The most effective way to save money on a construction project is like most things in life. Its all about the set up. If you pick the right team, challenge them to think outside the box and cut out the middle man. You can save yourself money on your next construction project.
I have been responsible for delivering over 60 million dollars in construction services spread over hundreds of small and mid sized projects. Based on my experience there are three critical items that a client can do to save money.
1) Pick the right sized contractor for the job. Typically, a contractor sets up their business to service clients that require a certain size of project to be completed. Large contractors should do large projects, mid-sized contractors do mid-sized projects and small contractors perform small projects. If you have a mismatch of size of contractor to size of project you maybe paying more for the project or getting less for the fee's associated to general contractors.
2) Challenge the status quo. The design, engineering and construction service industry is based on experience. These professionals rely heavily on what has worked in the past. If you really want to save money you will have to challenge your design and construction team to ensure they are working together to provide you with the cost savings you want.
The best way to get cost savings is to involve your contractors early in your design process. Typically, contractors already know the types of materials and the name brands to pick to save the most amount of money.
There are three main ways to save during the design phase. Choose Alternative Building Materials, Building Finishes and Building Mechanical and Electrical Equipment. As an example, If you want to keep the costs low instruct your team from the beginning on how you want to proceed.
Some of the best building materials that save you money are the items that you never see or touch.
Underground pipe: Choose ABS vs Cast Iron
Water Pipe: Choose PEX vs Copper
Electrical Pipe: Choose ENT (electrical nonmetallic tubing) vs EMT (electrical metallic tubing)
Building Mechanical and Electrical Equipment
There is also a never ending battle of over building or over engineering or over designing a project. Typically you will find cost savings in the Mechanical and Electrical systems of the building. Always take your Mechanical and Electrical contractors feedback on cost savings under considerations. Below are typical items to focus on.
Type of Roof Top Mechanical Units: have your contractor provide recommendations on types and different brands. Not all options are created equal but its worth the time to find the best one that suits your needs.
Electrical Lighting and Controls: have your contractor provide recommendations on the type of lighting and controls you need. Standard name brands have there benefits but you will pay for it.
3) Buy direct. The internet is a wonderful way to buy unique flooring ,tile, wallpaper appliances, plumbing fixtures and lighting. The catch with buying direct is that you will have to earn your cost savings. Once you buy direct you own any problems or delays of the owner supplied items. Buying direct is not for everyone but if you really don't have the budget to get what you want this is a great way to save money.