This criterion usually shows up at the top of most homeowners’ priority lists and tends to dominate discussions about other criteria. In a code-regulated context and with ever-higher expectations of occupant comfort and convenience, no building can be described as cheap (even those that loudly make the claim). There is less-expensive and more-expensive building, and a convoluted path for a homeowner to navigate between the two.
Important questions to consider include:
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Does your building size match your building budget?
Quantity is a crucial cost factor; can your building be made smaller to reduce costs?
Are you mistaking “wants” for “needs”?
Are you considering whole system costs, not just singular components?
Are you getting estimates on big-ticket items only?
How are you factoring balance-of-system costs into the budget?
Component Cost vs Whole System Cost
All too often, prospective homebuilders will attempt to create a rough budget estimate for their project by finding prices for the “big-ticket” items they’ve identified. It can seem to be a reasonable approach, and quite often it is relatively easy to find published costs for these items. But this ignores the fact that each major component of the building is just one part of an entire system.
Here are two examples that show how wrong an estimate based on a single component can be.