieces of machine cut stone for walling per day for a ground level construction to qualify for payment for work done. Payment for this mason could range between 1200 shillings to 2000 shillings depending on the jurisdiction.

It should be noted that building your own home is a key decision and since you are investing your hard-earned money, it is prudent to expect the most value for your money. With these strategies, you will realize your dream on budget and on time.

READ ALSO: Chronicles of an Architect: Architect’s Fees, To Pay or Not to Pay – Soko Directory 

About Author

Dennis Orenge is a Nairobi based practicing Architect with a passion for architecture and art. His outlook on matters relating to the built environment is both witty and informative. Dennis can be reached at +254725105410.




About Soko Directory Team

Soko Directory is a Financial and Markets digital portal that tracks brands, listed firms on the NSE, SMEs and trend setters in the markets eco-system.Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/SokoDirectory and on Twitter: twitter.com/SokoDirectory

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