Nobody can really tell you how much a self-build project is going to cost you because there are so many variables involved. Every project is unique, and unless you have years of industry experience you’ll be hard pressed to get an exact figure and meet it. Using certain criteria, however, you will be able to categorise your build and set a budget accordingly. But be warned: most people go over their budget, as in the building industry the costing and timescale for a project is never an exact science (Grand Designs is a good example of how even the most meticulous planners can overspend).
The size of your plot will vary, meaning there is no way to create a one-size-fits-all figure, but by square metre you can get an idea of which building material will be cheapest. There are a variety of structural materials available to you depending on what kind of project you are undertaking. Brick and block is one of the cheapest; timber is similarly cheap and sustainable; steel is more expensive and harder to obtain for a self-build home; concrete – insulated is cheaper than pre-cast, but if you’re building several properties then pre-cast can be bought in bulk.
When it comes to labour you have to ask yourself how involved you are going to be. The truth is, the more you do yourself the lower your costs will be. If you have the cash to spend you can delegate all of the work and just pop in from time to time to make sure things are going according to your plan. Alternatively, if you have a lot of industry experience you can take on the work yourself. There are stages between these two extremes of course, and with the more you take on yourself the more personal time it will take up. The amount you save doing the project yourself can be huge, ranging from approximately £29,000 on a small house to £73,000 on something bigger, so the savings are potentially huge if you get it right.
If you learn about the extra costs before you enter a self-build project then you’ll save yourself the nasty shock and more ably plan your budget. While stamp duty will be the biggest cost, depending on the land, there are other large fees to consider such as warranty, insurance and legal fees. Structural engineer and design fees will obviously depend on how extravagant or plain your build is going to be, while VAT can be claimed back in most cases as long as you apply with all your documents promptly.
What it comes down to when planning your budget is variables. A timescale will help you plan out how long to hope to take on each aspect of the self-build, but it isn’t always as simple when things get under way. The best way to stave off panic is to do as much research as you can, calculate as many costs as possible, then make sure you set aside extra for any unforeseen costs that you might incur along the way. Doing this will help you to stay on track for your budget, or at least make sure you don’t go miles over
Article Written by Ami Hassall on behalf of JL-Properties