The size and style of the home you want will be at the top of your list as you plan your new timber frame. Homes are built to satisfy our need for shelter, but we require more. We want a home that brings us comfort, peacefulness, and the satisfaction that we’ve been part of the process to make it all happen.
As you start your budget process, the basic costs are easy to calculate. You know you’ll need timber, lumber, concrete, drywall, windows and doors, etc. These are the basics. Then you’ll get into plumbing and lighting fixtures, flooring, tile, countertops…the list goes on and on. This list is much more subjective and can easily create “budget deficits”. Then there are what we call the “silent” costs. Money will be spent on these items, but you won’t see a direct benefit.
We’ve outlined some of the subjective and silent costs that you should address early on in your budget process.
1) Initial and ongoing onsite maintenance. These include disposing of debris from construction and daily cleanup of the jobsite to keep it safe. Landfill costs are expensive and can be minimized by creating a plan to recycle and salvage as much of the material as possible. If you do this early and discuss it with your subcontractors, you will minimize your out of pocket costs. Your jobsite should be kept clean of debris to eliminate the risk of costly injuries.
2) Disposing of trees and other vegetation removed during the site preparation. The easiest way to handle this is to disturb as little ground as is reasonable. However, the reality is that most sites require some tree/vegetation removal. Instead of paying to have the stumps hauled off to the landfill (it is illegal in most places to bury or burn a stump), bring in a grinder/chipper and have the vegetation chipped into mulch that you can use in and around your new home. Also, the friend who does woodwork may want a chunk of that maple or walnut tree.
3) Countertops. If you want granite countertops, be aware that there are vast differences in the price of granite. Look at samples and get quotes on different types before you put that number in your budget.
4) Appliances. Be realistic about how you use your kitchen and what you expect from the applicances. If you are gourmet cook who entertains often, you probably won’t be happy with budget appliances. Budget for your appliances based on your own use and not just an “allowance”.
5) Cabinets and vanities. This is a major expense in most homes. From custom-made furniture to out-of-the-box cabinets, you’ll need to make decisions based on what you are willing to spend and the look you want. Don’t just calculate your costs based on a linear foot cost. Get a cost based on the quality, finish, and hardware that works for you.
These costs aren’t specific to timber frames, they are costs that will be included in any new home. Spend time working on your budget and include a cost contingency of at least ten percent so you won’t have any unpleasant surprises as you move forward with your project.
That said, I’ll sign off for now.