7 Simple tips to build a low cost home

In these harsh economic times, building a low cost home has become a dream for many home builders in Kenya.

Here are tips to help you build a low cost home without compromising on safety, beauty and comfort.

1.) Find economical building lots
You should be informed that the cheapest building lots are not always the most economical. Your costs may escalate if your contractor has to excavate, clear away bushes or provide extended drainage. Be sure to factor in the cost of fixing public services. If possible, go for lots in areas that have access to electricity, gas and water.

2.) Choose simple floor plans
Complex shapes are difficult and expensive to construct. To cut costs, choose simple – rectangular or square – floor plans. You should also avoid complicated roof-lines.

3.) Build small
A large house can seem a bargain when you compare costs per square foot. However, if you look at the bottom line a small house is more affordable to build and more economical to maintain.

4.) Build tall
Rather than building a single storey house that spans across the lot, consider building a two or three storey house. The taller house will have the same amount of living space, but the foundation and roof will be smaller. Plumbing and ventilation are also cheaper in multi-story homes.

5.) Reconsider your cabinets
Although solid wood cabinets are high-class, there are cheaper ways to give kitchens, bathrooms and home offices an elegant look. Open shelving or stainless steel cabinets with frosted glass doors can be less expensive alternatives to wood cabinets.

6.) Use recycled materials
Recycled building materials are environment-friendly and they can help cut construction costs. Consider products such as sawdust, bamboo, cement composites and recycled steel. It is recommendable to shop for products in stores that sell second hand building materials.

7.) Postpone frills but invest in quality
While building on a budget, you may opt for less expensive doorknobs, faucets and light fixtures. These items can be easily changed, and you can always upgrade later on when your economy improves.

However, you should never scrimp when it comes to features that cannot be easily changed. Spend your money on long lasting building materials.

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