The Scoop on Our House Building Project (Part 1)

The plans are finally completed and everything was put together for scrutiny at the Lusaka Province Planning Authority. But that's just the small hurdle. I'm not sure if you've seen the house plans on the blog, but the house is pretty modest for a family of five with regular long-term guests. We'd been working with trying to build up a house that was already about 1/4 built thinking this would be the much cheaper way to go, rather than starting to build from scratch. We were planning on the cost being around $25k. However, we had a number of builders give us estimates of $40k-$50k!! We know that this is not that much money in the long run (heck if we paid the average price of $900 a month to rent a three bedroom in town we'd throw that much money away in the first 4 years in Zambia!!) but it's hard to wrap our minds around. We just don't know where the money can come from.

So we decided to start from scratch - to rethink the project. The half-built house is a standard Zambian house - all concrete and asbestos sheet roof (which is heavy and requires heavy infrastructure. Our upstairs terrace that could be turned into a complete apartment in the future required massive amounts of concrete and rebar. So we scrapped the plans and drew up something new. The new plans require building from scratch. The house will be smaller and have a smaller footprint which will save on the cost of a huge slab/foundation which is expensive. It will also be lighter with lots of wood and a thatched roof. This will also save money. Because we don't have to work with an existing structure we can open up the floor plan requiring less interior concrete, again saving us money. The house will also be situated in an unused area of the camp which means more privacy without having to build a wall (this save us a lot of money!). So our new plans still come in at almost $40k but the new house will be so much better in a many ways and it will still save us $7k-$10k on a wall fence. God is good and we've had some nice donations come through this month and we're at $18k!!