The Construction Budget: How Much Do You Have To Spend?

It isn't easy setting a construction budget for any project.

Most of my clients have never hired an Architect before and many have never built anything in their lives. So it comes as no surprise when they ask me for advice on how much construction costs are likely to be. I even wrote a blog post back in June 2009 describing contemporary building budgets. Whenever a prospective client contacts me, I usually meet them at their property and talk through their wish list for the building work. Inevitably, the discussion turns to money and I ask the same question every time; "How much money do you have to spend on the project?" For some reason I keep getting the same answer;"Oh, I don’t know how much it's going to cost" Of course you don't and neither do I, because we haven't designed the building yet! Perhaps I'm being impatient and unkind, It is understandable after all if someone has no construction experience that they are a bit scared and bewildered by the process. I try to explain to each of my new clients that if they tell me how much money they have to spend, a sum beyond which they simply cannot or will not go, then I can design the building to fit this budget. If, on the other hand, they send me away to design their wish list, it will probably be more than they can afford. Then the problems start. A good analogy, is of a person phoning a tailors shop and ordering a new suit. The tailor asks for their measurements and the person replies saying, “oh, Ive no idea what size I am”. Hiring an Architect to design your home is just like employing a tailor to make you a suit. Its bespoke, it's unique, its made-to-measure and it fits you perfectly. Just like the tailor needs your measurements, I need your financial dimensions. Just as some people are uncomfortable discussing their bodies, they may also be coy when it comes to their money. I am a Charted Architect and I am discrete and treat all may clients information as private and confidential.