Cost Effective Building Series 1

August 23, 2018

Cost effective Building 1

To me cost effective Building doesn’t have to mean cheap to build but it should mean cheap to maintain. A cost effective building is one that has moderate running costs once it is finished and you are living in it. If your building has expensive heating and cooling costs, or your water bill is frightening you have failed.

A cost effective building should have some architectural integrity.  The internal design should be sensible. You  want low maintenance, warmth, good design difficult if you are building a granny flat. Off street parking, security, a well appointed kitchen, storage who doesn’t need extra storage, low energy costs….

So how do you build a cost effective structure that will look good in ten years time. The reality is that you need to spend a little more money.

Secrets to Cost Effective Building

The most expensive part of building is Labour the second most expensive part of building is materials. If you want to control building costs you need to control your labour costs and the cost of materials.

I find the best way to control Labour costs is to minimise the number of trades you have on site.

Always get a number of Quotes I like them in writing if someone says about $$$ get another quote.

Trades List

Unavoidable Trades and some commentary

Plumbers  look like labourers and charge like surgeons.

Electricians commonly known as sparkies. A good electrical plan is essential before you start building.

A Minimising Costs Tip Don’t have ten lights or even five lights connected to one switch. If you are sitting watching (Better Things my favourite TV show) all you need is one wall light or down light. Believe me a good electrical plan can save you hundreds every quarter.

Concretors if you have driveways or slab on ground  you will need a concretor.   I have some horror stories about overcharging by different trades. The easiest way to avoid being ripped off is to get a number of quotes and compare the quotes.

Bricklayers. Building in face brick means you won’t need to paint or render. It does mean that you will be dealing with strange people that can be confused with aliens from another planet. Bricklayers like long lunches, going home early and beer. Some just like beer.

Carpenters The first person on the job and the last to leave. A carpenter could build your home with minimal input from other trades.

Tilers, Floor and wall tilers. If you have bathroom and a slab on ground construction you will  be  entertaining a tiler. If a tiler can’t lay a smooth run of floor tiles then don’t use them. Tilers are well paid which means their will be plenty of people masquerading as tilers. Tilers lift and move heavy boxes every working day and generally end up with bad backs so don’t begrudge then their money if they do a good job. Believe me they earn it.

Gyprockers ceilings and walls. Unless you line the walls with jointed lining boards or render your walls you will need a gyprocker. Like all trades their are good ones and bad ones. Just get some quotes at least three and judge the respondent the normal things. Are they prompt courteous,  and on time. Generally I think good trades will be busy so if someone can start immediately ask more questions.

Renders a good renderer will add much to the finish and to the cost. If you render the outside of the house you will be adding an additional cost that will also require a painted or granosite finish.

My idea of a cost effective building will be different from builder/developers idea of a cost effective building. I would start by raising your building at least half a metre off the ground. Yes traditional flooring T&G Boards on Bearers and Joists. Now days you can use LVLs Laminated Veneer lumber to support your T&G Boards. Slab on Ground construction has much appeal to Project Home builders because it is simple and Concrete is relatively cheap. Cover it with some cheap or expensive tiles and it has as much charm as laminated bench and is just as easy to clean. A Tongue and Grooved Timber floor is sensual and easy to walk on. Think rugs, Wine and Curves and your getting the idea.

I like to fill the cavity between the floor joists with wool insulation R3.5 which you support on chicken wire.

For your T&G Boards you can use Blackbutt or many of the red Eucalypt boards which are still available. The boards will need to be sanded and sealed once installed.

Your walls can be built in brick, rendered or raw or you can go with simple stud walls and choose any of a multitude of claddings.  If you are a money or environmentally conscious, then at this stage you need to be thinking about quality insulations, building your structure so that you keep the heat and cold out and maybe a solar hotter system and solar cells on the roof.  The solar cells and the solar heater may not reduce your building costs but they will reduce your energy bills.

Myself I would be trying to keep the summer heat and the winter cold out. This is something we don’t do well in this country. The majority of the available windows and doors are poorly designed. and do nothing to help maintain a temperate living environment. My own house is like an icebox in winter. Cold air seems to creep in though gaps between doors, and up through the floors.

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