Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tips on structural designs when building your new home that will save you money


We are designing our new home and are worried about costs, what can we do structurally when designing the house to make it cheaper to build?


There are many things that you can do to make sure that the overall design of the home doesn’t end up costing you more money than it should.

Design your home to fit the specific lot. For example;

If your lot has a sloping hill, then you should design your home with a walkout basement. Since you’re more than likely going to build your home with a basement the way to make a home cheaper per sqft is a walkout basement. When you build a walkout basement you get livable sqft that has windows and doors, which is a lot more usable then having a living room in a dark artificially lit basement. If you do build a house with a walkout basement then you should be able to stick to a single story.

If you are on an extremely small lot then you should think about building a home that is at least two stories, a lot of people are building a two story house with a loft where the attic should be. This will give you a lot more sqft on the same size of footprint.
Every home has a roof, a foundation and at least four walls. What you do beyond that is what costs more money.

If your house has more than four walls, is an odd shape or has strange corners then it will cost you more money.

If you have a fancy roof line, like a lot of hips and valleys then these will cost more money.

Dormers cost more money because they are built into the roof and are labour intensive and result in losses of livable square footage.

Building a house with only a single story costs more per sqft then building a two story home. Since every home needs a roof and a foundation it is cheaper to build that second story then a large single story home.

Covered porches are expensive, so are decks that are high enough off the ground that they require a railing.

Detached garages are more expensive then attached garages.

The more windows in your home the more it will cost to build and the larger the windows the more they will cost.

The more sets of stairs that you build in a home the more expensive it will become; you also lose square footage of usable space.

Hallways are a waste of space, the fewer hallways the more usable square footage you will have.

Crawlspaces are cheaper to build then full basements, but you lose usable square footage which means the upper levels have to be larger to accommodate things like a mechanical room and storage.

Stick to building 8 ft ceilings, anything over 8 ft costs more.

Sun porches, sky lights and solariums cost more money.

Cathedral ceilings are expensive and so are great rooms.

Wood burning fireplaces are more expensive then gas fireplaces. The chimney on a wood fireplace is the most expensive part. Wood fireplace chimneys have to go up through the roof and be built high enough that they clear the roof line so that there is enough draw of air to pull the smoke up and out of the chimney.

There are hundreds of things inside of the home that I could recommend you to do to save money, but these ones that I have listed are the ones pertaining to the structural costs.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

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