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Construction Cost estimator per sq ft

The construction cost estimator of a development is dictated by a range of factors, however, it is possible to make accurate estimates based on the Square Footage (SQ FT) of a property. We will discuss the factors that make up the average development building costs per SQ FT as an indicative guide.

What factors can dictate the construction cost estimator?

Factors that can affect the cost of a property development are:

  • The size of the property
  • Where the property is located
  • The quality of the build
  • How complex the development is
  • How many storeys the property will consist of
  • What professional services will be required to complete the build
  • Any problems the project may encounter
  • Additional costs that may not be factored into the original budget

Let’s take a look at these factors in more depth.

Size of the Property

It is an obvious consideration but the size of a property will of course dictate the overall cost of a build. Analysis of prices from 2016 data (2021 government  Census) confirming the huge disparity of prices per Square Metre.  One square metre of floor space cost approximately £19,439 in Kensington and Chelsea. While Blaenau Gwent in the Welsh valleys 1 square metre costs £777. 

The Number of Storeys

As well as the overall square footage of a property, the number of storeys a property has is another aspect that needs consideration ie a two-storey town house will cost less than a similar three-storey property. Multiple storeys may be required depending on the size or the shape of the plot of land.

Location of the Property

The cost of a property development can also vary depending on where it is located in the UK, with land costs differing greatly across the country. Labour costs can also vary depending on the region due to the cost of living. As you may expect, properties in London will cost far more than areas in the North of England or the midlands, for example.

In London, the average cost per SQ FT is £729.

Complexity and Quality

It will come as no surprise that the more complex a build is, the more it is likely to cost. A complex design may require bespoke materials, as well as the services of an architect. 

Using high-quality materials will also bump up the price of a build. This can range from flooring to roof tiles, and windows to lighting. 

Professional Services

As well as labour, you will also need to pay professionals such as architects, project managers, and consultants. We will discuss architect costs in more detail later in the article. 


There are three main complications that could ramp up the cost of a project. 

  1. The Unexpected – When planning a development project, you cannot account for every possible thing that may go wrong. Some unexpected complications may be small, while others could be significant. To tackle this, it is important to always fine tune the level of funding for your development project from the outset. The Construction cost estimator is pre set to 4% contingency a drop down function is proposed soon in order to select from 4>10% contingency. Otherwise, additional financing may be required.
  2. Contamination – Contamination may only be discovered during the laying of the foundations. Your contingency funds will need to be accessed again if a contamination problem is identified, and it is highly advised to only use experienced professionals with a proven track record when dealing with such an issue. 
  3. Access to the site – A factor that is not usually considered is ease of access. If access to your site is restrictive, then certain types of machinery or services may not be available to you or extra costs may be incurred to facilitate them.

What other costs can impact a Property Development?

We have outlined 6 costs that may impact a property development during various stages of the project.

  1. Stamp Duty – Stamp Duty can be a significant cost for a property development. To determine what the Stamp Duty of your next project may be, use our stamp duty calculator here.
  2. Planning Permission – It is always best practice to budget separately for any planning permission applications, as these may not always be included in the costs outlined by your architect.
  3. Demolition Work – For some projects, demolition work may be required. These costs may increase if access to the site is restricted, or hazardous materials need to be removed. These costs can rise to £15k in some instances. 
  4. Groundworks – Not all sites are perfectly suitable for a property development. Therefore groundwork may be required to level out uneven surfaces before any construction can begin. 
  5. Hiring a Structural Engineer – Hiring a Structural Engineer can cost up to £2000 + VAT for larger developments. However, it is an unavoidable cost to ensure the safety and integrity of the building.
  6. Financials – Insurance and bank charges are two inevitable costs for any project. Unless you are in a position to completely finance the project yourself, you will need to apply for a property development loan.

As well as insuring the property itself, you will also require employer’s liability insurance to cover you if any accidents happen on-site. 

Architect Costs – An Estimated Guide

Here is a brief breakdown of architect costs in the UK.

  • Planning applications (including advice, cover designs, and submission) = £1150+
  • Building Regulations (including advice, cover designs, any amendments and submission) = £1300+
  • Site Survey (Full measurement and a photographic survey) = £350+

For developments in conservation areas, a council application fee will also be necessary. 
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