Portfolio Description


The majority of client’s looking to build their own home or complete a home extension project, have a budget that they ideally need to maintain throughout their project.

Being able to work within the parameters of a budget is critical, and ensuring that the finances throughout a project are monitored closely can be a thankless task, so, how you do you ensure you don’t go over and maintain your budget?

1. Plan ahead!

 Your project starts the minute you consider an extension to your existing property. The brief you provide your designer will in essence set out the parameters of what’s designed, so think carefully about what you want.

Produce a tick list split into 3 subheadings:

Number 1, What you definitely need to achieve from your extension, i.e. open plan kitchen/dining space, more usable family space, that additional bedroom.
Number 2, nice to haves, utility or ground floor WC, en-suite to that additional bedroom, under floor heating etc.
Number 3, extras, any special requirements for flooring or lighting, does the existing house need to be re-plastered or re-wired?

By putting this list together, you can very quickly start to differentiate between what you must achieve from your budget and what would be nice to try and have incorporated as part of the works.

2. Appoint a designer who understands costs.

When it comes to choosing your designer, be honest, tell them what your budget is, after all they need to deliver your project within your budget. Ask them about what’s achievable for your budget, ask them if you are being realistic. It’s important to choose a designer who understands costs. There are any ways of achieving that wow-factor design without having to incur significant build costs.

It’s critical to get as much of your requirements down on paper from day one, you will need a builder to price your project from accurate drawn information, based on your requirements, therefore you will know at the early stages of the project what the overall costs will be. maintain your budget.

3. What needs to be considered over and above design.

 It’s important to consider incidentals that can often ramp up overall build costs and mak, items such as:

Does the existing house need re-plastering?
Does the existing house need a re-wire?
Is a new boiler required?
Do existing windows need replacing?
Lighting requirements?
As part of the decoration are there any other areas of the house that require decoration?
What’s the existing roof condition? If your extension abuts your existing roof, will certain parts or all of the existing roof need replacing with new felt, battens or even tiles?
Does existing roof insulation need replacing?

By considering all of the above you should have a better handle on your overall spend, and should be able to take into consideration all aspects of additional works that often catch client’s by surprise and therefore encounter additional costs, which result in build costs exceeding initial budgets.

4. Design changes.  maintain your budget.

Even with the best endeavours to get you’re deign frozen very early on, things can change and probably will. Planners might request changes to your submitted plans, friends and family may have suggestions, which may make the property more attractive or add additional value, you may change your mind throughout the build process. It’s important to remember that each time there is a change, it must always be related back to the original budget, if something does go up then something must go down to offset the costs.

5. Don’t get carried away!   maintain your budget.

Easier said than done, I know!

When It comes to services, often the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is a valid one. However, when it comes to physical products, there’s so many on offer these days that it certainly pays to shop around.

There are plenty of savvy ways to spend a little and get a lot when it comes to finishes. For instance,  you don’t have to spend tens of thousands of pounds to get that designer kitchen, we would suggest that a budget of between 10 to 20 % of your build cost can get you that dream kitchen and still maintain your budget. Howdens Kitchens offer some fantastic kitchens at great prices.

Shop around for windows and doors, there are bi-folding and sliding doors on the market that can vary between £3,500 to £15,000 +, be sensible and don’t get carried away. With regards to floor finishes, there’s often a big difference in quality between budget and middle of the road, but little visible difference between middle of the road and high end, other than the price!

Whilst the internet is obviously a powerful and useful tool when it comes to comparing prices and sourcing inspiration, there’s a lot to be said for being able to physically see and feel products. This also applies should any products need to be returned. Consider return policies and the potential timescales that re-ordering products may have on on-site works.

Look at sourcing products locally from a main dealer, this way it allows you to strike up a personal relationship with a supplier, which puts you in better stead should you need to return or replace items or even re-order products, and opens up the opportunity for discussions over discounts.

6. Be strict when you need to be!

It’s so easy to get carried away with costs and over-spending once you start to consider fixtures and fittings. If you need to maintain your budget, then you will need to be strict on your spending. Produce a list of what you need and put costs against those items, equating to your maximum spend. If you do overspend on a certain item, make sure that you deduct the overspend of another item/s.

7. Does everything need to be completed in one go?

If it looks like your going to reach you budget prior to works being completed, consider if there are elements of work that can be done at a later date, typical items are external works such as driveways, landscaping and patio areas. If other areas of your house need decorating, can these be done at a later date? Is there a potential to install a more cost effective kitchen with a view to changing it in 5 years time?

8. Always add a contingency!

Always have a contingency for those unforeseen items and areas of design that cannot be foreseen at the early stages. A typical example where clients contingencies start to get used are by encountering soft or poor ground, this means having to dig deeper and more time spent on the excavations, deeper foundations, more removal of soil off site, more concrete or more brickwork to make up for the depth of the foundations.

On most sites a contingency of 10% is usually sufficient, on sites that are sloping or have irregular levels then a contingency of 20% can be a more accurate figure.

maintain your budget.


PJH Architectural Services