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How Much Does It Cost to Build a House?


The price of building your own home can vary depending on a number of factors, such as geographical location, the type of house you’d like to build, and your personal level of involvement in the project. 

The first thing to decide is how much you’d like to spend on the construction of the property, before you start calculating costs. This will give you an idea of your budget, enabling you to see what will be feasible and what is not. There are different options available to consider when it comes to financing the work: you can choose to use your savings, take out a self-build mortgage, or use the funds raised from selling your existing home. In the event that you don’t already own the building plot, this will be your first purchase, alongside the relevant Stamp Duty to be paid to HMRC. There are many services, both on- and offline, that you can use to find potential plots. This will generally come to 10-15% of the overall amount you will spend on the project, and you can expect to pay more if you are looking to construct in London or south-eastern England. 

Calculating Construction Costs – Materials Matter

The largest cost involved in the construction of the project will be the property’s roof and superstructure, accounting for around 25-30% of the overall budget. This additionally consists of the external walls and cladding. Since this is the most important part of the house, it is important to budget for this first, as in the event that it costs more than you were originally expecting, you will potentially be able to make savings on the less important finishing touches of the property, once the initial structure has been created. The price of materials involved at this stage can vary markedly depending on the quality of the products you use as well as the aesthetic you envision for the finished property. For example, for a simpler, timber cladding, you can expect to pay a price of around £25 per square metre of floor space; however, if you choose to opt for natural stone, this could cost you as much as £75 per square metre of floor space, clearly representing a marked difference. The price of different roofing materials can also range from £60 - £80 per square metre, depending on the finish you choose. 

The internal load-bearing walls are the next part of the house to consider in terms of price. Here again you have a number of different potential materials to choose from. This part of the build will cost within a range of 13-15% of the overall budget, with this cost estimate based on the use of concrete blockwork and timber partitions. If you would like to construct the house from renewable materials, you can opt to have the frame constructed purely from timber, which will not lead to a significant rise in the overall price of the house’s external structure, but only an increase of around 1.5%. If you are on a larger budget, you can also go with structural insulated panels, which will have a cost in the region of 1-3%. While more expensive, this material has superior insulating properties, is faster to install and has the final added benefit of improving your property’s airtightness. 

Factoring In Utilities

A further cost to bear in mind is the potential need to have the plot connected to various utilities, such as mains electricity and gas, sewage, as well as the telephone network. This can be the case if your plot is a greenfield site which has not previously been built upon. Depending on your geographical location, this will generally cost you around £10,000, which can increase in the event that it is impossible to connect your new property to the existing networks, requiring you to find an off-grid solution such as a septic tank. If you are demolishing an existing property on the site, you will also have to pay for both the demolition work itself as well as having the debris professionally removed.

From the Foundations Up

The foundations of the property are fairly uniform across all different kinds of builds. That said, it can be nearly impossible to accurately estimate the cost of the foundations before construction starts. In addition, the choice of the actual material used for the foundations is one of the few aspects of the build which is outside of your control. The building surveyor from the local authority will decide the type of foundation which is required for your property, for safety reasons. The cost of foundations generally varies, quite simply, according to your proximity to the nearest concrete mixing plant; the nearer you are, the less this will cost. This is also the case for your nearest waste land disposal facility. 

Walls, floors and ceilings are the next set of costs to take into account. Bricks are generally the least expensive material to go with in terms of both cost of materials and labour. Artisanal bricks are the next most expensive, followed by stonework and then finally a lime-based rendering material. The more complex the shape of the roof you would like to have installed, the more this will increase costs. The lower the pitch of the roof, the lower the labour costs will be and the less likely the roof will be required to be cut on site, which is naturally more expensive than having the work done to the roof at a dedicated facility. 

Once you have decided which material you would like to choose for this, the next cost to consider is the price of installing kitchen and bathroom facilities. This will vary depending on the quality of fixtures you decide to use, with bespoke units being more expensive than off-the shelf designs. It is up to you to decide how much you would like to spend on these fixtures and fittings, and it is worth bearing in mind that these can always be replaced at a later date with relative simplicity in the event that you decide to upgrade. Prices for kitchens can range from £3000 for basic equipment to as much as £13,000 or more if you decide to opt for custom designs. The price of having the bathroom equipped can have a similarly large range, with a basic bathroom costing around £3500 and a high-end set of facilities potentially costing up to £8700.

Are you planning to build a new house? Find a qualified, registered architect to guide you through the process at, and start building your dream house.

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