‘I’ve got a friend who built a 2,500 sqft house for €180,000….’

Foreword; Sorry if the tone of this post is harsh, but sometimes trying to find the right clients can be very frustrating… Really I am pretty compassionate and a good listener.

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I get the occasional call (got one today hence the ire..) that starts like this, followed by “How much do you charge for plans?” (i.e. all I want is general drawings don’t bother with the ‘fancy stuff’ like proper specification, environmental design, contractor inspections and certificates of compliance…)  (And we wonder why so many disasterous, dangerous buildings are produced!!)

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‘I’ve got a friend who built a 2,500 sqft house for €180,000….’

I then ask the caller; ‘Did your friend self-build?’ “Yes”, well… self-building will be illegal from 1st March under the new building regulations, and even if this is u-turned, you do realise that self-building means exactly that, that you are not going to work for the nine months and are going to be on site every day supervising and working on it yourself?

‘Did your friend build to the current building regulations?’ ‘No’. So, s/he put no insulation, airtightness detailing, ventilation, etc etc and will be retrofitting the house at twice the additional cost in about 5 years…

‘But what if I don’t complete half the finishes?’

‘Plastered?’ ‘Yes’

‘Skirtings?’ ‘Yes’

‘2nd fix electrical?’ ‘Yes’

‘2nd fix plumbing?’ ‘Yes’

‘So you are leaving out the floors and painting?’ ‘No, we need floors’

‘I see, so we have knocked €5k off it.’

I hope it is fairly clear from this website that I do not design buildings that are not going to be properly funded and compliant with legislation. It should be clear that architects bring huge value to the quality of your build besides a pretty image on day 1 of occupation but riddled with defects thereafter.

This caller then asks, do I only do €500,000 houses? I wish! I do projects of all scales, my last was a €20k energy upgrade, (of a €500,000 house that was built 9 years ago with no insulation..!) but people need to be realistic about what is achievable within their budgets which is why I insist potential clients start with a development report/feasibility study. If your budget is tight, let me tell you what you will realistically achieve if you build to the proper standards. But if you intend cutting corners then I am afraid you are on your own.

If you want to get a feel for your budget, why not look at my Online Estimator Spreadsheet here