When you begin the process of building a custom home, there are a variety of important factors that must be considered. (See our ebook for some great checklists) For many homeowners, trying to stay within a specific budget is key to the process. Value engineering is one way to do this, but it’s more than just cutting costs, it is giving consideration to priorities, budget, and your vision. Let’s explore this topic further along with a story of how value engineering can help you create the home of your dreams.
Often, clients come to us, looking for an architect to assist them with the design of the home and we have a wealth of resources to help match them with an architect who is capable of serving their needs. Sometimes, a client has already met with an architect to draft the original designs. We work with either scenario, but it’s important for a client to be aware of the fact that an architect is not typically responsible for knowing current material costs or supply chain issues. In addition, the architect may be contracted long before a final budget is determined. Therefore, the designs may need to be reviewed and/or value-engineered to ensure that the home and specifications align with the customer’s budget.
In one such case, a couple came to us with a beautiful home design in which they had invested a substantial amount of time, money, and thought. While the designs were gorgeous, the specifications far exceeded the client’s budget. After further discussion, we were able to recommend several areas for consideration. One recommendation was to scale down some of the exterior hardscaping specifications which reduced the budget by about $30,000. In another area, we were able to modify the window specifications by another $20,000. Ultimately, after a few minor adjustments and compromises, a working plan was agreed upon and the project was able to move forward, at the desired budget. Communication is the key when making these types of adjustments to ensure the clients’ goals and budgets are aligned.
As demonstrated in the examples above, value engineering may be required to get your final numbers closer to your budget. However, these discussions cannot take place with vague specifications or without correlation to the appropriate budget line items. Vague specifications would not have allowed us to make alternative recommendations. The client may have had one type of finish in mind, but without clear specifications, the difference between what’s on paper and what is quoted can be two different things, causing confusion and frustration before the project begins.
This example also highlights the importance of the builder and architect having a collaborative work relationship. This is an issue we constantly advocate for, in any custom home building experience. A wise homeowner can be guided by an experienced builder to value engineer their custom home to meet both the homeowner’s vision and their desired budget.
If you are thinking about building your once-in-a-lifetime custom luxury home, be sure to download our FREE ebook: “Designing & Building Your Custom Dream Home: How to Create an Experience You’ll Love to Remember” or visit our website at MuellerHomes.com
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