Reducing project costs is often thought of in terms of reducing material and labour costs, but there are other ways to save money on your building project.

1. Choose your Architect before you buy the land. There are two approaches; either you choose the land you like and fit the design to it, or you create a preliminary design and seek the land that will suit the design. Your architect can help you choose a block of land that suits you and your planned project.

2. Have your Architect Review the Land Choice before you sign on the dotted line. There are many factors that can impact on your project that revolve around your choice of a block. These can include site orientation, adjacent conditions, soil conditions, the slope of the block, and vegetation. Your architect can inform you early of any the pitfalls of rules and regulations that you may not know about, but that you will have to comply with. This may help you in your land sale negotiation as well.

3. Have your Architect help with establishing a Budget for the Project. Architects can prepare a cost opinion for your project in as little as 15 minutes with the basic size and location of your project. Of course such an opinion is rough and includes substantial contingencies, but it is a good, realistic place to start. This allows you to immediately see whether you need a rethink of the size and complexity of your project and to plan for the budget properly from the beginning without going down the line and having to backtrack later.

4. Have your Architect Evaluate your Brief. Your planned project may not suit the land you have purchased. Your budget may be too small for your brief. You may not need all the facilities you have planned; there may be ways to multitask different areas of the house. A little lateral thinking in the beginning with regards to the brief can once again save you backtracking later in the process, saving you both time and money.

5. Consider Buying an Existing House. Construction costs for similar materials were less expensive 20 years ago than they are now. Making use of that embedded value can add to your project. It is often less expensive to renovate an existing structure than to build a new one. An architect can help you evaluate an existing house with your brief to determine the feasibility of altering the existing structure to suit you.

6. Unleash Your Architect. Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and to expect different results. If you insist that your architect gives you what everyone else has, you have missed an opportunity. Give your architect the leeway to experiment on your behalf. Give your architect the ‘what’ (your brief) and let the architect determine the ‘how’. Use their professional design experience for your gain; a truly unique home that suits you perfectly.