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Estimating construction costs early – while you’re still developing and making amends to your designs – is crucial. Afterall, if you are organising a building project, it’s important that you make sure that you and your architect design something you can actually afford to build!

In this blog, we explain why getting a professional RICS regulated Quantity Surveying company, such as CLPM, to estimate your construction costs is a wise investment.

Financial Planning is Vital for Construction Projects

Every week we receive calls from homeowners and self-builders whose building projects have run into financial difficulties.

Realising that your project is more expensive than you can afford is an awful situation, but sadly not an unusual one. Often it can be put down to a lack of proper financial planning or an unwillingness to spend money on professional services in the design phase.

Cutting Professional Fees is a False Economy

If you’re already feeling that your building project budget is tight, it can be tempting to cut corners and avoid paying professional fees by doing things yourself. Afterall, Architects and Quantity Surveyors can be seen as expensive, unless you understand what value they can bring to your designs, your construction costs and the project outcome as a whole.

You need to view their advice as an investment which, throughout the construction process and once you’re in your new home, will repay you many times over.

Always Appoint an Architect or Designer

Why spend money on Architects’ fees when you can get a builder to draw up some plans for free?

Well, there’s no such thing as a free design, as all the builder is doing is hiding these costs in his construction works quote! Getting him to do this will also encourge him to draw-up something that’s the easiest and most profitable thing for him to build, rather than the best home for you to live in.

By contrast, an experienced Architect or designer will consider your needs and use a far more creative approach to create a home that will suit you and your family’s lifestyle. They will also typically produce a far superior set of plans and specifications than a builder’s draughtsman. And as your drawings will be more detailed, they will be clearer and easier for several builders to quote against and ultimately use to build on site. This will also mean that you’re likely to get a more accurate, competitive prices and much fewer issues during the build. A good Architect will also consider elements such as updating your lighting and heating systems and maximising your property’s energy efficiency – and so will future-proof your investment too.

Estimating Construction Costs is Complex

Is your budget tight? Do you even actually know how much your designs will cost to build? Relying on a rough cost per metre figure, or your own budgeting assumptions, can be an expensive mistake. Estimating construction costs isn’t a dark art, but it’s a whole lot more complicated than popping a few figures into a spreadsheet.

Often the first time clients realise their construction project is at risk is when they’ve started to get unaffordable quotes from builders. Typically, building projects experience financial problems at this stage due to two reasons. Either their architectural designs are too ambitious, or their project has incurred additional unforeseen expenses. Whatever the situation, the real reason they’ve run into problems is a lack of robust financial planning.

Engage a RICS Quantity Surveyor

Ask the average man on the street what a Quantity Surveyor does and you’d probably a variety of answers, most of which would be wrong! But if you’re carrying out a major building project, it’s important to understand how an experienced QS can help make sure your project is a success.

Quantity Surveyors are experts at estimating construction costs. Engaging a RICS regulated Quantity Surveying company such as CLPM to work with you and your Architect will help prevent your designs becoming unaffordable – and save you a lot of stress and heartache too.

How to Make Sure Your Construction Project Stays on Budget

Step 1 – Design to Match your Construction Budget

Firstly, set a Construction Budget figure and then share this with your architect so they can use it to create your initial designs.

Step 2 – Get a QS to Produce an Accurate Line-by-Line Estimate

Next check how much your outline designs will actually cost to build – and that the total build cost is well within your construction budget.

Get a RICS regulated Quantity Surveying company to use your outline designs to create a detailed estimate of your construction costs. This will give you estimates of the material and labour costs, room by room, line by line. You’ll also get costs for other elements such as scaffolding, diggers, and skips.

Because Quantity Surveyors spend all their time looking at plans and talking to builders they are much closer to the real cost of building – including how labour rates vary by region, and changes in the costs of materials. Estimating construction costs using a Quantity Surveyor is therefore a much more accurate way to check your building costs than doing it yourself – and the detailed information they will give you will mean you understand your project’s costs much more clearly.

N.B Having accurate, actionable information early on, in the pre-construction phase of your project can often also help reduce your design costs, by preventing costly re-designs or new planning applications.

Step 3 – Trim or Refine your Design to Save Costs

Use the information you get from your report to help you build more cost-effectively. Having a line-by-line estimate early in the design stage will help you understand where and how you can trim your designs – or your specifications – to cut your construction costs. This task is something your experienced Quantity Surveyor can help you with, and is a useful exercise even if you have not gone over budget!

Estimating Construction Costs is a Wise Investment

As you can see, engaging an experienced, RICS regulated Quantity Surveying team such as CLPM is a wise investment. You will get a much better level of financial control over your project – both in the pre-construction and construction phase of your project.

Ultimately CLPM can save you time, stress and money – and we could also make the difference between your project going ahead or not.

Get in Touch

If you want any more information how CLPM can help you with estimating construction costs then we’d love to hear from you. Call us on 01923 896550, email info@cl-pm.com or complete a contact form.

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Our Construction Project Management and Quantity Surveying Services cover London, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey, and West Sussex. We provide Energy Efficiency and Heating System Advice across the UK.
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