How to keep your build budget on track

How to keep your build budget on track

Property expert Sandro Heitor, founder of  Trio, shares his top tips for keeping your build budget on track

Self-build projects are notorious for running over budget and often aren’t completed within the expected time frame. Such delays and additional expenditure can cause stress and worry for those who may already be working to overstretched their budgets. In hindsight, many could have saved valuable time and money by managing the project, suppliers, and contractors a little differently.

The building and construction industry typically receives a bad rap when it comes to project timings and budgets. We often hear from frustrated clients who have become victims of bad industry practices that have left them out of pocket and running behind on schedule. In fact, our research revealed that some had been left with as much as 50% of their budgets wasted on projects that had only been 30% completed. This was often the result of poor money management, inaccurate valuations, and unacceptable project management.

I firmly believe that these budget leaks could be rectified by adopting a smarter approach to handling the project. Here are the 5 steps I would recommend to help save money and time when embarking on a new build project.

Obtain several quotations

You may have certain contractors who you routinely work with, or have been recommended to you, but this doesn’t mean that they’ll be the best value, or possess the right skills and experience for your particular project. As a rule of thumb, I would always recommend obtaining a minimum of three quotations so that you can review and evaluate accordingly.

Set an agreed plan with timelines

Once you have agreed on a supplier and a budget, be sure that you understand exactly what the price includes and the timelines for completion of certain elements. Ask your contractor to set specific milestones and dates for completion of these and build these into your contract. This will help ensure that if any delays occur, you have evidence of the timeline agreed to push back to the contractor to help get the project back on track.

Pay in installments

It is a reasonable request to provide some of the budget upfront for materials and initial labour, but avoid putting up too much too soon. You will have less room to push for progress and deadlines once you’ve parted with the cash, so make sure there are clear payment milestones, so that both you and your contractor know where they stand at every stage.

Employ a project manager

It can be easy to get personally attached to your build project and this can sometimes cloud your judgement when it comes to making rational decisions or coming to appropriate comprises when unexpected issues arise during the project. Employing a project manager to oversee the project helps to keep you sufficiently removed from the day to day issues. The project manager will be able to view the process impartially and keep all the wheels in motion to ensure that they don’t reach a deadlock due to failed discussions or fall behind with the programme schedule.

Review and evaluate

Once the project is completed, ensure to take time to thoroughly review the process, considering both the good and the bad. Understanding where issues occurred and what could have been done to rectify them will help you to gain valuable experience and knowledge which you can carry through to your next build project.
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About the Author

Sandro Heitor is the founder of Trio – The Difference a property company which operates three divisions with transparency: Property Maintenance and work with agents, housing associations, private Landlords and hotels carrying out any maintenance work. Trio Ltd. has visited over 10,000 homes in its maintenance division and have GDV in excess of £40million in the development division.

Trio are launching a development product that will be cheaper, faster and better than anything on the market today. An innovative approach to bridge a huge development property market problem.