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  • FIRST POST
    • cluelessselfbuilder
    • By cluelessselfbuilder 5th Aug 17, 1:21 PM
    • 9Posts
    • 1Thanks
    cluelessselfbuilder
    Self build cost cutting tips needed Northern Ireland
    • #1
    • 5th Aug 17, 1:21 PM
    Self build cost cutting tips needed Northern Ireland 5th Aug 17 at 1:21 PM
    Hi everyone,

    We are about to (hopefully) put our house plans out to tender, however before we do this, we have to decide what kind of finishes we want for the house to get comparable tenders. Our house is 3390 sq feet (with a separate 527sq foot integrated double garage) - we haven't got any tenders yet however we think we can just about afford to finish this to an average standard, without an tarmac or landscaping, however we would love sliding sash uPCV windows and stone on the external garage walls, so we are looking for other areas we could reduce cost to account for these higher than average expenses. This (again hopefully) will be our house for life, so are totally happy to live in an unfinished house for a few years - all we really require right now is a kitchen, 1 bedroom and an en suite for the next while.

    What areas would you not save money on given a tight budget? And what areas would a cheaper alternative cause no reduction in functionality of the house? We both work full time, but are keen to do as many bits ourselves as is sensible, like painting, tiling etc to reduce cost.

    Am I better to source windows, bathrooms and kitchens etc myself and arrange someone to fit them, or would i get them cheaper through the building contractor (who presumably will get trade prices) and have them fit it while on site?

    All suggestions gratefully received!!
Page 1
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 6th Aug 17, 7:36 PM
    • 16,751 Posts
    • 9,934 Thanks
    motorguy
    • #2
    • 6th Aug 17, 7:36 PM
    • #2
    • 6th Aug 17, 7:36 PM
    Hi everyone,

    We are about to (hopefully) put our house plans out to tender, however before we do this, we have to decide what kind of finishes we want for the house to get comparable tenders. Our house is 3390 sq feet (with a separate 527sq foot integrated double garage) - we haven't got any tenders yet however we think we can just about afford to finish this to an average standard, without an tarmac or landscaping, however we would love sliding sash uPCV windows and stone on the external garage walls, so we are looking for other areas we could reduce cost to account for these higher than average expenses. This (again hopefully) will be our house for life, so are totally happy to live in an unfinished house for a few years - all we really require right now is a kitchen, 1 bedroom and an en suite for the next while.

    What areas would you not save money on given a tight budget? And what areas would a cheaper alternative cause no reduction in functionality of the house? We both work full time, but are keen to do as many bits ourselves as is sensible, like painting, tiling etc to reduce cost.

    Am I better to source windows, bathrooms and kitchens etc myself and arrange someone to fit them, or would i get them cheaper through the building contractor (who presumably will get trade prices) and have them fit it while on site?

    All suggestions gratefully received!!
    Originally posted by cluelessselfbuilder
    Roof tiles. We saved quite a bit just by varying the style / material a little, even though the overall "look" is the same.

    Bathrooms - we used Victoria Plumbing in Lurgan. We'd a main bathroom to do, 4 en suites and a downstairs loo, and it soon adds up. Jim there kept us right on price and quality.

    Kitchens. We'd two full kitchens to do - we used MS Kitchens in Aghagallon. You can easily spend 30,000 on a kitchen. We didnt yet we've two lovely kitchens.

    Fireplaces. Portadown fireplaces. We picked the fireplace we wanted in another premium fireplace reseller, then those guys built it for half the price. Good quality too.

    If you're really up against it, dont put en suites in where you wont yet be needing them.

    Dont tile where you wont yet be needing to. There are some good funky plastic alternatives to tiling that are cheap and easier kept clean for say a childrens en suite.

    If you're planning on putting down tiling / wooden floors you'll have to let everything dry out well first, so put down the cheapest of the cheap carpet and that will buy you time as it were to gather up the money for the flooring you want.

    Heating system - underfloor downstairs and radiators upstairs will be cheaper than underfloor upstairs and downstairs (stating the obvious i know).

    Window frames - big savings here. Price around - prices (and quality) vary greatly. We used Allen Gamble - good balance of price and quality.

    Appliances - price around. Try Dalzells of Markethill.

    Tiles. Price around, avoid the bigger chains. They've "big sales" on all the time but are a fortune and the quality often isnt great.

    Include painting the inside of your house as part of the tender document (if its not too late) - it'll be a lot cheaper than bringing in a contractor later.

    Doors - price around. Prices vary greatly and if you need a lot, it adds up. Try Killeen Hardware, Armagh. We got beautiful white oak doors and waxed them.

    You are entitled to claim the VAT back on most fixtures, so be aware of that.
    Last edited by motorguy; 06-08-2017 at 7:40 PM.
    "We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 8th Aug 17, 7:09 PM
    • 16,751 Posts
    • 9,934 Thanks
    motorguy
    • #3
    • 8th Aug 17, 7:09 PM
    • #3
    • 8th Aug 17, 7:09 PM
    Any questions, let me know btw.
    "We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."
    • cluelessselfbuilder
    • By cluelessselfbuilder 8th Aug 17, 7:20 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    cluelessselfbuilder
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 17, 7:20 PM
    • #4
    • 8th Aug 17, 7:20 PM
    Thank you, really appreciate the advice! Did you project manage? And did you hire a quantity surveyor for your build? What price did you end up per square foot?
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 8th Aug 17, 8:30 PM
    • 16,751 Posts
    • 9,934 Thanks
    motorguy
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 17, 8:30 PM
    • #5
    • 8th Aug 17, 8:30 PM
    Thank you, really appreciate the advice! Did you project manage? And did you hire a quantity surveyor for your build? What price did you end up per square foot?
    Originally posted by cluelessselfbuilder
    No, we used a building contractor who did the whole lot.

    I think it worked out at around 75 per square foot, excluding siteworks. Siteworks added another 23,000, so around 323,000 all in (4,000 sq foot)

    That was us in, kitchens, bathrooms, fireplaces, carpets, blinds, underfloor heating upstairs and downstairs, staircase (8,000), solar panels (thermodynamic @ 3,000), biomass boiler (@7,500).

    That was a number of years ago now, so i dont know if prices have went up or down recently.

    I would recommend you budget 10% for overspend. Our tender came back at 273,000 and we pretty much spent 10% over and above that.
    "We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."
    • cluelessselfbuilder
    • By cluelessselfbuilder 8th Aug 17, 8:52 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    cluelessselfbuilder
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 17, 8:52 PM
    • #6
    • 8th Aug 17, 8:52 PM
    What sort of spec was yours finished to? We have a budget of around 280k but doesn't have to be finished for that, a bedroom with en suite and kitchen is all we need to be completed, the rest can be done anytime!
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 9th Aug 17, 12:52 PM
    • 16,751 Posts
    • 9,934 Thanks
    motorguy
    • #7
    • 9th Aug 17, 12:52 PM
    • #7
    • 9th Aug 17, 12:52 PM
    What sort of spec was yours finished to? We have a budget of around 280k but doesn't have to be finished for that, a bedroom with en suite and kitchen is all we need to be completed, the rest can be done anytime!
    Originally posted by cluelessselfbuilder
    It was finished to walk in the door and move your furniture in.

    The only thing we didnt do was one of the two non en suite bathrooms as frankly we knew we wouldnt use it. We got it plumbed and wired (not hard) for a jacuzzi corner bath so we'll fit it out with a suite with one of those at some point.

    In terms of quality we aimed for upper medium to high. Things that we hadnt budgeted for which came out of our contigency were things like outside lights (we live in the country so its pitch black at night) of which we ended up with 10 around the house and i think they were something like 95 each for the ones we wanted, so that was an unexpected 1,000 killed.

    Also connecting to the main sewers cost something like 3,000 and i think there were some other ad hoc charges along the way.

    Theres probably quite a bit that will be outside your tender doc - stuff like appliances all adds up, as does any extra low energy options you may wish to avail of.
    "We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."
    • DesignPro
    • By DesignPro 15th Aug 17, 10:09 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    DesignPro
    • #8
    • 15th Aug 17, 10:09 PM
    • #8
    • 15th Aug 17, 10:09 PM
    Hi, we are also building a house in Co. Down, after we got our plans we started the same thing, my partner is in the groundworks construction industry so we were able to do this work ourselves but we looked into ways to do the remaining build as cost effective as possible. I came across a really good article online on a local builders site for building timber frames, and how long term they don't cost as much to run, our old house (really old) that we rented was costing us 500 every other month for oil we eventually never put it on! Anyway after more research into it and getting prices we decided to go with the Timber Frame Build, I wont bore you with all the details but if you look up 'self build money saving guide' theres tips by a company QTF Homes who do Timber Frames here,

    We ended up using this company and they were able to give us even more advice on areas we could save on.. so can highly recommend them for getting a price.

    - I also recommend Victoria Plum excellent price bathrooms we are going here too, for sofas that will last 10years+ look up Connolly Brothers in Monaghan, we just ordered our sofas here.

    Good luck with the build!
    • motorguy
    • By motorguy 16th Aug 17, 1:07 PM
    • 16,751 Posts
    • 9,934 Thanks
    motorguy
    • #9
    • 16th Aug 17, 1:07 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Aug 17, 1:07 PM

    our old house (really old) that we rented was costing us 500 every other month for oil we eventually never put it on!
    Originally posted by DesignPro
    Sounds like your old house had very poor insulation

    Theres lots is done as standard now for any build around insulation, and there are some simple cheap ways to improve it over and above whats now the standard. Even oil boilers themselves are much more efficient so if you were running one 10+ years old that might have been part of the problem.

    The efficiency rating of the glass is important, also air tightness. Also heat loss through window frames, vents, and exterior doors also should be considered.

    It sounds like we went wholly the opposite route to you - ours is block built with concrete floors both downstairs and upstairs and all block walls downstairs and upstairs too.
    Last edited by motorguy; 16-08-2017 at 4:32 PM.
    "We have normality. I repeat, we have normality. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem."
    • Miffman1981
    • By Miffman1981 8th Jan 18, 12:28 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Miffman1981
    Hi, we are also building a house in Co. Down, after we got our plans we started the same thing, my partner is in the groundworks construction industry so we were able to do this work ourselves but we looked into ways to do the remaining build as cost effective as possible. I came across a really good article online on a local builders site for building timber frames, and how long term they don't cost as much to run, our old house (really old) that we rented was costing us 500 every other month for oil we eventually never put it on! Anyway after more research into it and getting prices we decided to go with the Timber Frame Build, I wont bore you with all the details but if you look up 'self build money saving guide' theres tips by a company QTF Homes who do Timber Frames here,

    We ended up using this company and they were able to give us even more advice on areas we could save on.. so can highly recommend them for getting a price.

    - I also recommend Victoria Plum excellent price bathrooms we are going here too, for sofas that will last 10years+ look up Connolly Brothers in Monaghan, we just ordered our sofas here.

    Good luck with the build!
    Originally posted by DesignPro



    Hello


    Did you get quotes from any other timber frame companies in Co Down? We have received a quote from Kilbroney Timber Frames which is slightly more than the quote from QTF but would not be enough to put us off. Had you spoken to the Kilbroney company before deciding to go with QTF? Also, what made you go with QTF? Was it price alone?


    Thanks
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