Clients get really disappointed when they can’t afford to build their home extension, their dream home.

If we were to be paid $100 every time a homeowner has not been able to proceed with a renovation because it was priced up outside their budget, we’d be a wealth! This is because most wait until after the plans have been fully drafted before getting drafting the actual cost of the build.

Not only is it disappointing for the homeowner, but it’s also disappointing for the architect who is unable to complete the home extension project for them.

So to overcome this problem we recommend the following.


1. Get a great brief

Most good architects are excellent at getting the client’s brief and coming up with “out of the box” designs and ideas. However, forming a priorities list from the start can set the frame of mind from the start. It helps identify which wants might not be possible to have within the budget.

2. Submit your preliminary sketches to a trusted builder to get a rough budget

This enables you to adapt your sketches to suit your budget. When we say rough we don’t mean finger in the air stuff. We mean every element of a typical build accounted for. Yes, even the tiles, whiteware, final handover clean etc. There would be a few elements that are not detailed yet and builders will have a hard time estimating. Nevertheless, they must have a number put to them. Structural steel, earthworks council fees. These are likely to be some of the unknowns that are easily forgotten. Include as best as possible.

For your info, many builders won’t be “jumping for joy” when asked to do this – especially before you have detailed drawings to submit to council. So if you find one, keep him and help him help you.

3. Use a QS to quantify your project

An alternative would be to use a QS to quantify your project. Be warned though, this option does come with its downfalls. The number of times we’ve heard. “But we even paid a QS to cost our project.” Quantity Surveyors don’t build the houses. They often don’t get feedback about their costings. A booming market can change pricing a lot, so choose a QS that is in touch with the market. There are great quantity surveyors out there, but estimating labour costs is difficult. So take the necessary steps to ensure you have a good one.

4. Involve the builder from the beginning for ideas and solutions

In fact, find the one you really click with and work well with. A great architect-builder relationship is the best way to make building a fantastic experience for the customers and reduce stress for future projects.

If this article has resonated with you and/or helped you in any way, then we would love to hear from you.

Get in touch with us

021 541 392Mon – Fri (8:00am – 5:00pm)
Belmont, Auckland, New Zealand


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