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  • Writer's pictureDon Magruder

Breaking Construction Myths Can Save Money

With the current rise in prices due to inflation, along with the ongoing labor shortages, completing construction and repair projects around the house has gotten very expensive and time consuming. This new environment is forcing homeowners to rethink project scopes, how projects are completed, the material used, and most importantly, ways to reduce costs. One constant roadblock in the world of construction and repair is that many homeowners follow the paradigm of doing something the way it has always been done. For some reason, using different techniques is met with resistance and it creates a lot of conformity. If you are planning any type of construction or repair project, before you say yes, consider breaking some of the construction myths.

The first myth in home construction or repair is that you must borrow money from the lender that the builder or repairperson has selected. Sure, it may be easier for the person doing the work to deal with a particular lending institution on construction projects, but you may find a better rate by obtaining your own financing. Many online lending institutions may offer better rates and terms, and believe it or not, clients who have well established banking and credit relationships can leverage much better deals. Before you commit to financing, call around and check with your own lenders.

Saving money on projects is a big deal. As the homeowner, you can negotiate a lot of savings in your project. The first way to save is for you to deal directly with suppliers for the products on your project. Many times, you can save money by buying the material yourself, plus you can control the waste and usage factor on your job. Additionally, many contractors will add an automatic handling charge for all materials purchased. The other area where you could potentially save money is by negotiating parts of the project where you provide your own sweat equity. If you are somewhat handy and have the physical ability, you can negotiate doing certain scopes of the project yourself, like painting, flooring, millwork installation, or even the final clean. For many homeowners, completing certain aspects of a project on your own is a good idea and can save a lot of money. Keep in mind, your contractor will probably insist you don’t hold the project up, and he will not warranty the work you do. It is a myth that you cannot work on your own project- negotiate what you can do.

One of the biggest myths in home projects is that you are required to use the products and the construction methods that the contractor or builders in the area use in other projects. There are going to be periods in which lumber framing is more affordable and assessable than masonry construction, and at some point, steel framing could be the most affordable way to complete a project. There is no mandate by the state of Florida to use a certain home construction method as long as you follow structural building codes. Before you settle on one structural method of construction on your project, ask for pricing of wood, concrete, and steel. You may be shocked to find out one is a lot more affordable than another.

The final myth when dealing with home repair is that the smaller companies are always the best value for construction services. Smaller companies with less volume must make more money on each project to cover overhead, and in the current environment many are struggling with labor. Over the last few years, due to the amount of business, larger service providers have more established pricing and also have the crews to complete projects quicker. Once again, this is not a blanket statement, but very small construction service providers are being more impacted with inflation and labor woes than the bigger groups, which translates into higher prices and longer-lead times. Don’t be afraid to get multiple quotes and time guarantees for your project before starting.

The construction and service industry has dramatically changed in the last few years due to COVID-19, inflation, and labor concerns. Each day, new myths in the construction industry are being uncovered and your ability to successfully complete a project timely and within budget may require a deviation from how it used to be done. Don’t be afraid to scrutinize the norms.

Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.

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