Building a house: What are the costs?

The fundamental question at the start of any project is ‘how much will it cost?’.


There are obvious factors that influence the final figure - the size, design, build quality and environmental performance, for example.


However, there are also a number of additional costs beyond the home itself that are often missed out of initial budget estimates and can come as a surprise further down the road. Discover what goes into the total cost of a building your own home.


Designing your new home


Designing your own home is an exciting process. The biggest pitfall is creating a scheme that can’t be built on budget. The benefit of working with a turnkey design and build company is the certainty of delivery from the start.


Of course, how much you pay for your design depends on the quality of the service but expect to pay architectural fees between 8% and 16% of the build cost. This should cover the costs of concept design, design development and technical design (this does depend on your choice of route and company).


Architectural fees at Facit Homes are generally between 10% and 16% of the total construction costs. Charged throughout the project from concept to completion, these cover all the complicated design work and the percentage depends on the scope, scale and complexity of your project, e.g. if you already have a concept design they might be lower.


A concept design.

Additional consultants

Your project might require one or all of the following investigations as part of your planning application (depending on your site and proposal):

  • Tree survey

  • Geotechnical survey (to determine the foundations requirement)

  • Ecological surveys (bats etc.)


You may also require some of the following consultants at some stage:

  • Planning consultant

  • Structural engineer

  • Quantity surveyor

  • Party wall surveyor


Each investigation and consultant carries additional fees, which need to be determined on a case by case basis. On more complicated sites there may even need to be things like a flood risk assessment, heritage report or even archaeological assessment. Planning departments often seem to love specialist reports…


Overall it can be good to factor in something between £5,000 - £8,000 for a simple project, or up to £15,000 if there are lots of requirements. As part of our turnkey service, we like to keep this simple for you by incorporating each expected one all into your project cost estimate from the very start.


Statutory costs: Planning


The application framework for planning regulates the cost of a residential new build application to £462 with any local authority. However, depending on the project, it might be advisable to seek planning pre-application advice, which incurs additional costs but can ensure planning success with limited delays.


Costs of pre-app advice are more varied and depend on the planning authority. For new builds, it can be anything from £50 to £3,000 for a meeting and response letter. The price is set by each council and is sometimes dependent on the size of the build.


Check out our guide to planning permission for self build homes here and pre-apps here. We’re experts at receiving planning permission first time, even in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Conservation Areas.



Site works: Utilities and connections


A building contract may or may not include the service connections to utilities, drainage on site and demolition of existing buildings. Of course, we include all of these in our cost estimates from the very start.


Demolishing an existing property is often the best way of getting value for the project - especially if you already own the site. This is because you can claim the VAT back on a self build project (which you can’t for renovations or extensions), effectively saving you 20% of project costs. Demolition is generally straightforward and costs about £8,000-£20,000.


The costs for service connections to sewage, water, electricity and others depend on the plot. For a replacement dwelling, this should be relatively easy because you can reuse the connections from the existing property. This Build It article goes into a bit more detail.


If your project is a new dwelling on a previously empty plot, it might be difficult to put a figure on the cost of connections. A Homebuilding & Renovating article estimates that the cost of creating these could be around £12,000.



Construction


Construction costs often reflect the quality of service and build. Most companies measure according to a cost per m2 framework. The true cost of construction can differ from that figure depending on the scope of service you’ve chosen. This is because some companies do not include some key ingredients within that cost. For example, groundworks and foundations are often excluded by prefab companies.


In the UK, the average building cost per sq m is between £1,750 and £3,000 but can easily reach over £4,000 per m2 depending on your aspirations and complexity of your project.


At £2,750 per m2, our construction costs offer our customers great value for a high performance building and service. Our expertise extends to all parts of a project (except buying the plot) and our all-in-one service is a real benefit of working with us - fixed prices once we enter construction give confidence that costs will not be overrun. We take care of the nitty gritty details so you don’t have to.



Our detailed construction data and building system ensure that we can give you clarity on the costs from the start. Our accurate estimates are tailored to the unique details of your project to help you to stay on budget and control the costs.


Our project appraisals cover everything from foundations to the front door, providing you with a solid benchmark.


Gross Internal Area = 250m2

Total Construction Cost @ £2,750m2 = £687,500

Architectural Fees @ 14.5% = £99,500


£787,000


Building control


Each local authority has a building control department that acts as an independent assessor of your project and proposals according to the building regulations.


The building control inspectors make statutory and routine inspections at various stages during building works to ensure compliance. The cost for this service varies depending on the type of project, the type of application and the local council area.


Building regulations apply to new homes without exceptions, specifying a minimum standard of performance that must be achieved. Every Facit Home outperforms the building regulations, almost reaching Passivhaus performance using our fabric first approach.



Warranties


Most banks and building societies require a structural warranty before they will lend against a newly built property. A structural or building warranty is better described as 'structural defects liability insurance'. Each policy is different but faults in design and construction are covered, while snagging defects excluded. Typically they cost between £1,500 - 3,000.


Warranty providers' carry out an inspection as the build progresses and, on completion, a 10-year warranty is provided to cover major defects in design, materials or workmanship. As the provider needs to make regular inspections of the build, it can be possible to assign the statutory building control inspections to their approved inspector, who essentially performs both tasks at once saving costs.


Landscaping


The landscaping around your new home is an additional cost that is often overlooked until the last minute.


Some of our customers have undertaken this work themselves or looked elsewhere for a specialist landscaping company, but not all. We do offer the option of managing this for you as part of our turnkey service, completing the messy job of levelling the ground surrounding the property.


Landscaping can be a lot more expensive than you’d imagine, hard landscaping in particular. It can include retaining walls, paving material, driveways, paths, decking and steps, and makes a big difference to many sites, especially if they have tricky access, uneven ground or an unusually shaped garden.


Contact us for your free project appraisal


The cost of creating a Facit Home is split into build costs (£/m2) and architectural fees (% of total).


Opt for control over the costs of your project. We make the tricky subject as simple as possible by providing a transparent pricing structure and designing your home within your budget.


For more information about how we can offer greater cost certainty, call us in the studio on 020 3034 0720 or email info@facit-homes.com with the details of your project.




Subscribe to our newsletter

For monthly thoughts, insights, stories and news from the studio.

You've subscribed!

Explore completed projects