‘How much does it cost to build your own house in Scotland?’
This is the number one question the Coldwells team are asked, and as you might guess, it’s not easy to give a simple answer.
The truth is a custom home can cost almost anything. We build homes for a few hundred thousand pounds, to houses that are in the millions. Each of these projects have different construction methods and their fixtures, fittings and material finishes are unique.
So, the answer really depends on matching your vision with your budget, which is why we believe you should always discuss your budget with your builder early, to ensure your home is designed at a price that’s comfortable for you.
Our design and build service is optimised for this. We establish your budget upfront and then guide you through the design process, ensuring that you’ll never get to the build stage without enough money budgeted. The design and build process is geared towards the client as it’s a low risk, streamlined approach to delivering a truly unique home on budget.
Working out your budget
The first step is deciding on your budget and how much you can reasonably afford. To work this out, you need to consider the following:
Once you’ve added these together, you’ll have an idea of your overall budget.
The first expense, long before you even start to build, is finding and buying the right plot. Plotfinder is a good resource for finding land for sale in Scotland. You can search by town or postcode and view the plots currently available for purchase. The cost of land will depend largely on the location. You’ll also need to factor in legal fees and taxes. In some cases there may be topography issues, soil testing or other engineering requirements. You can leverage a professional builder such as Coldwells to guide you through this process.
At this stage, we would also recommend setting aside part of your budget to cover the costs of hiring professionals such as an architect, engineer, quantity surveyor and project manager. Or, for a streamlined and all-in-one approach, hire a design and build company, such as Coldwells so you can speed up the process.
Once you’ve worked out your professional fees and total plot cost, subtracting that from your overall budget (savings, equity and/or mortgage) identifies your true construction budget.
What factors will affect my construction budget / the build cost?
The cost of building a house in Scotland is influenced by a variety of different factors, but we’ve highlighted some of the key ones below:
Finishes and specification
The quality of materials (the specification) will have the biggest impact on price. Think of this as you would the star rating of a hotel. A standard-spec finish (3 stars) with off-the-shelf laminate flooring, skirting boards/windowsills and standard lighting fixtures are budget friendly. High-spec, luxurious finishes (5 stars), such as solid wooden flooring, natural stone tiles and custom-built cabinetry will add a unique look to your home, but also increase the cost.
At Coldwells, the design of your home is controlled from the outset and developed in enough detail to provide a clear specification, including the quality of kitchens and bathrooms. We believe the client must be engaged in the decision process, since professional builders should be acting as the fiduciary for you and your investment.
When a clear specification has been agreed, we can offer a fixed price guarantee on most of our design and build projects. This means once the design is done, we can quote you an accurate price that won’t change during the build, unless you change the specification.
Type of Construction
The construction method of your home will also influence cost. A simple timber frame home will be more economical than a complex steel frame house. Similarly, the type of building materials used in the external finish – timber cladding, glass, metal, stonework, slates/rooftiles – will all vary in price. The Coldwells team will work with you to decide the best construction type for your budget.
Windows and Doors
High-end, triple glazing or bi-fold doors will cost more than standard windows and doors. The material levels of window and doors will also affect your investment. PVC is more affordable than aluminium or timber.
Site investigation, demolition, new services
Will an existing home or structure need to be demolished before your new house can be built? This will need to be factored into the cost, along with removing waste.
If your plot is not connected to mains services, allow £10,000 for connection to water, sewers, bringing electricity to site, telephone and gas. If the site does not have access to mains gas, you will need to budget more for renewables (ie- ground and air source heat pumps). Poor ground conditions, sloping grounds, contaminated soil or remote locations can all affect the cost of the build because they directly impact the labour of the tradespeople.
Patios, paths, driveway, planting and landscaping
These features will all vary in price and will need to be considered in your budget.
It may seem obvious, but it’s an important factor to remember, the size of your new home is going to have an impact on the cost. Generally, the larger your floorplan, the greater the cost. However, a smaller high-spec steel-framed house could cost more than a larger economically built home, which is another reason to leverage a professional builder to guide you through the process of matching your vision and budget. If you’re struggling to decide what size you want your new home to be, it can be helpful to look at estimated costs per square metre.
Cost per square metre
Many people use cost per square metre (£/m2) to calculate the price of a new custom home, with m2 being the total internal floor area. Whilst we look at these rates below, we would always advise consulting a design-build company, like Coldwells, which has a track record of designing homes that suit your budget.
From our own recent building data in Aberdeen/shire, and UK figures, we know that in 2022, average rates to build a custom home are currently:
*These figures are as of 2022 and are subject to change based on market forces. The prices do not include VAT. For new builds, VAT is zero-rated.
As every home is unique, the cost per square metre should be used as a guide only. An exact price can only be determined by assessing your completed architectural and engineer’s drawings. This is the best way to effectively calculate your true building cost.
Another Factor Which May Impact Your Budget: Construction Materials Shortage (but there are options and benefits).
If you’re planning a custom home, you may have heard about the UK construction industry being hit by a ‘perfect storm’ of material shortages and price rises.
The cost of materials caused prices for new build homes to increase by 22.6% in October 2021 compared to one year prior. That’s a lot of extra money to find when budgeting to build and it may leave you wondering, ‘Is now the right time?’
Don’t wait. Now is the time to design and build your own home and it will put you a step ahead of what’s to come. The benefit to building sooner is that with rising prices, your home will likely be worth more when finished than what you paid, providing immediate equity.
Prices for existing properties in Scotland continue to rise and are forecast to be 20% higher by 2024. Buyers are currently spending thousands more than the asking price for existing homes.
Even as material prices stabilise, they won’t go down, so financially savvy consumers are using this to their benefit.
Construction labour rates are increasing, driven by a severe skills shortage. The Federation of Master Builders reported 53% of UK builders struggled to hire joiners and 47% struggled to hire bricklayers in 2021. This is expected to worsen in the coming years, with reduced immigration and an ageing workforce.
So, looking ahead:
Material price rises + house price rises + labour price rises = the sooner you’re able to decide that building a home is the right choice for you, the less investment you will have to make.
The design stage can take 3 to 12 months (sometimes longer) to get the house you want.
Don’t try to time the market for lower prices, it’s a false economy. The sooner you build your new home, the sooner you have built-in equity.
Building your own home has the potential to pay dividends. A well-considered homebuilding project could potentially net you a profit of 25-30% when (or if) you come to sell in the short term and of course much more over a longer period of time.
Coldwells Building Company only takes on a limited number of custom build projects each year, so our clients are assured the highest level of service. If you have a timeframe in mind, start the discussion far in advance.
We offer design and build consultations for those wanting true craftsmanship and the integrity of an award-winning professional builder. Take advantage of our willingness to share knowledge with you and schedule a strategy conversation today.
Tel: 01975 223011
Editors note: This article was last updated June 13, 2022