Get the builder on board early
Hello Kieran As my partner and I are about to start looking for a builder to build our new home in Rosscarbery, can you give me some advice on how to choose / assess builders, and given the recent increase in the cost of materials, how do I know I’m getting the best value for money?
Thank you Yours sincerely Michael Williams Clonakilty Hi Michael Thank you for your question. I think you actually raised one of the key points of your question – “Value”. The problem with a tendering system (where you send your drawings to multiple builders and ask them to submit a quote) is that it’s largely based on an award to the builder with the lowest quote. By this logic, you will end up with the builder who provided the lowest quote, but not necessarily the builder who can offer you the best value for your new home construction. What if all the quotes come back and they’re all over your budget? What if extras keep coming throughout construction, which means your final invoice is way over the original quote? This is often what happens, so how do you deal with it?
In practice, what tends to happen is that people start to design their new home with an architect or engineer, they get a building permit, and then they start to focus on selecting the builder where they worry about costs and budgets once they start getting quotes from builders. In my opinion, budgeting for a new home construction is an integral part of the home design and should be considered at the very start of a project with the architectural design and planning potential. To enable you to do this, you would need input from a QS (Quantity Surveyor) at the very beginning of the design process where he will oversee the design development of your new home and advise you and your designer, on the likely costs so that you can align your design with your budget early on. (Let’s face it, one of the main constraints of a project from the start is a fixed budget, so it’s best to tackle this problem from the start) You may at this point start to feel the responsibility of maintaining the house in budget really sits on your shoulders because even if you have a QS that works for you, he / she can only really cost the designs given to them by your designer. It’s hard to turn that responsibility over to another party because the elephant in the room here is that the builder, who is the main player in the field when you get to the site, hasn’t even been selected or even seen a set. of designs, so how can it add value?
In my opinion, a builder adds the most value when it generates value. What I mean by this is that if a builder is hired early, they can both help advise the designers (architect / engineer) and the QS when it comes time to review your home plans beforehand. to apply for a building permit. A good builder will likely know where savings can be made by using alternative materials or construction methods and remember, now that you’ve got your builder involved in the process from the start, I don’t think it’s unreasonable. share the burden of keeping your new home built budget with him and include it in your construction contract.
Yes, this is a different approach to writing a design tender dossier and looking for quotes from builders after building permit, but in my experience this process can often be difficult. for the auto builder because it is stuck between the design team and the builder with the result of uncertain costs and even extended lead times and I think this often leads to a difficult path for the customer. Yes it is true that you really do need a reputable builder that you feel comfortable with and trusting in this case, and that is the key, but isn’t that true in all? aspects of life? It should be a team effort from the start to keep the project on track, so get all the players on the team to the field for the pre-game huddle. Do not call on your star player at half-time when you are already 2 goals behind.
Kieran McCarthy is Founder and Director of Design & Construction at KMC Homes, as well as co-host of the hit RTÉ1 show ‘Cheap Irish Homes’,