How to save money on an extension

27 May 2021 by Simon Drayson

Side extension and refurbishment of a Victorian house 5

Build It Magazine asked George & James to share our thoughts on how best to save money on an extension project. The article lists ten key ways to keep control of your budget, whether you are on a very tight budget or just simple want to keep it in check. Here are a few of our key suggestions, a link to the full article is at the bottom:

Consider a fixed-price design

With no set fee scales from the RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects), fee structures will vary considerably from one practice to another, depending on different factors both internal and external. Like many practices we speak to, we offer a fixed fee up to planning, before then offering something more bespoke. Architects bring a huge amount of value to a project, not just by finding ways to save money, but also by bringing your hopes and aspirations to fruition.

Spend money to save money

Keeping your Architect on board for the whole project will undoubtably keep surprises to a minimum, as they should be able to advise you on the approximate costs as the design progresses through the RIBA Work Stages from concept through to completion. For larger projects it might be prudent for you to appoint a Quantity Surveyor from the outset of the project, who can work alongside your Architect to provide you with a more accurate breakdown of the costs involved and reduce headaches later.

Get a contact in place

The title of Architect is protected by law, with UK-based Architects being regulated by the ARB (the Architects Registration Board). Registered Architects must agree the T&Cs of their appointment – including fees – with their clients in writing before commencing their services. They have a duty to explain legalese to domestic clients, so you should not feel embarrassed to ask them questions! The same is generally true of other consultants and tradespeople, who will more often than not have their own regulations.

 Introducing wow, without breaking the bank 

By discussing your ‘needs’ as distinct from you ‘wants’ with your Architect, they should be able to help you identify where best to spend your money, whether that be to achieve the wow factor or something else entirely. We often advise our clients to invest in long-term decisions (such as structural alterations), with a view to saving money on the short-term ones (paint colours for example). Fashion often comes with a premium price tag, so always consider bucking the trend!

 Don’t change your mind

We often tell our clients that the golden rule of construction is not to change your mind once the Building Contract has been signed, as this can lead to unwelcome additional costs, both in terms of construction costs from the builder as well as professional fees from the Architect (amongst others) for abortive or additional work. It is important to ask questions throughout the design process, and to also be prepared to answer them in return… to avoid doing so!

Take the first small step.

Get in touch