Selecting Your Builder



Unless you are already a contractor or own a construction company, you will need a team to help you build your house, selecting who you work with is very important so have criteria for your selection process.

Meet with builders that have built projects of a similar nature in terms of size, quality, and features (finishes, roofs, walls) of the house you want. Ask them for referrals from their previous projects clients and ask them to show you a portfolio of work that they have completed. This may seem a bit tedious, but it pays off in selecting the right builder for you. Wouldn’t you prefer to save yourself a lot of grief, loss of time and money by doing this research up front? A building team is a “temporary marriage” so select your professionals well. It could be the difference between a blissful union and a frustrating one.



All your dreams have a cost and every dream needs resources to make it happen. You will most likely need a construction loan or mortgage of some sort to build or construct your home. Find out early the size of the loan for which you qualify as soon as possible as it will help you to immediately estimate the amount of money you will have at your disposal to spend on the project. This money is your construction budget. Your budget will determine the size of the house or the features and finishes you would like to include. It will also help you to determine if your dream will have to be built in phases or put on hold. It is therefore very important to get the estimated cost of your project before you begin to build so that this will enable you to plan how to distribute and allocate your funds and resources in order to make your project happen.



Sign a contract with your building contractor before you start building your project. This contract must be signed and dated by you and the contractor agreeing to a description of project tasks or scope of work to be performed, delivery times, costs associated and measures for resolving conflicts that may develop throughout the construction of the project.

Many people tend to make verbal agreements and in the future experience deep regret because the other party bares no liability in the timely delivery of the project constructed or has no means of recovering losses created by the contractor. This is gambling with money that you have borrowed or your lifesavings to build your house… money doesn’t grow on trees!



How do you know if your building contractor is building your project to the specifications of the contract or design by the architect? You are not a trained building professional, so hire someone to perform periodic checks for you. You can consult an architect, engineer, or experience building professional. These persons will perform checks and report any problems or anomalies with the works been constructed and advise you how to proceed. You will save time and money by going this route rather than trusting blindly that you are getting value for money. A large part of monitoring your construction includes managing your time, labour and resources on site throughout the construction period. You can go the route of employing a quantity surveyor to provide periodic checks and to determine how much money should be paid out with each claim from the building contractor. You can also get up-to-date buildings rates and cost information for various construction tasks, materials and components for a small fee from a local costing and rates which is also referred to by contractors and quantity surveyors for current building and construction costs and rates.




If you have a limited budget, arming yourself with information about ways in which you can save money is of great importance. You would be surprised that the smallest detail in the design of your house can make a big difference in your overall construction cost. For eg, you may choose to use marble tiles rather than porcelain tiles, however, you could have chosen a porcelain tile that gives the same look and feel as the marble tile you love.

These are some common factors that will affect your cost:


The number one rule is the bigger your house in size the more it is most likely to increase your construction budget. Size=Cost.

Let your size (area/square footage) be in line with your budget. You could be more comfortable that you imagine in a smaller home. You can be comfortable than you imagine in a smaller home. You can be comfortable in a smaller house and live a good life if designed properly. There are various ways to create space saving features and arrange your internal spaces so that your house will create a feeling of openness while minimizing your overall square footage area. To do a lot of trucking from the site, digging or blasting to lay foundations, this will greatly increase your costs.  In short, you really “pay for the view” and lessening your site preparation by designing the house to fit the land will save you money.


it is rare that the originally agreed bid for by the contractor will stay the same throughout and until the end of the construction process. The price of construction can be increased with changes made to the original design during construction, or by encountering or resolving problems that could not foreseen before actually beginning construction. It is therefore food to be clear about what you want before you start construction. You may also find rocks on your lot that require blasting after you begin to dig for your foundation which will increase your costs immediately. It is wise to allow for an additional five to ten percent of the estimated cost as a contingency for things which are unforeseen. If you do not end up spending this money you can consider it as savings.


The majority of construction components (e.g, steel, wood, locks, fixtures and fittings) will be imported from abroad. This means that based on the foreign exchange rates and import costs the price of your purchases, you may see an increase or fluctuation of your cost during your construction. It is therefore wise to purchase these items early and store them away. You will find that storing them will be cheaper than buying them as the need arises.