Building a House cost per square Foot
In our last post we discussed how products with similar features (e.g. a roof, a foundation, a bathroom, a kitchen, etc) can have widely different costs per square foot when building a house. If you didn’t read Part #1, I highly recommend you read that post first as it will give you the general basis for our discussion going forward.
In my way of thinking the cost per square foot to build a house is really made up of a four major components, the cost per square foot, the cost per linear foot and the cost for finishes and upgrades and site improvements. Let’s take each one separately.
First, let me start by confirming that nothing impacts the home cost more than the actual square footage. Square footage is the biggest and most important driver to the ultimate cost of the home. If you want to reduce the cost of building a house, reduce the square footage. Often I hear customers say something like “let’s make it a bit bigger, and we will make it up with finishes later”. That never happens because in reality you can’t cut out enough finishes to make up for the extra square footage, it just doesn’t work.
The cost per square foot is the cost for everything priced and/or measured in square foot. For example, the basement concrete floor is priced in the cost per square foot. Other items include things like floor insulation, floor trusses, roof trusses, floor sheathing, ceiling sheet rock, flooring finishing materials such as wood, carpet and tile. Things like ceiling texture and painting are commonly priced in cost per square foot plus extras. In addition, some other items have a loose association with the square foot of the home. Things like excavation, mechanical systems, plumbing, electrical. and roofing although not 100% tied to the square footage certainly bear a relationship to the square footage. The bigger the house the more these items tend to cost and vice versa.