More often than not, construction projects come with a variety of hidden costs. These construction costs can come about as a result of: incomplete designs, existing conditions, owner changes, biased specifications, and completion time expectations, just to name a few. Keep reading to learn more about possible surprise costs and how to avoid them.
Oftentimes designs aren’t complete due to inexperience or omissions based on partial knowledge of codes. For instance, code could require two bathrooms, but the design only has one listed. Meeting with a contractor to go over design and discussing what needs to be included in the design can help curtail this expense.
Many existing conditions such as non-working HVAC systems, problems with existing electrical wiring or layers of previous finishes hidden by the current finish aren’t readily visible until construction has already begun. Say your contractor pulls up the carpet in a room and finds asbestos or tears out a wall revealing a structural column or pipes that’s in the way. These things could result in extra costs for removal or redesign depending upon the circumstances.
You, the owner/employer may change your mind about the initial plans/designs. For example, you could decide you want to have solar panels on your roof even though it has already been installed. This would result in having to re-install the roof with the upgrades, thereby causing the cost to rise. We always believe the owner should have it how they want it despite what it may cost or how long it will take.
The blueprints created by an architect or engineer may specify a particular manufacturer for certain materials when there are cheaper alternatives. For instance, a certain brand of toilet may be specified to go in the bathroom when all that’s important to you is that it works. A way to mitigate this kind of cost is to have an ‘approve/equal’ clause on drawings/specifications to ensure you’re not overspending unnecessarily. It’s important to discuss this with your contractor before accepting the final plans.
When trying to move too quickly to meet an unrealistic deadline, quality work is at risk. It may end up costing you more in the end when trying to speed up a completion date. In order to alleviate this unnecessary cost, allow more time for a project to be finished and ensure more quality work, with a smaller chance of driving up costs.
These are not all of the costs that can come as a surprise during the construction process, but are perhaps the most common. The most important thing you can do to lessen the probability of these costs is to communicate with your contractor regularly.