Price per square meter

Your cost per square meter

A key concern in undertaking a building project is the cost. Building contractors use a guideline of a ‘price per square meter’ to give rough estimates on what clients can expect to pay. What is disappointing to most is that there are such varying opinions on what the price to build is. We have encountered many clients who are left on the backfoot when suddenly their final quotes come in a lot more expensive than planned.

A quick google search will present an array of answers for what the “building price per square meter” should be. There are posts which publish figures related to building prices. Some even broken down into provinces. However, these sites fail to stress that their figures are just averages and estimates. They are most useful in assessing which areas are growing in development and which are cheapest to build in. Their averages are calculated based on a pool of projects ranging from the lower-income market to the luxury, high-end market. One only needs to look around to know that the materials, labour forces and finishes that go into these houses differ greatly.

We encourage clients to only use the price per square meter idea as a very rough guide. As one wouldn’t expect the grocery bill of every 4-membered household to be the same, one cannot expect the home-build cost to be the same either. Each family is unique, shops in a different area and have their own styles and requirements.

So what is the price per square meter based on? Each house’s cost is influenced by the style, finishes and design. On occasion, a build may be influenced by the area if deliveries could pose a problem and so on.

Is your home modern, open-plan or country-inspired? What kind of finishes do you want? Solid wooden flooring or will laminate do? A hardware store vanity or a bathroom specialist’s vanity? What about your architectural design? Does it include large windows, or large concrete and steel influences? All of these will affect the bottom line of your project.

As an example, look at the drawings of two houses below.

The spec for both:

  1. 90m2 in total
  2. 1 bathroom and 2 bedrooms
  3. A double garage
  4. Moderate finishes

As you can see, both houses are the same size – 90m2. Both houses have moderate finishes with 1 bathroom and 2 bedrooms. House 1 has a 36m2 double garage, with a 54m2 single level house adjoining it. House 2 however is structured differently. It has a 36m2 double garage, with an 18m2 bedroom adjoining it on the ground level. Then the first floor holds the rest of the house on a 36m2 space built above the garage.

Both houses have the same features but house number 2 will be more expensive, purely because they have decided to build a second story. Which means it will require an additional slab, staircase and engineering to support it. Therefore the price per square meter for each house will differ considerably.

To avoid disappointment make sure your quotes are not an estimated price per square meter but rather calculated according to an architects plan. Check that they are detailed and allow for the quality finishes you want.