This Monday, Brian and May from ISA met with Scott from Build It Green Philly to brainstorm final cost reductions that could be made prior to finalizing the construction drawings. The team came up with some good recommendations for cost cutting that get us another big jump towards our goal. Some of the cuts are a bit painful, but we all agree they are necessary while not compromising the design to a point that we are no longer comfortable with.
I have thought about the list and made a few decisions and minor modifications to come up with the final list you see below:
- Eliminate the kitchen island [$1,000]
- Use a single drop-in range rather than separate appliances [$800]
- Use $2 psf tile allowance in the bathroom rather than $5 psf [$300]
- Eliminate Hardi on the rear, side wall and replace with stucco [$800]
- Reduce # of outlets [$200]
- Remove entire closet in Master Bedroom [$1,000]
- Eliminate one window at ground floor, North facade [$400]
- Eliminate washer/dryer from case study (will remain in bank budget) [$1,400]
Total Savings: $ 5,900
New Construction Total: $103,315
The most painful changes in here for me are the kitchen modifications. It was suggested by a reader (dream) to make these changes in our previous post on appliance budget reductions and I had replied that we had considered but really wanted to keep the separate oven and cooktop to beef up the design. While it hurts a bit to simplify the kitchen, it is the smart decision and it will also simplify and reduce the cost of the range hood ventilation by being able to mount it to the wall now. Also, we can maintain the functionality of the island layout by replacing the permanent island with a moveable SS kitchen worktable that can be bought from a local kitchen supply store for under $250.
Another modification that may pique some interest is removing the closet altogether from the Master Bedroom. This is something we discuss early on while questioning what is really necessary in a home. A built-in closet could be seen as an upgrade and often people like to purchase and customize their own clothes storage units for their bedrooms. I simple unit from IKEA or even a DIY system (I have some ideas for this) may be a nice option. Again, this is for the basic $100K house model in the case study only. I realize that most may choose a closet “upgrade” if given the chance and we would also most likely put one in homes we intend to sell such as the 120K house next door.
The last major tweek on here worth talking about is the washer/dryer. While I still want to include this in the home and the budget for the bank, I am again taking the advice of the readers and removing it from the case study budget figure. This appliance really is not required in a new home and is included many times today as a gift or added feature by the developer.
Scott is currently reviewing the final construction drawings with all of his subs to nail down the final figure. We will meet mid next week to review what he has come up with and discuss final cost reductions if still necessary at that point. I am very pleased with the progress we have made on the budget in the past few weeks and would not view achieving anything under $105K as a failure. In the end, this may not be the $100K house in reality and there may be fundamental design tweeks to be made to the plans that we simply can not make at this stage of the project. That’s OK with us and was one of the reasons for the experiment in the first place.
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