How Much Does it Cost to Build a House?

When it comes to house building costs, there are very many aspects to take into account. Constructing a large house in one part of the country may be cheaper than building one in a city centre where the value of land is higher and where access may be trickier, for example. Nevertheless, many people embark on a self-build project knowing that they could potentially blow their budget. What do you need to know about house building costs in the UK these days before you start your own project?

House building can be a costly business.

Factors to Consider With House Building Costs

One of the major costs associated with any house building project is the land. If you already own the land you will build on, then there may be some demolition costs to remove the previous structure, too. Since the value of land varies so greatly in the UK, it is probably best to ignore this factor for now. Let’s focus on the costs associated with the construction phase of your own home instead.

If you want an architecturally pleasing home, then you’ll need a designer to help you. The trouble is that some architects will quote a fixed fee while others charge by the hour or, sometimes, as a percentage of the overall construction costs. You’ll need to examine this closely before commissioning an architectural firm. For most family homes of between two and five bedrooms, a fixed fee is likely to be the most cost-effective option.

If you opt for a design-and-build main contractor, then you can get an estimated cost for the entire project delivery. This suits many people without prior house building experience. Bear in mind that the project management aspect of the build will cost you and be something that’s built into your quoted price. If you want to drive costs down, split up the design and construction phases and project manage yourself.

How Much Should You Budget For?

After the land, planning and design costs, you will need to budget for the construction phase. Typically, these comprise manpower and material costs. The average cost of a self-build project these days is £270,000. The larger the home’s footprint, the more expenditure you can expect to go on foundations and land preparation, of course. After that, the construction of walls and roofs isn’t that expensive. Where you will spend more will be on expensive items, such as glazing, cladding and fitting out. Consequently, you should budget for anywhere between £300 per square metre to £1,000 for your project. Let’s break that down a little:

  • House foundations cost in the region of £125 per square metre to form. If your site is uneven and needs piling, then this cost can go up considerably.
  • Load bearing brick and block cavity walls cost cost about £100 per square metre to construct. Timber-framed walls can be just as expensive but they provide more space. This is because they don’t need a cavity space like traditional brick and block walls. Cavity walls will need further insulation while timber-framed ones will be insulated during the construction phase.
  • A typical family home’s roof costs about £5,000. The price will go up if you have lots of gable ends and other complex shapes. Flat roofs are cheapest, generally speaking.
  • The floor structure of a two or three storey building will also form a significant part of your budget. Without factoring-in potentially costly elements, such as bespoke staircases, floor structures cost something in the region of £250 per square metre. A screed floor for your ground level flooring subsctructure would cost about half that amount.
  • Cladding the external structure of your self-build home will also take up a sizeable proportion of your budget. Expect to pay about £80 per square metre for cement board cladding. If you opt for timber cladding, which won’t last as long, then the price would be £20 to £30 per square metre. That’s about the same cost as rendering your walls.
  • For the external structure of your home, you will also need to purchase windows and doors. More stylish options are available but uPVC ones offer the best value for money. A project with 2 uPVC doors and about 15 or so uPVC double-glazed window frames will cost about £6,500.
  • Wiring a new build home will cost about £8,000 for a large, four bedroom property. The plumbing installation for a house of this size would be something like £17,000. The installation of a traditional boiler would mean a further £4,000 or so of expenditure. Of course, this would depend on the model you choose to have installed.

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