12 Jan 2024 - Self Build

Navigating the costs of building your home: A comprehensive guide


Embarking on the journey of building your own home is a significant endeavour, and understanding the associated costs is paramount to a successful project. In this guide, we delve into the complexities of budgeting, providing you with a clear and precise overview of what to expect.

Building a house involves myriad factors affecting costs. Even subtle changes can wield a substantial impact on overall expenditure. We strongly advise careful planning, budgeting, and including a substantial contingency fund – building a new house often leads to unforeseen expenses. Consider the cost per square meter, a standard metric in the UK, ranging from £1,500 to £3,000. This figure should help you estimate your home's overall cost and determine construction feasibility within your budget.

Breaking down the costs: A comprehensive overview

To offer you a tangible understanding, we present a range of costs based on key parameters. From the average cost per square meter to estimates for building 3, 4, and 5-bedroom houses, our figures serve as indicative benchmarks for your budgeting efforts.


Average cost to build a house (per m2)                   £1,400 - £3,000                   

Cost to build 3 bed (90-120 m2)                                  £120,000 - £300,000               

Cost to build 4 bed (140-200 m2)                               £196,000 - £500,000

Construction cost/construction system cost           £280,000 - £600,000

*Based on Check A Trade’s ballpark avaerages

Mastering budgeting: A crucial step in your house building journey

Mastery of budgeting is the linchpin to success in building a home. It requires a keen understanding of each cost component to maintain optimal control. As you initiate the budgeting process, consider these imperative questions:

- Payment Strategy: How do you plan to fund the house build?

- Financial Reserves: What is your savings reservoir for this venture?

- Borrowing Dynamics: Will you be seeking loans or receiving financial support from family or loved ones?

- Mortgage Exploration: Do you need a self-build mortgage, and if so, how do you navigate the application process?

- Future Home Valuation: What will be the estimated value of the house once it's built?

- Intended Use: Are you building to reside in the house, or is it a strategic move to sell?

- Equity Projection: If selling is the goal, what equity will you retain post-build expenses?

Approach the budgeting process as a strategic endeavour, aligning your financial resources with the various aspects of your self-build project. This will empower you to chart a clear path, ensuring your budget is not just a financial plan but a blueprint for the realisation of your dream home.

Pre-build costs, breakdown

Foster a realistic budget with a comprehensive understanding of pre-build expenses. Here, we present a breakdown of the most common costs.

- Land price: The foundational cost—the very land on which your dream home will stand.

- Land survey costs: Ensure a thorough assessment covering flood risk and environmental aspects, ranging from £400 to £600.

- Legal fees: Navigate the legal landscape with costs ranging from £500 to £1,200.

- Service connections: If your plot lacks mains services, budget accordingly:
Electricity and telephone: A minimum investment of £10,000.
Water and sewers: Allocate £3,000 to £5,000.
Gas: Starting at £2,000.

- Planning permission: Factor in costs, potentially reaching up to £1,000, to secure the essential approvals.

- Architectural design: Allocate 5% to 15% of the total build cost to this critical aspect.

- Structural engineer: For complex residential projects, anticipate a fee of £5,000, or £100-200 per hour.

- Self-build insurance: Safeguard your investment with coverage equivalent to around 1% of the total build cost.

Navigating the intricacies of Building Regulations involves additional costs, varying based on factors like the type of work and total floor area. Engage with your Local Authority to gain a comprehensive understanding of these charges, which typically revolve around site inspections.

After tallying these costs, subtract them from your total budget, revealing the amount earmarked for actual construction. We strongly recommend a contingency budget, typically 10% to 15%, to address unexpected expenses that undoubtedly occur on any project. This, along with a detailed financial roadmap, should allow you to approach your pre-build phase with confidence.

Building costs: A comprehensive breakdown

Here's an exploration of the costs associated with various aspects of constructing your dream home:

- Foundations
Average cost: £100 – £150 per m²
Dependent on ground conditions and local authority regulations.

- Construction:
Load-bearing walls (concrete blockwork): Approximately 15% of the build cost.
Alternative construction systems may incur higher expenses.

- Floor Structure:
Beam and block floor system: Average cost £200 – £300 per m².

- Roof Structure:
Cost varies based on size and style, starting at £5,000.

- External Cladding:
Stone cladding: £80 per m²
Timber cladding: £20 – £30 per m²
Block and render cladding: £30 per m²
Brick cladding: £50 per m²

- Drainage:
Connection costs: £5,000 – £25,000, contingent on various factors.

- Electricity:
Wiring costs range from £3,000 for a 1-bed house to around £10,000 for a 5-bed house.

- Plumbing:
Estimated costs: £13,000 – £17,000+, depending on property size.

- Central Heating:
Boiler and system installation: £2,500 – £5,000+, influenced by house size and heating type.

- Carpentry:
Average carpenter rate: £200 per day.

- Plastering:
Cost: £12 – £19 per hour.

- Decorating:
Interior painting and decorating: £55 per m².
Exterior painting (3-bed): £1,300+; (4-bed detached): £2,000+.

- Tiling:
Budget allocation: £35 per m².

- Flooring:
Material costs vary:
Wooden flooring: £10 – £200 per m²
Parquet flooring: £27 – £100 per m²
Bamboo flooring: £18 – £33 per m²
Polished concrete flooring: £120 – £150 per m²

- Garden Landscaping:
Average landscaper charge: £280 per day.

Making your house a home: Other costs to consider

Once your dream house is brought to life, the next pivotal step is transforming it into a haven, carefully curated with furnishings that not only enable functionality but also evoke comfort. 


Variability is key, influenced by house size and individual taste. Rooms that will absorb the largest proportion of this budget are the kitchen(s) and bathroom(s), which will, in turn, have the greatest impact on the overall value of the property upon completion. With the average kitchen costing £15,000 in 2023, and able to stretch as much as £75,000+, budgeting for this is not to be overlooked.

The doors you choose to install throughout your home will remain for a substantial period, so their quality and longevity are worthwhile investments, and given that kerb appeal can boast the value someone is willing to pay for a property – exquisite matching front and garage doors fit the bill perfectly. 


Quality need not be compromised; a carefully curated mix of new, recycled, and upcycled pieces can achieve a sophisticated and cohesive décor. Embracing the potential of blending elements can also infuse warmth and character into your living space, making it truly yours, without excessive expenditure.

Navigating the quote landscape

When sourcing quotes for your self-build project, we emphasize the importance of obtaining multiple quotes from competent tradespeople. We recommend conducting thorough research and diligence to ensure the reliability of your chosen professionals.

Once you have highlighted the quotes you’d like to proceed with, use this template to form a budget plan and see that your self-build is feasible.

*Note. Figures are based on Check A Trade’s cost guide, How much does it cost to build a house?

Have the costs and funds mapped out? See our cherry-picked list of self-build shows across the UK throughout 2024, where you can be inspired, get expert advice, and connect with reputable suppliers.

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