I have seen many who start building projects without taking into consideration how much it will cost them and, consequently, how long it will take to finish the project. In the end the project becomes a source frustration, with someone feeling sorry for himself.
If you are forty, and embark on a project that would last for a decade, it means that you will be fifty when the house is completed. You may want to ask yourself the question of how many more years do you have left on the earth.
As it is often said, “cut your coat according to your size.” Here, in my own part of the world, people feel that respect comes with the size of what you own: the bigger your house, car, mobile phone, etc, the bigger your status in the eyes of people. Based on this some folk would embark on huge housing projects that, in the end, they spend lifetimes working on the project. This is not wise. The people you had wanted to impress would laugh and feel sorry for you.
While building my house I had been staying in a two-room apartment and shared a bathroom, toilet, and kitchen with others. So, while planning to build my own house, I reasoned that if I had lived in a modest home, then I should be satisfied with a basic three bedroom apartment, as long as the quality of the work is of high standard, rather than opting for a complex house plan. A complex house plan means that I would have to bring in highly technical laborers. This means that I would have had to pay a higher labor cost.
Thus, in order to avoid starting something that ends up as a white elephant project or that takes eternity to finish, there is the need to have a plan of your house and then estimate how much it will cost you to finish it. If you already have money you have saved for erecting the house from foundation to the roof (finishing inclusive) then you compare the cost of building the house with the money you already have. If, however, you wish to build the house in phases, as your monthly salary comes, then you will have to figure out a portion of the monthly salary you will be able to spend on the project.
In estimating the cost of building your house, you may have to consider the following.
- That you will have to buy a piece of land.
- Digging a well to serve as a source of water for the construction work.
- Digging of foundation trenches.
- The gravels and sand to be used for the whole project.
- The cement to be used throughout the whole project.
- The total number of blocks you will need
- The rods and wood you will need for casting lintels.
- The bags of cement you will need throughout the whole project
- The wood, nails, ant-repellant, and shingles you will need for roofing.
- The wood, nails, ant-repellant and the panels (PVC, ordinary asbestos, or POP) that you will need for the project
- Make provisions for scaffolding
- Remember you will build a toilet. You will need blocks, cement, wooden planks, nails, and rods.
- The house would have a floor that may be tiled.
- The house would need door frames, shutters and cementing.
- The windows would need frames, shutters, and cementing.
- The windows may need burglar protection.
- There is the plumbing job to take into consideration.
- There would be electrical cables and fittings
- You will need the power authorities to connect you to the power supply.
- Anything bought for the sake of the project would have to be transported to the construction sites.
- You will have to submit and the plan for inspection by the urban development authorities and you would have to pay.
- Your house will need painting.
- You will have to pay workmanship in every step of the way
Sometimes it is difficult to make this estimate accurately without the help of a quantity surveyor. If you cannot afford one, you may want to ask a trusted friend to give you an estimate of how much it cost him to build his house. When you get the total cost of building the house you then divide it by the proportion of you monthly salary you are willing to commit every month. This will give you the number of months it will take you to accomplish your housing project. If it will take too long, then you need to scale down the size of your house. Note that it is needless to weave into your calculations probable incomes –they are not guaranteed.