80k site + 160k build vs. 240k house

We have 240k for a house (mortgage + savings etc.). We’ve spent the last few years looking and looking in the Maynooth/Leixlip area. Houses are either in terrible condition or out of our price range (e.g. Castlepark). Having lived abroad for most of our adult lives our expectations are not met by 1000 square feet 3-bed semis at 240k. We’re thinking that it is probably the better option to build. A site we are interested in has “outline planning permission” and would cost about 80,000. Two questions remain: 1) how hard is it to get outline permission changed to full permission in north Kildare and 2) would a 160k budget get a detached build that is 1800 or so square feet?

There are too many variables on a build cost to accurately judge. Type of house you want, finish, heating method etc.

Try work out an approximate cost for the known costs before you take the actual building into account. Just say you wanted to put a fully serviced shed in a field you would need ESB, phone, water, council development fee, percolation area (if required), solicitors fees, architect fees. That would be the guts of 30k I’d imagine. That leaves 130k for bricks, mortar, foundations, site clearance, roof, plumbing, electrics, insulation, internal partitions, doors, windows, kitchen, furniture, painting, floors, landscaping etc … It all adds up.

To answer your question, I don’t have a clue :blush:

Not going to use an architect (shocking!); if we build we’ll go with either timber-type scandinavian home or buy plans to give to the builder.

This thread maybe helpful.

House building costs around the country…


1800 sq ft, detached build will set you back approx 240k assuming you don’t go to town on the finishes.

Budget another 30k for services (septic tank, connection to sewerage system, levies etc)

At the moment it is considerably cheaper to buy than build.

The Scandinavian style house may cause planning problems no matter how nice it looks, simply because it’s unusual, though maybe adding concrete neoclassical pillars to the porch might sway them as they seem to have a fondness for that.

I was told by an engineer than OPP to full planning permission is relatively straightforward once you’re following the gist of the OPP, and even buying a site with FPP often requires the buyer to get new planning as purchasers need to tone down the expensive grand design that usually goes along with these.

You´ll buy much cheaper than you´ll build -the reason to build is so you can choose how you want it.
You´ll find that a timber frame Scandavian house is significantly more expensive than a domestic build. If you want to keep a rein on costs, it´s a bad idea.
There are reasons to buy scandavian houses, but cost control is not one of them.
I would seriously suggest you do need a competent architect or architectural technician / engineer to keep your project within a budget and in compliance with building regulations - in particular compliance with the latest edition of the rules around insulation (part L). In my experience, even most designers do not design in compliance with these - so without someone good, you haven´t a chance. This will become more interesting next year when the changes to the current “opinions on compliance” kick in. The biggest reason to actually have someone do a decent set of construction drawings is so that you can tie your contractor down to something. You need to understand that if you try to tie him down to something after the project starts, it will cost you far more.
I´ve been involved in projects where people think they can get away without decent preparation (i.e. construction drawings), it invariably goes catastrophically wrong and ends up costing a fortune to fix. Also note that any ambiguities in the construction drawings will be interpreted against you - as a matter of contract law. If you hand a builder a bunch of planning drawings, he can do what he wants.
Just a simple example: even if the builder was aware of the airtightness requirements under the new Part L, if you want to install a heat recovery ventilation system, the builder does not need to achieve airtightness levels that make having MHRV worthwhile - i.e. for no particular reason at all, you´ve wasted €5k. (Airtightness in the B.Regs is currently 7 airchanges, it is 3 for a MHRV to be used efficiently - at the maximum)
If you are going direct labour, the need for decent construction drawings is even higher.

If you are not trying to borrow money, you won´t need someone to sign off on stage payments.

I would suggest at a minimum that you get as much information as you can. The Construction sub-forum in boards.ie is a good place to start. Ask them what they think of your plan.
And if you do go ahead without some professional help (and you are not going for something turnkey), I´ll say “I told you so” now - to save me the bother.

EDIT: if you are getting construction drawings something like this (no connection) might work:
passivehouseplans.ie/passive … n-ava.html

1/There should be some conditions attached to the Outlin Planning and that should tell you weather or not you qualify to get full Planning, if not call the council planning section.
2/ Starting from new build you should get a product that is exactly to your needs.
3/ 160k build costs seem high, I would be thinking around 130k-140k
4/ The site price if rural seems a bit high,is there much land with it?
5/ Don’t forget to include council contributions into the cost.

I think that it is shocking that you will not use a Registered Architect. It is all about design, design, you will probably find out about this in 10 years time, when you have more knowledge of the environment that you are living in. All houses in France are mandated to have the home designed by a Registered Architect. It is money well spent, only costs the price of a good
sitting room suite. Dont use an Engineer, to design your family home, most do not know what design is all about. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!!

+1 sotoole.

You’ll build a great place for 240k including site and charges, but use an architect. While you’re figuring out what you like about a house start doing up some models on Sketch-Up. It’s really easy to use and there’s a great feature on it to ‘geo-locate’ your model on to a Google map so that you can look at how the orientation of the dwelling on the site affects how the sun shines through the windows at different times of the year.

also an architect will increase the value of the house well in excess of what they will charge you so a good ROI.

I know of a couple who were quoted €200 per sqft to build a 2,000 sqft house in Dublin city last week.

I’ll well believe it,400k is crazy.
I build myself and have put through plans. Often, when the plans go online, when passed on the council website I get other builders writing to me (not knowing I’m at the same game) with outragous quotes some differing from 50k to 100k of what the job actually costs. I often ask myself how do they get work. Well the answer to that is there is always at least one fool who bites on the hook.

Have you ever built a house?

Are you suggesting a build cost of €140k before or after Vat?
Have you allowed PC sums for the kitchen, Bathrooms, landscaping, boundary walls, heating system etc.
Are you aware of all the costs associated with building a modern?
How much have you allow for the cost of an architect/engineer to confirm that it complies with building regs. (you might want to sell it in the future)

I would be very surprised if a professional builder could complete and finish a one off house (1800 sq ft ) to modern standards for less than €120 plus vat per sq ft.

I know from my own experience that you will spend €100-150 per sq ft for a full renovation.

It is cheaper to buy than build.

IMO you would be doing very well to complete the project for less than €240k.

Impossible to make such a judgement unless you see what they were quoted for; whether it was for a high end finish including built in cabinetry etc or just a shell.

Full finish to a pretty high spec I think, but don’t know what the exact specifications were.

+1 (who would have thought it?)

First of all, congratulations on being in the extremely lucky position of being able to build your own home.

An architect will typically charge you about 10% of the build cost - some no doubt charge less, others more, and some will work for a flat fee*. In hiring an architect, ask them how their involvement will give you a return on investment, in comparison to buying off the plans and doing without them. Get specific feedback about how they will actually be able to save you money and improve the outcome (the finished product) - because a good architect will be able to deliver these results, and if they can’t tell you how, don’t engage them.

If you have a lot of money to burn and enjoy a high degree of stress you should stick to the plan to do this without an architect. The experience of any acquaintance of mine who has built or done a significant extension/renovation without an architect has ranged from suboptimal to nightmare.

*When it comes to fees, don’t take the assumption I’ve seen some people on and off the pin making, which is that as the client they will be able to dictate the fee. Many architects are not short of work even in this climate, and they will not have to agree to a lowball fee offer. Steer clear of anyone suspiciously cheap. A good architect represents a sensible investment - and no, I’m not an architect.

Architect Dominic Stevens builds own place for 25k in Leitrim


And a link to a old 'Pin thread discussing one of Dominic Stevens previous creations.

The RIAI have cost guidelines dating from 2006, see below, excluding VAT, fees, planning, fitout and furniture
and inflation.

That would make a 2000 sq ft house (185 sq meters) to cost half a million-ish just for building it with another, I guess, 20+ % ?
for the VAT, professional fees etc. They don’t seem to consider that “traditional materials and construction” to be hugely
different cost-wise from modern. (2500-2900 versus 3300)

Anyone have any idea what the post-Celtic Tiger figures might be ? Have they decreased the same for the “traditional materials and
construction” versus the modern style? Unless they have decreased hugely from those below, building an architect
designed house wouldn’t be economical. you couldn’t sell it for the building cost, not a mind all the other costs.

Anyone got a ballpark figure for a turn-key-ish modern house that looks good ( but has a middling level of material cost?)

By way of constrast, the house rebuilding costs given by the Surveyors in Mar '11 for insurance purposes are much more
modest (120 - 160 sq ft for a bungalow incl VAT, fee and demolition costs. The higher value is for Dublin area.)

From RIAI cost guidelines:

Single/two Storey House
to “One-off” Design
Single/two storey house to a “one-off” design
but using traditional materials and construction
methods with a reasonable level of finishes and

Cost per square metre, in order of:
¤2,500 to ¤2,900
(Where the construction methods are non-traditional
and/or the level of finishes and/or fittings is high, you
should use a cost in excess of ¤3,300 …