What Builders Need to Know About Rising Material Costs
According to a report by the Associated General Contractors of America, steep price hikes have hit a wide range of key building materials used in home construction. From lumber and plywood to steel mill products and fuel, pricier building materials are cutting into contractors’ bottom lines. Fortunately, you can mitigate some of these costs by employing the following design strategies.
- Go smaller. It doesn’t take a genius to see that smaller homes are less expensive to build. That said, it’s not wise to randomly hack away components from your build. Instead, think carefully about potential redundancies. Do you really need a breakfast room, a dining room and four stools along the kitchen counter? Must you have a family room, living room and a sitting area inside the master suite? You can save on building costs by combining uses into single spaces. Again, carefully trim unused space, rather than making short-sighted large-scale changes. Approach design minimization like a surgeon, strategically cutting away redundancies and waste.
- Prioritize efficiency. As much as possible, design your projects in accordance with established modules of building materials. Since a standard sheet of drywall is 8-feet x 4-feet, it makes more sense to have an 8-foot x 16-foot wall instead of a 9.5-foot x 17 foot wall, which will require trimming that sends scrap into the dumpster. By considering standard material sizes during the design phase, you can minimize costs and eliminate unnecessary waste.
- Invest where it counts, save where it doesn’t. Granite countertops might make sense in the kitchen; however, they won’t provide the same impact in the spare bathroom or laundry room. Likewise, while brass faucets, hand-painted tile backsplashes and crown molding might look great in the master suite bathroom, they probably aren’t necessary in the kids’ bathroom. Use high-cost items where they make the most difference, and less expensive stuff everywhere else.
- Apply value engineering. You can minimize the financial impact of a design with some forward-thinking strategies. For example, if a home is originally sited on a slope, consider moving it a few feet, so you can decrease the height of the foundation. You can also reduce expenses by cutting down on complexity. Builders enjoy lower costs when they work with long, straight, linear lines within a foundation. While this can result in duller builds, you can liven things up with a few thoughtful design elements.
- Keep things simple. More detail inevitably means more materials and more work. You can cut down on complex trim by strategically placing doors within a house. Consider how people will move around in the home with an eye toward eliminating unnecessary doors. A great example is an enclosed water closet within a main bathroom. Maintain the door to the toilet area for privacy’s sake; however, rather than adding a second door leading into the bath, include a case opening that leaves the bathroom exposed to the master bedroom.
Rising materials costs inevitably lead to pricier builds; however, with some smart strategies, you can mitigate costs, while maintaining the beauty and appeal of your design.
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