How To Build A Chalet To A Budget
Updated: Aug 23
All our full and part managed projects come in on time and on budget – usually under €2,500sqm to high spec finish. That’s already a huge saving when you consider that the average build cost in the area is €3,000 to €3,500sqm. So how do we save money for clients and bring our chalet builds in to such a reduced budget?
We advise clients to go for flat terrain, thereby saving money on groundworks. If the land already has service connections that’s another money-saving bonus. Read our previous blog with advice on buying land for more tips.
Often we spend time at the start of a project advising on re-design or re-engineering of the original architect’s plans. Because what looks pretty on paper isn’t always the best value to build, or the most cost-effective use of space.
You can save money on layout by minimising the most expensive items - for example the roof. Due to snow load engineering and high insulation values, Alpine chalet roofs are a costly part of any build. Maximising the habitable area beneath a modest roof will give best value.
Flat roof constructions can add interest to a design but many local planning authorities don’t allow them unless they’re green (vegetal), which is more expensive. Flat roofs that also form external terraces will need to be insulated, waterproofed and drained. And they are required to be covered by the main roof structure, creating two roofs to cover one habitable area.
Burying elements of the property can be more costly than excavating the site, due to the additional waterproofing, protection and drainage required. Plus buried elements have to be built in concrete, which is both more costly and less environmentally-friendly than building in SIPs or timber frame.
Internally, rooms can be configured to align bathrooms, kitchens and other areas that require plumbing. Simplifying water and drainage distribution around the house will reduce cost, without needing any planning amendments.
Contact us right at the start of your project to include more opportunities to save in your plans. We can start management of your project right from the design and planning stage with a service designed to speed up and streamline the process, and find cost efficiencies. We consult with your architect (and can recommend architects we work with regularly) and liaise between architect and client, bringing in our specialist knowledge of SIPs construction and eco systems, in order to end up with a design that is buildable in SIPs to budget and specifications immediately on obtaining planning permission.
Engaging fully early on in the design and construction process encourages you to think about how the property can work best for you, to ensure you get the most from your dream chalet. Even if you haven’t any previous construction experience don’t worry, we can hold your hand through the process and guide your decision-making.
We advise clients they can save money by getting more involved. Mainly at internal fit out stage, clients can make significant savings by sourcing a great kitchen or bathroom at a discount for example. Tiling, lighting, stoves etc can be sourced easily by clients on the lookout for good deals.
Building with SIPs allows us to control the budget and keep construction costs minimal – as well as create a high tech, eco-friendly property! Average SIP builds take just a week – the structure is very quickly and skilfully erected by our specialist install team. Due to the speed of construction labour costs are reduced, and as the panels are precision-cut off site hardly any waste is produced on site.
The SIP panels also allow us to create extra space, and therefore added value to the property. Because the walls have in-built thermal properties there’s no need to add thick insulation. SIP panel walls measure 170mm, compared to a concrete insulated wall measuring 380mm, eating into your living space.
PROJECT MANAGER VS CHALET CONSTRUCTEUR / DEVELOPER
Some people opt to build with a chalet developer because of the fixed fee. However, in handing over a fixed sum you’re also handing over some control of the design and build process, plus of course paying over the odds for the certainty your budget can’t spiral.
When you opt to build with a project manager, like ECSUS Design, you work closely together throughout the build. We tender for each element of work and you sign off the quote you choose, keeping control of your budget. The peace of mind is still there, because our builds all come in on time and on budget, but you have extra flexibility to add or take away elements during construction. You know you have paid what the build actually cost, no more.
We reduce any risk of spiralling costs by using tried and trusted tradespeople – all triple checked for full French warranty cover.
We offer to run projects as ‘Maitre d’Oeuvre’ with extra insurance cover and independent checks for added peace of mind.
We build to comply with future French regulations, not just current laws. Our SIP chalets are so environmentally-friendly they conform with both RT 2012 and RT2020, which will be much stricter.
When it comes to selling your property its eco credentials, top emissions and energy ratings, and low household bills mean it’s in high demand with buyers. Our most recent builds have had their annual heating and hot water bills estimated at just €500 with A and B energy ratings. When one client decided to sell, the chalet was snapped up in days.
Convinced it can be done?
Send us your plans today and let’s start on the journey towards your dream ski chalet!