Planning a building project can seem like a monumental task – and what about the finance? We often find our clients have had little or no prior experience in larger home renovation projects, so when it comes to managing a budget it helps to have a proper plan in place.

As long as you stay organised, designing a project that suits your budget with proper management is well within your grasp. Read on to learn the mysteries behind the money and successful building for your home improvement.

How do I avoid going over budget?

Building work and budgets famously don’t always align. But with a little foresight you can keep the unexpected at bay.

Our first tip is plan, plan and plan again. For those of you who love to build spreadsheets, this may be a good time to use your talents! For the rest of us, discipline is definitely back on the menu…

There’s no denying it: Instagram and Pinterest are an inspiration for the amateur home renovator, but only if your desired interiors fall within the budget. Be strong and consider your balance first. Let your calculator do the talking before you start browsing!

Where do I start on my building work budget?

We always start with the finishes. Yes, you read that correctly – it’s best to go back to front. This includes the look you would like to create with your kitchen, sanitary ware, fitted wardrobes, floor finishes, etc. Next, work out what you would consider to be realistic costs for these items. Once you have a good idea of the costs, compare them against your total budget.

Why is this important? If your home improvement has a total cost of £200,000, but your finishes add up to a good proportion of that, that may be a good place to start reconsidering your spend!

In summary, research your shopping list for the big ticket items – and make sure to get actual quotes and prices. Cutting out any estimations is sure to make your budget foolproof.

What professional fees come with my building work?

Have a concise and detailed list of all the professional fees associated with your building project. These could include an architect or architectural designer, structural engineers, building control and submission fees. Will you need any other professionals, such as a party wall surveyor, arboriculturist, planning consultant, or listed building specialist? The list goes on – but have a good overview of the professional help required.

As before, compare this against your total budget. How much have you allocated to specialists and where can your calculator help reign in some of those costs?

Stay in control of building scope and detail

Leave as little as possible to your building contractor’s imagination. Having a concise and detailed plan of your building work will give a definitive template to follow – meaning no unexpected changes! If you don’t feel confident to do this yourself, there are many professionals available just for this very task. Having an expert guide your work is often money well spent.

Do you feel your building work plans are a little vague, or lacking in detail? Trust us, assumption and grey areas are not any home renovator’s friend! Close those gaps and get in control of the project. Your budget will thank you.

Be realistic about changes

Until we have the ability to quickly explore and understand how existing buildings have been constructed, we have to base our building methods and materials on the things we can see. It’s really as simple as that: your architect will make decisions based on what they expect to use, as well as what is typical of similar buildings (in era and locality). What does that mean? Your plans could be a moving target. And moving targets can mean moving costs.

To remedy this, we advocate having realistic contingency plans in place. As an insurance policy, perhaps allocate more than the suggested industry percentage? Even if it isn’t needed, you will have the lovely problem of having spare money – success! But if is, we promise you will be relieved that you were so prudent.

Admin always wins

Once your home improvement project has started, make a point of spending a few hours a week updating your paperwork and spreadsheet. It’s easy to let the small receipts slip through the net, so consider installing a scanning app on your phone to keep track of your purchases.

Besides, where’s the win in putting all your effort into the planning, just to let chaos ensue? Treat your admin like a part-time job, keeping in control of your budget and timelines.

A final note for building work and budget success

Using the above tips, research, document and streamline the costs that you can. It can also really help to insure against the variables, so you’re always prepared for the unexpected. And don’t forget the details: document what you’re using, where from and for how much! Soon, your spreadsheet and calculator will be your best friends, so treat the ongoing administration as an essential part of your project.

Get in touch today to find out how we can help you get the best of your building work together, one spreadsheet at a time!

Our expert builders at A. Mann Building Contractors are here to discuss your building project in Kent and Sussex. Please call us on T: 0330 128 1021 or email: