Wednesday 13 December 2017

Architect's clinic: We’re planning a self-build — how much should we expect to spend?

Do you have a design dilemma we can help you with? Email your problem to Advice provided is for guidance only and readers are advised to seek professional assistance for any proposed project. Stock Image
Do you have a design dilemma we can help you with? Email your problem to Advice provided is for guidance only and readers are advised to seek professional assistance for any proposed project. Stock Image

Peter Andrews

Q: We are in the final process of buying a site with planning permission to build a 116sqm three-bed house. Our budget is tight as the site has cost us more than originally agreed. Could you give me some advice on a self-build cost breakdown and the process to follow?

A: Designing and building your own home is an exciting project to undertake. The more research you do beforehand and the clearer you are on what you want from the project, the more smoothly it will progress.

Obviously, one of the first things that must be addressed when considering any form of new building is the budget. Setting a budget can dictate the size and scope of the project.

Generally, if it is proposed to construct a single or two-storey building using traditional materials and construction methods such as concrete strip foundations, insulated cavity walls, flat or pitched roof, a moderate amount of services, kitchen/bathrooms and a reasonable level of internal finishes and fittings, then a cost range of €1,500-€1,900 per sqm should be allowed.

Where the new design involves non-traditional construction methods or requires high quality finishes or materials such as kitchen/bathroom fittings/ tiling, etc, then a figure in the order of €2,000-€2,500 plus per sqm should be considered. These figures are based on Dublin suburban area figures and costs would vary around the country.

However, it must be understood that tendering in the domestic market is most uncertain at the present time when builders are pricing for domestic work and you should be aware of the volatility in the domestic market place at the outset of the project or commission.

All noted figures above would be exclusive of VAT which, for construction works, is 13.5pc and for professional fees is 23pc at present rates.

There could be a number of additional cost factors which should be taken into account and which may have an effect on the initial budgeting exercise, some of which would be:

Are there any local planning/ design implications for the area or the site?

Are there any unusual ground or level conditions or difficulties?

Is there suitable access to the site for plant, machinery and materials?

How can materials be stored on the site?

Can waste materials and skips be stored on the site?

Do any new services need to be provided?

Do any existing services need to be relocated?

Expenses such as planning costs, development levies/contributions, professional fees for architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, assigned certifiers, health and safety costs, etc.

It is certainly recommended that you consider employing a registered professional such as an architect who would have the qualifications, vision and experience to take you expertly through your building project.

They will help set a viable brief and budget, guide you through the planning process, obtain quotes for the work, manage consultants like surveyors and engineers, monitor the budget and administer the construction contract.

Working with a professionally qualified and registered architect will be the best investment you will make as part of the building project.

The RIAI has complied a document, Consumer Guide to Building/ Construction Cost Guidelines, which provides guidance only using average building costs as of July 2016. There is also a document called Working with an Architect which sets out a guide as to what architects do, both of which are available from the RIAI Bookshop.

Peter Andrews is a registered architect and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland and is a partner in private practice.

You can find a Registered Architect on The RIAI is the Registration Body for Architects in Ireland.

Sunday Independent

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