Here’s how to save on costs when building a house

Rising construction costs have brought cost savings to the fore for people building or renovating a home, but new processes are being introduced that aim to help.

CoreLogic’s latest Cordell Construction Cost Index shows the accelerated rate of increase in costs in the three months ending October.

The cost to build a standard 200m² brick and tile house was up 3.4% nationally this quarter, up 2.6% from the previous three months. It increased the year-on-year increase from 7.7% to 9.6% last quarter.

This contributes to the reduction in demand for newly built homes and pulling back demand for home renovation projects.

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But the number of proposals aimed at making home building projects more affordable is increasing.

One startup comes from design and build company Box. It recently launched Artis, a subsidiary business focused on smaller homes and a simplified, more affordable design process.

Artis design lead Laura McLeod said consumer affordability issues and skyrocketing building costs were the driving force behind the new business.

The business wanted to offer the housing market an option that allows for beautiful, modern design but also keeps a close eye on the budget. Clever, efficient use of space and materiality was one way to do that, he said.



Example of Artis “block” house.

“We took the basics learned from the Box experience and distilled it into compact homes that are accessible to more people, often ranging from 30 m² to 130 m².

“The streamlined process uses a series of ‘blocks’ that can be moved to create a floorplan and are complemented by a variety of interior and exterior fixtures and fittings.”

The preconceived design elements involve people in fun decisions, while eliminating many of the hard decisions and saving time and money on design fees and the building itself, he says.

Price guides for homes range from $250,000 for a 45m² studio to $600,000 for a 110m² three-bedroom house.

While there may be additional fieldwork costs and building permits will be included in the contract, resource approval costs are additional as they are site specific and often require expert input.

But McLeod says that by building smaller and working with standard details, Artis can take 10 to 50 percent less time to build than a typical nine to 12 month architectural build.

“There is a strong market for smaller builds, and we have seen interest in everything from customers adding small units for their children and first-time buyers to downsizing couples.

“New Zealand is becoming more international and diverse, and with that comes a natural cultural shift where people are more open-minded to different lifestyles and dimensions.”

To date, two Artis homes have been built, both of which are city infill projects, and he says there are five more on the drawing board.

The increased use of prefabricated housing technology and products is another solution, with the government announcing new regulations in June to support its prefabricated manufacturer plan. It is expected to help make building faster and cheaper.

The use of prefabricated housing technology and products is increasing.


The use of prefabricated housing technology and products is increasing.

Napier businessman Baden Rawle says he was fed up with the “excessive” costs of building a house five years ago, prompting him to import prefabricated houses and materials from China.

It has now received a building permit to build steel framed houses that meet the New Zealand Building Code but using prefabricated materials imported from China. He says that about 96% of the required materials can be imported.

“The cost of a build would be around $850/m² plus GST as opposed to about $3000 plus GST for a traditional build. This is a big difference.

“Besides materials, there are also cost savings from the construction methodology, which shortens the construction time. Instead of a 16-week build, it takes nine or 10 weeks.”

This will help reduce the cost of a typical New Zealand build by at least about 30%, he says.

“The ludicrous costs associated with traditional buildings here are pushing people to look for alternatives as they cannot afford it. Using high-quality, prefabricated components is all about making the construction process cheaper and faster in a time of economic uncertainty.”

One house was completed using Rawle imported materials and another is under construction, but he is currently considering how best to pursue the initiative.

Cost savings considerations also affect what remodelers and builders of new homes want when it comes to technology to improve their homes, according to a new survey.

A survey of 153 people building or renovating a new home was conducted by research agency Perspective for Schneider Electric’s PDL and found that 92% of respondents would invest more in technology to make their homes more sustainable if it saves money in the long run. . .

Three out of 10 respondents say sustainability is one of the most important factors for them because of their desire to reduce both long-term costs and environmental impacts.

Solar power and smart home technology, including electric timers, smart power outlets, and motion sensors for lighting and energy management and monitoring, were the most popular features “considered to install.”

Rob Knight, PDL residential electrical design consultant, says increased energy efficiency is the single biggest reason to install smart home technology, with 21% of renovators choosing it.

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