How Much Does a Builder Cost in London? – Average Rates

A builder holding a hard hat

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October 20, 2023

Undertaking a construction or renovation project comes with a range of financial considerations.

It doesn’t matter if you are planning to build a new home from scratch, have planned a substantial home improvement project, or need to construct a commercial space, the question of cost is probably one of the first things that you will think about. There is no set fee for building, which is why it’s important to look at average day rates.

Average Hourly and Day Rates for Builders in London

It should come as no surprise that London builder rates are some of the highest in the UK. This is due to the competitive nature of the London construction market, and because builders need to cover their own living costs, as well as the complexities that come with building in a busy urban area.

When you are hiring a builder for a small job in London, you should expect to pay anywhere from £40 per hour to £230 per day, depending on the specific requirements of the project.

It’s hard to provide exact builders’ costs for hourly and daily rates, as there are a lot of variables that can impact the cost of labour. Instead, it’s better to look at averages. This will give you a rough idea of what you can expect to pay, before your chosen tradesperson provides you with an estimate based on your individual project requirements.

General Builder

General builders tend to charge between £240 to £300 per day, but rates can vary based on experience and the complexity of the project. This works out at around £50 per hour, with self employed builders charging an average hourly rate of £40.

Bricklayer

On average, bricklayers charge between £240 to £320 per day, or around £30 per hour. This cost can vary depending on the type of project, the complexity of the work and your location.

Roofer

You should expect to pay between £220 and £320 a day for a professional roofer, with roof replacements or complex roofing work being on the higher end of the scale. Roofers also have an hourly rate of around £30 to £40.

Scaffolder

Scaffolders usually charge around £40 to £60 per square metre, or a daily rate of between £200 and £280. It’s likely that you will be charged additional costs for setting up and dismantling the scaffolding.

Labourer

Labourers typically charge around £180 to £240 per day in the UK, though this can vary based on location and specific tasks. You will likely find that a labourer’s quote is more affordable for simple, straightforward jobs. The average hourly cost for a labourer starts at around £20.

Contractor

The fees for a contractor can vary significantly based on the scale and complexity of the project. On average, contractor fees can range from 10% to 25% of the total cost of the project.

Home Builder

As is the case with all types of builders, home builders costs can vary based on the size and scope of the project. They generally charge between £1,500 to £3,000 per square metre for a new build home.

Commercial Builder

Commercial builders typically charge higher rates than residential or home builders, with costs ranging from £2,000 to £3,500 per square metre, or more for complicated commercial projects.

Civil Engineer

The average cost of a civil engineer depends on their experience. A junior structural engineer, someone who tends to have less than five years of experience, will likely charge between £50 and £70 per hour. However, a more senior engineer with a lot more experience is likely to charge between £100 and £150 per hour.

How Builders Calculate Costs

There is a lot that goes into the cost of building work, as builders need to ensure labour and materials are covered. There are two ways that builders calculate costs.

They start by providing an estimate – which acts as a rough guide for the project, to give you an idea of what you can expect to pay – and then a final quote. The quote is the final cost that they are committing to based on your requirements and is the cost that you are guaranteed to pay.

A part built extension outside a house

Builders begin by estimating the quantities and types of materials needed, along with the required labour hours, taking into account factors such as the scope of the project.

For more accurate pricing, they might utilise Bill of Quantities or Schedule of Works prepared by Quantity Surveyors.

They will also add a margin for profit and unforeseen contingencies to determine the final project cost, providing you with either an estimate and then a fixed quote.

Factors That Affect Costs

There is no set cost for the price of building work, as all projects involve various factors that can impact the price. When you approach a builder for a quote, they will take the following factors into account.

Project Size

The size and complexity of the project will have a big impact on the overall cost. Larger and more complex projects tend to be more expensive, as they require more materials, labour and time, which a builder needs to account for.

Labour Costs

Labour is a significant portion of the total cost of any building project. The price of labour can vary based on location, the builder’s experience and your location. Experienced builders are likely to charge more than newer builders, as are those in urban areas.

Materials

The type, quality and amount of materials needed for the project can hugely influence the cost of building work. Premium materials and specialised products often come at a higher price, whilst cheaper materials will help you to keep the cost down.

Experience and Reputation

The reputation and experience of your chosen builder can affect costs. Experienced builders and those with a track record of high-quality work may charge more.

Project Timeline

The speed at which you need the project to be completed can impact costs. If you need the renovation or removal to be completed quickly, you might have to pay more for additional labour or overtime.

Project Complexity

Projects that involve complex features, advanced technologies, or specialised skills will likely come with higher costs. This is because builders with the required expertise are able to charge more, knowing that their skills are in demand.

DIY Vs Hiring a Professional

Embarking on a home improvement project can be an exciting time, but it can also be somewhat daunting. One of the biggest decisions that you need to make is whether to tackle the task yourself or whether to hire a professional builder.

It doesn’t matter if you are planning a complete kitchen renovation, a bathroom remodel or you are building an entirely new extension to your home, you need to decide if you want to embrace being a DIY enthusiast or you want to enlist the help of an expert. Both options have their pros and cons, which we have detailed below.

The Pros of DIY Building

  • Cost Effective – One of the biggest advantages of DIY building is cost savings. By handling the project yourself, you can avoid labour costs, which could reduce your budget significantly.
  • Sense of Achievement – Completing a DIY project can be incredibly rewarding, especially if you are relatively new to DIY success. The sense of achievement in a job well done could motivate you to handle other household tasks yourself.
  • Flexibility – DIY projects allow you to work on your own schedule, without needing to worry about the availability of a professional. You can do the work at a time that works for you.
  • Learning Experience Undertaking a DIY building project can be an educational experience. It’s a good way to gain valuable skills and knowledge, some of which you might use again in the future.

The Cons of DIY Building

  • Limited Knowledge – Unless you are a professional builder or you have extensive experience in the industry, there is a risk that you will make mistakes along the way.
  • Time-Consuming – DIY projects often take a lot longer to complete, as you will probably need to learn as you go. This means that you could be without a finished renovation or removal for longer than you would like, especially if you encounter unexpected setbacks.
  • Safety Concerns – Lack of building experience can lead to safety concerns. You might find yourself exposed to hazardous materials or situations, without the proper knowledge of how to handle them safely.
  • Quality Issues – Even with the right tools and equipment, DIY projects are unlikely to meet the same standards as those done by professionals.

The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Builder

Two tradesmen by their van

  • Expertise – Professional builders have years of training and experience, which you are unlikely to have. They know how to execute building projects to a high standard, whilst also meeting deadlines.
  • Time Savings Professional builders are able to work faster due to their expertise, knowledge and experience. This means that your project can be completed quickly, minimising disruption to your daily life.
  • Quality Assurance – With professionals, you can expect a high-quality and impressive finish. They have access to the right tools and materials, which helps to ensure the durability and longevity of the work.
  • Planning Permission – When you hire a professional builder, you can relax knowing that your project is being completed with planning permission in mind. It’s vital that all work is completed within the scope of the planning permission granted, to avoid problems further down the line.

The Downsides of Hiring a Professional Builder

  • Cost – One of the biggest downsides of hiring a professional is the cost. Labour costs can take up a significant portion of your building budget, which could mean that you need to cut costs elsewhere.
  • Less Involvement – When you hand everything over to a professional builder, you won’t have the same level of involvement in the project.
  • Builder Availability – If you choose a popular builder, you will need to schedule your project around their availability. This could delay your project, preventing you from getting started straight away.

Finding a Builder

The Page

Finding a builder is quicker and easier than it has ever been. By sending an enquiry into The Page, you can connect with a curated list of tradesmen in your local area.

Let The Page curate you a free bespoke shortlist of tradespeople suited to you and your job.

This enables you to find professional builders that are specifically suited to your unique building requirements. All of the builders at The Page are personally met and vetted, and their previous work is assessed.

Online Search

Gone are the days of having to scour directories, as you can now find a builder with a quick online search. Even searching “how much does a builder cost?” will connect you to a whole host of builders in your local area. It’s always a good idea to reach out to a handful of different builders, as this enables you to compare services, quotes and timeframes.

Ask Around

There are a lot of builders out there, so you won’t find yourself struggling to find someone who can handle your building requirements.

One of the easiest ways to narrow down your options is to speak to friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. Ask around and see if there are any builders that people recommend. This will give you an idea of the type of service you can expect and what the builder is like to work with.

Instead of going in blind, you can hire a professional knowing that other people have been happy with the service.

Getting Quotes & Negotiating the Best Price

When you are looking for a builder, it’s important to speak to a range of professionals and compare quotes. The cost of building work can vary from one builder to another, and shopping around will give you an idea of what you can expect to pay.

With a handful of quotes, it’s a lot easier to see which builders are pricing the job competitively, and which are charging too much. It’s also a good idea to negotiate the best price with any builder, as many professionals are happy to provide discounts for continued and ongoing work, or for guaranteed recommendations.

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Our Promise

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We also know that things can go wrong sometimes, so our promise is to be here to sort things out when they do.

As a result, along with our strong relationships with all our tradespeople, we have our good deed piggy bank, which we give out at our discretion if something goes wrong.