building costs

What costs can I expect to be associated with my building project?

Any project, whether it’s a small extension or full-scale build, is going to incur costs. 

And for most people, it’s not quite as simple as buying the materials and building it yourself – you’re going to have to hire experts to help with the more technical aspects of building. Architectural teams, structural engineers, planning permission and building warrants, all these professionals and applications come at a cost. 

And it’s important to be aware of costs before embarking on a project, to ensure that the budget is feasible. 

So, what costs can you expect during your building project?

While it’s impossible to give you an exact number (as every build and situation is different), there are some general guidelines and expectations to expect.

In this blog, we’ll look at the different costs that you can expect during a building project to help you get a better understanding of how much you need to budget.

What fees can you expect during your building?

Of course, with any building project, you’ll have to account for the costs of your building supplies and materials. And this can vary massively depending on what exactly you are building. 

However, in addition to these, there are lots of different costs and professional services involved in any building project:

  1. Architectural Costs 
  2. Structural Engineering Costs 
  3. Planning Permission Fees
  4. Building Warrant Fees

Let’s look into these costs more to understand what they are, and how much it might set you back. 

How much will it cost to hire an architectural team for your building project?

Whether you are a skilled developer or a first time builder, an experienced architectural team is paramount to the success of your project. While they are often involved in large projects, smaller-scale projects such as minor extensions can also benefit from their expertise. 

An architectural team will help to transform your ideas into a reality with technical drawings, calculations, timescale estimations and specifications. 

Some of their main duties that your team of architects might be involved in are:

  • Survey property or land
  • Produce designs (conceptual and technical), including material advice, electrical, heating and plumbing plans, plus revisions
  • Identify possible constraints
  • Deal with any sub consultants that are required as part of the planning process
  • Assist you through planning and building regulations processes
  • Submit drawings for planning permission and monitor application
  • Help you find and select your team of contractors
  • Produce and manage tender (liaising/advising appointed contractors, sourcing materials for the project)
  • Manage contracts with builders and construction professionals
  • Ensure work has been completed

Approximate fees for an architectural team…

On average, an architect’s fees are 5-12% of your overall construction cost. However, the exact percentage will depend on the scale and scope of your project. You can use these prices as guidelines to include in your budget:

  • Single storey extension planning application = £1000 – £2500 approximately
  • Single storey extension building warrant and construction drawings = £3000 – £5000 approximately
  • Two storey extension building warrant and construction drawings = £4,000 – £8,000 approximately 

As with most things, the exact price will vary, so it’s best to speak to your team to get the exact costs for your project. 

How much will it cost to hire a structural engineer for your building project?

Structural engineers will be required when making any structural changes to the property including extensions, renovations, demolitions.

The ultimate goal for structural engineers is to ensure the safety of the building structure.  

However, they can also help with submitting planning permission and ensuring building regulations are complied with.

If you require help finding a structural engineer then your architectural team will usually have trusted contacts that they can connect you with. 

Approximate fees for a structural engineer…

Again the price will vary and depends on the complexity of your project. The more intricate and difficult it is, the more time your structural engineer will need to spend on the project, and therefore the more expensive it will be. 

The average cost of a structural engineer is around £150/hour, and how many hours you need them for will depend on the project. 

It will cost you around £400 for a basic residential project (such as knocking down an internal wall) and can be up to £5000 for a complex residential project.

Some other guideline costs for a structural engineer are;

  • Average structural engineer inspection = £250
  • Average structural engineer report cost = £1175

Structural engineers can be expensive, however, employing one at the right time can help to save you money in the long run. They will help you ensure the safety of your building (which is a legal requirement) and will help avoid serious safety issues which could result in loss of life. 

How much will it cost to get planning permission for your building project?

Planning permission is mainly related to how the building looks and is designed to ensure that new buildings don’t negatively impact your neighbours or surrounding areas.

Planning permission is the approval needed before a building project can begin, it requires consent from your local authority. It is usually required for a new home or extensive changes to an existing one.

There are certain situations where planning permission will not be essential, particularly on smaller building projects that don’t impact the surrounding area. This is called a ‘permitted development’. However, if you need to apply for planning permission then you will need the following documents: 

  • Necessary plans of the site
  • The required supporting documentation
  • The completed form
  • The correct fee…

Approximate fees for planning permission…

The fees discussed relate to the application for planning permission, however, there is no guarantee that the application will be approved. 

There are a couple of different types of planning applications, with different costs. 

Full planning permission application is the most common type of proposal, and it covers the complete application. You will need detailed information about the materials, accurately scaled drawings of your plans, supporting documentation (e.g. flood risk or tree surveys). 

Outline planning permission is a way to find out early on if your building plans are likely to be approved. It requires fewer details than a full proposal, and the decision is often received quickly. However, it does not permit you to start work on your project. Once the proposal is accepted you must submit the details of your plan for them to be approved. 

In Scotland, a full permission application, or outline planning permission will cost around £400.  

If you want to add an extension or loft conversion to your house you might need to apply for householder planning consent. This covers alterations, extensions and small building projects on a single house and within its boundary/garden, and will cost approximately £202.

If you need to amend or resubmit any applications then this is usually free of charge. 

You can calculate the more personalised costs for your planning permission here. 

If you require planning permission then we recommend that you make the necessary arrangements to apply. Not getting the necessary permissions can result in a fine, or having to demolish your new build – which can be very costly. 

  • Related content: What projects will you need planning permission for?

How much will it cost to get a building warrant for your building project?

While planning permission is all about how your house will look, a building warrant is about whether it meets building standards.

A building warrant is legal permission required to commence building works.

This permission makes sure that the development meets building regulations. It ensures that your project adheres to certain building standards and will take into account:

  • Structural stability
  • Fitness of materials
  • Damp proofing
  • Sound insulation
  • Conservation of fuel and power
  • Drainage
  • Ventilation
  • Health and safety 
  • Energy efficiency

It is entirely different from planning permission and in most cases, you need both to carry out work legally. You cannot start work on your project before you receive your building warrant. 

Approximate fees for a building warrant…

The prices and rules differ between local council areas, so you’ll have to enquire based on where your property is located. 

However, warrant fees generally start around £150 and increase based on the value of the building work as the fee is based on the estimate of the works to be carried out. 

The exact cost will depend on what type of application you are making:

  • Building warrant where work has not started
  • Conversion or demolition of a building
  • Amendment or extension of a building warrant
  • Late application

You can calculate more personalised costs using this fee calculator.

Need help with your building project?

The cost of building projects can seem overwhelming, but getting to grips with how much things might cost can help you budget accordingly. 

Of course, it’s impossible to give an exact number when it comes to building costs as every project will vary. And there are a large number of factors to consider that will influence the cost. 

But you should now have a better idea of the costs associated with architectural work, structural engineers, planning permission and building warrants.

If you would like to speak to a member of our team about your upcoming building project then get in touch, and we will see how we can help.