The dreaded cost overrun

I guess in a way it was always going to happen, despite our best efforts to avoid it. The Quantity Surveyor has just shared his schedule of costs with us, and it’s way over both budget and the initial estimates that we’d been given.

It was a stomach wrenching moment when we worked our way down his itemised spreadsheet and realised that the costs were about 30% over what we’d been led to expect. With some big costs, such as the utilities, not yet factored in…

And so late in the process! Too late to feasibly change anything big.

Having tried to control costs as much as possible by buying a ‘turnkey’ solution from a reputable firm of architects, we’ve been scuppered by the quotes from their builders for the groundworks, access road and actual build of the house.

Although the SIP kit is a fixed price and estimates for the erection were provided, their builder has come in with quotes way over what was initially estimated.

We’re now faced with challenging those figures, and if we can’t get them down to a reasonable level, which I think unlikely, potentially trying to source another builder. Not an easy task on the island where builders are scarce and already over-subscribed with work for the year. We may have to spread the net more widely.

And if costs still prove too high, we may have to do some of the work ourselves to make this in any way affordable.

There is a definite feeling that some of these figures are what we call “London” prices. (Ah, they’re from London. They must have loads of money and will accept any cost that we give them.) That’s a bitterly sad thought, and one that I sincerely hope doesn’t prove to be true.

Let’s see where this next week takes us…

18 Replies to “The dreaded cost overrun”

      1. Let’s hope so! We may be spending a cold Highland winter in a caravan overseeing the final stages of this to keep within affordable budget 👍

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi,

    That is very sad, combined with the fact the website cannot be found! Jock Gremlins indeed! Has nobody told them you are part frisp?

    All the best!!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminds me of watching any episode of Grand Designs. The budgets are always too low for the final costs and people always end up doing some of the work themselves to keep the price down. Setting up like this is also a labour of love. If you end up doing some of the work yourself you’ll be able to stand back one day and say, we did that. Best of luck, you’re living my dream!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I know that we half expected costs to go up, but the level at which they have has taken us quite aback. How anyone ever affords a new build is quite beyond me.. 😊


    1. Awww Jo, that’s so sweet! After the quote for the access track build went from 8k to 35k Hugh did threaten to take time out, hire a digger and excavate it himself! Save your energy for the tree planting when we start it. Thanks so much 🙏💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Luffy,
    I felt sad to read your latest post. Building is something of a bugbear to me. All through my life with my late husband, besides our ‘day jobs’ we renovated houses we lived in, including a totally derelict one with barns we turned into a pub/restaurant. We were formidable as they say in French. Then comes the time when illness struck my husband, I became his carer. Later my health prevented me from the things I would previously not have thought twice about doing. The project came about because of an unlooked for house move (sadly, victim of a complicated fraud for which the perpetrator is serving a long sentence, but that’s a different story). The build project was partly necessary because of my husband’s health needs at the time. It was the first time I’d had to rely on builders, and it wasn’t a good experience. The project is not finished to this day, just enough for me to begin to move on.
    Building costs are always far more than you imagine they will be (as you have discovered. Making sure the project is managed really well is also key. It might also be that there is an idea that because you are London based prices can be quoted that are higher, or it might be that because it’s an from your posts island costs are genuinely going to be high.
    The real question is how to proceed. Figuring out how far you can get with your budget is a heart breaking and scary process. Part of that will probably be revisiting all the choices you’ve made about what the finished home will be. Something clean and simple (if I have the picture in my head that you have described, is deceptively pricey. It is a challenge and I suspect you will face up to the challenge. You will be re-visiting costings and while there are some things that are fixed there are other ways for some things to be approached. Finishing’s can run away with costs, bathrooms etc. decorating. Once you know you have to source less costly alternatives It’s surprising what you can find on places like FB Marketplace, ebay etc. (it might be worth considering purchasing a cheap van for collections etc or check out hire costs ready for if a bargain comes along). Homeaway has people who will work on certain jobs in exchange for food and the chance to visit (in your case it might have to be camping (summer) etc. that would have to be once you are there. It’s a good way to make new friends. I don’t doubt you will consider all sorts of things once the initial shock of the costings you’ve just had wears off. I hope you keep your dream and find ways to overcome. Follow your dream, the very best of luck.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. We’ve started the process of re-examining everything and we’ll make this work somehow. Your life experiences sound incredible and I wish you well. Thanks for the wise advice 🙏☺️.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So sorry to hear that. I hope you guys can figure things out. I find it appalling when businesses ‘sniff’ out the money and try to take you for a ride. Also getting tired of “estimates” as you’ve alluded to. Example: we got an estimate for our chimney rebuild. We approved. Scaffolding was installed… then came the quotation, which was 115% more. Because the scaffolding is up, they hold you to ransom.

    But I digress. I hope you can balance the budget and get things back on track. The very best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. We are going to need it. They have no incentive to find creative solutions that cost less for us, as there is so much work at inflated rates available for them. Every creative solution so far has come from us after research…. I think that we will end up doing much of this ourselves, however unqualified we are. 😬

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s an excellent point. We’ve spent days (probably months cumulatively) researching things we know nothing about to come up with and suggest creative solutions to expensive, overpriced work. That’s definitely a great path forward, but it’s just a massive time drain. There are also excellent UK building forums I’ve joined where experienced tradesmen help with suggestions.

        Liked by 1 person

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