Top 7 Tips on How to Save Money when Building Your Own House


The article below is written by Konstantin Ermakov, Houzz.ru. It shows how to plan and organize the building of the house from scratch in order to make the process maximally effective. Why should we pay a lot for extra work initiated by incopetence? Which materials should we choose for basement and which for the walls, overlapping etc. Many of similar questions are concerning homeowners all around the world. And top 7 tips on how to save money when building your own house revealing the majority of them are more than actual now.

  1. Competent project

If apartments are often renovated without a design project, the houses of permanent residence can’t do without a project. You either buy a standard project, or order the development of your own house to the architect.

Scandinavian by SimonenkoDesign

Scandinavian by SimonenkoDesign

But projects can be very different. It is even possible that the services of a recent graduate of an architectural university will be cheaper. But it is highly unlikely that the project of a novice specialist will help to minimize construction costs.

In the project, the main thing is not the low cost of the prepared documentation, but the practical experience of the developer, which he applied when creating the drawings. In the course of many years of practice, the architect gradually acquires experience in making the most rational planning, technological and constructive decisions. The quality of these solutions is of great importance, because the magic property to save the client’s funds on the project depends on them.

Top 7 Tips on How to Save Money when Building Your Own House. Scandinavian by SimonenkoDesign

I will show my idea on the example of the Krasnoyarsk, Russia architect. Return to the first illustration – this is the visualization of the house from the outside of the land site. In the image to the left – a view of the house from the edge of the plot, so as it will be felt by the owners. You already have an emotion like “where is the greenery, why the terrace is so huge”? The answer on the pictures below – mentally turn around and look from the terrace to the neighborhood. If you do not take into account when designing the viewpoints, do not understand exactly how the projected building will “sit” on the site, you can miss the main thing – the advantages of the landscape

Top 7 Tips on How to Save Money when Building Your Own House. Canopy at the relax deck near the house

  1. The basement with a “skirt”

As a rule, construction begins with excavation works and a foundation. It would seem that what can go wrong here? Is it expensive to build the work of excavators? It turns out a lot. The cost of excavation can be 10%, and the foundation – as much as 30% of the cost of erecting a house box. And these percentages can be confidently reduced.

Basement starting. Contemporary by Tamara Efimova

For example, why do you need to lay the foundation in an old fashioned way – by 1.5-1.7 meters (5 feet) in depth? After all, modern technology can reduce the freezing of soil using extruded polystyrene. It fits in the form of a “skirt” under the blind area and vertically moves to the basement of the house. As a result of this decision, you will receive significant savings on earthworks, concrete and reinforcement.

See more at: How to Finish a Basement? Practical Advice

Classical Basement by EKOGIDROMONTAZH ltd.

  1. Modern waterproofing

It often happens that the foundation needs waterproofing. In ordinary construction practice, the foundation slab is usually insulated from below by gluing a roll-on waterproofing onto the concrete screed. The basement slab goes above. Let’s open the secret: you can do without a concrete screed, if you use modern plastic waterproofing. It can be laid on tamped sand, without any screed. The waterproofing sheets are securely fastened together according to the principle of Lego thanks to a special sheet profile. The result is a saving of 5-10 cubes of concrete!

Modern Facade of the House by Roman Leonidov / Architectural Bureau

  1. Walls. What material is better to choose?

The brick is already an anachronism. In modern construction, ceramic blocks are used, each of which replaces up to 14 conventional bricks. This makes it possible to reduce the number of masonry seams, to make the wall warmer. But ceramic blocks still need to be insulated.

More advanced technology is autoclaved aerated concrete. Modern aerated concrete blocks are 300 mm thick, which are laid on 1 mm of special glue, allow the construction of walls do without additional insulation. And this is saving on a concrete solution, heater and so on.

Top 7 Tips on How to Save Money when Building Your Own House. Walls' construction of Ecohouse

Fact: Many people think it’s cheaper to build frame walls. But this is not true. Firstly, if you do it wisely, keeping the technology exactly, it will not be cheaper. Secondly, frame walls require the use of mechanical supply-and-exhaust ventilation. Aerated concrete is already perfectly “breathing”, regulating the humidity in the house. Third, the frame walls have a low thermal inertia and are cooled and heated much faster, which is good only for stove heating. And if we add to this an acoustic and vibration insulation of aerated concrete, it becomes flawless victory to the latter.

Modern by Construction company "DM"

  1. How to make overlapping

They can also be made of aerated concrete. Lay out aerated concrete blocks in rows at the pre-prepared formwork. Set the reinforcement in between the blocks and pour with concrete. We obtained so-called precast-monolithic overlap. This is cheaper of monolithic and often even wooden floors.

Unusual wood planked facade with black inlays of windows

  1. What kind of roof is needed?

See more at: 100+ Private House Roofs Beautiful Design Ideas

The pitched roof is as archaic as the previously mentioned bricks. How long can you stick to “gingerbread houses” with steep roofs? Flat construction is much more economical. Modern waterproofing materials make it possible to reliably protect themselves from precipitation. Snow does not accumulate on a flat surface in spite of a common misconception. After all, its surplus is blown away by the wind. The main thing is not to make a high parapet preventing this process.

An additional flat roof bonus is that ice and icicles will not fall from it to someone’s head.

Modern Home Façade by D & D Design & Decor

Also, houses with a flat roof, incombustible materials of floors and walls are good in that they can be built with minimal fire breaks (the distance between houses) of 6-to-8 meters. Between completely wooden houses, a fire break of 10-15 m is required, depending on the number of storeys and the protection of special compounds. If, for example, on the north side you need to make gap of 15 meters from a neighbor’s house, then this reduces the useful area of ​​your plot from the south where you could organize a backyard garden. This is important, especially with a small plot size.

Modern Facade of the House by Roman Leonidov / Architectural Bureau

  1. What should be the land plot?

An important factor for the construction economy (in addition to construction technologies) is the correct choice of the site. Here are five characteristics of the plot that will help you save a lot on construction:

  • flat relief – reduces the volume of excavation work, the cost of removing soil;
  • low groundwater level – reduces the cost of drainage and waterproofing;
  • dense, not heaving soil – minimizes earthwork and foundation work;
  • availability of main gas – makes insulation of facades unnecessary;
  • wide, direct access – ensures the operation of large-sized machinery, provides savings in logistics (material transportation, excavator, concrete pump).

Modern classics House facade by Ermakov Konstantin Architectural Bureau

Conclusion:  In order to significantly reduce construction costs and achieve maximum effect when using materials and your site, follow the technologies and contact experienced designers.