So often I hear questions of how big? How much? How long? But in truth these questions have no correct answer without context. Most builders and real estate agents will tell you what you want to hear, ultimately because this is what you want to hear. But in reality the truth is not so straight forward. What people fail to understand is that it costs as much as you want to spend. This is the fundamental truth; if its bigger, its going to cost more. You make it nicer, its going to cost more. Or at least this is what we are lead to believe when we are pricing the building of a new house.
So where do we go from hear; It costs what it costs right? Well not always, here are some cleaver ways to figure out the price of building a house.
The base price is what builders use to create the illusion that you can have a house built and constructed for. However in reality this is never the case. This BASE price is composed for ideal circumstances like the correct orientation for energy efficiency. The correct flat land without any slope or existing vegetation. Its based on perfect soil foundations and even the maximum wind ratings in the region. Most importantly BASE price is used to articulate the very lowest quality of finishes, fixtures and lighting requirements.
Here are some details which will ultimately effect the price to build a house.
Energy Efficiency –
A house build with correct orientation, solar and passive heating with cross ventilation will cost less over its lifetime. This is because its correctly designed with energy efficiency in mind, something an Architect can qualify you on. Correct thermal capacity of selected materials will also have a great impact on the energy efficiency of the house upon completion.
Land Consistency –
Any proposal to build a house will require land consistency in terms of its slope. If the land is angled and requires ground works, the cost to build a house on that land will skyrocket. So to where dense vegetation exists as the roots of trees can effect ground consistency upon removal of trees and root systems.
Soil reports can have an effect the amount of concrete used. A more hazardous site like one consisting of sand or clay will cost more than a site with normal compacted soil. So too, a house built on a rocky foundation or a fill site without compacted soil. Consider getting a soil report prior to purchasing land to best consider the cost of building a concrete slab foundation.
Wind ratings – If your in a high wind area the required bracing increases, therefore adding more costs. High wind areas require bigger ties and strength of all parts to resist tensile strength of the natural surrounding environment. Choose low wind areas with the least exposure to Salt sea air and other corrosive wind effects like hurricane prone areas or cyclonic regions.
Referring to the external claddings and internal surfaces, the price to build a house varies heavily on the individual selections. There is generally a rule to follow, the cheaper it is, the shorter its life span. But not always, sure a stone benchtop is a nicer finish and will last longer, but its modern competitor will last just as long if its well maintained and kept in good condition. External claddings are similar, where cheaper will generally work effectively, as long as its kept in good condition. Maintenance is the key to price efficiency in material finish selection.
Lighting and Electrical
Overlooked as a pricing consideration by most, lighting is equally important as any other section of cost. This is obviously because you will be using the house at night, unless of course you plan to living by candle light? So what are the basics, first lighting and electrical is not just a light switch but all the costs associated with running power, solar or generator to conduct electricity for the house. Break down all the rooms in the proposed house including all the light switches, fans, lamp shades and power outlets to gather a estimated cost of purchasing all the items. Than consider the fact that you can not install the electrical systems without a licensed contractor. This is one cost most people fail to consider when it comes to using professionals.
The plumbing cost can increase the price to build a house substantially. This might be because you require a septic system, or retention system. It might be because you have to run drainage uphill to a discharge point, it might even be because you have 5 toilets. The point I’m trying to make is that no price is ever enough, and plumbing always costs you more than you bargained for. Probably because most plumbing is buried and people generally forget its one element of the house we fail to consider budgeting.
Its no surprise here that regardless of what it costs to build a house, its almost as important how you finish a house. This is key when selecting toilets and bathroom taps, shower heads and screens, kitchen and vanity sinks, cooktops and ovens. Even the choice of Fridges, freezers and microwaves can impact a base price. I’ve even seen BASE price house designs advertised without a kitchen fit-out but only plumbing fittings. So make sure you read the fine print before seeing a BASE price and screaming buy, buy, buy!
Types of construction techniques are the final puzzle piece in figuring out the price to build a house. It makes up for than 50% of the price to build a house because it forms the foundation for finishes and application. There are many different types of construction methods and most of them are very expensive if not labour intensive. So to find out the cheapest construction methods please check out my other blog post ‘Cheapest ways to build a house’.
You can use this pricing guide to develop a cost guide before undertaking any proposed house build.