4 Ways to Maintain Control Over Your Construction Budget

hand writing on the budget planning

Even though every NY or NJ construction project we work on is different, one common concern our clients have relates to budget overruns and final costs. Whether we’re working on a luxury newbuild or a redevelopment project, we understand the importance of keeping your project within the boundaries you’re comfortable with.

That said, as your construction team, there are still some factors that fall outside of our control when it comes to cost. From the rising cost of building materials to labor shortages, even if your contractor strives to avoid scope creep and cost overruns — in some cases it may be unavoidable.

The good news? There are ways to mitigate the risk of project costs spiraling out of control. It’s just a case of managing your project budget correctly and knowing how to communicate effectively with your project team.

To help guide you on this process, we’re here with 4 tips on how to maintain control over your construction budget and avoid cost overruns wherever possible.

Let’s get started.

Be clear about your design expectations

One of the biggest challenges associated with cost control in areas such as New York and New Jersey is change requests. If at any point of your build you decide that something isn’t to your liking, even the smallest adjustment to your design can lead to cost overruns.

This is why it’s essential from day one to communicate clearly with your project manager and ensure they understand the entire vision you have for your future property.

Don’t know what your exact design specifications should be? Don’t worry, if you’re not in the construction business, nobody expects you to be an expert!

This is why an experienced construction and development team will be able to:

  • Ask the right questions to tease out the details they need (especially important for creating your initial design drawings!)
  • Ensure you feel comfortable enough to query any design decisions in your plans and make adjustments early
  • Factor in features that are essential for your property to be functional, aesthetic, and forward-thinking
  • Suggest additions to your brief you might not even know are viable
  • Manage your expectations by providing insights gained from working on similar projects 
  • Ensure you’re on the same page with access to project managers that can talk you through what to expect from the process (and also give you time to adapt your brief before anything is made final!)
  • Provide cost estimates that also factor in some potential delays or challenges

Maintain open and consistent communication with your construction team

As mentioned, most reputable construction teams should be able to help define your full project scope and ensure your final brief is in line with your vision. However, for them to do so effectively, it’s important to be completely transparent about what you want.

Unfortunately, many homeowners assume that certain ideas aren’t feasible and fail to communicate what they really want from their home to their architect or builder. This can lead to design changes later, or even a complete redevelopment of the project. 

Therefore, it’s essential to communicate openly and honestly with your team so they can provide you with the best advice and ensure your project meets your expectations.

Establish a good rhythm of communication

As well as having open and honest communication, consistent communication will also be crucial for keeping your costs in check. While this might sound easy, in reality, it can require consistent effort from both you and your development team.

Especially for firms dealing with clients based in New York and New Jersey, life can be busy! This is why having a good system for communication with your contractors is essential. 

Construction projects involve a lot of moving parts, and with the right firm, updates will be a natural part of this process. However, if updates aren’t frequent enough and you want to maintain construction cost control, schedule check-ins with your project management team and clarify that any project issues should be flagged immediately.

Tip: Never be afraid to vocalize if you want more or less frequent updates from your development team. Some clients prefer minimal contact, while others prefer a complete cost report to be provided at regular intervals.

Don’t overlook the cost of ‘minor details’

In addition to unexpected costs during the construction phase, project owners often underestimate or misinterpret how much other aspects of their build will cost. From overhead costs to fees for delivering equipment/materials to the job site, it’s always vital that you read the fine print on your contracts before finalizing your budget.

However, some of the most hard-hitting costs for homeowners are the costs associated with the ‘minor details’ they’ve forgotten to include in their budget. With everything from fixtures and fittings to building permit fees to think about, building or remodeling a home in NY or NJ can incur a lot of additional costs. 

While a good construction firm will be able to assist you with the reality of cost estimates for features such as windows, doors, bathroom fixtures, roof tiles, and more — other costs might rest on the project owner’s shoulders. Some examples of additional costs project owners might need to factor into their construction project’s budget include:

  • Legal costs (incl. Permits, licenses, lawyer fees etc.)
  • Landscaping
  • Interior decorating
  • Soft furnishings
  • Lighting architecture 
  • Flooring
  • Furniture
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical provisions
  • HVAC systems

Choose a full-service development company

If you’re concerned about keeping your build on schedule and within budget, our biggest piece of advice is to hire a construction firm that can provide an ‘all-in-one’ service. This can include everything from land purchasing to architecture and site management — all the services you need, provided by one comprehensive team.

Even though your construction cost can still present challenges with a full-service team, the potential risks are greatly reduced when there’s a team that can better align their skills and prevent cost overruns more strategically. It’s also common for a single contract team to have their own risk management procedures in place and be well-versed in handling change orders or delays more cohesively.

With one point of contact for your project, it also becomes easier to monitor progress and keep communication open between you and your general contractors.  
Interested in what this construction management style looks like? At Argo Construction and Development, we ensure your entire build is handled by an experienced team of architects and construction professionals.

With a proven track record in delivering high-end projects to clients all across New York and New York, we’re always on the lookout for our next design challenge. Is your build our next success story?

Contact our team today to get your construction off to the perfect start.

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