How much does it cost to self-build your own home?


A multitude of factors influence the cost of a self-build home which stems from self-build’s USP; it’s all about the choices YOU make. The design decisions you take, the materials you select, and the build route you opt for will all impact the final cost of your project. As will whether your site is flat or sloping. So how do you know if it’s something you can afford? And where do you start?

Here we touch on a few simple steps you can take to achieve a baseline for budget development.

Understanding cost per m2

Budgeting is one of the most important elements in a self-build project. How good you are at this will determine the extent to which you manage to achieve all your aspirations for your new home. There are some easy things you can do to get a head start on understanding the potential cost. The first is to a self-build cost estimator, like the one we have developed that allows you to enter a floor area in m2 and it will provide ballpark figures for the total cost of the build (excluding the cost to purchase the land). It might help you to know that the average size of a new build home in the UK is 76m2* and the average self-build home is 247m2** although self-builds can be any size.



Select your build route
One factor that may influence how big you can go, is the way you decide to manage your project. By appointing a main contractor, we suggest budgeting in the region of £1,500 – £1,800 per metre square. This is a great option if you’re looking for a professional team to oversee your entire project and take the responsibility (and weight) off your mind. You will save some money, but still have the peace of mind of a project manager, if you’re happy to sub-contract your trades yourself. In this case you can budget between £1,200 – £1,500 per metre square.

The most cost-efficient option, with a ballpark in the region of £1,000 – £1,200 per metre square, is to project manage your build yourself. The build route that best suits you will be influenced by a variety of factors (not simply budget), but the impact on what it costs to build your home will vary significantly depending on how ‘hands-on’ you’re prepared to be.


Design and complexity
The biggest impact on your final budget will most likely come from your attitude to design, aesthetics and the complexity of your project. Incorporating large open spans, expansive glazing or roof shapes will push up your budget. The quality of your finishings and choice of materials will also have an impact. On the flip side, self-building also enables you to make conscious design choices with the specific aim of achieving structural cost-efficiencies. Working with an in-house timber frame design team is a great way to maximise this, if keeping costs low is one of your goals.

While the choices you make will affect whether your final budget comes close to or wide of the ballparks detailed above, using a cost calculator will at the very least provide you with a baseline from which you can start to plan your project budget.

* Source: University of Cambridge Research 2014
** Homebuilding & Renovating Self & Custom Build Market Report 2017


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