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Calculating the Cost of Building Your Own Home

08.09.12
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When you consider self-build, chances are you will focus mostly on the expense of materials,

labor and project management, but there are several costs you’ll need to fork out for before you even get to the construction stage.

The cost of every self-build project will be different, as it depends on multiple factors, but below is a rough guide to the things you should be prepared to spend your money on.

Buying land

Your project won’t get off the ground if you don’t have a plot of land you can build on. Finding the

right location for an affordable price will be key to the success of your scheme.

Land prices vary depending on where they are in the country, so it’s essential to research the local market. Always remember the value of a plot is based on how much a home here is likely to be worth on completion, so take a look at the rest of the neighborhood to help you judge the price.

Architect’s fees

Although you’ll have some input into the design of your home, you’ll need to pay a professional architect to draw up the proper plans for it. Once you reach this stage, you’ll be able to start working out the cost of the build phase, as you’ll consult your architect about the most appropriate materials to use and the design itself. Any structure that is out of the ordinary or difficult to build will result in higher costs when it comes to construction.

Planning permission

Before you get stuck into digging the foundations, you need to have planning permission from your local authority. It is often worth paying a bit more for your land if it comes with outline planning permission. This simply means the council has agreed in principle to a house being built on the plot. Even if you have this to begin with, you’ll still need to submit a detailed planning application for approval. To make this process run as quickly and smoothly as possible, you may want to hire a dedicated planning lawyer to work on your application.

Materials and methods

The raw materials you build your property with will depend on the way your house will be built. Using a brick and block or timber frame construction method will usually cost in the region of $1400 to $1700 per sq m, according to the National Self Build and Renovation Centre. At the top end of the scale are pre-cast concrete panels – coming in at between $1900 and $2300 per sq m – while insulated concrete formwork and structural insulated panel systems are more mid-range at $1500 to $1900 per sq m. The other option is to utilise a steel frame, which costs around $1500 to $1700 per sq m.

Equipment and workers

Even if you’re confident with your DIY skill set, building a house is on a whole different scale to rewiring a plug, for instance. With that in mind, you’ll not only require manpower, but also specialist equipment, such as diggers to excavate the foundations or a crane to lift parts of the structure into place. You will also need to factor in the cost of scaffolding, which is essential when you are doing any work at height.

Top tip: Remember to claim back the VAT charged on your self-build project. You need to

make the application within three months of completing the work and send off all the relevant supporting documents and receipts. This could save you quite a big chunk of money in the long run, though.

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