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KHB-Zine, Issue #018: Owner builder budgeting blowouts
July 02, 2018


Welcome to the June 2018 edition of KHB Ezine.

This month....
Owner builder budgeting blowouts

Early PS: if you are reading this on a phone, turn it sideways to enable landscape view, it's easier to read.

There are two budgets. One is your initial 'I think it might cost this much' budget, then there is the real budget: well researched with written quotes, and solid 'ballparks' and committed owner builder. All going well that budget will fly as long as you set up your systems: see my page for a set up Budget spreadsheet . But there will always be blowouts, and the extent and impact of that blowout depends on your readiness to absorb the cost. Here are a few of my personal budget blowouts.

Clearing and site preparation
Everybody has an opinion on clearing. Neighbours will say they used a guy that cleared for $XX.00 less than you ended up paying, and make you second guess the choices you have made. The type, amount and extent of your own land clearing is a personal decision. My clearing task started from untouched bush, required an ecologists support and a 1.5 acre asset protection zone from bushfire. It started with uprooting and felling about 16 large gums, lots of scrub clearing, raking and pile burning. A 20 tonne excavator was the machine used which later cut and filled my house, garage and water-tank sites. I had a 'ballpark' figure from the earth-moving business of $15K, and although I thought that was a little steep, I chose them as they were a larger operation. Again, personal choice. See my Land clearing page for more info.
The blowout
I realised I had a great deal of very good timber (blackbutt, tallowwood, turpentine and brushbox) being potentially burnt so I enlisted a chain sawyer to cut poles to be stacked for firewood and fence posts. There was alot of underground woody runners of a noxious shrub which required extra raking from the excavator. I also decided to take a deeper site cut so there was more flat area behind the house. Added to this I had them auger 5 holes for fence posts which all amounted to an extra $2k.

I needed 10k gallons (45k litres) and a couple of high quality polytanks would cost $4500.
The blowout
A big 'no' from the council due to bushfire regulations requiring steel tanks threw me a curve ball, and then a good deal from the tank salesman saw me buy a 15k gallon (75k litres) steel tank constructed onsite for $8k. It was an extra $4k, but I'm sure glad I did!

Solar system
I had wanted a solar hot water system: $4k, and a 2KW solar array: $2.8k.
The blowout
The solar guy pointed out that 2.5KW would cover my daylight power use better so an extra $1.2k was required (2016 prices).

This was by far the most difficult to keep in budget. Having bought and built two flatpack kitchens in the past, costing about $4k each, we thought an $8k budget seemed pretty safe: until we talked to the kitchen builder.
The blowout Thankfully we opted out of stone bench tops, but still the final cost was $11k: ouch!

Difficulty with getting quotes made the ballpark $4k quess inadequate. The fact was, it was not possible to get a quote on gyprocking a house that wasn't yet built.
The blowout
After viewing the job, the plasterer charged $6k.

Paths, pergolas, landscaping
These were mostly un- budgeted as they were more ingoing costs rather than building costs, but they sure took away the dregs of our savings.
The blowout
Pathway around the house $2K, wood pergola out the front $3k, landscaping including 200 plants and 5 tonne of mulch $2k.

Budget total blown: $17,000..around 5%.

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warm regards

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