Affordable House Plans: Cost-Saving Methods

Affordable House Plans

In planning an affordable home the Architect/Designer must take into consideration a number of factors. Many affordable home plans are categorized as starter homes and may be up to 2000 square feet. One factor the Designer must consider is not only the size of the home plan but also the cost-efficiency of building it. Another factor is the house plans energy-saving features. Still another factor is the size of the individual rooms. Planning smart, snug, orderly spaces is a design challenge. In an affordable house plan all of the rooms should flow easily. Well -designed home plans have orderly travel paths through the home and they are visually open. The paths may extend to outdoor areas like porches and decks.

Many homeowner subdivision require a minimum square footage for their homes and in keeping with this plan a neighborhood of similar affordable house plans evokes a spirit of shared space and neighborly local awareness of your surroundings. Flexibility is the key in designing homes of this size. There are unlimited possibilities of maximizing the use of space. One example is the popular trend of connecting the dining area and the kitchen and family room. Providing a prep area, a breakfast bar and an area for buffet serving for family and guest meals along with an outdoor covered area for entertaining permits the affordable house plan to flow in and out. Open spaces over cabinets and walls that may not reach the ceiling are another way to visually enlarge these plans. Smaller homes can nurture a sense of intimacy and family connection. One of the best ways to find affordable house plans is to browse through stock plans online.

What are some of the benefits of buying stock home plans? The primary benefit of buying stock home plans is that they offer an incredible value for a relatively low cost. Plans that have been previously designed can be offered online for a reduced fee because the initial cost was paid by someone else. There is then a built-in confidence factor, the buyer of stock home plans knows that the plans have been checked and tested. Builders have come to trust stock plans offered by reputable companies. Most stock home plans are ready for permitting and conform to national uniform building code thus saving the builder and the buyer money. Buying from a recognized company means you will receive working drawings from experienced professionals who have been highly trained in the field of Architectural design. You will be able to personalize your plans to create your dream home by making changes to the plans before starting the building process. Buying stock home plans has been compared to buying a custom home without paying the custom home price.

Building your dream home yet remaining within a realistic budget can be one of the most challenging aspects of home building. If you build the dream home you really want but can’t afford you either don’t build or surpass your budget and probably lose your home in the process. At the other spectrum, you may be able to build an inexpensive house but it may not please you at all, thus making you feel as though you just threw away a whole lot of money.

Costs are now more important than ever. Faced with rising construction material costs, it is important to carefully examine ways of keeping building costs down. Whether you are a single person with a limited budget, a retiree on a fixed income or financially comfortable yet cautiously conservative you will undoubtedly want to exercise some effective control over the budget.

Quality Of Plans

Generally there are two variables that can influence cost: quality and quantity in the construction, but there is a third, equally important variable; that of quality of plans. The structural design of the house plans can be one of the most effective means of achieving valuable cost saving measures. Economical house plans that reduce construction costs follow a standardized grid system layout in their design.

Recent studies have been reported in major building magazines demonstrating the positive results of preplanned designs and smart value engineering applied to new construction. Builders, developers and homeowners alike are taking notice. The potential dollar savings resulting from reduced construction cycle time also decrease construction loan costs, further enhancing the benefits of efficient building design.

The key to cost savings in frame construction is preplanning, using standard lumber, panel and pre-engineered components in the house plan design. By employing a modular type grid system when laying out a design with the major module of 48″ and the minor module of 24″, a standardized planning guide is applied to the overall exterior house dimensions (or foot print). Coordinating floor, ceiling and roof construction with these dimensions enables full use of standardized, readily available construction materials at significant savings.

House plans that employ this system in their overall design layout and structural configuration are a must toward implementing money-saving techniques.

Other Quality Features In Affordable House Plans Include:

1. Simplicity – When choosing house plans also look for simplicity in form. Busy, multi gabled roof lines and other complex structural forms add major dollars to the framing costs before you even contemplate interior finishes. Instead, create interest and variations with non-structural elements. For example, using built-ins around a standard window can transform it into a window seat without the expense of a structural bump-out. Keep roof lines simple with minimum use of dormers and cuts. When bump-out windows are used support them with cantilevered floor joists or support brackets thus avoiding expensive foundation corners.
2. Minimum Details – Minimize excessive interior trim details to keep cost down. Use them sparingly as a means of defining key aspects for special areas rather than just repeating them throughout the house.
3. Non-Structural Tricks – Interior visual, non-structural tricks such as alcoves with lowered soffits can add aesthetic interest without the structural expense normally associated with such variations in form. Eight foot ceilings may be run of the mill but they can be more affordable than high ceilings. A good alternative would be combining cathedral, vaulted or raised ceilings with standard 8′ or 9′ ceiling areas. This can achieve the effect of providing dramatic spaces while still remaining within budget.
4. Standard Units – The use of standardized, stock cabinetry dressed up with a few specialty items can be just as attractive as having the entire kitchen custom built while saving a fair amount on labor costs. Use standard window sizes and configurations. Custom windows involve serious money; try limiting them to one or two focal points. This will not only save money but retain the uniqueness of that custom window setting it apart from the others.

Cost-Saving Methods And Materials

In addition, the building industry today provides some beneficial standard material and methods which can help to minimize construction costs:

Floor Systems – Standard floor joists of 2X10’s are the most common floor systems in use today and will generally span a given distance depending on conditions and species. Pre-engineered trusses are a great alternative to standard dimensional lumber joists since they allow for longer unsupported spans. This enables more flexible use of floor space below creating greater efficiency under one roof. In addition, ductwork and wiring can be installed between and through the trusses.
Wall Studs – The use of pre-cuts can also save considerably on labor. To achieve 8′ ceilings use pre-cuts measuring approximately 93″; when added with the sole plate and double top plate (after factoring in finish flooring and ceiling) the result is an 8′ ceiling height. Pre-cuts measuring approximately 105″ are also available to achieve 9′ ceiling heights. Since drywall is now available in standard 54″ widths as well as the usual 48″ having a 9′ ceiling height is now economically feasible.
Roof Systems – Pre-fabricated and engineered roof trusses have made roof framing much easier, less complicated and less labor intensive. Using computerized equipment to calculate the most efficient and effective method of construction, roof trusses can be made at much lower cost and installed at greater speed than manual roof framing.

Economical and affordable house plans achieve savings through their quality. Efficient house plans that use grids and modules in their design layout can save money by avoiding waste of materials. Selective usage of methods and materials are vital in cost-saving construction. Simplified structure and standardized building unites will save you money. Choose wisely.