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Price per SqFoot-Alberta Canada

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By Lisa in Sherwood Park, AB on 1/23/2008

Hello all

My husband and I reside just outside Edmonton, AB, Canada. While the per square foot amounts in The Owner-Builder Book sound wonderful - here in Alberta I highly doubt they are attainable by anyone, no matter how good they are. We need to get a rough idea of the possible finished cost per square foot to construct a 2,000 square foot bungalow with a bonus room above a triple garage and a basement. Any Canadians in the forums who could provide input?  Fortunately the building boom around here has eased quite a bit -- it was almost impossible to get subs last year, but much better now. I am thinking of about $160/square foot... but not sure if that is enough...

We need to have a rough idea so that we aren't plunging ahead with plans and blueprints that we can't afford to build!




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By Avram in Raleigh, NC on 1/27/2008

I'm not Canadian, but here are some recommendations. 

One way of calculating a rough cost is to find a development near you that is going up that has houses of close to the same size and level of finish that is comparable to what you want to build. You then do a little math the (final price - lot price) * $.70 and then divide that by the square footage to get a rough square footage cost. I happened to use 70 percent, but you can fiddle with that number. If you have to think the builders profit at say 10 percent, then overhead at say 15 percent, real estate commission... There are a lot of costs build in that you don't have to pay as an owner-builder.

A second way of calculating the rough cost is many jurisdictions have everything online. So you can for instance in this same neighborhood go look up the online permit that was pulled and here at least one can see what the estimated hard costs are for a particular house. You can then go the Realtor selling the house and see the hard costs vs. the final cost and taking out the land see how much of a markup there is and just do a permit costs/sq footage of that house to get a rough sq. footage.

A third way to calculate a rough cost is to buy/borrow from a library/go to a bookstore and peruse one of the cost estimating books. Here's a link:

These books usually have all sorts of modifiers for levels of finish, regional price variations, etc. I happen to have an older edition and it has some Canadian regional modifiers too.

Also if you search the forums there are other similar questions and, oh several online rough calculators too here's a link:

Of course all this can vary with the time being built, the amount of unfinished square footage (square footage here at least is almost always cost of the heated with all the other amounts wrapped up in that cost -- so a huge garage or wraparound porch, etc. will bump up your costs some...). The level of finish, the amount of soft costs, etc. etc. but it is a more precise stab in the dark.


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By Metin Ucakhan in Calgary, Alberta on 3/7/2010

Nice approach! I liked it.

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By Lori in Reno, NV on 3/7/2010

The owner-builder company we went with gets their panels from Canada, so I am sure your price would be comparable, not more. Unfortunately, when we were building it was at the height of the gas prices, so we would have had to pay extra to get the panels down here. So we decided to get them local, unlike our friends who started in 2005. Their panels were from Canada and really great.

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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 3/7/2010

Here is what our builder said to factor for owner-building in California.

$160 SF living space
$80 SF garage
$50 SF unfinished basement
$40 SF decks



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