Two plots of land side by side may have wide differing soil bearing capacities. In fact, for the same building project, you will be surprised that one requires raft foundation while the next plot requires pile foundation. Cheap land doesn’t mean cheap construction. When choosing your land, go along with an engineer to advice you on its physical properties.
Considering that raft foundation could cost you 4 million naira while pile foundation could cost 14 million naira for the same project, you may end up saving a whooping 10million naira by making the right foundation.
If you want to reduce the cost of construction, it starts with the design. To spend less follow the 3S: Follow the Standards, keep it Simple, and minimise the Space.
Two people could build 5 bedroom duplexes with similar layout with one party spending N28million while the other spends N18million. How?
o Ensure rooms which require plumbing are kept close together to minimise the length of pipes you will need.
o Use standard window sizes and simple roof structure as these sizes are readily available and much cheaper.
o Use a simple building design layout be easy for contractor and labours to understand and work.
o Allow some rooms to share bathrooms. Keep the number of bathrooms to a minimum as they are one of the most expensive floor areas in a house per meter square.
Even in expensive 2/3-bedroom suites in Dubai and other service apartments, it is not uncommon to find the master bedroom ensuite while all the other rooms including the living room share the second bathroom and toilet which is so strategically located.
Think in Moderate Sizes
Focus on what you need when building. Globally, the average size of homes are shrinking fast so there is no need having rooms you will only make use of once in a year.
In construction, more square footage equals more money. For instance a 12 x12 feet room(3.6 x 3.6 meters) has total area of 12.96m2 while 10 x 10 feet (3 x 3 meters) has 9m2. If your house consisted of 10 of such rooms that literally means for every 10 million naira you spend on a room of 12 x12 feet room (3.6 x 3.6 meters), you could have spent just 7.5 million naira if the room size was 10 x10 feet room(3 x 3 meters).
Why is this so? because that extra 3.96m2 (12.96m2 – 9m2) that comes with the 12 x12 feet room(3.6 x 3.6 meters) means 25% extra on foundation footing, blockwall, wall paint, floor tiles. This also means more furniture and interior decoration items to fill up the space, bigger AC capacity and more lightings, bigger generator KVA and more fuel demand.
So think about your project’s size and ask yourself if you need that Olympic sized sitting room. Go ahead and reduce the space for the entrance hall, dining room, second living room.
Good design professionals may cost some extra money, but their input helps in reducing the overall cost drastically. You need engineers who know that since the walls are designed as non-load bearing you could use 6 inches for internal walls and save about 20% on cost of blockwall.
You need architects who can design a house that doesn’t have the fanciful columns, facade and roofs but still achieves a design that is simple to construct and exceptional in appeal. This comes with experience acquired over time.
Materials Quality and Quantity
Endeavour to purchase construction materials like cement, sand, granite, wood and reinforcement bars yourself as most many Nigerian contractors tend to add excess mark-up. Once you get the quote from the Quantity Surveyor do your findings on where you can get the products.
If you find going to your building site overwhelming, you can check sites like cribpark.com where they give the prices of these items for each unique location. Discuss with the contractor so you will know when the items would be required, and in which sequence they should be delivered. Your contractor will help you plan your materials inventory properly as all materials cannot be supplied at the same time due to space constraints and security challenges
If you are delegating the materials purchase to suppliers, don’t go just go on a whim with either the first estimate or the lowest estimate. Make informed decisions to get the best quality and required quantity of materials your building needs.
By following the above listed and proven tips, over time during the construction stages, you will realize that you have saved a good money much less than you planned. This is where you need to be disciplined. The temptation is to spend the money so far saved on aesthetics things like chandeliers, floor tiles and more. Remember your aim is to save money, not to redistribute it on other aspects. Don’t go visiting luxury building materials stores where you won’t be able to resist the urge to overspend. Be focused and stick to plan.
Remember! If you don’t own a house, you don’t have a permanent address. The best legacies are the ones we build
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