Self Build Costs
Your self build project is likely to be one of the biggest outlays you’ll ever make, but also one of the most rewarding. However, it’s important that you know exactly what to expect long before you put plans into action, so you can budget accordingly and ensure you’re set up for success.
How much does a self build cost?
Our research found that the average total build cost for a self build home is £479,578. The average build budget is around £312,000, and the average plot size cost is £253,000. The overall cost of your self build will depend on a variety of factors - these factors can vary from project to project, but there are a few that all self builders will need to consider. Here are a few of the main costs of a self build.
Here’s a typical breakdown:
Cost of your self build plot
The plot is a key consideration when it comes to cost. The size and location will have the biggest bearing on the cost of the plot, but other factors will come into play:
The amount of groundworks needed, and whether the plot is flat or on a slope will play a part in the cost, as will the level of access to the property - if the required access covers a ‘ransom strip’, then you’ll likely need to pay for exclusive access.
You’ll also need to pay for connecting the plot to your services such as electricity, gas and sewage - our figures show that the average cost of these connections is £5,650. Then there’s planning permission; if the plot doesn’t already have planning permission, then you’ll need to apply for it, which requires a fee - usually up to £1,000.
For more information about finding and buying the right plot, click here.
Cost of Construction Systems
Construction systems vary in cost, and it’s important to balance those costs against the benefits that they bring. For example, using a timber frame system is cheaper than using an insulated concrete framework (ICF) system, but timber may require more maintenance than ICF. The average cost of a timber frame package from a sample of several show homes in 2022 was £143,688 (NSBRC).
We’ve put together a guide to the pros and cons of popular self build systems - click here to read it. For first-hand learning from experts in self builds, book your place on our Building Systems workshop.
Spec and Finish
Picking and choosing the internal features of your home is one of the most exciting parts of the project, but it can easily lead to mounting costs if you get carried away when designing your bathroom, kitchen and master bedroom.
Where possible, you should allocate more of your budget towards things that’ll last longer and add value to your home. Higher-spec windows, for example, will cost more up-front than their lower-quality counterparts, but they’ll help you save money on your bills in the long term.
When designing bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens, it can be tempting to be flashy and opt for all the mod-cons. However, you should consider the future - if you want to sell your home, it needs to appeal to prospective buyers, and not everyone is keen on ultra-spec, flashy interiors. You can make each room look great without having to take the super expensive route.
If you feel like you need to make some savings on the project, consider doing so in areas that you can upgrade in the future with relatively little fuss. Also, if you’re confident you can source the right items by yourself, do that - appliances, sinks and baths can all be bought for a cheaper price when they’re part of a package from a main kitchen supplier, for example.
For more information about the design and specification of your self build home, read our guide here. If you’d like to get some tips from the experts and learn about all things interiors, visit our Internal Finishes Workshop.
The main expense when it comes to contractors is likely to be the main builder/building company that you use for the project. However, if you use other professional services, these will take up some of your budget too. Joiners, plasterers, plumbers - these are all costs you’ll need to consider at some point. However many tradespeople you use, make sure to keep an organised track of your invoices and quotes.
Delays can have a real knock-on effect when it comes to costs. The longer the build takes, the more professional hours you have to use, and the more you have to spend. You won’t have control over every delay, but you can help to reduce the risk of delays by minimising changes once the project is underway.
There’s also project management - you may be tempted to manage the project yourself, but be aware that this is a huge responsibility, and any mistakes you make could end up costing you more money. It’s like taking on a second job, and you’ll also be responsible for every aspect of the project - hiring a professional project manager may cost more, but it can be very valuable to the project and also your own workload.
If you’re seriously considering being your own project manager, we highly recommend taking our Project Management Course to get a better understanding of what it involves.
There are also other costs that you need to consider. They may not apply to every self build project, but it’s certainly worthwhile to consider them when drawing up your budget.
The more detailed your plans are, the more likely planning approval is. Hiring a professional architect/designer is the best way to go about this, but they’re likely to have a set rate.
Connection of Utilities
You’ll likely need to pay to have your gas, electricity, and water connected, as well as phone lines and internet.
Landscaping and outdoors
Depending on the condition and surroundings of your plot, you may need to pay for professional landscaping services to tidy or alter the plot.
Self-builder’s insurance will help to protect you in the event of any unforeseen issues. It’s another cost, but it’s a necessary one. Self-build insurance is usually around 1% of the build cost.
As with all budgets, it’s advisable to have a contingency plan. Have some money set aside in case of problems, delays or other surprise costs. Without it, you may have to sacrifice other elements of the build or borrow more money.
A contingency budget is also helpful due to the lengthy duration of self build projects. It can take a year or several to build a home, and material costs may rise during that period. With a contingency budget, you won’t be caught out.
It’s up to you how much you set aside for the contingency budget, but we advise around 10-15% of your total build budget.
Building your own home is an expensive project, but with the right amount of planning and some self-control when it comes to buying furniture and appliances, you can ensure everything is accounted for and there’s no unforeseen, unwanted expenses.
The NSBRC Guide to Managing Money teaches you everything you need to know about the financial side of self building. From raising finance to budgeting and VAT, everything is covered by the experts to help you make the most of your money and your build. Click here to find out more and book your place.