Punch Home Design Suite-Level 2 Design Within a Budget-Landscape Design

Computer Graphics

POP students are challenged  to design a house that will meet their client’s needs based on a $150,000 budget for materials.


 Punch Home Design Suite-Level 2 Design Within a Budget-Landscape Design

Computer Graphics on a Budget

How To Estimate A Project

As with any project, when designing houses it is important to have and follow a budget. Architects and builders talk about the construction cost of a house in terms of dollars per square foot. This is determined by dividing the total cost by the number of square feet in the home. This measure represents the cost of the materials and labor and is averaged for ease of estimation. Sometimes, the cost per square foot is calculated for each room.   

Depending on the client choices, a house can cost anywhere from $80 to several hundred dollars per constructed square foot. Regardless of excellent planning, houses usually end up costing at least 10% more than estimated. An estimate is only a best guess; it is not a firm cost. The real cost per square foot is calculated after the project is complete. 

Factors that Affect Cost

The size of the home, its layout, and the quality of materials you use all determine the cost per square foot.  

Size of the Space

Naturally, the larger the space, the higher the overall cost. However, larger rooms can cost less per square foot if it just a matter of adding more empty space.


Quality of materials is a major factor in determining cost per square foot. Building codes, the regulations setting forth minimum guidelines for home construction in each area, require all homes to be constructed to a certain standard for safety. Depending on where the home will be located, there may be community regulations established by a housing association. Beyond that, the sky is the limit!

Shape of the Space

A house with 1000 ft2 on the bottom floor and 1000 ft2 on the top floor can cost less than a 2000 ft2 house of a single floor (ranch style home.) This is because you need less concrete for the foundation, have a smaller roof, and lower material costs for the plumbing, electrical, and air cooling/heating.

Rectangular (box-shaped) and dome-shaped homes cost less to build. More angles and corners increase the cost due to the amount of labor and materials required.

Windows and Doors

The more doors and windows a home has, the more it will cost to purchase and install them.

Ceilings and Roofs

Vaulted ceilings and high-pitched roofs cost more (both in time and in price) to construct.

Make your house no deeper than 32 feet or you will need specially designed roof trusses, which increase the cost of a house.

General Waste

Due to cutting and fitting, about 6% of what you buy will not actually be used on your house, but, rather, put in the landfill (or recycled).

Work with even numbers, and round your house size up or down in increments of two feet. This reduces waste.