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Friday, August 2, 2013

Cost-Saving Concepts in New Custom Home Design

As an architect interested in getting the most out of the least regarding high quality design of custom modern homes that are still cost-effective, below is the most exhaustive list of cost-considerate design concepts that may help keep your new home project on budget:
1.  Reduce size (provide for the space you really NEED).
2.  Reduce # of materials.
3.  Reduce # of different Trades.
4.  Reduce material (reduce unnecessary height).
5.  Reduce labor/time.
6.  Simplify shape/"footprint".
7.  Reduce # of corners/turns/angles/curves.
8.  Reduce amount of built-in cabinets.
9.  Reduce # of plumbing fixtures (is a bidet really necessary).
10. Reduce electrical needs/equipment (no special lighting from Europe).
11. Reduce # of different paint colors (unless DIY).
12. Simplify roof shape(s) (no complex valleys, ridges, turrets, domes, etc.).
13. Use stock "off-the-shelf" materials/products.
14. Use local materials & labor (Home Depot/Lowe's are good resources).
15. Use materials in their natural way.
16. Utilize the machine (straight cuts - geometry).
17. Reduce # of finishes.
18. Utilize modular systems/design - grids.
19. Reduce waste of materials.
20. Flat sites with existing utilities are usually less costly than sloping sites.
21. Pre-fabrication can sometimes be more cost-effective.
22. Reduce frivolous accessories/applique/ornamentation.
23. Simplify the drawings and details - reduce # of sheets of plans.
24. Reduce # of doors/hardware if possible.
25. Maintain consistency throughout the home instead of a hodge-podge of different rooms.
26. Use passive solar design.
27. Kitchens & Baths are most expensive rooms - reduce, simplify.
28. Reduce "special-order" items that have long lead times.
29. Reduce # of times you change your mind during construction which leads to Change Orders.
30. Plan for essentials 1st, then work toward extras or bonuses.
31. Get Preliminary Cost Estimates during design to compare against budget.
32. Buy less expensive furniture, window coverings, accessories, fabrics - it all adds up.
33. Plan things in stages to eventually get all you want in due time. Patience saves $.
34. Reduce # of different roof materials.
35. Economize landscape/hardscape by maybe using younger, smaller plants. Use dryscapes.
36. Pools are expensive - be prudent with size, shape. Reduce # of pumps, etc.
37. Use as much open plan as possible - reduce # of walls that compartmentalize.
38. Shop around & compare everything - patience saves $.
39. Plan for future and install infrastructure now rather than after construction.
40. Good architectural design should not require much interior designer/decorator add-to's.
41. Try to use conventional construction/techniques/methods.
42. Do some of the work you can yourself.
43. Maybe use hollow core doors or even curtains at closets - solid core at bedrooms/baths.
44. Build your own furniture out of plywood and 1-by or shop garage sales and refurbish.
45. Combine/group plumbing areas to save on pipe lengths.

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