How Much Does It Cost to Build My Own House?

Figuring out how much it costs to build a house is a big part of deciding whether self-building is going to be a better option than buying another property.

Without being fully aware of the costs, you could easily end up with a home you don’t want to live in as well as a myriad of problems.

Learning the Cost of Building Your Own Home

There are many things to consider when it comes to calculating the cost of building your home.

On top of the obvious things, such as the cost of the materials, there is a lot of detail that many people forget to include in cost calculations.

Here’s a breakdown of the different elements that will impact the cost of you building your own home.

The Cost Breakdown of Building Your Own House

Building a house includes many different elements that will add to the final cost.

We can divide these into the following categories:

  • Foundation and superstructure, which include roofing and structural walling
  • Fixtures and internal rooms
  • Services and utilities

The Cost of the Foundation and Superstructure

The majority of your building costs will come from the foundation and superstructure of your house. These elements can account for almost half of the total cost of your home, with the biggest cost usually coming from the construction of the load-bearing walls and floors.

The total build cost of these elements for a typical house can be around £30,000 and around 13-15% of the total cost.

The cost of your foundation is tricky to estimate prior to building because a lot of depends on the kind of work you need done. You are not in full control of the specifications when it comes to the foundation, because the local authority Building Control surveyor will decide what is acceptable and what isn’t. The cost will go up if you need engineered foundations or if you’re building on a slope, for example.

In terms of the roof, your cost consists of:

  • The structure itself
  • Insulation, felt, battens and roof covering
  • Flashing and other detailing

Basic rectangular shapes that use low-pitched roofing and manufactured trusses tend to be the cheapest. Quite simply, more complexity will add to the cost.

Similarly, the cost of external claddings, renders and exterior finishes is largely dependant on the materials you choose to use. The most common material of choice is brick, while stone is another popular material but it is more expensive than brick.

Fixtures and Internal Rooms

In terms of individual rooms, the costliest rooms will be the kitchen and the bathrooms. Kitchen costs are generally a little under £4,000 for a basic, standard kitchen, with top end kitchens filled with a range of features costing up to and above £12,000.

Bathroom costs will depend largely on the kind of room you want. A standard bathroom with a bath is around £3,500. Shower rooms can be about the same size, with wet rooms becoming an increasingly popular alternative. A simple cloakroom or washroom without a bath or shower can usually be built for around £2,000.

In terms of fixtures and fittings, heating solutions are one of the major costs. A standard heating solution tends to cost around £4,000-£5,000, while underfloor heating is a fantastic feature but is sure to add a few thousand pounds to your costs. For electrical work, a lot depends on the things you want, and a good electrical system can cost £45 – £50 per square metre.

Other indoor costs come from wall structures, flooring and decorative elements. You’ll also need to factor in windows and internal doors. Each element can be around 5% of the total cost and again in this case the cost is largely dependent on the materials you use. For example, you could reduce the cost of your build by hundreds or perhaps even thousands of pounds simply by being careful what type of paint you choose.

Services and Utilities

The biggest costs in terms of services and utilities are service connection costs. The cost is influenced by whether your plot is already connected to mains services or not. It’s a good idea to budget at least £10,000 for connection of water, sewers, electricity, telephone and gas.

Remember to Include Fees and Other Costs

Remember that the cost of building your house is not just exclusively related to construction. You’ll also need to include a number of fees in addition to your building costs.

These include:

  • The cost of the plot you want to build on.
  • Legal fees related to submission of planning applications and any other advice you need to seek.
  • Stamp Duty and Land Tax.
  • Topographical Site Surveys
  • Structural Engineer’s fees, planning application fees and building regulations fees.

If you’re building it on your own, you’ll also need Self Build Insurance, and will have to factor in the cost of services you use for things you can’t do yourself, such as electricity fitting.

How to Influence and Control Your Building Cost

It’s always going to be difficult to give an exact figure of how much your house could cost as there are so many factors that could be an influence.

This is great news for you in the sense that it’s possible to build a house within a specific budget, if you have one.

You can control the cost of building your house by:

  • Considering the size carefully – the bigger your house the more it will cost to build it.
  • Opting for a simple shape and layout – a square floorplan is simple and cheaper than a house with lots of angles and corners.
  • Thinking about the number of storeys – multi-storey houses can cost less to build than a single storey design.
  • Comparing the different materials – you can also influence the cost by carefully comparing different building materials.

Finally, your building costs are dependent on your own involvement in the project. If you are in charge of project management, you can reduce the build costs by around 10%. As a lot of the cost comes from the labour, you can also reduce costs by doing things yourself – depending, of course, on your own level of building expertise and competence, not to mention how much time you have to spare.

Calculate Estimations Before You Start

As we’ve shown, there are plenty of factors that will influence the cost of building your own house. It’s important to start the project by carefully calculating estimations and asking for quotes from constructors and service providers. This will help you get an idea of how much you can expect to spend, and allow you to plan and execute your project accordingly.