When I work on my clients’ projects, one of the main questions I am asked involves the true nature of building cost in London.
After delivering more than 500 projects that includes extensions, renovations and new build houses and flats in London within the UK, the simplest answer we can give to the question of ‘how much it does it cost to build in London?’ is by assessing the drawings and Bills of Quantity (BOQ) of your project. It is without a doubt this is the best way to effectively calculate your true building cost but yet even with this method, some potential pitfalls do exist.
Having said that, I also believe you can use industry standards that can help you estimate the building cost of your project within the preparation stage of your development, especially when you do not yet have your planning permission, building regulations and tender drawings for your project.
Construction expenses vary widely by location. They differ from one part of the country to another, with central London undoubtedly turning out to be the most high-priced in the UK and the second highest in the world.
As we will discuss in this blog post, building costs are influenced by a variety of different factors. This can begin with location and the level of competition for tenders to the building design and specifications. Input costs are key, with labour accounting for around 40-45 percent of the total cost in London, this should be taken into consideration.
Today, I will provide you the early cost advice for your project to help you determine what your project should cost. I will walk you through the industry’s standard/average building cost per square meter within Central London and Greater London.
I will also explain you the most important three factors that affect the true cost of your building works, giving you tips to achieve the best value at each and every phase of your project as well as how to prevent unforeseen expenses.
Want to know more about how much would it cost to build in London?
Well you’re about to find out…
Picture this, you have a budget, you are completely thrilled about your project but do not realise you have been under-quoted on the cost. All of a sudden, boom! You’ve been hit with having to watch your project costs increase within time throughout the process of construction only because it was not planned correctly and accordingly.
Yes, I can imagine the frustration and after an experience like that you’d naturally want to bang your head against a wall but no fear, I am here to advise you upon this important matter and how you can prevent banging your head against a wall and this small but significant mistake from happening.
The building design of your extension, house or flats will surely have a major effect on its actual building cost. Without a doubt, you will need work with an architectural practice that has a reputation of designing projects similar to yours so that they can help you bring your vision to fruition according to your taste and requirements, and most importantly within your budget.
You also need to employ the service of a building contractor who understands the nitty-gritty of target cost certainty for your project. A lot of building contractors sometimes under-quote at the outset of a project, especially for design and build contracts, then they may later ask for extra payment.
You can avoid this happening by not leaving the design aspect of your project to the building company and by appointing independent architects to act as the Principal Designer and Contract Admin of your project.
It is crucial that the building design of your project is meticulously developed by your architects from the beginning. These are generally the aspects of the building that provides the structure and insulation as well as the air-tightness. You see what we have here are the significant areas of the building which will be there for the entire lifespan of the building and can also affect the occupiers negatively or positively depending on how correct the decision was made at the beginning of the project.
Your architects should share your planning permission, building regulations and tender drawings of your project with the builders at the tender stage. This is before the commencement of work so that the prospective builders can understand the design more easily and evaluate costs more accurately. By doing this, the qualified builder will not be able to change the building cost of your project during the course of the construction.
You can sit back, relax and have your mind at ease knowing no extra costs will be knocking on your door.
The specifications that have been detailed reasonably will end up shrinking your risks of being provided with inadequate materials or workmanship. How does this benefit you? Well, it will reduce the risks of disputes by the completed work quality bearing in mind the standards for a material type or quality alongside its workmanship are stated in black and white.
Constructing a new space entails hundreds of choices regarding design as well as specifications and every single option carries a cost effect. The more expensive the materials you select; the more money you will spend on your project. The decisions that you make about specific details such as fixtures, finishes, and specifications of your project will not only have an effect on the overall cost but also on the speed of construction.
Decisions about the choice of materials for your project will be the responsibility of your architect. They need to have high an understanding of the applicable parameters for specifying building materials which can lead to an enormous financial proportion. The reason for this being is that the specifications of your project are relevant to the flawless performance of the building throughout its entire lifespan.
You may be thinking ‘how detailed can this possibly get?’ but a detailed specification will pretty much depend on the intricacy and its requirements of the job itself. I can surely recommend basic specifications are ideal, by this, I mean things such as listing out products and materials to be used by its brand and model for complete accuracy and precision. This is an essential part of professionalism within this industry.
Think about this for a second.
You give out 100 identical drawings and specifications to 100 builders. I can reassure you, you will get 100 different cost estimates from each builder.
Astonishing isn’t it?
Surprisingly, if your tender documentation is correct, the final estimate will generally be within an adequate range of some +/- 10% upon each other. Greater deviations within estimates tend to arise when ambiguity endures, this means, greater deviations arise when your projects specification list is not concluded appropriately.
We as Urbanist Architecture assist our clients in designing their living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. By presenting a range of options for finishes, from flooring, wall paints, windows, doors, and lighting to sanitary items, switches and sockets, we provide clients with the ideal balance between the performances, costs, and needs.
The project management method you choose to build your house will also have a significant effect on the total cost. Now, you might choose to undertake almost all the project management work on your own, employ subcontractors and thus save the cost of employing a main builder. On the other hand, you can actually prefer to make use of a main contractor to act as the project manager for your project to save time and effort.
Do you see where we’re going with this?
Our experience with developing homes in London portrays that if the building cost of the project is higher than 100k, the reason for this would be the professional project management by the main contractor and the professional project monitoring by the Principal Designer of the project played an important role in delivering these remarkable results.
Let me guide you on how we do it at Urbanist Architecture.
We provide our clients with a simple, low-risk approach to deliver hands-on project monitoring together with effective and efficient cost engineering. How do we do this? Simply by utilizing the application of design and build principles alongside the techniques for quality control, cost control and ultimately work programme control.
All in all, there are many factors which affect the building cost estimate and obtain significant impact on project cost and they are as following:
· Site investigation, demolition, site clearance, new utilities
· Substructure, foundations, drains, insulation and floor slab
· Superstructure, external walls, internal, walls, roof structure, insulation and airtightness
· External finishes, roof tiles, doors and windows, and wall cladding and gutters.
· Services and fit-out, plumbing, heating, ventilation, electrics, doors, and stairs.
· Decorations, plastering, finishes, flooring, tiling and sanitary and lighting.
· Patios, paths, driveway, planting and landscaping.
· Site management, welfare, health and safety, scaffolding and fencing.
Please be advised that in addition to the cost shown in this blog post, there are situations in which further costs might arise due to unforeseen conditions on your site. These might include but not limited to sloping ground, poor ground or structure conditions and contamination which will be taken into account when in progress with the project.
The cost of constructing a new extension or a house is generally calculated in pounds per square meter of the floor area. The bigger the floor area, the greater the overall cost.
In 2018, an estimate for the cost of an extension is anywhere between £1,500 and £2,000 per m2, and the cost of a new build detached family house is anywhere between £1,750 and £2,750.
Along with these costs, you will need to allow an extra 15% of the building cost to cover for the cost of hiring your architect, engineer and project managers (or a multidiscipline architecture practice) as well as other miscellaneous consultants which will be needed for the execution of the project. You will also need to allow an extra 8% of the building cost for statutory consents and contingencies.
But hang on a minute…
What if there was a way you could get an instant estimate of your renovation, extension or new build project so that you can plan accordingly?
Well, with us you can…
We have developed a proprietary tool that makes this whole process super easy for you and it is absolutely free! It is the product of our combination of experience and recorded cost data of our works previously performed.
Find out your build cost by using our Urbanist Build Cost Calculator. This tool will calculate your build cost in Central London or Greater London and will give you an overall snapshot of your building cost breakdown.