Reality Check: Budget Is What Budget Does

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Remember we left off last week with “It cost what it cost“. Does your budget really reflect what you want it to, or what you wish it would? BIG DIFFERENCE. Remember it cost what it cost and there is really no way around that, so manage your expectations within your budget. It is your budget. No one forced you to that budget, it’s yours. If the budget exceeds your taste or requests…. than the pile of poop you are about to step in was put there by no one else, but you.

Ok now clean off your feet and let’s get down to business. MANAGING expectations is only one of the many challenges I face as a designer + builder.  To be honest with you, sometimes more modest budgets force wonderful opportunities to create great results within the means.

Reality check

 Let’s say the budget were talking about is not for your home but for something totally different;

A private plane that you yourself are going to test fly. (what controls budget)

A wedding for your only daughter. (who controls budget) this is a future topic

A family reunion (how many control budget)

Each one of these examples has a wide variety of items that are necessary and a wide variety that are requested by choice.  MY airplane will want to have a very competent landing system, safety backups and emergency features.  None of which have anything to do with the actual freedom of flying.  There is so much more than meets the eye when budgeting for just about anything.

Will your daughter want a reception harpist, jazz trio, and orchestra for entertainment?  Or a DJ

Hand passed hors devours a sushi bar, and a pastry chef or a fajita and taco bar. I prefer tacos.

In both events I served entertainment and food, right. As long as the expectations match the event no one will be confused or disappointed.

Why should there be any difference in the Designing + Building and budgeting for a house.

There are some things that are just necessary and other things that are requests or wish list.  Windows alone can range in price from $100’s – $1000’s for the same size opening.

And much like the airplane but not nearly as obvious, there are certain items that are necessary either by engineering standards, municipal codes, or even local codes.  Budgeting for your local building department can often times scrap the backyard pool or guest house!  Of course it varies greatly, but don’t under estimate the reach of your local government into your pocket to improve their sidewalks, alleys, sewers, and whatever else they can think of.

When budget is a factor…

The budget is the single most important item to consider when designing a house.  Not to be taken lightly or just mentioned, but understood when the pencil hits the paper.  The driving force is the budget.  The entire premise of the design is anchored in cost.  How else will the project make the budget?

About this author
Cite: Steve Lazar. "Reality Check: Budget Is What Budget Does" 16 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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