How Much Does It Cost to Build a Home in Key West, Florida (or similar islands)?
Hurricane Andrew was as destructive as it gets. The monster storm that hit Southern Florida and the Miami region in August of 1992, showed Floridians (and the rest of the country) just how unprepared the buildings were in Florida for that type of storm. Multiple reports estimated the number of homes that were completely destroyed surpassed 60,000 with another 100,000 seriously damaged.
Clients often ask Xavier Builders what is a good estimate of cost per square foot, to build (or rebuild) in Key West and the answer is not always so simple as providing a rate, such as $150 or $250 per square foot, to build your home. The interesting point is why it’s not so simple.
The homes simply were not built to withstand serious hurricanes – amazing, isn’t it? The intense destruction inspired state and local officials to create much stronger building codes, making Florida homes built after Hurricane Andrew much better suited to withstand hurricanes in the future.
More recently, Hurricane Irma hit Florida and severely affected the Florida Keys, Puerto Rico and other unlucky locations. Rebuilding your home (or building from scratch), is never an enjoyable task but taking on the construction process is even more of a challenge when you live in Key West, Florida – or any other similar location. Clients often ask Xavier Builders what is a good estimate of cost per square foot, to build (or rebuild) in Key West and the answer is not always so simple as providing a rate, such as $150 or $250 per square foot, to build your home. The interesting point is why it’s not so simple.
WHEN ARE YOU BUILDING?
When you build is often more important as what you are building. For example, do you need to build within months (or sometimes years) of a major hurricane? Logistically, the timing can result in a nightmare simply trying to gain access to materials, skilled labor and sometimes even just being able to get to your home safely and easily. For example, having bridges out for extended periods of time after hurricanes, adds time and cost, simply to get to your work site. Timing also affects your access to skilled workers as well as materials. Different times of the year can affect both the materials available as well as availability of skilled workers. On top of that, weather plays a role due to rainy seasons plus storm risks.
It may be difficult to believe but some locations may have as few as one (yes, that’s what I said) specialty contractor that handles work such as roofing, foundations, plumbing, etc. Even if there are more than one, scheduling and booking those contractors may takes week or months before you get on the board and scheduled.
Next, let’s talk materials. Living on an island isn’t like living in the suburbs where Home Depots and Lowe’s appear every 5-10 miles not to mention True Values, Walmarts and the list goes on. You may only have one major chain (or none) within 60 miles and given the limited land available to build on – that chain could be much smaller than your typical store. That means high-grade materials may not be readily available and in the case of Key West, that could mean a truck may need to drive three hours or more (and back) for a single haul.
Now add into the equation when vendors may make mistakes (it happens) and they deliver the wrong materials. That simple mistake could end up delaying a projects for weeks (or longer).
I assume that you are recognizing the pattern here? Building a home or other structure on an island typically can take longer and cost more than a “classic” type of situation. In simple terms, that means the cost per square foot is higher and can also mean the build can take longer than expected. So while you will see people online posting that construction costs can range from $150/sf to $250/sf, in real terms, these numbers can increase dramatically and the best course of action is always to work with experts that have vast experience, leading the way.