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My advice to O-B's is PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN, STUDY STUDY STUDY (your info was the best I've found - thanks.) Plan some more. Using your tools helped (contracts spreadsheets, etc...) Study planning timelines.
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Cost Estimates from free hand drawing


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By Shane on 11/15/2004


Hello,

Currently we are a little tight for cash and I can't afford to have blueprints drawn up to get an estimate.  We are considering building ourselves if we can build a 1100 sqft bungalow (very simple rectangular plan) for under $100,000 (this is Canadian).

What I'm wondering is if I have a drawing with dimensions would I be able to get an estimate for costs?  Some things I am willing and able to do on my own but others like the foundation I am not.  I don't want to pay for the blueprints if there isn't any chance we could build for under this.

 


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By John in Erie, CO on 11/15/2004


If you drawings are really good, then it might be worth a try, but I found that incomplete drawings (lacking engineering, steel schedules, etc) pretty much just resulted in subs giving me a WAG (Wild A$$ Guess) that was high.  Once I had my full set of drawings complete, then I was able to get real bids and the numbers were much closer to what I ended up paying.

One the plus side, talking to people early helps you adjust your design construction to save money or add features.  On the minus side, a lot of subs will pretty much laugh at you if you look like you don't know what you are doing.   Some folks I dealt with were like that until I had some other details.

Don't start seriously until you have a complete set of drawings.  A lot of the details in those drawings can mean a lot of things price wise. 

You might look at some of the home user cad packages to get a basic plan which might help.

Good luck,
John

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By Kari in Colbert, WA on 11/15/2004


Shane,

I would consider finding a local designer(so it is to local codes) and buying a study plan of a house you like - usually 1/8 scale and study plans are $50-100 (US) here.  You then can use this study plan to start to put feelers out on costs - drop by subs with these and get "ballpark" estimates.  If the numbers are anything near to what you were thinking then buy the stock plans($250-1000).  If it isn't structural you can modify the parts you want yourself with your own spec sheets as you get your bids.  But honestly if you are subbing out a lot of stuff you will be hard pressed getting anyone to respond favorably to hand drawn plans and you want your bids as clear and financially tight as possible - to compare apples to apples-not to mention approval with county building permits etc...  It will be worth the money you spend.  In the U.S where we are if you do say, 5 trades yourself, and were carefull on your budget with mid range finishes you could build that house for your budget easily (excluding land).  I don't know about Canada - you'd have to convert.  What are local GC's building specs turnkey for?  You could easily half that amount I have found (since they usually are including land).  Good luck!

Kari

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By Kenneth in Lees Summit, MO on 11/16/2004


It sounds like you are pretty early in the preliminary stages.  I would use a calculator such as www.building-cost.net and make some assumptions.  From this calculator and assumptions, it will give you the price to build on your lot.  It will also break it down by work package, although I found these to be terribly inaccurate.  For bottom line, I found it to be a very good initial estimating tool.
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By Joe in Elkhart, IN on 11/18/2004


You can't get costs without plans.  You can buy blueprints off the 'net for about $500.  There are literally thousands of designs to pick from that should fit your requirements.

A rough ballpark is US$100/sf.  You can build for less, but it is a good rule of thumb.

I found the same to be true at that building cost estimate site listed above.  Some of the breakdown costs were way, way off, but the bottom line seems pretty close.


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