Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Golden Rules for Saving Money on Construction

Consider Prefab
Prefab can save a bundle -- and it doesn’t have to look tacky either.
Prefab can save a bundle -- and it doesn’t have to look tacky either.
John Coletti/Photodisc/Getty Images

Prefabricated homes have come a long way, baby! Whether you're thinking about new construction or building an addition to your home, prefab just might be the way to go, if you're looking to save a buck [source: Garskof]. Modern prefabricated homes can be well-built, energy-efficient, and sometimes downright stunning. Companies like Method Homes or Rocio Romero offer high-end prefabs that look great and can save you money over new construction.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to build with reclaimed shipping containers. A large part of construction costs are for framing and enclosing the structure, and shipping containers essentially allow you to skip a lot of those steps. The trick with a shipping container project is to find a contractor who knows how to work with them and making sure your area's building codes allow you to use them.

As with any contractor, you want to pick and choose if you decide to go prefab. Check resources like Modular Today or the Modular Home Rating Guide to see if the prefab company you're considering has a good reputation for quality. It's also a good idea to compare prefab prices with construction prices in your area. Depending on what you're looking to build and where you live, you may find that prefab is not the cheapest solution.