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Owner-Builder Pitfalls

Owner Building or Self Building your DIY project be it a new home or extension can be a financially rewarding project.
 
 
Finance
If you are financing the construction of your new home or extension your lender will require accurate costings for all phases of the DIY project. Without these accurate costings your Owner Builder project could be derailled before it even begins. 
 
 
Trades
The DIY Owner Builder will be responsible for finding trades and obtaining quotes for items that they do not or can not do themselves. You must decide who is the best contractor to use considering not only price but license details and reputation of the contractor.The least expensive contractor may not be the worst but you should investigate why he is the cheapest. Does his price include all that the other prices do? Is his price cheaper because he needs the work? Is his price cheaper because he intends to do the work in a different manner to which you believe it should be done? Hiring the right contractor to do the job will save you money in the long run. Quotes from contractors should be detailed and not just a dollar figure on a piece of paper. Let subcontractors know that you have given your plans to others for quotes and that you would like to discuss the quotes when they are ready. Prices vary with types of materials used, amount of labour and quality of finishes required. Be frank and open about your requirements and remember that good and honest communication can both avoid and solve most problems. If materials are needed, have them on site ready and consult regularly with subcontractors to ensure all aspects of the job are understood by both parties and progressing. If a subcontractor arrives at your project and iti is not ready or materials are not on site he will simple leave and come back at a latter date, possible weeks or months away. Time is money to subcontractors and you must not waste either.

 
 
Estimate or Costing
The most common reason DIY Owner Builder projects fail is due to incorrect costings. Costings for any project must be fixed from the outset to achieve the original budget at the end of the project. This means the fixed costs must be accurate or you will run out of money at some stage of the project. Accurate costing relies on many factors but the most important are listed:
  • Accurately estimating ancillary costs such as services connections, fees, plans, and all other oncosts.
  • Selecting quotes for the project (not necessarily the cheapest one).
  • Having accurate material and labour estimates for all components of construction.
  • Budgeting to achieve a positive cashflow throughout the project.
  • Having the means to achieve accurate material and labour quantities ie: reliable Estimating Software

Land
Building lots can also provide many pitfalls.

  • Is the slope of the block excessive and liable
  • Selecting quotes for the project (not necessarily the cheapest one).
  • Having accurate material and labour estimates for all components of construction.
  • Budgeting to achieve a positive cashflow throughout the project.
  • Having the means to achieve accurate material and labour quantities ie: reliable Estimating Software


Project Duration
A DIY Owner Builder project may also run into difficulties when the project takes an inordinate amount time to complete. This can cause family and financiaal hardships as well as being a very stressful period. A good Project Management tool can overcome these organizational problems.

 

Pre Construction
To ensure a successful DIY Owner Builder project, you will want to prepare thoroughly before starting construction. This includes:

  • Estimating the fees imposed by the building department or any other fees payable
  • Estimating the cost of the building block - services, excavation, surveys, etc.
  • Selecting quotes that have fully detailed the scope of the work.
  • Accurately pricing materials and labour costs.
  • Making sure you can finish in a timely fashion.

 

Lookout for these possible pitfalls and you can control your project in a professional manner and save yourself thousands of dollars whilst forever more enjoying the fruits of all your hard work.

 


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