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Build Costs – Manage your expectations

Establishing a realistic budget at an early stage is one of the keys to successfully building your own home. This section of our website is concerned with the cost of building and excludes the cost of land.

There are a number of factors that ultimately determine what it will cost to build a new home.

Location: Labour rates vary around the country. For example the south of England and Greater London are known as areas where labour rates are higher than the national average but there are also labour ‘hotspots’ in other parts of the country. Building in a Conservation Area may also impact on your build costs.

Size of dwelling: It may seem an obvious point but the larger the dwelling, the more labour, materials and plant you will need. Also small properties are proportionately more expensive to build as they have little or no economy of scale. Bungalows are usually more expensive to build because they have proportionately more high cost elements such as roofs and foundations.

Complexity of design: The more complex the design, the more expensive it will be to build. Architectural/design features and ‘wow’ factors add to cost. Also external features such as porches, balconies and covered walkways are not generally classed as habitable space but can add significantly to the cost to your project.

Design genre: Architectural features associated with period designs such as Georgian can add to build costs.

Build quality: Those of you seeking to build to the highest of standards will not be surprised to learn that it will increase your build costs.

Specification: This is closely linked to the point above. The higher the specification especially for key items like windows, external walling material, roof covering and level of internal finishes, the more it will cost you to build.

Site conditions: Ground levels, drainage, availability of services, mature trees, special foundations, forming a new access or special circumstances such as drain diversions and contaminated land, will all influence your build costs.

Level of involvement/Build route: It is generally true that the more you can contribute to the building process either through physical work or project management the less it will cost to build your home. However you need to balance that with the time you have available. The most popular build route is where a single builder constructs the house in conjunction with our service and is sometimes referred to as the ‘hands-off’ option.

Another popular build route is what’s known as the ‘shell build’ option. A builder takes the house to a wind and weather tight stage and the client completes the work using individual trades i.e. joiner, electrician, plumber, plasterer etc, all in conjunction with our package service

Supplementary costs: There is a range of other costs you need to allow for such as professional fees, external works, structural warranty, site insurance, essential services (water and electricity) and Local Authority charges, being some common examples.

Establishing your budget

Our approach is to break down build costs into 3 distinct areas. We then use detailed analysis of other clients’ projects linked to the extensive experience and know-how we have accumulated over the last 40+ years, to establish a sensible budget for new clients.

Building the main dwelling: The cost of building from foundations through to 2nd fix ready for the final finishes.

Final finishes: The amounts you spend on kitchen, bathrooms, fireplaces and appliances, floor coverings, wall tiling and built-in wardrobes. Depending on the level of quality you choose typically you should allow £100 to £150 per m² of floor area e.g. 200m² x £125 = £25,000.

Supplementary costs: These vary from project to project. Below is a list of the some of the other items you typically may need to allow for with an indication of typical costs. Bear in mind that not all of these apply to every project.

Demolition: Replacement projects £6,000 to £12,000
External works: Drive, paths and patio from £5,000
Warranty and insurance from £2,500
Architectural work £Included in our service
Energy Audit £250
Structural Engineer from £500
Local Authority fees £1,200 to £1500
Services connections from £3,000
Airtightness test £300 to £500
Topographical survey £500 to £700
Tree survey from £500
Protected species scoping survey from £400
On-site drainage systems £3,000 to £5,000
ECO features:
Heat pump £7,000
Solar power £1,500 per KW
Photovoltaic roof tiles from £4,000
Heat recovery system from £5,000
Rainwater harvesting £2,000 to £4,000
Bio mass boiler £10,000

If any of the following items apply to your project the cost can be assessed as part of a Project Appraisal by one of our experienced consultants.
Detached garages and outbuildings
Special foundations
Soft landscaping
Forming a new access
Unusual costs: e.g. moving a street light
Swimming pools

Talk to us

If you are considering building your own home then please contact us. We pride ourselves on giving sound, impartial advice from the outset.

Project Appraisal

If you already own your plot or in the process of buying or have an existing property for replacement, then we can undertake a Project Appraisal to assess the viability of your plot and discuss what’s possible. This is carried out by a member of our experienced team and is free of charge and without obligation. Please call us or drop us an e-mail and we will get in touch to see what we can do to help get your project started.

Plot Assessments

If you think you have found a potential building plot or an existing property for demolition and replacement, then we can provide you with a desk-top Plot Assessment. This is usually carried out free of charge unless you require a site visit in which case a modest fee will apply.