How Much Does it Cost to Build a House in London?

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March 26, 2024

There are a lot of costs that go into building a house in London, and everything quickly adds up. Before you decide to go ahead with building a house in London, you need to consider the average costs.

As there are so many factors impacting the cost of building a house – including things that many people forget about, such as the cost of buying land and self-build insurance – it’s important to look at averages, knowing that the cost of your specific project could be higher or lower depending on size, location, materials and complexity.

Average Costs to Build a House in London

One Bedroom House

Currently, the average cost for a new build home in London is £3,500 per square metre of floor area. It can be hard to give an exact estimate for the cost of building a house, as a lot of factors influence the cost. For example, elsewhere in the UK the average cost is slightly lower at £1,400 and £3,000 per square metre.

Two Bedroom House

To build a two-bedroom house in the UK, you should expect to pay between £180,000 and £280,000. This includes the building materials, labour and hiring professionals.

Three Bedroom House

To build a three-bedroom house in the UK, you should expect to pay between £126,000 and £350,000. This is for a house of between 90 to 120 square metres.

Four Bedroom House

To build a four-bedroom house in the UK, you should expect to pay between £290,000 and £440,000. It’s important to remember that the cost of building a four-bedroom home is not automatically double the cost of building a two-bedroom home, as they are rarely double the size.

Five Bedroom House

To build a five-bedroom detached house in the UK, you should expect to pay between £318,000 and £470,000. This cost is likely to be higher in London, where space is limited and labour costs considerably more.

Two houses with slate roofs

Factors That Affect Costs

There are a range of things that impact the cost of building a home, including:

Size and Layout

One of the things that impact the cost of building a home in London the most is the size. The size and layout of the house can hugely impact the cost, with larger homes and those with intricate layouts typically requiring more materials and labour, leading to higher construction costs.

Design and Materials

The complexity of the design and the quality of materials chosen also impacts the cost of building a house in London. High quality, premium materials and intricate architectural features will increase the cost, compared to simpler designs and standard materials which tend to be cheaper.

Foundation Type

The type of foundation you choose for the house will also affect the cost. A simple foundation is likely to be more affordable than a stronger and more durable option, especially those that involve additional excavation and construction.

Permits and Fees

You might need to obtain permits before building your home, and many of these have associated fees. You won’t be able to start the building process until your permits are organised. Permit costs vary depending on location and the scope of the project, but failure to secure them can result in fines or delays.

Quality of Utilities and Finishes

The quality of the utilities you choose – such as plumbing and electrical systems – and finishes can significantly impact the cost. Higher quality materials and fixtures – including flooring, countertops and furniture – generally come with a higher price tag.

Tradesmen You May Need – Average Rates

These are the average rates in London for the various tradespeople that may be required:

  • Architect or Designer – The average rate to hire an architect is £70 per hour.
  • Civil Engineer – The cost of hiring a civil engineer is £20 per hour.
  • General Contractor – General contractors tend to charge £50 per hour.
  • General Builders – The average cost of hiring a general builder is £30 per hour.
  • Bricklayers – Bricklayers, on average, charge £20 per hour.
  • Carpenters – You should expect to pay £20 per hour for a carpenter.
  • Roofers – The average rate to hire a roofer is £35 per hour.
  • Scaffolders – Scaffolders tend to charge around £25 per hour.
  • Labourers – The average cost of a labourer in London is £20 per hour.
  • Electricians – You should budget £35 per hour for an electrician.
  • Plumbers – The average cost of hiring a plumber is £50 per hour.
  • Flooring Contractor – The cost of a flooring contractor is around £20 per hour.
  • Interior Designer – In London, interior designers charge £90 per hour.
  • Painters and Decorators – The average rate to hire a painting and decorating expert in London is £30 per hour.

Costs Breakdown – The House Building Process

A house with a side extension

Architect and Design

Before you can start building, you will need to have the home designed by a professional. This tends to be charged as a percentage of your total budget, with the average being 7% to 15%.

Project Management

A project manager’s job is to employ tradespeople, buy construction materials and to handle the day-to-day running of things. The average cost of a project manager is 5% of the total building costs.

Demolition

You will need to prepare the site before you start building. On average, this costs between £5,000 and £10,000 in London.

House Foundations

The size of the building, the condition of the soil and the type of foundation will all impact the cost. To lay a foundation in London, you should budget £100 to £120 per square metre.

Framing

Framing a house in London typically costs between £20 to £50 per square foot.

Insulation and Drywall

The cost of insulation materials ranges from £20 to £50 per square metre. The cost of drywall installation ranges from £20 to £30 per square metre.

Drainage

For a drainage system in London, you should expect to pay between £500 and £1,000.

Electrical

The cost of electrical work for a newly built house in London is between £3,000 and £5,000.

Plumbing

The cost of plumbing varies hugely, depending on the size of the home and the number of bedrooms. For a two-bedroom house, the average cost is £13,000. This increases to £15,000 for a three-bedroom house and £17,000 for a four-bedroom house.

Roofing

The larger the house, the more roof you will need, and the higher the cost. The cost of a new roof structure in London is between £5,000 and £6,000 on average.

Flooring

You should expect to pay between £4 and £30 per square foot for flooring, depending on the type of flooring that you choose.

Windows and Doors

The cost of windows and doors varies hugely, but you should expect to pay between £60 and £150, depending on the size and style.

Bathrooms

The average cost of adding a bathroom to a new home in London is between £3,5000 and £9,000, depending on the materials and features chosen.

Kitchen Installation

Kitchen installation is one of the most expensive parts of building a house, and quotes can vary from £4,000 for a simple and small kitchen, all the way up to £14,000 for something more impressive.

Decorating

To paint an entire house, you should budget between £1,500 and £4,000, depending on how many rooms there are. It costs around £400 to paint a single room in London.

Interior Finishes

The cost of interior finishes can range from £80 to £150 per square foot for a mid-range, budget-friendly project. But, for high end and luxury finishes, the cost can increase significantly, ranging from £150 to £300 or more per square foot.

Landscaping

If you want to have the garden professionally landscaped, you will need to pay an average of £100 per square metre, including the design and architect fees. If you only want to have the space planted, £30 per square metre should suffice.

Inspections and Certifications

You will need to pay a planning permission fee of £462 before building a home. If you need to submit building regulation applications and inspections, there will be an additional cost of around £1,000 on top of this. You might also need to pay an average of £500 for a site survey and £500 for a structural engineer.

Planning Permission

Planning permission is the process that governs the construction or extension of buildings and developments, including homes.

If you are building a new house in London, you are required to ensure that the project complies with local planning policies and regulations, as well as national planning guidelines.

To get planning permission to build your home, you will need to submit a formal application to the local planning authority, which assesses the proposal based on various factors. Getting planning permission is essential before starting any significant construction work, as proceeding without approval can result in enforcement, fines or even demolition of unauthorised buildings.

Where to Build a House?

There’s a common misconception that building a house in London is impossible due to the lack of space, but this isn’t always the case. There are a lot of places to build a house in London, you just need to find a location that works for you.

Choosing where to build a house depends on various factors including budget, lifestyle, accessibility and space. For example, if you are hoping to build a large five-bedroom property, you will need to choose somewhere with a lot of space for redevelopment.

If your project is smaller, you might be able to find somewhere closer to the centre of the city.

Advantages of Building a House

There are a lot of advantages that come with building a house, which is why it’s something that a lot of homeowners choose to do.

Complete Customisation

One of the biggest advantages of building a house is that you can completely customise the size, shape, layout and features. Every aspect of the property can be tailored to your needs and preferences, from layout and design to materials and finishes.

This ensures that every part of the home meets your specific needs – for example, having the perfect number of bedrooms for your family or having a dedicated work-from-home or play space – and reflects your personal style.

Quality Control

When you buy a home, you have no say over the materials used to build it. You simply have to find a property that you like, and hope that it was built in a durable and long way. But, when building a house, you have complete control over the quality of materials and construction methods used. You can choose high-quality materials and work with trusted builders to ensure flawless craftsmanship.

Energy Efficiency

A lot of older homes are lacking in energy efficiency, and they can be hard to heat. Building a home enables you to incorporate energy-efficient features and technologies that can lower your energy bills and reduce your environmental impact. This could include better insulation, energy-efficient appliances and renewable energy systems, such as solar panels.

Modern Amenities

Building a house allows you to incorporate the latest trends and amenities, such as smart home technology, open-concept layouts and luxurious amenities. If you want to incorporate a home cinema into the property, you can. If you want a kitchen that’s fitted with all of the ‘mod cons’ you can have the space designed with that in mind.

Location Flexibility

When you are buying an existing home, you are somewhat limited to available properties in specific areas, but building a house gives you more flexibility in choosing the location. You can select the perfect place, in your desired area and create your dream home from scratch. You aren’t limited by only choosing properties that are currently on the market.

Potential Cost Savings

Sometimes, building a house can be more cost-effective than buying an existing home. Though there are hefty costs associated with building a house, you can avoid paying for features or space that you don’t really need.

DIY Vs Hiring a Professional

When it comes to building a house in London, you have the choice of tackling the project yourself with a DIY approach, or to hire a professional tradesperson. There are pros and cons of each.

A smiling tradesman

The Pros and Cons of DIY Building a House

Cost Effective

One of the main benefits of a self-build approach is the potential to save money on the construction cost, helping your budget to stretch further. By managing everything yourself, you can avoid the labour costs associated with hiring a professional tradesperson. However, one downside of this is the possibility of spending more money later. If you need to pay to correct mistakes, this could offset the initial money that you saved.

Learning Curve

Building a house yourself can be a valuable learning experience, allowing you to develop new DIY skills and gain a greater understanding of various construction techniques. Of course, it does require you to have some experience to start with, otherwise, you could find that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

Greater Control

If you choose to build a house yourself, you have complete control over the entire project, from the initial design decisions to scheduling the timeline for the build itself. With this flexibility, you can customise every aspect of the project to your preferences and adjust plans as needed throughout the process.

Time Commitment

It’s usually the case that DIY construction projects take longer to complete than those handled by professional tradespeople, especially if you are somewhat of an inexperienced builder. Building a home of any size requires a lot of time, effort and dedication. This can impact other responsibilities and commitments, such as work, hobbies, socialising and family life.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Professional Tradesperson

Expertise

Professional tradesmen have years of expertise and experience in building houses, which means that you can expect a high-quality construction that’s built with safety regulations in mind. They have the skills and knowledge to efficiently manage all aspects of the project, meaning that you can focus on other things.

Quality Assurance

When hiring a professional builder, you can relax, knowing that your home has been built using superior craftsmanship and attention to detail. Tradesmen use high-quality materials and expert techniques, resulting in a structurally reliable and durable home.

Time Savings

There is no denying that building a house from the ground up can be time-consuming, but professional builders can complete the project more efficiently than you can. Thanks to their experience, resources and established workflows, they can work quicker than a DIY enthusiast. This ensures that you can move into your new home sooner and there’s less chance of delays.

The decision between a DIY approach and hiring a professional builder to build a home depends on factors such as budget, time and your skill level. Though DIY construction gives you more control and can save money, hiring a professional ensures expertise, quality and efficiency.

Finding Someone to Build a House in London

Finding someone to build a house in London can be a daunting task, especially as there are so many tradesmen available. But, with planning and research, you can narrow down your options and find the right builder for your project.

There are a range of ways to find someone to build a house in London, including using platforms – such as The Page – that match homeowners with reputable tradesmen in the local area.

You can also ask friends, family and neighbours for their recommendations. If someone else has been pleased with a building service, there’s a high chance that you will be too.

The Page

At The Page, the process of finding a tradesperson to build a house begins with you. Once you have submitted a query, detailing your project requirements, The Page will carefully match you with a carefully curated list of tradesmen who are well-suited to handle your specific job.

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

The Page has a thorough vetting process ensuring that, before being recommended to you, every tradesman in the network is personally met and vetted.

Plus, their previous work is thoroughly assessed by an expert. This ensures that you are connected with highly skilled and reputable professionals who can deliver exceptional results for your project.

With this tailored matchmaking service and rigorous screening process, you can have confidence in the tradesmen that you hire, knowing that they are qualified and committed to providing the highest quality of service.

Getting Quotes & Negotiating the Best Price

When the time comes to get quotes and negotiate the best price for building a house with a tradesman, it’s important to approach the process strategically to ensure that you get the best price.

Get Multiple Quotes

Reach out to several tradesmen in your local area and gather multiple quotes, and then compare them. This will help you to get a sense of the average price for your project, highlighting which are fair and which are charging too much.

Specify Your Project Requirements

When you are getting quotes, clearly outline your project requirements and provide as much information to the tradesmen as possible. This will help them to understand the scope of work required, ensuring that the quote is accurate and unlikely to change.

Ask for a Breakdown

You should always ask for an itemised breakdown of each quote. This will show how much of your budget is going towards the costs of materials, labour and any other expenses. This can help you understand where the bulk of the expenses lies and identify any potential areas for negotiation.

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

Once you have received a range of quotes, don’t hesitate to negotiate with the tradesmen. Highlight any areas where you believe the price could be adjusted or reduced based on your research – for example, if they are charging a lot more than other builders in your area – and budget limitations.

Though the cost of building a house in London does vary hugely, research and planning will give you a good idea of how much you should expect to spend on your property project.

Free Tradesperson Shortlist

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

Our Promise

We started The Page because we both had terrible experiences with tradespeople in London and were adamant we would help others to avoid this.

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.