The cost of a new house

Posted January 01, 2018

The issue of cost is often the greatest influence on new house projects, however it often goes unspoken until late in the design process.

A little internet searching brings up the same data; often self-build rates or significantly out of date articles. With inflation and little or no allowance for a professional team, these rates can be misleading. Labour costs have increased significantly for skilled trades in the past 5 years as industry supply is stretched, often this is not reflected in budget cost advice.

To help you plan for your project, we have provided a breakdown from the projects completed by Make over the recent period.


Realistic Budget Cost

The above data has been taken from projects over the value of £150k and 100m2 in size. On smaller projects a premium may be required due to economies of scale.


The above rates include the base build costs and exclude the items outlined below such as project specific abnormalities or professional fees. The above should be used to establish a robust build cost, you should consider how the excluded items detailed below impact upon your total project budget.


Where does your Money go?


The above data has been taken from ten projects completed by Make in the past 18 months. As every project has a unique set of considerations to deal with, we have excluded any project abnormal costs.


You should consider how the following impact on your project:

  1. Project abnormalities such as ground conditions, major substructure works, significant demolitions or contamination works.
  2. External works and landscaping. It would be typical to spend around 2% of the project budget on works hard surfaces around the new home.
  3. Site investigations to determine suitability of the site and to inform the design. See guidance below on investigations to be considered.
  4. Professional, statutory or design fees, see guidance below.
  5. Soft furnishings, loose furniture and client fit out items.
  6. New incoming services or statutory undertakings.
  7. Sustainable design features or major energy considerations (such as renewables or passivhaus certification).
  8. Client contingency to deal with project risks and scope change.


Selecting your Team

It is reasonable to expect that the design will cost in the region of 10% of the total project cost. The consultants required for each project will differ, but the above identifies the likely specialists required.


Investigations to be considered

On any new project, an element of site investigation shall be required to determine the suitability of the site and to assist the design team with developing the design. On any new project, you should consider:

  1. A ground investigation to determine the type of ground, its condition and classification. This will highlight any specific site issues such as flooding risk and contamination.
  2. Topographical survey to establish accurate site boundaries and levels.
  3. A measured building survey may be necessary if the project involves a retained existing building or structure.
  4. A structural or condition survey, again only if there is an existing building or structure to be retained.
  5. Incoming and below ground services scans are crucial to determining likely connection points and will highlight any diversion works.
  6. A ground or site investigation will also highlight the requirement for any additional surveys, such as asbestos or ecological. Any ecological issues can greatly impact upon planning and the build works, so it is essential to understand any such constraints at the onset of the project.


Preparing your budget

There is rarely such a thing as a perfect “green-field’ site. Every project we work on has its own constraints and challenges. In using the above guidance, you should consider this the base cost and make due allowance for the specific constraints of your proposed project/site.

If you consider the above guidance at the onset of your project, you can be sure that you are on the right footing towards a successful project. If you would like any further guidance please do not hesitate to contact us on 0117 4032459 or by email at