Tips for keeping to budget

Tips for keeping to budget

Renovation and build projects can be disruption and stressful, but budget blowouts and delays tend to cause most of the angst. Working within your budget is critical to a streamlined project that is worth all the hard work. So here are my suggestions to achieve this based on 15 years first hand experience – including on my own home….

Firstly, work out what your budget is – that might sound silly but the majority of clients either don’t have or don’t divulge a budget upfront. Being open about your budget is essential for maximizing your spend and a good designer will work within this to make the absolute most of what you can afford.

When it comes to building and construction, always allow for some contingency – for example don’t plan on spending 100% of your budget on core work. Keep at least 10% but ideally 20% for the unexpected work whether it be replacing pipes or services, tree work or other unforeseen items that can occur during the construction process. This reduces the stress if you do get thrown a curve ball.

Ensure you have a clear scope of works set out for contractors from the outset. Make sure you both know exactly what they are pricing for you and what materials they are supplying. This needs to be detailed in writing to avoid any misunderstandings. Having a scope of works also allows you to compare pricing more accurately when you know what is included from the various parties. Your designer should be able to assist with this.

Compare prices – ideally you would get three prices for all items of work so you can compare. Contractors pricing can vary considerably pending on how they propose to carry out the work so it is good to understand their proposed methodology also. If three prices is a little admin heavy just make sure you have two from recommended contractors.

Good contractors tend to provide comprehensive pricing upfront as they don’t want issues or surprises once they start the project. If one price is a bit higher don’t be put off and assume the cheapest quote is the best – it may not include everything you need done. Thoroughly check all detail and ask questions where it is not clear on what is covered. No matter how small the job always make sure you also cover off the agreed start date, duration of works and whether you are working on charge up (hourly rates) or a fixed fee.

Try to stick to the plan – there is always the temptation to change your mind about design features during the construction phase. Try to avoid this by looking at available options during the design phase – not once the contractor is onsite. This can cause costly delays procuring materials or reworking areas. Time spent upfront on good landscape design helps stick to budget during construction.

And finally, make sure you try and enjoy the design and construction process, let your Landscape designer and contractor help you to create a landscape you will love being in, adds value to your home and enhances your lifestyle – money well spent.