What is buildability in construction you ask?
Let me tell you, it is critically important but often overlooked.
So in this article, I’m going to share 4 buildability tips that will save you tens of thousands of dollars on your bottom line.
Taking the time to understand different construction methods, systems and potential obstacles helps you uncover opportunities and find solutions that drive construction efficiency.
It will create value for money and reduce real estate development risk.
Buildability isn’t about compromising the integrity of your project. It’s about making strategic, and intelligent decisions to drive time-efficient projects.
Here are four buildability tips that can have a massive impact on the construction of your next development project and its bottom line.
1. Understand Structural Design
It’s important to understand the structural design of your project. Where possible use the projects structural walls for first-floor load baring. This immediately is going to result in less steel, less work, ultimately saving time and money.
For example (see image above), if your first floor was designed above your garage to try to have that first-floor wall sit on top of one of the garage walls. This will reduce the need for a structure going between the garage walls to pick up the first-floor wall.
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2. Select the Right Slab for Your Site
When thinking about what buildability is in construction getting your slab selection right is a big one. There are different types of concrete slabs for houses that you need to consider.
And minimum slab thicknesses you’ll need to consider.
This will depend on all kinds of site-specific information. It’s critical you are able to make these decisions before the engineer makes up their mind.
Screw piles, waffle, bore piers, raft, the list goes on. Most engineers churn out projects without any accountability to the financial implications or practicality.
Unless you as the multi unit developer understand the different slab options and methods you may end up with ‘a one size fits’ all from your engineer.
With techniques in this space evolving all the time it’s important you’re on the ball. As it’s one of the most expensive parts of your project. Making the right call for your specific site, in the beginning, can save you 10’s of thousands of dollars.
3. Understand External Finishes and Desired Aesthetics
You need to understand the importance of being informed when it comes to your external finishes and desired aesthetics before you submit your town planning application.
Doing comprehensive front-end research on your local area, including what potential buyers in your area want.
You need to consider potential long-term maintenance requirements. And also the countless material options and relevant cost implications.
Once you have your town planning approval the last thing you want to do is change your mind. If you do it’s a usually a long and arduous process through the council to make these changes.
So, these decisions if made right, at the beginning can save you a lot of time, but most importantly they’ll ensure you achieve your desired outcome as economically as possible. The last thing you want is to have any surprises in the construction tendering process.
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4. Make Intelligent Design Selections
Only last week I was sitting with the draftsman, working on the design of a new site we have. I really wanted to use this premium smooth concrete render, which is quite expensive. But keep in mind I had a budget to stick to.
So, we decided to use the feature render on the front of all the dwellings and use a complimentary coloured brick to areas out the back that were less visible and important, ‘the blind side’ of the dwellings.
Doing this didn’t take away from the end result, in fact, it worked out better with more depth and dynamic in the design.
Making intelligent design decisions from the beginning of your project such as this, means you get the premium render where it has the most impact and use more economical options where it is less critical.
It’s important as the developer you don’t assume designers are going to make the right decisions for your project, they aren’t motivated to save you money.
You are the only one that knows exactly what outcome you are trying to achieve and what compromises you are prepared to make to achieve it.
In this instance, it meant we got to achieve our look, but more importantly stay in budget!
These are only four of many design method’s you need to put under the microscope well before you finalise your design and engage a builder.
It’s your job as a developer to provide strategic building input straight from the start, it will give you a competitive advantage and significantly increase your return on investment.
What is Buildability in Construction
It’s about making smart decisions early in the project life cycle. So, think laterally, review and assess the design from the perspective of those that will be carrying out the construction of your development.
Put the effort into gaining a comprehensive understanding of all intricacies that can directly affect the outcome of your project.
It’s critical to the success of your project that all key decisions are informed and strategic. You need to find solutions that maximise the design integrity and return on investment.
Finally, once you have your documentation in order it is time for your building tender process.