How to budget for a home renovation? We asked an expert QS

By May 14, 2020Budgeting, Home
Budgeting QS Patricia Power

Who do I hire first, the architect or the QS? This was one of the questions asked during our live Q&A with QS Patricia Power last week.

The first step is to hire the architect, they will work with you to develop your brief, advise on where best to invest in your home and will always endeavour to recommend ways to save money and keep the job within budget while developing the design for your home. 

Once you have a design and plan for the work you want to do, you should approach a QS. This is a step many people skip to cut costs but engaging with a QS early on is a worthwhile investment. ‘A QS will help you control your money, get the best value for it and spend it wisely. A QS is like an accountant who specialises in construction.’ Says Patricia Power.

Following last week’s Live Q&A session on Instagram, we’ve compiled some of your questions along with Patricia’s answers below.

And don’t forget about our free budgeting guide to help you figure out how much you need to allocate to each area of your project. By following the principles set out in our easy to use guide you will be able to make the best use of the money you have to spend.

Budgeting with Patricia Power

Instagram Live

We had such an overwhelming response to last week’s Live Q&A with Patricia Power that we’ve invited her back for a follow up chat.

We’ll be answering your questions and will be chatting about what you need to know about starting a home renovation post-Covid-19 and what impact the health crisis has had on construction prices. So if you are planning any kind of home renovation project join us on Instagram at 11am Saturday 16th May.

A QS will help you control your money and spend it wisely. They will also help you to get the best value for your money. A QS is like an accountant who specialises in construction.

Patricia Power

Q: Is there a rough cost estimate per square meter?

A: Every extension is different and every extension needs to be looked at independently. The cost will depend on the size of the extension, the floor to ceiling height, the amount of glazing etc. More glazing will mean more structure which will add to the cost. As a general rule of thumb, you should budget between €2,000 to €2,500 per square meter for new build and extension costs.

Refurbishment costs will depend on the condition of the existing house and the amount of work that you are planning on doing. This is one area that many clients underestimate as the focus is on the extension. But you will need to bring the condition of the existing house up to the same standard as the extension. You should budget between €1,500 to €2,000 per square meter for this work. Bear in mind that these rates may increase if the house is a period home or a protected structure. 

Q: Do these costs include VAT, finishes and QS and architect fees?

A; Yes these figures include VAT and are for a turn-key finish. They don’t include things like loose furniture, curtains or alarm systems. They don’t include professional fees.

Q: Do you think that construction costs will reduce because of the health crisis?

A: I can’t see prices dropping in the immediate future. There is still good demand for building work and construction projects.

Q: When is the best time to start working with a QS?

A: It’s best to engage with a QS in the early stages of your project, once you have a scheme and before planning. A QS will review your design and put together a cost plan for the project. By engaging at an early stage, you will know whether or not the design is within your budget.

This way, you won’t end up getting planning permission for something you can’t afford. Finding out early that the design is over budget means that the design can easily be revised to reduce the cost. This is much harder to do later on in the process.

Q: What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone planning a building project?

A: The most important thing is to put the work in early on and to engage a QS before you go for planning. Being prepared will pay off in leaps and bounds. If you don’t put the work in and you rush things, which unfortunately a lot of people do, things can go very wrong. 

Rushing into a building project without a plan or a detailed budget means that six months into the project you might  realise you can’t afford it and you have to go back to the drawing board. Designs will need to be tweaked and edited with will incur cost. And your project will be delayed.

Set all of your budgets and targets as early on in the project as possible. Once your budgets are set we can move stuff around, perhaps pull back on your kitchen spend to make more budget available for a better glazing system for example. Your budgets are there to keep you on track – this is what helps to carry you through from the beginning to the end. It’s a critical step, don’t skip it.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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