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How much would your dream build cost

Stamford Road, Oakham [2017] – £1425/m2 Average Cost [Refurbishment & New Build]

Building a new home, a new extension or remodelling and retrofitting your house is an exciting prospect. It’s really important, though, that you enter the process as well informed as possible and to be realistic about cost. We have had more issues around project cost than anything else so aligning your expectations to reality is a vital step before you engage an architect to help you realise your dreams.

We are not cost experts. If you want a detailed costing of a design at any stage you will need to employ a quantity surveyor. We certainly recommend this at later stages of your project. However, we do have plenty of experience of project costs and have pulled together a rough and ready calculator that will give you a good guide of the ball park figures you’ll be working with before you start.

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There are some other great costing resources:

If you want to get really detailed we highly recommend “The House Builder’s Bible” by Mark Brinkley. It’s now on it’s 11th edition and has become an indispensable resource for many self-builders.

For something less involved, Homebuilding and Renovating magazine have a build cost calculator. They also publish average m2 rates for self-build by region, although we’ve found these, on the whole, to be quite low. They should be taken with a pinch of salt if you’re planning to deliver some properly bespoke architecture.

There are some other things you need to remember:

Consultant fees, surveys and statutory approvals: These can add up. We would certainly be allowing an additional 25-30% of the build cost for these. It’s definitely no good skimping on consultants’ fees. A good consultant will help your project run smoothly; help your project to be as cost effective as possible and deliver you the best possible design for your needs and aspirations. Likewise, omitting surveys for cost reasons usually comes back to bite you. Always take the opportunity to limit the unknowns on your project, it cuts down hugely on risk later.

Utility connections and amendments: These are not normally huge costs but need to be factored into your overall budget. They can also have long lead times which you don’t want to impact on your project programme and add further contractor costs.

Insurance: Even for a small extension your home insurance will not cover the works you’re undertaking. For new-build properties the requirement is even greater. Speak to insurance providers early enough to ensure you’re not without the right cover by the time work starts on site.

Contingency: The build process is never 100% predictable. You can do as much as possible to minimise risk; getting the best advice, undertaking research and paying for the required surveys, but unexpected things will always happen / be discovered. Have some money aside (5-10%) of the build cost to ensure your project isn’t stalled by the unknown.

VAT: Easy to forget. VAT is generally chargeable on all works to existing buildings whereas new-build houses are exempt. You may still need to pay for the VAT on certain elements up front and then claim the VAT back following completion of the works.

Finance: If you’re getting a mortgage for the build or a bridging loan you many need to obtain a structural warranty or Professional Consultant’s Certificates [PCCs] to demonstrate the work has been completed to the required standard. We can offer PCCs or put you in touch with a relevant warranty provider.

This means that for a project with an approximate £60,000 build cost, we would recommend having an overall budget of between £90,000 and £100,000 to cover all these other items.

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