When it comes to designing your dream home or renovation project, discussing your budget with potential designers and builders can feel like talking about the elephant in the room, and it simply needn’t be.
Budget isn’t a dirty word. It is simply an arbitrary monetary figure that we have chosen to assign to the project.
Your budget and your design brief live in a delicate balance. If you imagine for a moment they are balanced on a set of scales. Your budget is on one side and the design brief is on the other. It doesn’t matter whether you have a budget of $200k or $2M, the level of balance required is always the same.
There is often a misconception that the two should magically balance, and its simply not the case. The budget and opposing brief should be mouldable and flexible like playdough. Each side can be increased, reduced and re-worked until you reach that happy medium.
A study by KPMG found that just 31% of all building projects came within 10% of their budget. This can be due to many factors, but you can bet your bottom dollar that one of those factors is simply that the budget was never aligned with the design intent.
I once had clients that were very guarded about their construction budget and affirmed that they simply “wanted what they wanted”. The home was beautifully designed to meet the brief, followed by planning approval, detailed construction documentation and supporting consultants’ reports.
The project went to tender, and when the builder’s prices came in, they were in excess of the client’s expectations. Because the owners did have a budget, it just wasn’t communicated to me during the design and documentation stages.
Fortunately, we were able to re-work both sides of the scales. The budget did need to increase, and some aspects of the design required considered compromise for cost saving. But we were able to right the balance of the scales, which resulted in an incredible family home which they love living in every day.
So, don’t treat your budget as a dirty word or a closely guarded secret. Be up front and clear with your designer and builder. Having an open and trusting relationship with the very people who will make your dream home become a reality is imperative to a successful outcome for all.