1. "Free" Floor plans
There are some contractors out there who will offer free floor plans if you hire them as the general contractor of your home. I hope you understand that there s no such thing as a free lunch. Odds are they will recover the cost of the plans by just hiding it within the cost of building your house.
Likewise it is very likely that you will not be getting expert planning. I ve heard of stories of contractors recycling old or using template projects plans. Plans which will unlikely be a perfect match for your lot in terms of its location, orientation and context, because they were designed for someone else and not specifically for you, your needs, your lifestyle and your taste.
Planning and design which is relegated as a sideshow will unlikely get the attention it needs to produce quality design that every client deserves
2. "Pa Pirma" system
There s a terrible system happening in the practice today, it s the pa pirma system. This is where people get a draftsman to draw up a floor plan and then approach some licensed professional to sign the floor plans for a fraction of the normal cost. In this system the client is short changed as they are not getting expert service. The people who signs for the plans will only check for regulatory requirements such as setbacks, height limits etc. just to ensure that their licence won t be compromised. However they won t really care about anything else. Space planning & design would be the least of their worries as they they would be only paid a couple of thousand pesos to provide the signature to meet the minimum regulatory requirements of a professional signature.
Likewise, the client will not get professional supervision during construction. An architect is supposed to be the clients representative to ensure that the builder follows the approved plans accurately and ensure that your house is safe and correct according to the agreed and approved plans. In the end, the purpose of the pa pirma system is to circumvent the fees of the licenced professional, however, not getting the complete service of an experienced and qualified professional can cost you in the end when you get a home that doesn t turn up to be what you need and what you want.
3. Changes after the finalized plans
It's fairly common that even during construction; clients change their mind and ask for changes to the plans. However this practice can be very costly for several reasons:
a. Changes may affect structural design and may require additional support. b. There may have been preparations made that would be wasted because of the new change. c. Construction costs for changes are usually charged higher as the contractors are no longer pricing to get the job. d. Additional lead time may be required for the new materials needed.
In the end, a change from the finalized plan can have both time and cost implications so it would be best to make sure that all options have been studied during the conceptual stage and you are happy with the finalized plan.
4. Not signing off on all materials
A common sour point during construction are miscommunication in materials & finishes installed. It is crucial that all finishes are approved and signed off by the client as any material that falls below expectation can start mistrust. Usually builders would present for approval the major items like tiles and paint color.
However, when one is not thorough, small items like door handles, tile grout color can spark the misunderstanding. So it would be best that everything is approved to ensure client satisfaction.
5. Cutting corners
Sometimes in the effort to meet tight budget, clients opt to use inferior materials to finish the project. This may save us money in the beginning but it usually comes back to bite us later.
6. "Maganda pero mura" (Beautiful but inexpensive)
Im not saying that "Maganda pero mura" is a bad goal or is an impossible goal, what im saying is that usually there seems to be disconnect with what we want and what we are willing to pay for.
In the planning of our budget, we usually rely on some rule of thumb figure that shows a general per-square meter construction cost. However during the course of planning and construction, it s not uncommon for clients to want things of the highest quality. Upgrades in finishes, fixtures etc is nice, however these things come with costs and they have to align with our budget. It would be best if we would have a detailed budget so we can set limitations to our changes.
7. Doing it yourself
Hiring a bunch of carpenters and managing the project yourself sounds like a good idea to save money, but in reality it could end up costing you more, more importantly you may end up making mistakes that can be disastrous. I know of occasions where homeowners ended up having to regularly repair defects and mistakes they made during construction. (e.g Waterproofing mistakes can be a nightmare)
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