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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorBeau
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2020 edited
     
    So I realise this is to some extent is a"how long is a piece of string" question but I would be interested in what it has cost other GBF members to build. This is looking into the future but we may have to move from where we are and start again. I have always dreamed of building a timber frame instead of a conversion that I have done previously. I have no idea of all the costs involved like land, professional services getting connections etc etc. Happy to do almost all the trades myself and just get inspections as and where required. 2-3 bedrooms of modest size 160m2? No set plans of any sort at this stage. Whisper numbers to me if you would rather not share with everyone

    Thanks
    Beau
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2020
     
    Land in particular is a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string question. It all depends on location, location, location as well as obvious factors like size.

    If you're looking at a timber frame then perhaps the easiest way to get an idea is to price up a kit from one of the suppliers, or a complete build, and then adjust for differences because of your own labour etc.

    Costs are often quoted in terms of £/m² so reducing the size of the buiding is one way to save money. 160 m² is quite big, especially for 2-3 bedrooms. Our house is 144 m² and has four bedrooms. Our previous house on an estate was 100 m² and it had four bedrooms too. We liked it well enough to stay there for twenty-five years.

    It used to be that people stated £1000/m² for a basic build and £2000/m² for some luxury. People have built noticeably cheaper (the £100,000 house TV programme comes to mind) and also a lot more expensively. Housebuilding magazines have up-to-date costings estimates in, or at least they used to when I was building.
  1.  
    Bungalow or Bungalow with built in attic (aka 1 1/2 floors) or 2 full floors makes a big difference. Basic parameters need to be set before a ball park figure can have any meaning
    • CommentAuthorcjard
    • CommentTimeFeb 22nd 2020 edited
     
    Between 600 and 3000 quid per square metre

    Or, in small volume house builder terms:

    A third for land
    A third for build
    A third for profit

    Self builders probably eat into their profit so they can spend more on land and build, the profit for them being to enjoy what they built rather than flog it on to pay for the directors next rolls royce
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2020
     
    Doing a lot of the work yourself will swing those numbers,

    ‘They’ will try to charge as much as possible, you want reasonable or diy.

    Choice and source of materials can help reduce as can specification

    My costs are ten years old now but are all there — http://tonyshouse.readinguk.org/
  2.  
    The architect we used to design or house in London recently built his own house and talked quite frankly about the costs here:
    https://www.developercollective.co/news/omnis-eos

    We were similarly expensive.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2020
     
    Posted By: richardelliotThe architect we used to design or house in London recently built his own house and talked quite frankly about the costs here:
    https://www.developercollective.co/news/omnis-eos

    Hmm, I'm a bit thick perhaps, but why would you buy a plot like that? Personally, I wouldn't want a plot in a city, let alone immediately by a railway line* and most definitely not in a conservation area.

    What's with the bold text bits that don't link anywhere? (later: ah, they emphasise explanations lower down. Why weren't they links?)

    Why would you need to pile down 13 m just to build a basement? Surely it would just add 2.5 m to the piling depth you required anyway?

    * The notion of a Basic Asset Protection Agreement is new to me. I dodn't know there was any mechanism in English law for owners of adjacent property to affect your rights.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2020
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: richardelliot</cite>The architect we used to design or house in London recently built his own house and talked quite frankly about the costs here:
    <a href="https://www.developercollective.co/news/omnis-eos" rel="nofollow">https://www.developercollective.co/news/omnis-eos</a>

    We were similarly expensive.</blockquote>

    Unbelievable!
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2020
     
    well, wot about if one is a discothèque ?
    You don't (presumably...) have a right to make a din all night...

    (or overfly your crane jib over my infant school...)

    (or fly your drones near my airport...).

    (or fire your hunting rifle towards my house...).

    gg
  3.  
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...I looked at the link and went blind :shocked:
  4.  
    Not strictly on topic but I recommend this podcast (particularly this episode):
    https://www.houseplanninghelp.com/hph278-a-beginners-guide-to-self-build-with-geoff-stow/

    Plus we got some fairly good costs from the periodic articles on that topic and 'calculators' in here: https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/

    and some quite accurate figures from the RIBA journal articles on cost, archived (so apply caution if really out of date) here: https://www.ribaj.com/products/costed-may-june


    Forecasting costs is a bit like Nostradamus. At the end it's easy to look back and see which ones were roughly accurate but you can't really tell beforehand.

    That said, I recommend getting as many real-world quotes together as you can. These were by far more accurate than any square metre estimate - usually because of the higher level of detailed information that most suppliers/contractors will want from you up front before quoting.

    We maintained a 3D model (in Revit and SketchUp) which made it easier to take off quantities and explain junctions etc. but this will depend on your skillset and obviously you'll need a design first!

    The Housebuilder's Bible is also super helpful in listing all the things you haven't thought of (portaloos, site hoarding etc.) which often come at a surprising cost too.

    Don't lose heart, do keep on friendly terms with family members.
    • CommentAuthorSimon Still
    • CommentTimeMar 2nd 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: djhwhy would you buy a plot like that? Personally, I wouldn't want a) a plot in a city, b) let alone immediately by a railway line* and c) most definitely not in a conservation area.


    a) because it's far more sustainable to live in a city, where there is good frequent public transport and most of the facilities you need for living and entertainment are often within walking distance. Even more so as you age.
    b) because there are very few plots available in London, and prime sites are horrendously expensive
    c) because conservation area, while it might give you a bit more trouble getting your design though planning (though actually most boroughs are pretty progressive about design and certainly doesn't look like they were restricted to building a fake victorian cottage in this case), are generally attractive and well maintained (with ugly street furniture and signage minimised)

    Posted By: richardelliotWe were similarly expensive.

    As were we. Very similar cost for groundworks / basement shell. I don't see what square meterage they built but we didn't spend much less on our 200m2 and we did most of the work ourselves.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: Doubting_Thomassome quite accurate figures from the RIBA journal articles on cost
    are good, but
    Posted By: djhHousebuilding magazines have up-to-date costings estimates
    are horrendously over-optimistic, IMHO part of the near universal tactic of 'local builders', considered legitimate, of quoting low to get the job and making the money on 'unforseen extras'. So many innocent clients are caught that way bigtime.
    • CommentAuthordickster
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2020
     
    Site £395,000.00 (0.6 acre + planning permission) +£300,000.00 build cost = a lot, valued at £750,000.00.

    Bought and built to live there, developers wouldn't touch it, no profit, thank goodness. Good architect, very good builder. Very lucky.

    Lived on site in rat ridden mobile home for 5 years. Best of times.
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeMar 3rd 2020
     
    Although, to put this into perspective, I bought a field in the Tarn River Valley just north of Toulouse some time ago - split into circa 1000m2 plots would come out at about (Pounds Stirling) 20k per plot - it is particularly rural to be fair, and other plots are credibly twice that cost

    I've just about got costs together for a 2 or 3 bed bungalow/barn affair which is circa 130m2 (including a garage) and I can get a finished building for circa 80k - I've put a bit more in the budget for about 2kW of PV and a nice heat pump set up for UFH and DHWS (plus a car charger point).

    I have extra costs for a roadway and road vehicle entrance as "abnormals" - so all up excluding abnormals it comes out at around £1300m/2 - and it could rise a bit depending on what extra over costs I want on finishes, quality of sanitaryware, kitchen etc.

    It exceeds current RT 2012 insulation values and I've based it on UK values plus about 40% (primarily I want to avoid using comfort cooling and have orientated the building and the fenestration to assist with that).

    Principally, it's a clay block construction under a clay tile roof sitting a big insulated concrete slab/foundation with decent quality Alu 3G glazing (glazing is about Euro 500 per m2)

    Building costs are something of an illusion - they rarely reflect what's actually involved and are more reflective of a combination of what can be attained and what is the norm for that location, including a lot of risk factors by builders who are experienced in working with inexperienced clients and architects. If you know exactly what you want, can communicate that well(usually via your architect), are reasonably organized and willing to have a go at a few tasks then you can save a significant amount by becoming the main contractor and just employing the trades - but you really do need to be organized enough to do that successfully - it's not something to underestimate

    Barney
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2020
     
    I converted a stone farmhouse by doing a wrap round extension at £1000 sqM. Does not include the value of the original house. Done to a very high spec mostly me and my wife with local trades doing some of the jobs I am not good at. Concentrated on high insulation levels PH standard but DG. Built in a lot of thermal gain by having glass structures on the south and west elevations which we can decouple via DG doors from the house. Had a great deal of problems with glazing issues from companies who should have known better cost us a lot of heartache and stress as one company was very deceitful. So won't be an easy ride.

    Included UFH MVHR Solar thermal (PV on way) concentrated on eliminating cold bridges and air sealing by careful attention to detail. Have LPG heating via cylinders but do not use much as with our solar gain thermal mass from block built and stone walls with high levels of insulation do not have the CH on that much.

    Could have done it for less if we could have had PP to demolish the old house.

    On valuation for rebuild cost it worked out at £1700 sq M.

    If we were to do the same again would have hired a project manager to mange it don't think we would have had the stress in the same way
    .
    With a bare plot would have had a simple box structure with a zinc roof (ours is welsh slate.) With 4 dormers 8 valleys it was an expensive roof. May have gone for a prefab kit from Germany even though they do not have much thermal mass.
    Overall very pleased with what we have achieved particularly how the house is "driveable" from a heating and cooling point of view.
    The other thing, you need to be physically fit, knowledgeable as the trades will try and pull the pull over your eyes, and be prepared to chuck them off site if they are not giving you what you want.

    For the house to perform you must take a fabric first approach
    Good luck
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2020
     
    Posted By: revorIf we were to do the same again would have hired a project manager
    That's an expensive item - massive amount of 'professional' work as I'm sure you discovered - isn't the DIY project management one of your big savings, so what wd it have cost /m2 if you'd hired a PM? I usually reckon it's 20-30% of the project cost.
    • CommentAuthorrevor
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2020
     
    Don't think it would have been that much someone I know had a PM for 20K for a 400sq M house. It was not the PM savings for me but it was that I did most of the work myself that way I got the quality I wanted. It took me a lot of time and effort to source some of the trades, good local tradesmen I got by word of mouth but they would disappear if a local builder wanted them as they always kept them sweet as I was just the one job for them. The other issue was with the large companies for the glazing and floor screeding for example, picked the wrong ones despite my effort at my due diligence on them. A PM would have had contacts and knew the good from the bad and would have helped with the flow of work and dealt with the issues we had, and avoided, hopefully the conflict situations that inevitable arose. Mind you I could well have had issues with the PM because I am a very quality conscious and I have found that the trades are not so, starting with the builders merchants the PM may not have been of the same mind as me.
    If you ask a tradesman what he does he will tell you he is in the building game and that is what it is, a game, with little professionalism. Even the architect made a mess of things.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2020
     
    Posted By: revor Mind you I could well have had issues with the PM because I am a very quality conscious and I have found that the trades are not so, starting with the builders merchants the PM may not have been of the same mind as me.
    If you ask a tradesman what he does he will tell you he is in the building game and that is what it is, a game, with little professionalism. Even the architect made a mess of things.


    and that is IMO the biggest problem facing the building industry here in the UK. We do have many very able tradesmen but quality work is not the top priority for most building companies and tradesmen are only valued for finishing quickly with absolutely no regard for quality. Indeed and tradesman who was a stickler for doing a quality job is soon without any work except what he/she can generate themselves and so they practically do not exist.

    We need the BWO officers to be doing a proper job on all construction and for an effective guarantee to be in place on all builds. Neither of these are in place. Its all about the profit.

    Jonti
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2020
     
    "The Base Warrant Officer (BWO) is by appointment the most senior Non- Commissioned Officer at the establishment and is therefore entitled to exercise special command over all other Warrant Officers & Senior Rates, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and Junior Rates/Ranks onboard regardless of where their line management ..."?

    "BWO was a Swedish electropop group, formed in 2003. Prior to early 2006 they used the name Bodies Without Organs."?
  5.  
    It's amazing how Google tailors your search results, based on your search history!

    BWO = BSO = BCO

    And I'd never realised that group were Swedish... Something new every day on GBF!
  6.  
    Posted By: fostertom
    Posted By: revorIf we were to do the same again would have hired a project manager
    That's an expensive item - massive amount of 'professional' work as I'm sure you discovered - isn't the DIY project management one of your big savings, so what wd it have cost /m2 if you'd hired a PM? I usually reckon it's 20-30% of the project cost.


    We spoke to a couple of project managers after we'd received planning permission. One offered a fixed fee model and the other wanted a percentage. They were both around 10% of the build cost, rather than the 20-30% suggested by fostertom above.

    Part of their sales pitch is that they can save you money by bringing the project in on time, on budget and by avoiding the overheads of a main contractor. This is obviously quite hard to quantify.

    I told the project manager who wanted a percentage, rather than a fixed fee, I could never agree to a percentage as it gives them a motivation to push the budget up. They refused to budge so I don't know if I am alone in that view.

    In the end we went with a main contractor who scheduled all the trades and our architect performing the contract management and resolving design issues as they came up.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2020
     
    Posted By: richardelliotavoiding the overheads of a main contractor
    The biggest overhead of a main contractor is having to do the project management, incl a share of their back-office fixed costs. Someone i.e. the PM still has to do that, incur those costs.

    Other contactor overheads are workshops, premises, plant - but a PM will be having to employ subcontactors who have those same costs, will roll them into their prices.

    Another 'overhead' is the contractor's profit - again the subcontreactors' prices to the PM will be quite a bit more than the contractor would be paying their employed eqivalents, which doesn't include profit.

    The difference between richardelliot's 10%, and my 20-30% figure, might be the contactor's profit element, but may be clawed back by the higher prices the subcontractors will charge the PM, compared to that part of a general contractor's tender. Indeed, in times of recession, the first thing that main contractors cut into is their profit, just to survive till better times - then you'd see my 20-30% drop to maybe the 10%.

    Posted By: richardelliotI could never agree to a percentage as it gives them a motivation to push the budget up
    Same is often said about Architects' %age fee - but the point is, a PM or architect who pads the project just to take a higher fee, isn't going to get recommended for the next project.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 5th 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: fostertomSame is often said about Architects' %age fee - but the point is, a PM or architect who pads the project just to take a higher fee, isn't going to get recommended for the next project.

    I'm of the same view as Richard. My architect agreed a fixed fee and stuck to it. How he calculated it is his business but I wouldn't have agreed to a percentage.

    In our case I looked for a main contractor but couldn't find one because of the idiosyncratic nature of our build. I also talked to a couple of PMs but wasn't over-impressed by the proposals. So I did the project management and am glad I did - being able to keep the project on track (as much as possible :) helped a lot I feel. Maybe we were just lucky but I thought pretty much all of our tradespeople did a professional job. I did try to avoid wet trades as much as possible.
  7.  
    mmm...I need to up my rate :devil:

    I only approach 10% for all design, planning, warrant, PM, and some onsite work too. It's not easy PM'ing someone else's finished design, as all the costs are pretty much built in, so delivering decent cost savings can mean re-design, which has it's own problems and costs. Greatest opportunities to influence outturn cost are at the beginning of the design, and diminish rapidly as the project progresses.

    Only took me 30 years to learn that. Wonder what I'll learn in the next 30 :cool:
  8.  
    ''If we were to do the same again would have hired a project manager to mange it''

    ...wasn't in France, was it?
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeMar 6th 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: djh"The Base Warrant Officer (BWO) is by appointment the most senior Non- Commissioned Officer at the establishment and is therefore entitled to exercise special command over all other Warrant Officers & Senior Rates, Senior Non-Commissioned Officers and Junior Rates/Ranks onboard regardless of where their line management ..."?

    "BWO was a Swedish electropop group, formed in 2003. Prior to early 2006 they used the name Bodies Without Organs."?


    Very droll djh,

    it was my understanding that Building Warrant Officer was the correct term in Scotland but obviously not. It might have been nice had you offered the correct term and not just acted as a mocking troll. I remember now why I stopped posting on here.
  9.  
    The term is BSO, Building Standards Officer (used to be BCO, Building Control Officer). I guess "control" implied some liability, and who wants to be liable for anything these days.

    I've worked both systems (Scottish, and English some years ago), and whilst the Scottish system is "Initially" more onerous, I think it's a much better approach, to have everything checked and signed off, being forced to prove you meet every point in the 7 volumes of regs, before you break ground.

    Just my opinion, not purporting it to be a statement of fact.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMar 6th 2020
     
    Posted By: djhMy architect agreed a fixed fee and stuck to it. How he calculated it is his business but I wouldn't have agreed to a percentage.
    Well, at the tail end of my architectural career, I've gone the other way - I now charge an hourly rate, albeit with a non-binding estimate of the total.

    Even the %age fee basis regularly left me way out of pocket, as each project tends to 'suffer' better ideas along the way, and throws up a different set of eventualities that have to be dealt with, whether in extra design time to get it right, or in bureaucratic obstacles that often need much documentation, consultation, travel to meetings etc.

    With a fixed fee basis, there's all that plus projects tend to grow in scope.

    There's nothing better to destroy trust and raise suspicions of price-padding, than having to go back to the client to negotiate extra money for each of the above eventualities, however justified. Clients also get very put off by lengthy pre-definitions of terms and conditions and scope of my architectural work, mechanisms for extra money etc.

    All those things disappear, from my POV, if an hourly rate can be agreed, and I find little resistance to that. They just have to trust that I won't over-state my hours, and will reduce same if working at less than full pace.

    Any other profession - lawyers, private doctors - does that as standard, and no one objects. And at much higher hourly rate. I charge a dual rate - small for 'technician' grade work incl travel time, and 2.5x higher for those short bursts of architectural inspiration that is the core of my skill, and which in fact is the only bit that someone of my 'seniority' should be doing!
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMar 6th 2020
     
    Posted By: Jontiit was my understanding that Building Warrant Officer was the correct term in Scotland but obviously not. It might have been nice had you offered the correct term and not just acted as a mocking troll.

    If I knew the correct term I would have suggested it. I didn't so I just posted the google results in the hope of finding out what it really meant. There was no mockery and the only trolling was intended to troll knowledge.

    Sounds like you need to get some thicker skin.
   
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