lhsbanner buildregisters oran

lhsbanner csbtk blue

lhsbanner fmb2

News

Teignbridge commits to self build

Cementing its commitment to the sector, Teignbridge is the UK's first council to adopt a policy on self build homes

20 July 2016

Teignbridge is the firs....

Read more

What does Brexit mean for self and custom build?

Over the last week, the nation's vote to leave the EU has brought with it a host of questions concerning the stability of the economy. T....

Read more

New fruit to market

A unique development on the outskirts of Nottingham city outlines the high demand for cohousing in the area.

Read more

Homes for heroes

Work is underway to transform the site of an old office block in Weston-super-Mare....

Read more

PROTOHOME launches in Newcastle

A charitable partnership in Newcastle has joined forces to uncover whether self build can aid homelessness

Read more

Case Studies

Contemporary Timber Frame Home

Read more

Passivhaus Family Farmhouse

Read more

Steel Farm

Read more

Merlin Haven

Read more

Timber Frame Home, Ventnor

Read more

Aldcliffe Yard, Lancaster

Read more

Walthamstow Social Rent Scheme

Read more

Prefabricated Passivhaus bungalow

Read more

Cookham Dean, Berkshire

Read more

Harvest House

Read more

Bickleigh Eco Village, Devon

Read more

Stoke-on-Trent Serviced Building Plots

Read more

Forevergreen House

Read more

Housing People Building Communities

Read more

Sülzer Freunde, Cologne

Read more

Berlin - 'Building Groups'

Read more

Manor Farm, Kirton

Read more

Straw-baling, Perthshire

Read more

Findhorn

Read more

Almere, Holland

Read more

Hockerton

Read more

Top tips

Choosing a construction system

Choosing a construction system Read more

we support_logo-2tb

Finance and Fees: Budget Advice

Budget advice

Budgeting can make or break a project. The more accurate your estimates, and calculations, the more likely you will build your dream home without any crippling over spends.

Things to keep in mind: a contingency of 10–20% will act as a cushion against unexpected costs. Most people suggest a 10% contingency for a flat site where the ground conditions are known, and 20% for a sloping site or one where you’re not sure what may lie below. A very rough guide is that one degree of slope costs an extra £1,000, so a 45% degree slope may give you fantastic views, and easier drainage, but may cost an extra £45,000 in groundworks. The exact amount depends on a number of relevant factors, including ground stability, the water table, and whether the spoil has to be taken to landfill. Groundworks are normally the part of building a house which is the most difficult to cost accurately in advance.

Changing your mind about the layout or specification of your home as you go can dramatically increase the costs. So work out exactly what you want before you start on site, and then stick to it. The more time you spend planning in advance; the more likely you are to keep to your budget.

On a new house you will probably be eligible for a fair sized VAT refund – typically you may reclaim about £10,000 on the cost of the building materials you use. But you have to pay the VAT out before you can reclaim it, you have to keep good records, and you have to reclaim the VAT within three months of completion. About a third of all self builders fail to do this, so they miss out of a big tax refund.

Some Top Tips for making your budget go as far as possible include:

  • Comparing costs and negotiating. A good negotiator will compare different prices from materials suppliers, professional consultants and trades people and haggle to get the best possible deal. On a big project this could save you £50,000-100,000.
  • You could also project manage the construction work yourself (provided you know what you are doing!). Or you may be able to learn some relevant building skills, and do some of the physical construction work. You may also be able to rope in skilled colleagues or friends or family to help you.
  • Don’t be in a hurry in the earliest stages – remember, time spent planning and working out every detail up front will pay dividends later on.
  • Avoid a high-end specification – you could spend £300 on a bathroom suite, or £30,000.
  • Opt for a simple, rational design – for example a basic rectangular building will usually be cheaper to build than one that has a more complex footprint or multiple rooflines. The choice of the basic method of construction you use can be significant too – for example basic timber framed homes can be about 10% cheaper than brick and block homes.
  • Secure, waterproof storage on site will enable you to buy cheaply in advance, and keep materials and tools safe for when they are needed.
  • Any changes to the plans must be communicated with the relevant contractors. At the very least, stick a copy of the latest amended plans to an inside wall, so contractors know about the wall you’ve moved, or the extra sockets you realised you needed.

For general guidance on how to make your budget go as far as possible, see:

The Self Build Portal's Interactive Guide can be a good budget estimating tool. There are several other free online ready reckoners available that will also help you get a better estimate of the rough cost of your proposed home:

Sometimes a self builder will employ a quantity surveyor (QS) or a building estimator to prepare really detailed construction estimates for them. To find a good QS or estimator, ask other self builders near you who they used and if they would recommend them. You can also get details of local QSs from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

If you are hunting for a building estimator, try the The Chartered Institute of Building 
(on the right under the heading 'Find a CBC', they have a search facility. If you use "estimating" as a search term, you’ll get a list of relevant members near to you).

You could also try:

There are also a growing number of online estimating services such as:

Finally, there are a number of paid for software packages to help self builders work out their own construction costs, and there are several building cost guidance books available. Check:

Related Links: