A question we often get asked is “can you give me a rough idea of how much it costs to build a new home”? As you can imagine, that’s a pretty difficult one to answer. There are just so many variables.

But, not content with just evading the question, we’re going to try and answer it as best we can!

Cost for building a new house on a virgin plot

If you’re lucky enough to have a nice fresh building plot with no old building to contend with, you’re half a step ahead! To get a rough idea of cost, take the outside measurement of the width and length (in metres) of the new house you want to build. Multiply the two together to give you the square meterage, or area, of your house.

A typical new build will cost between £1,250 and £2,000 per square metre (excluding VAT).

So, to get a very rough cost for your build, multiply your area by the cost per square metre.

For example, if your planned property is 100 m2 then your build cost is £125k – £200k plus VAT.

You’ll notice that there is a significant difference between the top and bottom figures. If you take the lower cost, this will give you a budget for everything you need (i.e. heating, plumbing, electrics). It will be a basic level finish, but it will be a complete working house, pretty much ready to move in to. You’ll just need to add flooring, furniture and your family to make it a home.

As you start to factor in specific finishes, such as particular bricks or tiles, or high-end kitchens or bathrooms, the overall cost per m2 will start to creep up. That’s where the price range comes in.

Cost for renovating an existing property

Some renovation projects are so complete, they almost count as a new build. But not quite. You may at least have a shell to work with.

But giving a broad price for this kind of project is more challenging. They can be massively impacted if, for example, you need to reroof, rewire or update the plumbing and heating throughout.

But we’re not shirking our responsibility – again, we’ll do our best to give you a helpful figure to start your calculations.

A typical renovation project will cost between £400 and £750 per square metre (excluding VAT).

If your renovation project is a simple new kitchen, bathroom and redecorate, you can reduce this figure. On the other hand, if it’s a full renovation including replastering, a new roof etc. you may want to allow a little more. Likewise, period properties tend to push the prices up higher still.

Other variables we need to know about

It’s not just the level of finish you’re after that affects the final cost. The individual circumstances of the build will make a big difference. The kinds of things we’d need to know up front are:

  • How accessible is the site?
  • How close can we get machinery to the site, to help speed up the build?
  • Is there room to unload materials on site using a craned delivery lorry, or will we have to get them there manually?
  • Is there room on the site to store materials safely and securely?
  • Is there on-site parking for all the trade vans? You might be surprised how much time can be taken up having to walk backwards and forwards for tools!

All of these factors can have a bearing on cost. So once you have your basic cost per square metre, using the figures above, you will need to start to factor in any extras, such as the cost of a labourer to barrow materials on to site.

Don’t forget the contingency!

Whatever building project you’re budgeting for, we always recommend that you allow at least 10% extra as a contingency. There will always be some unforeseen circumstances. And if you’re renovating a period property, or converting a barn, it’s wise to allow at least 20% contingency. These types of projects are even more likely to reveal costly surprises as they progress!

WARNING: These are only benchmark costs

We need to reiterate that these costs are just a starting point. They may help you decide whether you’re realistic to consider these options. But it is vital to get your own project carefully costed our before committing to anything.

We’ve just launched a new service to help with just that. Our consultancy service provides advice on costing and planning your specific project. There’s no obligation to use us for your build. It’s just designed to give you a little more certainty around your project, particularly costs, before you take the plunge. It could save you a great deal of money in the long run.


Please note: costs are correct at time of publication in January 2018. Costs apply to Norfolk, United Kingdom.