Budgeting is arguably the most important element in whether or not a project is carried to fruition and whether or not the final product is representative of what the client initially envisioned. Actual construction costs represent only a part of overall project costs.  Many additional costs, known as soft costs may be included in any given project   


1.  Consultants Fees: 

• Site Surveying [property boundary lines / building location / topographical elevations]
• Site Services and Grading Engineering
• Architectural / Interior Design
• Structural Engineering
• Mechanical [HVAC/Plumbing] and/or Electrical Engineering
• Septic Design
• Landscape Design
• Specialized Consultants – May include: Planning / Heritage/Preservation / Tree Preservation / Environmental.
Note:  Each individual project is different and the range of Consultants can vary significantly. An initial review of the overall project can often clarify which Consultants will be needed and why.

2. Development & Permit Fees:

• Local Municipal Planning Department - Development Fees specifically related to infrastructure items.
• Other levels of Authority having jurisdiction – This may also involve another level of approvals (see scheduling) and would most likely include fees. Local examples of this include Niagara Escarpment Commission or The Oak Ridges Moraine (administered through local authorities). 
• Local Conservation Authorities – Costs related to review of proposed work.
• Local Municipal Building Department [Building Permit/Septic Permit Fees]
• Hydro/Electrical Safety Authority [Electrical Permit Fees]
Tip:  Many municipalities provide costs related to Development Charges and Permit Fees on their respective websites.  These fees can be significant and should be investigated at the earliest stages of the project. If the information cannot be readily located on the website, a call to the local planning dept. to obtain this information may prove valuable.  

3. Overall Construction Costs:

• The budget cost estimate, based on square foot cost, is the initial approach we take in order to formulate construction costs related to the building itself. Also included in this budget price are the structural, mechanical and electrical elements within the building.  Per square foot budget costs can vary significantly, but more accurate budget pricing can usually be made after reviewing the overall project in greater detail and eliminating uncertainties related to the construction.
• Construction Contingency – This represents a portion added to the Construction Cost and is often factored as a percentage. The percentage may vary from project to project based on the number of ‘unknowns’ involved.  An example of this is when undertaking extensive renovations the contingency would usually be higher than if the project is new construction.
• Landscaping work is normally included in overall project budget as a separate item from the building construction cost.  Landscaping can often be an important element in the overall design and should be factored in to the overall construction costs right from the start.    
• Septic Construction/Alteration Costs (if applicable).  These costs are related to the actual modification/installation vs. the design. However, many septic designers (required to be qualified with a Building Code Identification Number or B.C.I.N.) are also installers (also B.C.I.N. qualified).  In many residential applications, increases in square footage can be an important factor in the requirement for septic upgrades and not simply the increase (or not) of plumbing fixtures.
Tip: It is important that if you are undertaking a partial renovation or addition of any kind that consideration be given to the existing parts that are to remain. Often these parts may look ‘old and tired’ adjacent to the new construction and upgrades should be factored in the budget.