Guide to cost efficient house
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1st timers guide to cost efficient house design
So you are considering building your own dream home? The
majority of people building their own homes are often caught off
guard regarding budgeting of the project and this always results
in a really unpleasant experience for the first time builder.
Being conscious about budgeting can save you a lot of headache
during the building process and might eliminate most of the
nasty surprises. Following is a few pointers to keep in mind
when designing and budgeting for your proposed home:
The first thing to consider is to build a single storey or
double storey home. Factors that will influence your decision
might be amongst others: Stand size, soil conditions, views and
of course cost. The cost of building a double storey is not
necessarily a lot more expensive than a single storey as the
cost of the 1st floor slab might cancel out a big
percentage of the cost of the foundations and treating of the
ground and ground floor slab especially if the ground conditions
are of poor quality.
When 1st time builders are planning and designing
their new home they often try to save on the masonry and
frequently compromising on the comfort or aesthetics of the
house. Typically the masonry work in a home building project
only amounts to about 8-10% of the total project cost and
therefore does not make sense to try and cut costs by cutting on
the brickwork. One can of course argue that all these walls
needs to be finished with plaster & paint or other finishes, but
for the most part there does not really rest a cost saving in
Remember, a great design can be created really inexpensively
with only using brick features or niches in and outside the
One thing one might want to consider is the shape of the floor
plan. If you really need to save on the masonry, there can be a
substantial saving in keeping away from long rectangular or
complex shapes with a lot of direction changes. Where possible,
try to keep the shapes as square as possible and eliminate
unnecessary internal walls and direction changes in walls.
As a guideline, consider the following: A 10x10m square shaped
home amounts to 100sqm using 40m of wall. A 20x5m rectangular
shaped home also amounts to 100sqm but the length of wall used
to create the same area now being 50m.
The different roof material considerations might be one of the
following in approximate order of descending cost: Waterproofed
concrete slab, Thatch, Clay roof tiles, Sheet metal, Concrete
roof tiles. Other roofing materials like Natural slate tiles or
Copper sheeting are available as well but less commonly used and
In South Africa, a double roman concrete roof tiled roof at 26
degree pitch might be one of the most cost efficient roofs.
Using sheet metal roofing might add between 20-80% to the cost
and a concrete slab or thatch roofing might be as much as three
times the cost.
When designing your home also keep the shape of the roof in the
back of your mind. If you are looking at building a double pitch
roof, having a lot of unnecessary valleys and ridges as apposed
to a very simple roof can work out as much as double for the
same area of roof. Thatch roofing, being a lot more of a
freeform in its construction, a lot more complex designs can be
designed without it being significantly more expensive than as
is applicable to a rigid tiled roof. A concrete slab roof might
be expensive, but there would be almost no limit to the shapes
that can be created in the floor plan, without an effect of the
cost. With concrete roofs the size is directly proportional to
PLUMBING & ELECTRICAL
These two items might be the most overlooked cost items for 1st
time home builders. The installation and labour cost of these
without the fittings could be as much as 15% of the total
building project cost depending of the complexity of the design
and number of points for fittings supplied.
When designing the bathrooms & kitchen try to place them
together as close to the sewer connection point as possible but
donít let this control your overall design.
The choice of finishes in your home would noticeably be the
dominating factor in the total project cost. If you are a really
cost conscious 1st time builder or perhaps a
developer, this is where the most savings could be made, but be
careful to take it beyond the point where it starts to
compromise re-selling value of the home.