How to keep your build within budget

If you’re thinking of building or renovating, you’ve probably heard many a horror story. There are countless recounts of people who blew out their building budget during construction or worse, were ripped off by an untrustworthy builder or a sly building contract… The good news is this situation can be avoided.

There are many ways to keep your build within your budget and when we’re talking about such a big financial investment, this is essential. Using our decades of experience in crafting custom dwellings and renovating heritage homes at Nicon Built Design + Build, we’ve devised a guide to help you avoid spending beyond your means and achieving build a beautiful home in the process. Keep reading to learn more.

Engage a builder early

One of the most common reasons for budget blow-outs is engaging an architect or designer to draw up house plans first, and then taking these to your chosen builder. Generally, architects and building designers are not up to date with building costs. This makes sense – their job is to create spectacular designs, not bring them to life. However, it can lead to disparities between what the architect or designer proposed the home would cost to build, and the figure given by the builder.

This situation can be avoided by choosing a builder early on, who can consult and work collaboratively with an architect or building designer to craft a beautiful home that works with your budget. Many builders will be able to provide a reference to an architect or designer who is well-suited to your project.

The most important decision to make here is to choose a trustworthy and highly-skilled builder who has the capability to build your home properly. Make sure you do plenty of research and talk to past clients, so you can ensure they will work hard to keep your project within your budget.

Use a specialist

While there are so many builders to choose from, you can narrow down the choices by looking at someone who has lots of experience in projects similar to yours. For instance, a heritage renovation specialist, like Nicon Built Design + Build, will be able to consult with you about what elements of your home can be updated or renovated and which will need to remain due to heritage restrictions.

A general volume builder may not have this type of insight or knowledge and may not understand the specific costs associated with this kind of project. If you’re looking to undertake a heritage renovation or other specific type of build, it’s best to find someone with many years’ experience in the field.

Don’t trust a free quote

Too often, clients are lured in by the promise of a free quote, distancing themselves from builders who charge a fee. But there’s a reason many builders charge for quotes – it takes time and money to prepare an accurate and highly-detailed quote, where you can clearly see the breakdown of cost.

This kind of accuracy and detail will not be the case with free quotes, which will likely be vague and short. Free quotes are rarely accurate and will likely see your budget will go out the window when construction commences and unexpected costs arise.


Take the time to be sure of what you want during the planning stages of your build. Making last-minute variations to anything from the layout, to the types of fittings will change the budget that your builder has estimated. You’ll also be charged a variations fee.

This can be avoided by making as many selections as possible before you sign the building contract. A trustworthy builder will usually ensure this, but a less careful builder may not.

Looking to work with a builder who can stick to your specific budget? Reach out to Nicon Built Design + Build today.

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