Typical UK Construction Costs of Buildings

Release date 7 October 2020

Typical Construction Costs of Buildings

Below is a guide to calculate typical construction costs of various buildings per m2 of gross internal floor area (internal area of the building measured over internal walls and partitions, stairwell openings etc).

The costs are based on buildings constructed to a typical or mid-range specification. Building size and shape, number of storeys, ground conditions, design and material specification, local market conditions, etc. can all have a significant impact on costs.

It is quite possible for costs to vary from the guide costs given here, perhaps by -5% to +20% or even more.

The costs given here are intended only as an indicative guide and should be used with understanding.



Typical costs per m2


We have used our Costmodelling CostAdviser software to produce cost models covering a large range of building types. Analysis of this information provides the following results:

  • The cost of a building comprising average elemental unit quantities and rates for all elements is: £2,270/m2
  • 68% of buildings are within the cost range: £1,300/m2 - £3,250/m2
  • 95% of buildings are within the cost range: £320/m2 - £4,230/m2
  • The highest cost for a building was: £8,870/m2

All costs are set at current index 190 - 4Q2020 (Year 2000 = 100), at UK national average (index 100) and a building works value factor of 1. See the Construction Indices, the Regional Variations and the Project Value Adjustments pages for more details.

The costs produced using the information below are for the building only (i.e. no external works) and are inclusive of preliminaries and contractor's overheads and profit.


Table of costs


Important! When using the information below it is important that any costs produced are adjusted for building works value using the Project Value Adjustments.

An example of how to use the information to create a construction works budget is provided at the end of this page.

Building entities Factor of average
construction cost
£/m2
Administrative, commercial and protective service entities
Offices:, low rise, non-air conditioned, mid-level specification 1.1111 2,520
Offices: low rise, non-air conditioned, higher specification 1.2213 2,770
Offices: low rise, air conditioned, mid-level specification 1.1993 2,720
Offices: low rise, air conditioned, higher specification 1.3139 2,980
Offices: high rise, non-air conditioned, mid-level specification 1.1949 2,710
Offices: high rise, non-air conditioned, higher specification 1.3095 2,970
Offices: high rise, air conditioned, mid-level specification 1.2743 2,890
Offices: high rise, air conditioned, higher specification 1.3977 3,170
Embassies 1.3713 3,110
Civic offices: non-air conditioned 0.9039 2,050
Civic offices: air conditioned 1.0802 2,450
Motor vehicle servicing and repair buildings: smaller units up to 500m2 1.1199 2,540
Motor vehicle servicing and repair buildings: larger units over 500m2 0.7584 1,720
Department stores 1.5961 3,620
Banks and building society branches 1.0406 2,360
Bank head offices 1.4683 3,330
Vehicle showrooms 0.7584 1,720
Shops: shell only 0.4365 990
Shops: shell and fitting out 1.0229 2,320
Shop unit with flats above 0.9921 2,250
Shop unit with offices above 1.1023 2,500
Retail warehouses: shell only 0.3042 690
Retail warehouses: shell and fitting out 0.4850 1,100
Supermarkets: shell only 0.3660 830
Supermarkets: shell and fitting out 1.0802 2,450
Hypermarkets: shell only 0.3660 830
Hypermarkets: shell and fitting out 0.8686 1,970
Shopping malls: comfort cooled 2.3148 5,250
Shopping malls: air-conditioned 2.9586 6,710
Branch post offices 0.7584 1,720
Postal sorting and delivery offices 0.7584 1,720
Police stations 1.0406 2,360
County courts 1.4550 3,300
Magistrates courts 0.7848 1,780
Prisons 1.3051 2,960
Ambulance stations 0.6481 1,470
Ambulance control centres 1.0009 2,270
Fire stations 1.0802 2,450
Cultural, educational, scientific and information entities
Nursery schools 0.8686 1,970
Primary/junior schools 0.9039 2,050
Secondary/middle schools 1.0802 2,450
Sixth form colleges 0.8686 1,970
Special schools 0.7187 1,630
Training colleges 0.7187 1,630
Management training centres 0.9436 2,140
Universities and colleges 0.9744 2,210
Learning resource centres 1.0009 2,270
Laboratories and offices 1.5168 3,440
Computer buildings 1.3051 2,960
Art galleries: international 2.1164 4,800
Art galleries: national 1.6270 3,690
Art galleries: independent 0.9039 2,050
Museums: international 3.5185 7,980
Museums: national 2.4691 5,600
Museums: regional 2.1032 4,770
Museums: local 1.5608 3,540
Exhibition centres 1.0802 2,450
Conference centres 1.2566 2,850
Libraries: regional 1.8034 4,090
Libraries: national 2.3501 5,330
Libraries: international 3.0732 6,970
Faith worship buildings 0.9436 2,140
Industrial entities
Light industrial/office buildings: shell and core with heating only 0.4586 1,040
Light industrial/office buildings: shell and core with heating and ventilation 0.6481 1,470
Light industrial/office buildings: shell and core with air conditioning 1.0009 2,270
Start up units including lighting and power and heating 0.5071 1,150
Factories for letting with incoming mains only 0.4012 910
Factories for letting including lighting and power and heating 0.5071 1,150
Factories for light industrial use 0.6481 1,470
Factories for heavy industrial use 1.0802 2,450
High-technology laboratory workshops with air-conditioning 1.8386 4,170
High bay warehouse: shell with basic power and lighting, no heating (21m high) 0.5776 1,310
Distribution centre (69250m2, 15.0m high) including office accommodation (1500m2) 0.3660 830
Medical, health, welfare and sanitary entities
Acute hospitals 1.7593 3,990
Community hospitals 1.4683 3,330
Hospital diagnostic and treatment centres 1.8386 4,170
Operating theatres 1.4374 3,260
Hospital trauma units 1.3713 3,110
Ward blocks and other hospital units 1.0802 2,450
Hospital laboratories 1.4374 3,260
Pharmacies 1.3051 2,960
Hospital teaching centres 0.9436 2,140
Health centres 0.8686 1,970
GP surgeries 0.9744 2,210
Welfare centres 0.9436 2,140
Day centres 0.8686 1,970
Homes for the elderly 1.0009 2,270
Homes for the mentally ill 1.1993 2,720
Hospices 0.9744 2,210
Mortuaries 1.5917 3,610
Crematoria 1.1552 2,620
Recreational entities
Public houses 1.0802 2,450
Dining blocks and canteens 0.8686 1,970
Restaurants 0.9744 2,210
Arts and drama centres 1.1552 2,620
Theatres: over 500 seats 2.4691 5,600
Theatres: less than 500 seats 1.6270 3,690
Concert halls 1.8386 4,170
Cinemas 1.2963 2,940
Multiplex cinemas 1.8695 4,240
Community centres 0.9436 2,140
Youth clubs 1.0802 2,450
Visitors centres 1.3051 2,960
Sport and activity entities
Squash courts 0.6878 1,560
Indoor bowls halls 0.4806 1,090
Health and fitness clubs 1.0009 2,270
Sports halls including changing rooms 0.6878 1,560
Sports pavilions: changing only 0.7187 1,630
Sports pavilions: social and changing 0.8289 1,880
Club houses 0.6878 1,560
Bowls pavilions 0.5908 1,340
Rifle ranges 0.7187 1,630
Leisure centres: dry 1.0009 2,270
Leisure centres: wet and dry 1.5168 3,440
Swimming pools: 100m pool plus diving area 2.4691 5,600
Swimming pools: 50m pool 1.6270 3,690
Leisure pools 1.9136 4,340
Ice rinks 0.8686 1,970
Residential entities
Detached bungalows 0.6658 1,510
Semi-detached/terraced bungalows 0.6437 1,460
Detached houses 0.5996 1,360
Semi-detached/terraced houses 0.5644 1,280
Apartment blocks 1.1464 2,600
Student residences 1.1332 2,570
Sheltered housing 1.0935 2,480
Budget hotels: no catering facilities 1.1684 2,650
Hotels: catering and bar facilities 1.6049 3,640
High quality hotels: catering and bar facilities, swimming pool, etc. 1.8474 4,190
Piped supply entities
Petrol stations 1.9136 4,340
Electrical power generation and distribution entities
Electricity substations 1.0802 2,450
Communications, security, safety and protection entities
TV, radio and video studios 1.4374 3,260
Data centres 3.2760 7,430
Telephone exchanges 0.7584 1,720
Telephone engineering centres 0.5115 1,160
Transport entities
Airport hangers 0.8686 1,970
Airport terminals, piers or satellites 2.0503 4,650
Airport cargo handling bases 0.5026 1,140
Airport distribution centres 0.2866 650
Bus and coach stations 1.5608 3,540
Bus garages 0.5864 1,330
Residential detached garage (traditional construction) 0.3748 850
Multi-storey car parks 0.2998 680
Underground car parks with mechanical ventilation 0.5291 1,200
Railway stations 2.2046 5,000
Circulation and storage entities
Agricultural sheds 0.3924 890

Building classifications are based on Uniclass Building Entities v1.17 dated July 2020


If you wish to create a detailed cost model yourself, download our app. It's simple, easy to do, quick and completely free of charge! Go to our download section and use our wizard to create your cost model from scratch.


Example of putting a budget together


The following is an example of how an early cost advice budget may be put together when all that is know about the project is building size (gross floor area), location and an indicative start of construction date.

If you don't know any better, we would typically add a further 20% of the costs below to cover the possible costs of external works (hard pavings, landscaping, external fences and walls, etc., foul and surface water drainage, and external services) and to the new sub-total figure a further 15% to cover risk (contingencies). This is only very much a rough guide and depends very much on the size of the site associated with the building and the level of specification and complexity of the external works.

Professional fees can be anything from 5% to 15% depending on the size of the project - generally the larger the project the smaller fee percentage.

Important! When using the information above it is important that any costs produced are adjusted for building works value. As stated, all the costs per m2 on this page are based on a building works value factor of 1 (building works value of approximately £1,000,000.

The cost per m2 given for a detached house for example is for a project in which the house is costing some £1,000,000 (i.e. a building works value factor of 1). If your house is only costing £250,000 the project value adjustment must be applied to produce the cost per m2 appropriate for your building value (in this example, the building works value factor would be 1.07 i.e. cost per m2 needs to be 7% more than the cost per m2 given in the table above.)

Making this adjustment will help produce costs that are relevant to your project size and value.

This example is for a proposed new office block in York, 2000m2 gross floor area, with a proposed construction start date of October 2021.

Proposed new low rise, air conditioned office block, York
Gross floor area: 2000m2
Location: York
Proposed construction start date: October 2021
Base cost from cost per m2 table £2,720/m2
Budget calculation
Building works cost 2000m2 x £2,720/m2 5,440,000
Adjustment for building works value 0.91
4,950,000
Adjustment for location (York = 95) 0.95
4,703,000
Adjustment for construction start date
Current tender price index October 2020 190
Forecasted tender price index October 2021 192
Adjustment (192 - 190) / 190 1.05% 50,000
4,753,000
Allowance for external works say 20% 951,000
5,704,000
Allowance for risk say 15% 856,000
6,560,000
Indicative total construction works cost £6,600,000

Estimate base date: 7 October 2020.

Cost excludes land purchase, fees, VAT, fittings and furnishings supplied by the Client.