If you are considering building your home, the amount it will cost will vary dramatically depending on a few key factors. Poor ground, a complicated design, the size of the property, and even the roof choices you make could all cost you more. However, you have to decide whether the extra cost is worth it for the house of your dreams – building your own house certainly isn’t always about saving money, it’s about investing yourself and all your dreams into your home.
It is a given that the cost of building a house will rise the bigger it is but savings can be made with economies of scale. For example, one-off items such as service connections will cost the same no matter how large the house is. Also, the plan for the foundations and roof will not vary in price no matter how many storeys the building is, therefore a house with more levels is more cost-effective – this will also make the best use of your biggest asset, the land.
The simpler the design, the easier, and therefore cheaper, it is to build. A house with curved corners is more difficult to construct – this slows the build down and therefore increases labour costs. For particularly unusual designs, you may even have to bring in a specialist team, which could dramatically increase costs.
Until you start digging, it is impossible to know what awaits you and therefore how much it might cost. Furthermore, it is not up to you to decide what method of foundation laying is used – a licensed building inspector must do that based on the ground conditions. If you’re unlucky enough to have far from adequate soil, you may have to fork out for an engineered foundation, which could send your costs skyrocketing. If you’re building on a slope, you will also have to pay a fairly hefty sum to create level terraces.
The cheapest roofs are low-pitched, meaning that the rafter lengths are shorter, and created with manufactured trusses, which are crafted from thinner timbers to reduce material costs. However, unless you are a developer whose prime concern is selling it on immediately and making as big a profit as possible, you’ll probably want something which isn’t standard – that’s why many build their own houses after all. What needs to be considered is that the more unique your roof, the more likely it will have to be cut on site, which means more labour, more time, possibly even an engineer’s assessment and structural steelwork, and therefore more money. The steeper it is, the more expensive it will be (a mere 5% pitch incline will double the cost), however if a steeper roof means an extra room in the roof space you will almost certainly recoup that money in the added value it would bring.
Journalist and copywriter Emily Buckley is a self-confessed property geek and in the midst of renovating her Victorian terraced house. She is currently working on a series of articles, in partnership with Cordell Estimating Software, on the costs involved in renovating, restoring, and building your own home.