5 Tips to help you estimate your building budget

With any building project correctly estimating and managing your budget is crucial. It can help you avoid costly blow-outs and ensure that you have enough money to complete the build.

So what are some key elements to firstly estimating, and then managing the cost of your project? Here are five tips for budgeting your build.


For any building project; whether it be a renovation of large home there are always a vast number of elements that you will need to include in the costing. So my first tip for getting your budget right is to start with an estimating list.


An estimating list is an itemised breakdown of the building components and their material and labour requirements. The trick is to have one that is not too general (which could leave guessing some costs) nor so specific that it has you wasting time counting every nail in the job.


The second tip I would offer is to confirm your selection of building materials and fixtures before you physically start building. Rushing out to grab tapware the week before the plumber arrives to fit them off creates an urgency that does not make for good decision making. Also, while you are choosing your selections, consider your “non-negotiables” – the one or two features that you simply will not compromise on. Working these into your budget will help you adjust costs in other less important areas.


My fourth tip – have a margin for error in your estimation. No matter how thorough you might be in formulating your estimation there will always be something that will come up unexpectedly during the course of your build. An extra 2%-10% depending on the scope of the build should be added to your budget for incidentals. Worst case scenario it will be there to catch you when you need it, best case scenario you end up with a bit of extra money at the end.


Finally, once your building project is underway, I would suggest you find a way to track your expenses and be diligent in updating it. There are heaps of money tracker apps for phones or you could make up an excel spreadsheet. Whatever you use I would suggest you categorise expenses so that you can compare the true cost of each building element to the estimation that was made before you started. Estimating a building project is never an exact science and so being able to compare the true cost of each item against what was budgeted can help to preempt any financial issues as they arise and enable you to make adjustments where necessary.


Hope these tips help. Happy building.