Advice from a building expert: How to cut costs when building a home in Papua New Guinea

He says kit homes are overpriced.

kit home

So like many others I’ve embarked on another  a journey of self-learning.  This time it’s  building and architecture.

It can be  mind boggling if you don’t know where to look and who to talk to.  For some,  the simplest option is to have an architect design your house and have a builder construct it.  Or get a kit home. In PNG, this is expensive but marketed as ‘cheap.’

Being me, I wanted to understand the whole thing.

So it began with lots of consultations and finally, I was introduced to a brilliant builder (I can’t mention his name because I don’t have his permission to do so yet.)

He walked me through the intricacies of building and construction which I found highly valuable to me.  Some of the tips he shared are obvious but to other people. But for people  like me who work with cameras and television, it was a GREAT help.

Below are the tips I am sharing based on his advice:

  1. Kit homes are overpriced  – While kit homes may seem the most convenient option for many Papua New Guineans,  he says,  companies charge at least a third to double on the the material costs to make a profit.   The temptation to buy a kit home is  always there. But suppliers won’t let you buy in  packed portions so cost  is manageable you.  They prefer a lump sum payment which, in many cases, in unaffordable.
  2. Use the designs but buy your own materials IN STAGES – The way to reduce  cost,  is to  get good advice from someone who can give you a material listing in stages based on a design.    Start with footings (posts, cement bags, gravel). Then, move on to the bearers and joists (new words I learned along the way :D). Followed by the walls then roof. You will find that metal  house stumps (posts)  and cement bags  are not as expensive as many think. With innovative transport options ie. using family and friends, a lot can be achieved.
  3. Don’t let people over charge you on designs – You can easily find and buy designs online. They are arguably cheaper than getting an architect design. These days, designs are available online.  This makes owner builder options very attractive.
  4. Advice is usually free – Most of the advice given is usually free if it’s from a friend or family.
  5. This advice is primarily for people building on your own land separate from an urban municipal setting. 

10 comments on “Advice from a building expert: How to cut costs when building a home in Papua New Guinea

  1. Ian B Mautu

    thanks for the insights Scot. Trustworthy tips there.


  2. Elizabeth Kuburam

    Thanks for this information, very helpful. Would you be able to provide a rough estimate on how much it would cost to lift an existing house and perhaps recommend a contractor that provides this service.


  3. Great & very helpful information. Wonder if you might also have infor on how to get housing plan online rather than spending so much for a simple housing plan locally


  4. Marcia Umpa

    Thank you that was helpful. Will try go online for housing plan.



    Thank you, it was the kind of information I’m looking for.


  6. Thanks, very helpful. any advice on building in urban areas?


  7. Lindsay Wosenu

    That was a great idea, I really love to build home on my own


  8. A lovely piece of advice. Its good to explore and see how you can beat the current system.


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