Budgeting and Cost Projection

During our 3 days at the Self Build event in Dublin, we took part in some of the theatre talks. Our topic was budgeting and cost projection. We didn’t expect the talks to be as popular as they were! Each 30-minute slot had a full audience.

Some of the points in our top tips are common sense. Others may slip your mind during the process and time scale of your project. Let’s recap on our top tips from the show

Determine your budget

Build within your budgeting means. Mortgage lenders will ultimately decide what you can borrow based on your finances. Most people will have been saving for a few years. This can be used for deposits or purchasing a site.

Professional Fees

Electricity and water connection charges in rural areas can be significantly higher. In relation to architects fees,  get a brief or outline plan done initially and decide how involved you want them to be in the project. Legal fees such as solicitors, evaluations, mortgage admin costs can all add up too.

Deviating from plans

For those that can’t visualise in 2D, it would be worthwhile getting a 3D image of your plans done. Its easier to change something on a computer than on site! If walls etc need moved or changed this can incur large labour costs. Try not to deviate too much from your plan once the project has started as tradesmen and builders can charge more for variations.

Signed Contracts

Individual tradesmen may not sign a contract, but do get quotes on paper or in an email. Even though most people will self-build, there may be some that will get a contractor to do the project for them. In this case, get a contract signed and witnessed. Its worthwhile to get references or check out past projects that they have done. Don’t always go for the cheapest either! A cowboy builder will cost you more in the long run.


On a small scale project from 1-6 months this may not vary much. Projects scaling 12 – 18 months, and even longer should allow 3-4% on material and labour inflation. Christmas and New year normally sees a spike in the cost of raw materials. Fluctuations in the euro and sterling can impact material costs, as does the rising uncertainty of brexit.

Allow for lead times of unusual/uncommon materials

A Project manager can foresee when things are needed. If you don’t get a project manager, talk to your builders/tradesmen regularly on when materials will be needed. Some materials like windows/doors can take 6 to 8 weeks to be manufactured and delivered. Measurements need to be accurately taken on site beforehand.


This depends on your jurisdiction or country of residence. Northern Ireland new builds are VAT exempt. ROI is 23%. Some materials are only 13.5% (windows for example)

And finally,

Get a Bill of Quantities done!

A BOQ is the perfect budgeting tool for checking progress at every stage and can help when you see the price of certain materials before they are ordered. Our report increases the likelihood of projects being delivered within budget, provides realistic costs for materials and labour, and are customised and tailored to the clients local area.