We all have budgets – no matter how big or small the project, there is ALWAYS a budget. These budgets are always a discussion point during design and usually becomes a point of restriction in the project at some point. Clients often face conflict between what they want and what they want to spend. These challenges often feel like you are giving up part of your dream when resolved because budgets almost always win over wants. The real trick, the part that can be figured out in design, is how do you find the best value and maintain as close as possible – the dream?
This minor distinction has a huge impact on the overall quality and success of a project. For example, if you decide to save some money on a lower cost flooring, often the quality of that flooring will equal a shorter life for the product. Or a little more technical, if you decide to save money on a lower cost heating and cooling system, often the efficiency of that system is lower and you will pay more every month for heating and cooling costs. In contrast, if you decide to use a box cabinet system for your kitchen vs a full custom option, the quality of the cabinet is generally the same and you have almost as many functional options with either approach. If you make your home a fraction smaller, you will probably not miss the space if the space is intentionally designed resulting in cost savings.
I have heard from several different people recently that years ago a short cut was taken on their building to save money and now they have to pay a fortune to fix the problem. Whether it was a heating and cooling duct system installed the least expensive way possible or a plumber cutting out joists to make his installation easier and less expensive – the fix is not cheap. Thinking about the long-term impacts of your short-term cost savings is critical when it comes to sustainable design. It often costs a little more to have an insulation company use a higher quality product and install it with care, but this gives comfort and energy-efficiency savings each day you live in your home. It costs a little more to think through the design before construction starts, but this always leads to savings as the builder knows what to expect and does not have to guess or modify things already done.
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