Even as our ability to design and build houses that withstand hurricanes has gone up, construction costs haven’t kept pace. If you are thinking of building a home in South Carolina at some time in the near future, this may just be the perfect storm.
There is a perception that everything is cheaper in South Carolina but we’ve seen that is not the case. This is especially true when it comes to building a quality home that can endure hurricanes and earthquakes, yet provide decades of enjoyment as well.
True, our gas taxes are cheaper and our property taxes are cheaper. Construction costs are higher than newcomers expect them to be.
BUILDING IN A HURRICANE ZONE POSES SPECIAL CHALLENGES
Many people relocating from other parts of the country do not consider the additional cost of building in both a hurricane zone and an earthquake zone and what this means in terms of design and construction materials.
The requirements to mitigate both of these hazards add additional strength and durability to the building … and additional costs. Some of the necessities:
- Building the first floor above FEMA’s base flood elevation, which adds to the foundation cost.
- Structural Engineering fees in order to design code-compliant structural systems.
- Connecting the roof through the walls to the foundation and footing with threaded rods, go-bolts, hurricane clips or other code approved methods. This adds to both the material and labor costs.
- The shear walls required for lateral stability are more expensive than sheathing options available in other parts of the country.
- Window and door openings must be protected from windblown debris. Impact rated windows and doors can cost up to twice as much as non-impact openings.
- Our designs usually have big window walls, which require steel frames to meet the wind loads (and the views are worth it!)
DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION ENSURE HOUSE & BUDGET WEATHER STORMS
We recommend and use several best practice options that will cost more initially but will save money on your home insurance or your utility bill.
- A secondary roof under a metal roof ensures water tightness if the roof is compromised during high winds.
- A U.L. certified lightning protection system will add $7,000 to $10,000 to a 2500 s.f. house but will protect your home and electronics from lightning strikes during our many lightning storms.
- Spray foam insulation, more expensive than fiberglass insulation but a far superior product. It stops air and moisture infiltration, will not sag, keeps dust and pollen out and reduces capacity requirements, maintenance and wear of heating and air conditioning equipment.
A SECRET WE WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA CONSTRUCTION COSTS
There’s one more cost consideration that you will want to be aware of because it can save you money.
Our firm’s historical data of residential construction costs show that the current average new home construction cost is about the same as the few years before the great recession.
Now is a good time to build, before construction costs rise again.