Never have more truer words been spoken than when you are building or renovating.

I confess, it’s been 9 months since my last posting pertaining to our cottage build.

No, I haven’t been too busy building it to write about it, there’s just a building boom going on and everybody’s tied up.


Budget crunching

What the Heck Have we Been Doing?

Last summer was spent collecting estimates from builders on how much the cottage would cost us. The final build cost surprised even the professionals and ended up being over 30% more expensive than the initial guesstimates by the builders when all the trade’s estimates were tallied up. Due to the building boom the trades are busy working, resulting in their estimates trickling in several weeks late.

When the final cost of the cottage was revealed we really had to re-evaluate the project and determine if investing this amount of money made sense.



Don’t put all Your Eggs in one Basket

After much deliberation we determined that the property value in this area would support investing in this cottage in the long run. That may not be the case however, in other areas. So, make sure you consider this before you undertake any major building or renovating work.


The Cottage is our Future

We’re not just building any old cottage using off the shelf builder’s special fixtures and fittings. We’ve designed this mini house as a place that my husband and I may move into in the future if we want to down-size or need to live on one level. It will have all the accessible features and comforts of a large house but in a smaller package.


Hiring a Builder

One of the many benefits of working with a building company is the fact that you leave everything in their capable hands, alleviating a lot of stress. They organize and arrange everything and expedite the process. They also have preferred tradespeople that they like to work with. The benefits to this are that they will be able to schedule them for your project quickly, avoiding delays, and they will use locally established trades who do quality work that your builder can stand behind. A standard practice of today’s builders is that they charge a percent of the overall project cost. This means that the higher each trade’s cost is, the more the builder makes. So why would a builder ever choose a lower priced tradesperson? I find that a conflict of interest.


Doing it Ourselves

The fee for having a builder ‘manage’ our cottage build worked out to be between $25-$30,000. Our circumstances at the moment allow us to be able to manage the build ourselves, so this is the route we’ve decided to take. We’ll need to take a home-owner building course and pass an exam before being legally able to do this but we’re up for it. Especially as we’re not complete green-horns when it comes to home construction. In the long run it may take a little longer, but it’ll hopefully save us some money. We are confident in our abilities to take this on and look forward to this new challenge.


Flat pack house

Flat Pack Building

In order to speed the building process along and make things simpler for us, we’re looking into a flat pack home. Rather than needing to find good framers, order wood and organize everything on site ourselves, we are hoping to find a modular home builder who will deliver pre-fabricated walls that can be erected in a day or two on site. Instant gratification! These wall and roof panels can come already waterproofed to keep everything nice and dry right from the start. TIP: This is especially useful when building during times of inclement weather.


Action Plan

It really pays to be patient, take your time and really consider all your options. As the cost of thing rise steadily it no longer makes no sense to jump in blindly.

This new reality forces you to become more patient, which in the long run will be better for you, your wallet and even the environment.