Busting construction myths can save money on home projects

With the current rise in prices due to inflation, as well as ongoing labor shortages, completing construction and repair projects around the home has become very expensive and time consuming. This new environment is forcing owners to rethink the scope of projects, how projects are done, the materials used, and most importantly, how to reduce costs.

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A constant hurdle in the construction and repair world is that many homeowners follow the paradigm of doing something like it’s always been done. For some reason, using different techniques is met with resistance and creates a lot of conformity. If you are planning a construction or repair project, before you say yes, consider busting some construction myths.

The first myth in building or repairing homes is that you have to borrow money from the lender that the builder or repairman has chosen. Of course, it may be easier for the person doing the work to deal with a particular lending institution for construction projects, but you can find a better rate by getting your own financing.

Many online lending institutions can offer better rates and terms, and believe it or not, customers with established banking and credit relationships can take advantage of much better deals. Before committing to financing, call around and check with your own lenders.

Saving money on projects is a big deal. As the owner, you can negotiate a lot of savings into your project. The first way to save is to deal directly with suppliers for your project’s products. Many times you can save money by purchasing the materials yourself, and you can control the waste and usage factor on your work.

Additionally, many contractors will add an automatic handling fee to all materials purchased. The other area where you could potentially save money is by negotiating parts of the project where you provide your own labor equity. If you’re a bit of a handyman and have the physical ability, you can negotiate some scopes of the project yourself, such as painting, flooring, carpentry installation, or even the final cleanup.

For many homeowners, doing certain aspects of a project on your own is a good idea and can save a lot of money. Keep in mind that your contractor will likely insist that you don’t delay the project and won’t guarantee the work you do. It’s a myth that you can’t work on your own project – negotiate what you can do.

One of the biggest myths in residential projects is that you have to use the products and construction methods that the local contractor or builders use in other projects. There will be times when wood framing will be more affordable and assessable than masonry construction, and at some point steel framing may be the most affordable way to complete a project.

There is no Florida state mandate to use a certain method of home construction as long as you follow structural building codes. Before choosing a structural method of construction for your project, ask about the price of wood, concrete and steel. You might be shocked to learn that one is much more affordable than another.

The final myth when it comes to home repair is that small businesses are always the best value for construction services. Small businesses with less volume need to make more money on each project to cover overhead, and in today’s environment many are struggling with labor.

In recent years, due to the volume of business, large service providers have more established prices and also have the teams to complete projects faster. Again, this is not a general statement, but very small construction service providers are more affected by inflation and labor issues than larger groups, which translates by higher prices and longer lead times. Don’t be afraid to get several quotes and time guarantees for your project before you start.

The construction and service industry has changed drastically over the past few years due to COVID-19, inflation and labor issues. Every day new myths in the construction industry are uncovered and your ability to complete a project on time and within budget may require a deviation from the way it was done before. Don’t be afraid to scrutinize the standards.

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