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Do we “really” need a budget for our construction project?

Short answer?


There are some who feel that once they have the estimates from their General Contractor (GC) for their building project, they don’t really need to prepare their own budget. What those people miss though, is by building your own budget, you can save a lot of time, energy and a good bit of stress throughout a construction project.

So why exactly should you build a budget?

It helps you get your head on straight.

While the final numbers contained in a cost and/or time budget are important, the thinking process it requires of you to get to those numbers is invaluable. Creating a budget requires you to think through thoroughly all the “ins and outs” of say a church construction project (or your new custom home). While your GC will put together his own budgets and estimates, you can not be absolutely sure his wants/needs will be totally aligned with yours.

Helps you prepare for financing.

There is nothing worse than finding out midway through your new office building project that you are about to run out of money and have to seek additional funding. Those who lend money in Pennsylvania tend to get concerned when this happens, in thinking what else might you have underestimated in your project? A budget will help insure you find and acquire the proper amount of money for your project, at the very outset.

When dealing with committees, a budget helps prevent overpromises.

The thinking and planning that goes into your time and/or cost budget will help you communicate realistic timeframes and numbers to the others on your committee. And it will help address issues and concerns that may be raised by other construction committee members. There is nothing worse than being the head of a project that has spiraled out of control. A good budget will help you keep the train on the tracks!

Throws a light on the “gotcha’s”!

Just as nothing in life is guaranteed, a budget will not prevent all problems. It will help you create contingency plans though, for issues that are foreseeable at the outset of a project. Again, the planning that goes into your budget requires thinking through a good amount of details that without the budget process, may go completely unnoticed; until it’s too late. Helps keep costs under control.

We purposely left this one for last, as many believe it’s the only reason for a budget. A budget will help you manage costs and can allow you to extend yourself in certain areas, while pulling back on other areas of your project, to accommodate new features (for example, splurging on new pews for the church building, by scaling back the church’s kitchen expansion).

A budget is a roadmap – a general document that you will refer to throughout your construction project. It need not be set in stone and is more often a fluid document. The planning and thought process that going into its creation are priceless to your new construction project.

S.E. Smoker has been helping clients put together construction budgets for many years. Before your project has even broken ground, we can sit down and help you start the budgeting process, to help you insure your project is the best it can be.

S.E. Smoker Incorporated

22E East Roseville Road
Lancaster, PA 17601



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