Desire for obtaining lower price for construction from the builder is very common among people who attempt to build house. It is due to a common belief that the villain causing higher cost is the builder. It implies that the person who comes forward to arrange material and labour for construction of your house pockets a good portion of your money. So the person trying to build house keep on enquiring “square feet cost of construction” from all those who approach him for the work without realising the fact that there is no universal square feet cost of construction for building a house.
Cost of construction will vary from place to place and also depending upon soil nature and even level of land. Cost will vary depending upon design of the house. In clearer terms we can say that cost simply do not depend upon square feet plinth area of the house to be built. It depends more on material and labour cost inputs for the house which in turn depend upon design of the house. Thus by suitably varying design of the house (and definitely not simply square feet plinth area of house) cost can go up or down. This is where role of the Architect become important or crucial in deciding cost of construction. So it is not the person who takes up construction contract (builder) who has the key to construction cost. The key to lower or higher cost of construction is with the Architect. He uses this key right from designing the house.
Builder is not going to reduce your construction cost by deciding to forget or part with part of his profit. He is in the business of building houses simply for profit. If he cannot get profit by doing construction work in the most appropriate manner with good quality he will naturally compromise on quality of construction to obtain his profit probably while trying to pretend in front of the owner about his “quality of work”. Hence for you to get a good quality construction with a bit of sincerity from the builder,you should be gracious enough to allow him to have profit for constructing your house properly.
I remember several occasions when owner of the house for whom I was building house,found it difficult to hide his happiness when input raw material costs for construction was going up thereby cutting my profit and pushing me into loss having committed for a fixed price or rates for construction.As I was unwilling to compromise on quality of construction,I had no other option other than facing loss in my business.But some one like me as a builder will not be there and even my actions in keeping up my commitments even at a loss can only be treated as a foolish decision as a business man.A business enterprise incurring losses can only look forward to closure and nothing else.So later I changed my billing practices linking the rates of construction to input costs.Whenever input costs go up I increase rates and when it goes down I decrease rates.Even in this scenario,I give firm rates just before each stage of construction to be kept firm till completion of that stage of construction.
Recently I have come across a lady settled in Mumbai.She approached me for designing a house for her parents at her native village in Kerala.I visited the site and found that they have large area of land in a village atmosphere.So I designed a house suited to the land and village.Like many of my other clients she has decided in advance that the house should have a prefixed square feet plinth area and the Architect has to somehow adjust his design to suit that prefixed plinth area.This insistence on prefixed square feet plinth area for the house is simply due to wrong belief of cost directly related to square feet plinth area.With the same square feet plinth area,you can build houses with different cost and your Architect can guide you on cost control by suitably managing input costs while designing the house and monitoring each stage of construction.She was adamant on reducing plinth area of the house by 200 sft without knowing that 200 sft difference is not going to change construction cost much as I can advise her many ways of controlling cost during progress of work.
When you go to a doctor for treating your disease you are willing to listen and follow his advices.Similarly in house construction,when you hire a professional you should follow instructions of the Architect.But many people think and talk as if Architect is some one who should follow his instructions and demands.”After all,I am spending my money.Architect should do as I said”If this is your attitude my advice will be that you should not simply waste your money on Architect.A professional should be given freedom of functioning.If you have budget limitations tell him openly about your limitations and he will suitably design the house for you within your budget constraints.If your requirements cannot be met within the finance available,he in turn will tell you about it.You can either postpone the project or better still,you can avail of long term housing loan which will give you house at today's price and payment after 10 or 15 years.By that time your property price would have appreciated many multiples.