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  • Sarah Kornblum

How to Plan a Remodel and Stay on Budget

Worried about how price increases will affect your renovation? Here are some insider tips for keeping costs in check.

Material price increases, product delays and subcontractors in high demand — remodelers are currently experiencing pressure from all sides. Choosing products early, seeking advice from your builder or designer, and being flexible with your selections are key to keeping your budget in check and your project on track, say design and building experts.

The Impact of Price Increases on Projects

It definitely hurts when building materials, deliveries and trades have gone up 35% and builders only work to a 20% profit margin generally. This may cause a homeowner to hit the pause button on even the simplest of renovation projects or even try to tackle the project themselves with limited tools and knowledge.

“I believe the increase in interest rates and in products and materials has changed the face of the building and renovation industry. Rather than allowing designers to choose just one product supplier for a project [which was previously often the norm], most clients now want to be provided with two or more quotes, giving them the option to choose more cost-effective products.”

International shipping delays, the tripling of container prices and port fees, and a drop in raw material supply have all contributed to a rise in project costs. Locally it can be delays due to lockdowns and transport issues, along with reduced staffing capacity that have also played a significant role. For example, if a certain ceramic tile that was a first choice, is limited in volume or priced above budget contractors are now specifying tiles that may be different than original but are more reasonably priced and have a shorter lead time.

Even fixtures are being subjected to the same issue of price and availability. When that nice brass kitchen tap set is triple the price and has a lead time of several months the owners may now go with more standard and available brushed nickel or chrome.

Keeping a Lid on Project Costs

Work closely with your contractor during the design phase to limit additional costs, such as minimizing spans of beams and using readily available materials.

  • Find a contractor in advance with a good lead time between signing the contract and build commencement. Waiting means the contractor can plan and book trades and order materials in advance.

  • Choose fixtures early. Making selections at the last minute will often mean less choice, higher costs and poorer-quality items.

  • Stage your build. Work with your builder and establish whether nonessential work, such as nonessential cabinetry, can be completed at a later time.

  • Consider a smaller initial remodel but work with an experienced architect or building designer to create a master plan that can be executed at a later stage. Staging a build doesn’t mean the project is less expensive overall –—in fact, it often means the project will cost more in the long run — but it can enable homeowners to get some of the most urgent work done in manageable pieces.

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