Don’t Spend Your Project into the Ground

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Empty space is full of possibility. You can’t help your imagination from going wild when you’re presented with bare walls and floors. Sofas, tables, art, rugs, fittings, lighting, fridges, tiles, worktops, sinks, baths… Your mind fills and fills the space with all your favourite things – each one with a price tag.

I’m as guilty of it as anyone; every home I’ve built has included a moment when Jemima had to intervene and remind me our budget isn’t infinite, and vice versa. This shopping spree is one of the most fun parts of home building but if it’s not reigned in it can bury a build and leave your finances in disarray.

The person holding the purse strings is rarely popular but an essential part of DGA’s role in a project is to manage our client’s spending. This is called cost management, and it’s a roller coaster process of excitement, then disappointment then excitement again.

Let’s start at the first peak, when a client has a million and one ideas of what they want to do with all their new space.

Ideally, this discussion happens while we’re still drawing up the plans, so that we can account for interior design in their budget and consider their key objects and materials in the layout. This way, if there’s any top of the line kitchen appliances you can’t go without, we can find ways of cutting costs in the structure so that you can afford it.

Inevitably, there’s compromise. Budgets can place strict boundaries on what’s possible and even those with the deepest pockets want to spend wisely. Over many (sometimes heated) conversations with you, we narrow down what features are essential ingredients in your ideal home.

This is where the roller coaster dips into disappointment. It can be hard translating your dream home into reality where you might not be able to have both a top of the line kitchen and cinema room at the same time.

Through exhaustive and exhausting cost management, we pore over catalogues from the best suppliers in the world to find where you’re willing to spend on quality and where you can cut corners that you won’t notice day to day – taking our clients back in time to the eagerness and frustration of being given a pound in a sweet shop.

You have to think about which spaces you will use the most and how you will use them. If you’re highly social, then you’ll want to spend more on the dining room and garden to make an impact with your guests. On the other hand, if home is for kicking back after a long day at work, comfort in the lounge and bedroom will be a more enjoyable use of your money.

By having in house interior designers and a cost management process from the start, you won’t just spend less, you’ll spend more efficiently.

Kitchens, bathrooms and integrated technology are cheaper to install during a build than after. By prioritising your budget on the features that need to be there day one and incorporating them into the structural design, you save money in the long run. Maybe skip the luxury dining set for now so that you can have a bespoke, fitted bathroom.

Once it all starts coming together, the roller coaster soars back to excitement. Seeing all the little bits and pieces come together to gradually form your dream home is just magical. You truly appreciate every tiny thing, those hours spent agonising over doorknobs and taps paid off tenfold.

If you’re wanting a change of scenery but are worried that your spending will get the better of you, call us today on 020 8108 3612 to discuss what’s possible with your budget.

John Dyer-Grimes