Tips and Articles

Saving on Labor and Materilas

There’s no doubt that bills for labor and materials will mount quickly during the house building process. Despite this reality, there are savings to be had, especially for those willing to roll up their sleeves and do some grunt work.


Here are some ideas for minimizing construction costs:

Minimize Waste
You’ll pay twice for materials that go unused - once when you buy them and again when you pay to dispose of them. Estimate your material needs carefully before ordering to ensure you don’t buy more than you need.

Earn Sweat Equity
There are big savings to be had by anyone with the skills, energy and time to participate in construction of their own home. Skilled homeowners can save on labor, general contracting fees as well as plumbing and electrical costs.

Consider Your Timing
The best time to build is when contractors and trades people aren’t as busy. Choose a busy time and you will undoubtedly pay more and wait longer for the same home.

Learn to Visualize
Limit the number of changes you make after construction begins. Every change made after plans are approved will be costly.

Don’t Overbuild
It’s the extras that add up, and the extras that are difficult or impossible to recoup at sale time. Make a plan and stick to it.

Reduce Wood Waste
Talk to your contractor about implementing a "green" waste program to divert wood scraps from the landfill and reduce disposal costs.

Go Green
Cut costs by using environmentally certified and reclaimed wood in place of regular lumber. Materials salvaged from demolition sites are inexpensive and can add real character to a home.

Pay Now or Pay Later?
Think beyond the next few months or years. Chose sturdy materials and you will extend the life of your home and cut long-term costs.

Upgrade Later
Buy low-maintenance building materials such as vinyl siding, metal roofing and vinyl flooring, which can be installed now and used later as underlay for tile or wood floors.

Stick to the Plan
Avoid the temptation to splurge "just this once." If you can’t afford an upgrade, don’t make it.

Use Stressed-Skin Panels
Save labor and material costs using stressed-skin panels - insulated panels made of a foam core sandwiched between two skins. Homes built with stressed-skin panels take less time to build and use significantly less framing lumber.

Investigate Optimum Value Engineering
Hire a framer familiar with optimum value engineering, a framing technique that uses less wood, takes less time to complete and improves energy efficiency.

Get What You Pay For
Review invoices to ensure you get what you paid for, in terms of quality and quantity.

The home building process is filled with decisions and expenditures that can take your home from a dream to a financial nightmare. It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Like anything, saving money just takes time and effort. Happy building!