Developers who construct multi-family construction projects have always been faced with many obstacles – land-use guidelines, obtaining materials and supplies, funding, and even local community resistance. However, construction costs being the major expense is probably the topmost issue for developers. Here, we break down the various ways you can keep the costs on budget.
Why Multi-Family Construction Costs are Rising
Regulatory compliance is one of the topmost reasons for the surge in costs for multi-family development, which counts for 32% of overall costs. These ordinances and rules, such as basic fire safety regulations, are clearly imperative, they are also extremely complex to manage. Besides compliance costs, construction prices have risen over the years and are significant enough to create a dent in any development budget. At the same time, labor costs and tariffs for imported groups are also placing upward pressure on construction prices.
How Multi-Family Construction Costs are Estimated
It is essential to understand the construction cost of multi-family apartments so you can plan and execute your project effectively, whether you want to passively invest in apartment rehabilitation or construction, or you want to get your hands dirty with a big real estate development project. This ensures you aren’t grossly overpaying for any part of your project. Most importantly, you can make sure you aren’t working with a developer who doesn’t prioritize effective budgeting. Here’s a breakdown of the costs for a multi-family construction:
- Soft costs – For interior design, construction loan interest, permit, legal, and architectural fees, expect to fork out about 20% – 30% of the total budget.
- Hard costs – This involves building materials, hiring subcontractors, engineers, and other labor expenses. Expect these costs to account for 50% – 70% of the overall budget.
- Land costs – Depending on the location, this could easily take up at least 10% – 20% of the overall budget. Rural areas usually cost less than if situating your apartment in an urban area.
- Architect’s fee – This along with the contractor’s bids would be one of the highest costs you will notice in your multi-family construction costs as they play a crucial role.
How to Keep Multi-Family Construction Costs on Budget
Below are the strategies you can implement to save on cost:
- Simplify the exteriors along with creating large variations through materials, tones, and large moves.
A way to save costs is to match regular, simple facades with some large “moves” and to combine more pricey and cheaper materials. An angled exterior wall or an attractive passageway can make a building more visually appealing without the need for exterior length and complexity. In some projects, materials like corrugated metals that are not generally connected with residential development have saved costs. Usually, to save costs, the majority of the facade area uses a cheaper material while another key component like the ground floor has another material to feature it.
- Rotate and reuse floor plans for uniformity and ease of construction.
Use repeated layouts to simplify design and construction work. Besides providing uniformity and easing the work of contractors, repetitive units can be creatively used by developers and architects to provide more utilization of space. Rotating and mirroring techniques can also be utilized to decrease variation and cost.
- New materials and modular construction can be explored.
There is great excitement around off-site construction such as flat packed elements like insulated panels and modular housing. Modular structure offers great benefits in terms of shorter timelines, reduced costs, and high-quality construction. There is likewise more interest in using substitute wood products like cross-laminated timber – an engineered product produced by combining perpendicular sheets of timber. It is expected that the International Building Code will extend the use of wood products to higher buildings in 2021. The utilization of pre-fabricated timber products could reduce construction timelines and decrease interior finish costs.
- Design your unit layout for productivity and adaptability.
Spaces inside the building that have various uses can be supplanted. For example, one-room units and studios can be arranged without lobbies or passage corridors. Some regions can be more adaptable — furnishings, instead of dividers, can be applied to divide spaces. Restrooms and kitchens can be moved to a single “wet” wall where plumbing is centralized. Only use doors and walls for spaces that need privacy, like bedrooms and washrooms.