Extensions can be high on costs so, here are some ways to keep your budget in control:
1. Have a simplistic design – Those corners and curves look great but, are really costly to build, so keep your extension design as simple as possible. Avoid made-to-order products; instead choose the ones that are readily available. To work in cost effective manner and to reduce ground work costs, avoid complicated ground works like building near to trees and drains.
2. DIY – Labor costs represent almost half of the total outlay. If you have got the skill and can do some work on your own, there is a great scope for saving a lot of money.
3. Manage the project – Again, a builder will add 15-25 percent onto the total cost to manage the project. You can save some cost here by managing your own build, coordinate with the architect on your own, direct the work and handle the supplies of the materials. Though time taking, but eventually it can turn out to be very rewarding.
4. Save on VAT – Most of the work will attract VAT on materials and labour, but when using self-employed tradespeople, you will not have to pay this tax. Buying second hand materials sold by private individuals are also free of this tax.
5. Keep your neighbours on board – You must notify your neighbours in writing if you’re building on or close to their boundary. If you can get them to write back with no objection, you can avoid using a surveyor to save on the fees.
6. Save on the planning fees – If your extension can be designed in a way to fall within the permitted development rights then, no planning application will be needed, and this will save the planning fee.
7. Say no to cowboys – There may be a lot of cowboys and they may vastly miscalculate costs. They may also ask for some or the entire amount at once and may never return back. To avoid such issues, always do a thorough reference check. Never handover the amount in advance for materials or any other building works instead, buy them yourself.
8. Measure properly – Measuring everything onsite will help in reducing the wastage and having accurate plans in the first place. Planning helps in visualising the end result and also in proper allocation of budget for different heads.
9. Reuse, repair and recycle – Put the existing materials for reuse or sale. Buy salvaged materials; they are cheaper than the new ones. Also, carefully monitor the wastage and try to fix the broken and damaged pieces instead of throwing them off.
10. Negotiate – Aim to get the materials at the wholesale prices. Always check and negotiate to get discounts for paying in cash. Bulk-buying from a single supplier also saves a lot of money.