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Do a Cost Estimate Early in the Design

We are in the middle of a renovation of our own home at the moment, and, being an Estimator, I thought it would be wrong not to do my own Cost Estimate of the renovation works as a guide to obviously, how much this would cost and how much I needed to borrow from the Bank to complete.

Like many of you who have gone through a building or renovation project, I didn't like the result. That was more than I wanted to spend!

In fact, in the previous 12 months, I had whittled down my grander visions by costing the Concept drawings my Architect had done from our directions and ideas to finally , something that worked and functioned according to our needs and had the overall look and feel we were looking for and to within what we were willing to spend.

This in fact, is one of the best ways to use Cost Estimating and the best time to use it is early on in the design process. It may incur some up-front costs from your Architect and Estimator, but it can save you a lot more down the track and... I found... you are more likely to end up with a finished product you are happy with and at a price you had anticipated, more or less.

There are other advantages to what comes out of the use of Cost Estimates, however, I will cover these another time.

As if to reinforce the lessons I learnt from our own renovation project, I have recently completed an Elemental Cost Estimate for three new Cottages so that the Building firm could get an idea on what they may cost.

Not only were they happy with the detail at this level of design, but, although the total estimated price was slightly higher than they expected, I had also highlighted area's of cost that are often forgotten or glossed over by many, they now have a more complete picture of all of the costs involved and if they decide to reduce the build costs, it is easier to select those items and see what impact on the budget is made by deleting them or substituting a lower cost alternative.

They are able to take this away and play around with deleting / changing or adding materials and items , making the corresponding changes to the cost and going back to the designer to discuss.

Thanks for reading and I hope this gave you some thoughts on your own building adventure.