It is well known that building any structure can quickly become expensive if costs are not controlled. But how does one control construction cost? Listed below are nine proven methods you can use to save money on a construction project.

1. Use  stock design

Custom designs cost more in materials, design time, and labour. Thankfully, you can save on this cost by using any of the dozen stock design plans offered by log and timber home manufacturers, which have been successfully replicated repeatedly. Not only will you save on the cost of construction, because these designs have been used over time, but errors have also been eliminated; your project will be completed smoothly and on time.

2. Make use of simple materials and methods

When it comes to construction projects, the more options you include, the more money you will have to spend to get it right. If there are a lot of moving details, your project can quickly get complicated which will also affect the cost. To avoid this, keep the design elements to the barest minimum. 

For example, use the same flooring in all the rooms, the same tiles in all the toilets and so on. Doing this will help save costs because you will buy materials in bulk and also reduce wastage. It also makes labour optimised. In addition, if a system or product is commonly and widely used, there will be more suppliers offering it, so it is possible for you to get a very discounted price on the materials.

3. Use skilled labour

You will have to pay skilled labourers more than normal workers but the extra cost is made up of saving on the cost of materials. Skilled contractors who have been in the construction business for a long time will have skills to deliver quality projects in compliance with industry regulations. 

In addition, collaborating with professional architects and structural designers and getting their expert advice in the early stages of construction will help you save cost. Changes made to the blueprints during the construction process will greatly impact the cost (make the entire project more expensive) – it is best to spot problem areas before the build begins, a skilled contractor will help with this.

Pro tip: We recommend that you do not just go for branded products, all that is required is that the materials be of good quality, so it doesn’t always have to be a high brand. 

4. Reduce the scope of the project

One of the quickest ways to reduce the cost of the construction project is to reduce its scope. This will greatly influence your budget and make it less expensive. Scope in this context refers to the reduction of the square footage of a project, taking away certain features of the project, making use of a more efficient and cost-effective flooring system, or re-evaluating underutilised space. 

One of the reasons why reducing the scope of your project has such a huge impact on budgets is because of its overall effect. For example, if you take off a hundred square footage from your project, you are essentially removing a hundred square footage of floor area – which  means less expectation work, foundations, site work, finishing, floor framing and finish, wall framing  and finish, roofing, insulation, MEP coverage, trim work, waterproofing,  and so on.

5. Choose a simple roof system

On a  new build, roofing is one of the most expensive parts of a construction project. The simpler the roof is, the less expensive it will be. Inexpensive roofs are simple and feature a single ridgeline and shallow ones. Complicated roofs require steeper pitches, valleys, hips and even though they are usually more interesting, they are also a lot more expensive.

6. Make use of smart technology

If you use the right building technologies, it can significantly reduce the cost of a construction project. Not familiar with smart building technologies? Listed below are some of them:

EPS panels: EPS panels (Expandable Polyester panels) are a cost-effective, lightweight and low maintenance contemporary materials. EPS panels are precast panels made from exceptional insulation properties and moisture resistant materials to ensure all kinds of environments are airtight.

Porotherm smart bricks: Porotherm smart bricks are especially handy in areas where brickwork is vernacular – Kuwait, UAE, KSA and so on. Porotherm smart bricks are made using advanced smart clay and can be used for all types of buildings, hotels, hospitals, multi-storey buildings. What’s more, Porotherm smart breaks are very inexpensive and eco-friendly.

GFRG system: the GFRG system (Glassfibre with gypsum) can reduce the cost of your construction project by about 20 to 30%. This Australian panel system can be used on all structure elements like roofs, floors, walls and more.

7. Make a realistic plan

With the right planning and the execution of work by a professional civil engineer, you can save a lot of money and project time. Carefully plan the quantity of material needed and its usage before you begin the project. Also, try to maximize the use of manpower. 

If you properly plan, you reduce the amount of guesswork you will have to do – invariably reducing the amount of money you spend on building and designing your new home. If you have not done adequate research, you could quickly incur a lot of costs. So, be sure to plan for everything properly before your construction project begins.

8. Make use of alternative materials

Using alternative materials is a great way to reduce the cost of your construction project. For example, making use of recycled steel or making use of a structural insulated panel. 

Fun fact: recycled steel is one of the most recycled materials on planet earth. Although recycled steel is not the new version of the raw material, it still lasts for decades. 

Structural insulated panels act like soft-boards because they have a hard outer shell of plywood and a  thick insulated core. Using this type of material is cheaper than traditional building materials and they are also strong.

Another alternative you should consider is making use of fabric structures. Fabric buildings are portable, easy to set up, strong and durable in harsh weather conditions. Fabric structures can give you all the benefits of the brick and mortar building for a fraction of the cost. 

With the current advancement in family building construction, you can also fully fit your structure with electricity, insulation and all the modern comforts. If you use a translucent roof, you can even remove the need for artificial daylight lighting.

9. Standardise

Reducing the number of one-off variations and your dimensions means you can buy in bulk and make use of the same tools. We also recommend you buy off the shelf items that are readily available at local hardware stores and fabrication shops when necessary. This way, you won’t lose valuable time waiting for special order materials to arrive. You can pick them out yourself and have them delivered fast. In addition, repeating layouts or building multiple function areas on top or around one another, you can also reduce cost. It is more expensive to build one complex level of the building than multiple levels with similar layouts.

In conclusion

If you are not sure exactly how to calculate your construction cost, there are a lot of cost calculators available online. Even though the overall cost will not be exact, as the cost is influenced by the type of materials your builder and architects recommend and the design concept of your project.  Using these calculators will give you a general idea of what your project will cost and if you need to rework the details in order to reduce costs.