How to Minimise the Cost of Building your House and still produce high quality Houses

This topic was inspired based on the experience I had recently with a building I was involved
in. The money we expected to spend really overshot my expectations.
There are many factors that makes your building project to shoot very high than expectation,
here we will discuss on minimising the costs.
(1)Location is one of the most important factors you consider before building your house, for
instance in lagos, the areas are zoned into low income earners, high income and middle income
earners. These criteria affects the fees the local authority charges on any paperwork you do to
secure your property, your building plan approval will also be calculated against the
designation your land fall into.
Omo Onile, artisans will charge based on the areas too and thats the reason why in lagos there
is no uniform charges from the artisans. So is good you know about this before choosing the
location.
(2)Nature of soil. This is the most important factor you must take ointo cognisance, there are
very strong soils and there are very very weak soils that will cost you a lot to build on them,
so is important you get a professional to the prospective site before buying. The foundation of
the project mentioned earlier cost nine million naira (N9,000,000) to execute this would have
been possible with just one and half million naira or less in a more stable/solid soil.
(3)Use professionals. A lot of waste is encountered by some people in a bid to save money at the
expense of a quality job, hence they end up shooting themselves in the foot, it is important you
employ a professional to oversee your project because he can read the plan well and he is
trained to execute such jobs with little assistance, but most artisans can’t comprehend a plan
of a building though they may claim to understand it, but cheap technical questions by a
professional will expose their inadequacies. So hand over to the professional and save yourself
from avoidable wastes from mistakes and also come up with a good project.
(4)Also save money by designing to specifics and avoiding wasteful and bogus designs, the
dexterity of your architect is important in this, the ability to maximise space for effective
usage will also help to reduce cost of your building. A terribly designed roof will also cost
you more to adjust or modify. This is whyy you need an architect to design your building.
(5)Use quality but local materials where necessary. The madness for imported materials may not
really do you any good at the long run. It is well known that that Nigerian cable is one of the
best in the world but people still go about to import electrical cables abroad, you could save a
lot of money avoiding this.
(6)You can also save money by building in dry season especially for waterlogged areas, yes cost
of materials goes up during dry season but you can’t compare the losses you will incur if rain
stops your workers from working on site at anytime, though on strong soil with correct timing in
rainy season coupled with good management you may save money, but is not adviable.
(7)The use of multiple suppliers encourages competition aand gives you power to negotiate
prices. This you can use especially on products that are supplied in measured volumes like sand
and granites.
(8)You can also save money when you go the market with your workers and find out costs of
materials youself and if possible order by yourself but with the advise of the workers for the
specific work the supplied material is meant for. This can also give you the opportunity to
familiarise with the seellers of the building materials you will use on site.
(9)If there is a good access to your site then you will also save more money on transportation.
Laboures will charge youa lot of money if most of your materials aren’t deliver to site because
of bad roads e.t.c
(10)Check for materials that can be reused on site like woods e.t.c that aree used on site and
can be reused once or twice before getting totally damaged. The offcuts from iron rods can also
serve other purposes on  site.
(11)Get quotations in bits, is easier to monitor your spendings this way and you won’t get
overwhelm by professional jargons on paper.
(12)Buy only required materials to minimise waste
(13)Cultivate the habits of pricing down at the slightest opportunity
(14)Don’t give the impression infront of the artisans that you really have so much money to
throw around, they are likely to raise their fees if they know you can pay more.
An architect with decades of experience

27 Comments

  1. I’m looking to start a 4 bedroom bungalow in PH soon, I was adviced by a friend that a good money saving option is that
    : To get sand for the foundation, I can use the sand dug-out for the suck-away pit. That is, the builders use the sand from the suckaway digging for the sand of my foundation.. is this a safe/good idea ?

    1. Good day Emeka,
      The sand they are talking about is just for the filling of your building before the german floor or oversite concrete is casted. It is not directly used for mixing of the main elements of your building like concrete or for blockwork. I am sure this is what they are looking at ordinarily you would have had to buy some filling sand to do this. Confirm from them to be sure of what they meant. Thanks

  2. Good day, concerning the sand dug out of soakaway pit, he his refering to laterite which are used for making interlocking bricks which needs no mortar and plastering. Cheaper to build with so find out about it. If you want to know abt this contact me.
    Thanks.

    1. Yes laterite can be used for a particular type of bricks but I don’t think this is what the people had in mind. Yes I have seen it used before.

  3. I’m trying to put up a two-flat Bungalow in Lagos.Already at the foundation stage.I was advised to run German floor after foundation but considering quotations I’ve got so far it seem a bit expensive.Another person advised that i should rather spend such money to set Blocks and do flooring later.My inquiry into other projects within the site revealed that not everybody run German floor after foundation.pls what is the significance of German floor?

  4. victor,
    i understand wat ure going thru”
    well, casting of oversite concrete
    or german floor after foundation is
    very important. simply put, it helps to
    bind the sub-structure (block wall below DPC).
    its the standard procedure which i advice u
    do not compromise for cost.
    goodluck
    in ur endeavour!

  5. If the site is prone to erosion a non foundation (german floor) structure will split into two. i mean no point waking up one morning and finding out that your living room and kitchen is ten houses down the street.

  6. I’m currently building a 4bedroom bungalow at ibadan.I have spent N1.9m on the foundation alone.I need help.Pls help me .

  7. dear Oreoluwa,

    The type of site/soil you are having your building is directly proportional to the cost. However, as far as I know, most landed properties in Ib. have stable soil. A simple strip foundation would have been ok.

    That is why it is important getting professional advice as much as you can before embarking in such a project.

    I am a professional Quantity Surveyer, I can help you to audit, prepare a realistic budget for your project (07030398172). It can be broken down into phases and you do it bit by bit.

    Best of the season.

  8. 1.how can i do the setting out of a building on site not regular and an irregular site.

    2.how many types of wall finishes do we have and can you please list them for me.

    3.how can i identify a gloss and emulsion paint.

    4.how do i differentiate floor levels during construction is it by using hollow block wall or having different levels of ground formwork.

    5.how many ceiling finishes do we have and can you please list them for me.

    6.how many types of floor finishes do we have and can you please list them for me.

    7.how would do you construct an oversite concrete on a 2 bedroom bungalow of 20m by 20m

    8.how would i construct a soakaway pit and septic tank.

    i would be so glad if you solve this questions for me please…

  9. Sir,

    Thanks for the great articles. Please can you help with an estimate for the german floor for a four bedroom bungalow. The dimensions are 24.35M X 16.55M.

    Thank you very much

  10. I’m glad I found this site. Because Im planning to build a house then good thing I have read this guidance. I have now the idea how to minimize the cost of constructing my house. Nice post!

  11. hes revealing the lies in ethics of engineering profession beware!
    u can also make money without cheating clients repent!!

  12. Please I need help. I’m thinking of building a 3 bedroom bungalow on a 100ft x 50ft land. Can you help me with an estimated cost and possible advise. I’ll definitely appreciate your prompt response.

  13. Pls I want to start a 4bedroom bungalow in delta state around December period. Pls can you break it down the numbers of blocks, shape sand, filling sand, rods, woods, and some others things that I don’t know about. The land is in a good place as well. Thank you advise will go a long way to help.

  14. Pls, can u help me with how to calculat for d numbers of cement to plaster a building. Eg 3600mm by 3600mm. Very urgent. Pls

  15. nice post, educative. people like the man said in his post employ the services of professionals. List of professionals are relating to building;
    architects, builders, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, quantity surveyors, interior designers etc. each of them have their specific areas of expertise that they will absolutely help u in. do not hesitate to contact them. u can never fail with using a team. Emma great job. keep it up. @young builder do research online u can find those answers. don’t take the easy way out. Good luck in ur construction.

  16. I reside in Lokoja.I am planning to build but I am confused.Lokoja and environ is tropics,so the weather is Hot all year round.How can I eliminate Heat in the house? I await your response.

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