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Understanding The Top 8 Variable Construction Costs: A Guide for First-Time Home Builders

Here we will share the most costly construction variables that first-time home builders should be aware of when planning their new construction project.

Building your dream home is an exciting journey filled with possibilities, but it also comes with financial considerations that can impact the success of your project. Understanding variable construction costs is key to managing your budget effectively and ensuring a smooth construction process. In this guide, we will explore the various variable costs that can significantly impact your overall budget, the importance of understanding these variable costs, how they can influence your budget, and why first-time home builders need to pay attention to these crucial aspects.

1. Understanding Variable Costs for Construction Trades & Labour

Skilled labor is crucial for a successful construction project, and the cost of labor can vary depending on a number of factors such as; 

  • Labor Demand 

  • The Project Location

  • Complexity of Work Required 

Hiring experienced and reliable contractors or working with a turnkey builder such as Pluspuu Homes can offer peace of mind and security in knowing the people responsible for assembling your project are skilled professionals who are expertly trained in the products/systems they are installing. Hiring a professional building partner can be more pricey upfront, but can also help you to avoid any costly mistakes made by “Joe Blow’s Construction Company” cutting two-by-fours off the back of their pickup truck. A highly experienced and certified professional will ensure your home is built at the highest quality standard and help you to mitigate risk.

2. Why Site Planning for Construction Can Impact your Budget?

The condition and layout of a site can greatly impact the costs of a project due to the complexity of your required site work. Every site is unique and requires a unique design and site plan to ensure there are no unforeseen issues with permitting approvals and building codes/requirements. Preparing your site for a construction project can be one of the biggest variables that will impact the overall costs of your project because they are also the most unknown costs due the unique circumstances presented at any new site! 

Site preparation costs can vary depending on;

  • System Requirements - Well, Septic, Electrical, Clearing & Grading, Excavation, etc. 

  • Foundational Design Requirements - Concrete Slab, Helical Piles or Pillars, ICF basement, Footings, Crawl Space, etc. 

  • Site Conditions - Soil Composition, Bedrock, Property Slope, Island or Remote locations, Site Accessibility, etc. 

You can help mitigate these variables by conducting in-depth site surveys and topographical reports to gain a greater understanding of the layout of your site and requirements for your design, foundational needs and site systems. 

3. Project Variables in Architectural Design & Customizations

Some companies will charge a fee for customizing their standard designs and in other cases you may need to hire an experienced architect to develop your own engineered designs, which can be both costly and time consuming; especially if you have little guidance on how to develop a cost-effective design layout! Additionally, changes to the original design or customizations requested during the construction process can lead to hefty additional costs. Making changes while on-site can quickly spiral out of control if clients are not considering these changes carefully or making changes that could impact the overall engineering of the home, which in turn can lead to huge impacts on the design & material costs.


To solve for the cost of customizing or hiring a designer Pluspuu Homes offers clients three free one hour design calls with our expert architect & engineer Greg Nakonecznyj, who will work with you and your budget to develop a beautiful and cost-effective, custom Pluspuu home design. This process is crucial to ensure the clients are happy with their final design concept and require no changes to be made later on, as the next step is to prepare your architectural design blueprints which will then be submitted for permitting approvals & manufacturing your prefabricated Log & Timber Kit. Learn more about our design process by downloading our “Welcome Client Package” here.


4. Home Building Variable Costs of Material Selections 

The cost of construction materials, such as lumber, concrete, steel, and fixtures, can fluctuate based on the market conditions, material availability, and quality of the product. Opting for high-quality materials may increase upfront costs, but can result in long-term savings through durability and lower maintenance requirements. A perfect example of this is Pluspuu’s non-settling log (learn more here); unlike traditional log homes, Pluspuu’s non-settling logs are designed to eliminate the need for both short-term & long-term adjustments or maintenance to the logs overtime. Traditional log homes have a moisture content, on average of over 12%; moisture levels over 12% cause noticeable shrinking to the logs as they dry out and settle, causing gaps in the logs; which in turn requires adjustments are made to avoid structural damage, air-leakage, moisture & mold, etc. Pluspuu’s proprietary non-settling log is designed with a much lower moisture level (between 7-9%), which allows for no short-term or long-term settling of the logs, saving you from the ongoing variable maintenance costs associated with traditional log homes. If that still isn't enough for you; Pluspuu Homes also offers a lifetime warranty on our engineered Log & Timber Kit, providing you with long term security and peace of mind knowing your home is covered! 


4. Construction Permitting & Inspection Fees

As mentioned above, obtaining necessary permits and scheduling inspections are essential steps in the construction process. Permit fees and inspection costs can vary depending on the location, the size of the project, and the number of inspections required and your building partner. Some builders, such as Pluspuu Homes, have in-house project management teams who are responsible for all permitting and inspection activities required for your project, which means the costs of these services are included within your turnkey construction project contract. You can view our 4-step Build A Home process on our website here, or download a copy of our “Project Services & Pricing Guide” here, which gives a clear breakdown of Pluspuu’s turn-key service inclusions. 


6. Unforeseen Construction Issues & Delays

Unexpected challenges, such as inclement weather, supply chain disruptions, or unforeseen design changes can arise during construction. Budgeting for contingencies to address unforeseen expenses and delays is crucial to staying on track financially. Having a “Risk Fund” is always recommended in the case that unforeseen obstacles do arise during construction, clients can have a safety net to fall back on if any of the unforeseen issues cause delays or changes to be made to the design, which in turn can affect the overall costs of a project. 

7. Variable Costs for Interior Finishings & Fixtures

The cost for interior finishings of a home are widely variable, depending on the clients design preferences and material selections. The range of materials chosen can greatly impact the overall cost of a project. Low-range materials, such as basic appliances and fixtures, can be less expensive, but may not be as durable or long-lasting. High-range materials, such as luxury appliances and fixtures, can be more expensive but can provide better performance and longevity. Although your builder can help make recommendations on materials, every client is unique in their design vision and the costs related to interior finishings can vary greatly from one project to the next. Allocate funds for your interior design upfront and speak to your builder about the estimated unit costs of your finishing materials. 

Interior FInishings & Fixtures can include:

  • Flooring (hardwood, tile, polished concrete, etc.)

  • Cabinetry (Kitchen, Bathrooms & Built-Ins)

  • Fixtures (Door handles, Knobs for Cabinets, Sinks, Toilets, Showers, Tubs, etc.)

  • Appliances (Laundry, Dishwasher, Fridge, Oven, Fireplace, etc.)

  • Lighting (Decor lighting, Indoor & Outdoor light fixtures)

  • Furniture (Tables, Chairs, Sofa, Beds, Curtains, etc.)

8. Landscaping & Exterior Features for New Construction

Landscaping, outdoor amenities, and exterior features, such as driveways, patios, fencing, outdoor furniture, etc. are all additional costs that can vary based on the size of the lot, desired landscaping complexity, and material selections. One way to mitigate these costs is by doing a lot of the work yourself! Try to reuse any dirt or soil left on the property from construction in your garden or grading and leveling out the landscape around the property. Other ideas would be to repurpose and wood from tree that may have needed to be cut down, or if any large rock formations were dug up during construction you could find creative ways to repurpose the stone slabs into stairs, an outdoor fireplace or to be used a part of your garden.

Of all the project variables, landscaping is one that clients can take control of and manage on their own to help reduce project costs! There are clever ways to find cheap materials within the community or from the surrounding environment. Taking on small portions of the project on your own can save you dollars and cents here and there, but at the end of the day those small efforts can add up to some valuable cost savings! 

Understanding Variable Construction Costs

Variable costs are a part of any construction project, whether you build with Pluspuu or any other build partner. These costs are dictated by site conditions, services, engineering requirements and most importantly, client selections. By understanding and accounting for these costly construction variables, first-time home builders can be better prepared by hiring an expertly trained contractor and project management team! Hiring the right team and ensuring consistent communication with contractors and suppliers will help to mitigate any project variables, helping you to remain budget-conscious, which in turn makes your life easier and saves you more money in the long run! 

Learn more about partnering with Pluspuu Homes for your next project!

Contact us today to receive a copy of our digital catalog or schedule an introductory call with our team to discuss your building plans & see if Pluspuu would make a good fit for your project!

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