Know before you build

Know before you build

Know before you build

For most people, building or buying a home will be the largest single investment they will make in their lifetime, therefore it is critical to prepare diligently to ensure your home is well built, properly planned and your money is well spent.

Understanding the process and hiring experts to help you will ensure you get the best result at the best price.

10 Steps to Build a Home

Building a home can be a lengthy and costly experience. While there are many steps to building a new home, we've highlighted the 10 key stages to help you clearly understand the process.

1. Establishing your brief (size of house, how many bedrooms, single or two storey, etc.)

2. Surveying the site

3. Preliminary designs

4. Preparing and agreeing budgets

5. Sign off

6. Submitting for planning permission

7. Tendering to builders

8. Managing the build on site

9. Payments

10. Final handover

This process can take 12 to 18 months (or more) from initial designs to completion. For example a planning permission generally takes three months but can take another six to nine months if the decision is appealed. For many people this is a daunting process — it is very time consuming and often stressful and this is why many people prefer to employ a professional to oversee it.

Trust the Experts with your Property

Chartered surveyors will make sure that your build is delivered on time and stays on budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

The key to a successful building project is proper planning, accurate budgeting and professional execution. Before starting a project like this it is very worthwhile to examine what grants or tax breaks are available to homeowners like yourselves who are looking at extending or upgrading their home.

 

The first is the Home Renovation Incentive scheme (HRI) which is a tax incentive scheme that allows homeowners to claim tax credits for qualifying works that cost between €4,405 (excluding VAT) and €30,000 (excluding VAT). Full details of this scheme can be found at revenue.ie under Reliefs and Exemptions and also at scsi.ie

 

The other grant available to home owners is one from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, called the Better Energy Homes grant. This scheme is a cash grant and covers works such as insulation and heating system upgrades. More details of this grant can be found on the SEAI website seai.ie.

 

Once you have factored in the savings which can be achieved from applying for these grants you will have a better idea of your overall budget for the project.

Not surprisingly you want your extension built to high-end specifications. However often with projects of this nature tradeoffs have to be made to ensure the project is completed on budget.

 

In this regard I would recommend you hire a chartered quantity surveyor as he or she will be able to meet with your architect and prepare a detailed budget estimate for the construction based on your approved plans.

 

They will also include finishing costs and be able advise you on what is achievable within your budget.

The size of the house will greatly influence the running costs and warrants a thorough deliberation at the outset, as the temptation can be to build as big a house as you can afford, as opposed to building one that meets your needs and that you can afford to run. In this regard, it is vital that you sit down with your building surveyor or architect or whomever is designing your house at the outset to develop a clear and well-thought-out brief.

 

Running costs, which are influenced by what you physically build (as opposed to property taxes, which can be more influenced by where you build), primarily relate to energy efficiency.

 

The building regulations set out minimum requirements and there are a number of useful internet sites with helpful tips on, for example, increasing insulation, using solar and alternative energy sources and the benefits of highly energy efficient boilers or fitting.

 

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s site (www.seai.ie) has a very useful guide on building an energy-efficient home (iti.ms/X87Brn), which also references other more detailed guides.

 

It is important not to overlook the building fabric and finishes, which can have a significant impact on air tightness and general maintenance and upkeep. For example, a brick-faced external wall needs significantly less maintenance than a rendered wall, which needs re-painting at regular intervals.

 

Ultimately, you should ask your designer to advise on the various options specific to your house, and their extra construction costs and estimated payback periods. A qualified professional should be able to provide you with a detailed report on lifecycle payback calculations, energy consumption and carbon savings, so that you can make an informed decision.

Going over budget often occur when the scope of the project is not clearly understood or estimated from the start. In some cases, the cost of materials has not been properly estimated or delays from poor planning can result in cost increases

 

Paying for a project manager may seem like an unnecessary expense but it is the best way to ensure your build stays within the budget and time frame you expect. Trusting the experts to provide you with costs, timelines and advice will ensure your project goes smoothly.

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