How to stick to your building budget

items on desk to plan your building budget

It can be easy to lose track of your building budget when you are new to the self-building scene.

The purpose of having a budget whilst building is to see where your money is going and where there is room to spend less.

It’s best to work things out ahead of time and figure out what is possible with your available funds, rather than stretching beyond your budget. Be pragmatic with decisions about materials, and stay open to compromises throughout the project. Running out of money when you are only 75% of the way through the project is a nightmare.

What Is a Building Budget?


A Building Budget is a document which establishes a final value for the completion of a construction site. This budget is usually divided into several chapters or phases. To budget each phase of the work, a description of each element that is being used and quantity needed is outlined.


Ways to keep on track

Self-builders have to spend a lot of time on site. If you can’t dedicate an adequate amount of time to manage trades and order materials, you should consider hiring a professional project manager. To ensure the safety and success of a construction project, it is best to only hire professionals (engineers, architects) who will help you properly manage work, optimize spaces, allocate resources, and oversee all the processes.

Be prepared to haggle. Larger orders of materials with hardware stores means bigger savings. Depending on a particular store's policy, you may be able to open a trade account and save even more.

Actual construction work is one thing, accessories are another. Most of the time a project incurs unexpected costs.  Some costs such as those having to do with interior design do not necessarily have to do with construction, per se. In this regard, it is necessary to look for a good price/quality balance, since what is fashionable is not always the most convenient.

Don't lose sight of original plans for each phase of construction. Many times, when you are in the middle of the construction process, new ideas arise about things that we would like to add or change in a project. This is not always ill-advised, but don't lose sight of the fact that each change, added or extra in the design of the work will possibly make it more expensive, and go over budget. You have to assess whether the change is really necessary, and whether it adds value to the work in its functionality.

Make sure that the budget considers the type and quality of materials expected. When making a construction budget, the budgeter typically bases his budget on "standard" materials, unless the job owner specifically tells you the type of material he wants to use in each case. For example, your budget may include plywood doors while you are imagining that they are solid wood. When buying the doors, the difference in expectation of quality and price will arise! For this reason, it is recommended that the owner of the work clearly communicate the quality and type of materials he expects, and / or guarantee that the budget is very clear in terms of the type and quality of materials included.

Spend your money where it counts. In other words, ensure your home has good quality items. Windows and doors, roof finishes, and even cavity wall insulation should last the life of the house. Things like kitchens and bathrooms can be upgraded when your budget recovers in a few years.

More importantly, don’t leave yourself short. Always have a contingency. Nowadays it is common practice to keep at least 10% of the total figure aside for unforeseen things that may crop up. Consequently, the bad ground is the most common and unavoidable issue that will have to be rectified before you can continue any further.

Finally, ensure you have your project estimated before you even begin on-site work. Our service gives you a thorough report using costs for materials, plants, and labor in your local area. Furthermore, you will gain an understanding of the costs involved from the word go and easily identify where you can make changes to your spec to fit your budget.

Ultimately, solid pre-planning and utilizing trained professionals and experts, will ensure that the project will be completed within the established deadlines, and without any variation in the initial building budget.