How to save money when building or extending your house

Over the past eighteen months, we’ve all spent more time inside our homes than ever before. For many, being cooped up has resulted in a desire to expand their living quarters, or even build a bigger, better house altogether. However, another way the Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all is financially.

So how can we best go about a new building project while saving as much money as possible? Here we look at three methods to cut costs without sacrificing quality.

Plan, Plan, Plan

The first and perhaps most crucial mistake to avoid when building a house or extension is to not bite off more than you can chew. A stitch in time definitely saves nine; the last place you want to be is halfway through your construction project before suddenly realising that an important element of it isn’t actually even possible, something you’d have known earlier had you done better research.

Once you have a solid plan, stick to it. Alterations, revisions and delays all cost money and will quickly mount up. Take as long as you need in the design and planning stage and make sure everything is just right. 

It’s Not What You Know…

Personal relationships can prove invaluable when building a house or extension. If you personally know any builders, electricians, plumbers or other tradies, you can make the most of any “mates’ rates” wherever possible! If not, consult with family and close friends about work they’ve had done on their own houses; if a builder comes highly recommended by someone you trust, that’s usually a good sign that they’ll do a sound job, preventing additional costs at a later date sorting some other cowboy’s mess out.

Many parts of the construction will of course need to be performed by hired professionals, but some jobs, such as painting and decorating, can be done by friends and family in exchange for a favour or two.

Also, when it comes to planning permission, many people will spend money on a consultant to help get it pushed through, but nine times out of ten, the most important decision-makers in the planning process will be your own neighbours. So focus less on paying experts (to do something you can do yourself anyway), and more on building trust and respect with Mrs. Smith at number 4. 

Concrete Flooring

From October 1st, the energy price cap will rise by £139 to a record £1,277, affecting fifteen million customers nationwide. Due to increased energy consumption during lockdown, and the growing climate change crisis, global fossil fuel prices are rapidly increasing, rendering price hikes for consumers inevitable. For this reason, it makes perfect sense to limit energy usage in the home wherever possible.

Building a house or an extension offers a great opportunity to achieve this, as you of course are in control of the materials and systems you want to use and install from the off. Precast concrete floors, such as beam and block, can reduce heating energy consumption by up to 15%, which over a longer stretch of time can really add up to a large amount of money.

Furthermore, because beam and block floors are pre-cut to fit, you can install them yourself, saving potentially a lot more money on labour.

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