Connection Construction specialises in House Building, Self-Builds and smaller Developments of 1-5 homes. Offering complete project management & turnkey house building solutions, material sourcing, liaising with services, utilities, warranties and local authorities. Bringing your home building project in on time and on budget. See our average cost to build a house guide below.

House Building for Self Builders, Landlords, Developers and Landowners

Connection Construction was set up as the house building arm of Connection Investments Ltd which owns, builds and develops residential property in Chelmsford & Essex. Having looked at house building costs with external building contractors the decision was made to create our own leaner, more efficient house building company combining 21 years of house building experience from our foreman Graham, the latest building cost estimating software and office support from the Connection Investments team.

As we are building houses for ourselves as well as offering our services as main contractors, we are uniquely placed as partner of choice when it comes to building your own house. We know firsthand the experience of the client and the building contractor.

We have faced the same costs, difficulties, obstructions, hurdles and complications you are and have dealt with them ourselves, when our money was on the line. We know what unforeseen costs can suddenly arise and will work with you to mitigate and overcome them. We work tirelessly to keep our building costs to a minimum while never compromising on quality and will bring the same approach to your project.


"Whether the project is your dream home self-build or a development for profit, Connection Construction will work with you as main building contractors to build your own house. Guaranteeing as smooth a build as possible, delivered on time and on budget"

The House Building process

Pre Build Cost Guide:

How much does it cost to build a house?

Below we cover some of the main stages that will need to be completed before your building contractors can start. House building in the UK requires a number of steps to be taken first and these need to be considered in the overall house building cost and affordability considerations.

When looking at how much to build a house, steps like drain surveys and establishing the distance of utilities can dramatically increase building costs. We have outlined below the main steps to consider.

Titles and Land Acquisition

You’ll need a solicitor to handle the title transfer. There will be the solicitor's costs for handling the case as well Land Registry registration fees and costs for local and other searches .

Stamp Duty Land Tax or SDLT

Stamp Duty Land Tax ( SDLT ) applies if the ownership of land or property is transferred to you in exchange for any payment or for free in some circumstances. Whatever your circumstances, to get a true reflection of the cost to build a house you would be best to check the Government website for SDLT here.

Landowners Liability Insurance

Once you own the land you are responsible for what happens on it. It's unlikely you'll have any existing cover and if an injury does occur you'll be liable under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 (OLA 1957). For a small fee, covering yourself against any possible liability would be advisable.

Find an Architect & Planning Drawings

Although your drawings don't have to be overly detailed to get you through planning you're going to want to engage an architect now to help with the planning stage. Unless the building you are undertaking will be of architectural importance itself then you’re going to need to conform to the local aesthetic and an architect (preferably RIBA registered) is going to be best to guide you through.

Initial Building Quote

With only planning drawings and no specific structural requirements specified it's impossible to give a fully comprehensive house building cost at this stage. The planning drawings will allow for an initial estimate on assumed requirements - which your building contractors will be happy to provide.

Party Wall Agreement

The Party Wall etc Act 1996 provides a framework for preventing and resolving disputes in relation to party walls, boundary walls and excavations near neighbouring buildings. A building owner proposing to start work covered by the Act must give adjoining owners notice of their intentions in the way set down in the Act.

More information can be found in the Government’s Party Wall Act 1996 explanatory booklet.

Planning Consultant

If your scheme is likely to be problematic, you may wish to engage the services of a local planning consultant who has dealt with your local council planning team before and knows how to get the most from your development.

Arboricultural Consultant

The planning department is going to want to know what impact your project is going to have on the surrounding trees and bushes. Major tree roots extend a considerable distance and will affect your foundation design as well overall planning permission. Answering these questions early can be key to getting your permission first time round.

Community Infrastructure Levy

The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a planning charge, introduced by the Planning Act 2008 as a tool for local authorities in England and Wales to help deliver infrastructure to support the development of their area. You should submit a CIL Additional Requirements Form when you submit your planning application. You can find Chelmsford's Community Infrastructure Levy information here

Planning Permission

The great eight-week wait while your application is considered and assessed by the different departments within and outside the council as well as the neighbours giving their feedback. You may want to opt for a Pre App meeting for £230-£300. A sit-down with the planning team can overcome and identify any concerns early in the process. Your architect and arboricultural consultant will expect a fee if they are required to attend. You may find  a handy calculator for the Council's costs here.


Before you break ground you'll want your financing in place and the finance company will want their surveyor to have seen the plot undisturbed. You'll need all your legals in order and a free and clear title for the land you're looking to develop. Unless you have the funds to self-finance, or you are raising private finance, you'll want to engage the self-build finance specialist or development finance specialist early on so the funds are ready as soon as you want work to commence.

Architects "Building Regulation Drawings"

Once planning permission has been granted, it's time to obtain detailed building regulation drawings from your architect, which will need to be approved by building control before your house builder can break ground. Building Control is going to need to see how the house will be built, the construction details, how the loads will be supported, the foundation details etc.

Soil Report

To determine the foundation and drainage design you'll need to conduct a soil report. A borehole sample will be sent off for sampling the results of which will dictate the depth and type of the foundations required. If your local building control officer knows your build area well they may permit you to dig a minimum foundation for inspection although your house builder won't be able to give you an accurate price for the foundations without knowing the exact depth or construction in advance. If the waste water is to be dealt with via soak away, a percolation test (£400 - £600) may also be required to set the depth and size of the soak away.

Drain Survey & CCTV Report

If you'll be connecting into the local sewers for waste water and foul drainage, you're going to need a CCTV drain survey showing the exact path of the services for the local authority and supplier in advance, as you can't build over a sewer with a new dwelling. Any existing drains will need to be diverted around the new building at your expense.  

Water & Waste Services

Anglian Water are responsible for the drains in Chelmsford & Essex, you can contact Anglian Water's Builders and Developers here. As discussed above, diverting drains can add significant amounts to your house building cost - especially if you have to go into roads. You can get an indication of where the nearby drains are running by downloading a local map from DigDat here.

Essex & Suffolk Water are responsible for new water mains connections, which will be priced based on how far the connection needs to travel. You can see Essex & Suffolk Water's new connections info here.

Ground Survey

Depending on your location, building control may insist on a ground survey to investigate issues like flooding risks, the potential for contaminated ground and old mining activity.  Landmark offers a Homecheck Environmental report for £51 which is a low cost start to identify any risks.

Structural Engineer

Depending on the complexity of your build, you're likely to need a structural engineer to design any structural steels in the build, although some costs can be avoided as the lintel company Catnic offers a free lintel design service. Your structural engineer will provide the calculations your house builder will require to have any unique elements priced by a specialist fabricator before being able to offer a final price.  

SAP Calculations

All new dwellings require SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) Calculations - the Government's approved methodology for calculating the energy performance of dwellings. SAP Calculations and an EPC and an On Construction Energy Performance Certificate will be required. The new regulations require SAP Calculations to be submitted before work begins. All materials used by your house builder must meet the minimum energy requirements for the building to meet its targets.

Building Regulation Approval

You have a choice between local building control or one of the 150 private building control companies. Instruct them early and keep them informed at the requested stages.

Final Building Quote

With building regulation approval in place and every detail of the build specified within the 'For Construction Drawings', your building contractor can now offer a full and final price for the project, being able to account for every lintel, steel, window size, foundation depths and all the materials specified. A fixed price quote will then stand as final as long as the plans remain the same.

Construction Warranty

You'll want to engage a construction warranty provider early. The warranty is an insurance policy that gives any future buyer or mortgage company a safety net guaranteeing the builder’s work for usually 10 years. If the building contractor were to disappear the future repair work would be covered under the warranty. The warranty provider will instruct a private Building Control company themselves and there is a possible savings to be made by using the same company, although the duel safety net of local and private building control will offer some reassurance to the future buyer and their mortgage company. The cost of the warranty will depend on your experience and that of your house builder.

Electric, Gas & Telecom Services

Before work starts, you'll want an idea of the services connection costs. In Chelmsford and Essex, Electric is provided by UK Power Networks, their new development team can be contacted here

CADENT supplies gas to Chelmsford & Essex, their new connection team can be found here. A retailer like E:ON will connect the new connections to a meter free of charge while locking you in for a certain period. Likewise, BT will make a connection to a new house build for free in exchange for a contract term.

Securing a New Address

When building a house you'll need a new address. In Chelmsford you will need to contact the Councils Naming and Numbering Department who will advise and approve the new address or addresses for your development. For £40 they will also inform all the major services that your new address exists, such as Police, Fire etc.

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There are significant costs to build a house. Spending £15,000 - £30,000 before your building contractor has started work may sound like a huge cost, but in the bigger picture this development will either make you a profit or, if you're self-building, give you a home that would have never been possible otherwise.  

Building in general is expensive, house building especially so. There are reasons why so few people do self-build despite 53% of the population being interested in doing so. It’s expensive, it can be stressful and it’s not without risk. You’ll be one of the 0.0002% of the UK population fortunate enough to take on your own project ,so congratulations to you!


There's no need to be overwhelmed. If you want to work with us as your house builder we can recommend suppliers we've personally worked with at each stage or handle the whole process for you under a 'Design & Build' contract - the hands-free way to build your own house.




With the pre-build steps taken and a final building quote from your house builder you’ll have all the house building costs finalised. Your house builder will have allowed for all their costs based on detailed foundation design from the soil reports. 

Your building contractor will have provided you with a detailed and comprehensive cost breakdown of the project along with an estimated time frame – we have to stress that no house builder can guarantee how long the building construction will take, as the British weather can derail the best plans. Bricks and blocks can’t be laid and concrete cannot be poured if it’ll drop to 2 degrees (NHBC Standards) which is why house building in the UK can be a challenge in winter.

If you appoint Connection Construction as your house builder our price will be fixed so, providing there are no surprises beyond our control and no changes are made post contract, you’ll know exactly what to expect and when. Changes can of course be made but if materials or manpower have already been spent an additional charge will apply. 

A pre-agreed payment schedule will be in place consisting of an initial deposit to allow materials and manpower to be committed to your site, followed by stage payments, payable on completion of each phase as shown in the contract. A pre-agreed contract amount will be retained until the Post Build Checklist has been completed.



While it is impossible to estimate how much it will cost to build a house without having scalable planning drawings we can estimate approximate house building costs per m2.

House building cost calculator

House Building cost when Building Shell Only:

£1,367 per m2 for zero rated projects

£1,640 per m2 when VAT has to be applied

House Building cost including Plumbing & Electrics:

£1,621 per m2 for zero rated projects

£1,945 per m2 when VAT has to be applied

Qualifying New Builds are zero rated for VAT 


The House Building process

Post Build Cost Guide:

With the construction phase of the house building process coming to an end there are a few more steps to complete before you can sell or mortgage your new development:

Fencing & Hard Landscaping

Although landscaping may not form part of an initial house building contract it is something you'll want to consider especially if looking to sell as part of the strategy. Kerb appeal will have a big impact on any potential end value and landscaping is something you'll want to arrange early with your builder before they commit to starting another job.

Exit Finance

If you've self-funded or you're selling your development, things are straightforward. If you're building to let or self-building then you'll want to have your exit finance in place early, ready to replace the significantly more expensive development finance as soon as the building is handed over.  

Gas Certificate

Your plumber (or our plumber) will need to provide you with a certificate ("Ticket") to say their work has been completed safely and by a suitably qualified professional with up to date accreditation. If using your own plumber you can check their qualifications at the Gas Safe Register

Electrical Certificate

Your electrician (or our electrician) will also need to provide you with a certificate ("Ticket") to say their work has been completed safely and by a suitably qualified professional with up to date accreditation. If using your own you can find a registered electrician at the Electrical Safety First website

Drain Testing

Before signing off on your build, Building Control will want to oversee your house builder performing drain testing, water tightness testing after working around gravity drains and private sewers, and an air test for pipes up to 300mm in diameter as per Building Regulations Approved Document H

Sound Testing

Current regulations require that all new build houses and flats are to be tested for sound insulation prior to completion, in order to confirm they meet or exceed Part E standards as per Approved Document E. Failing the test will result in the sound insulation needing to be improved. Many companies provide both sound testing and air testing in a single call, saving you money.

Air Tightness Testing

Air tightness testing is the process of measuring the amount of air leaking from a building through uncontrolled ventilation. The front door (usually) will be replaced with a fan and the pressure measured. To comply with Building Regulations Part L it is mandatory to pressure test all new dwellings. See the ATTMA (Air Tightness Testing & Measurement Association) website for registered members

EPC Certificate

An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and is valid for 10 years. The EPC was designed to help future owners or tenants decide whether the efficiency of the building and therefore the associated running costs were suitable to their requirements. 

Final Sign Off from Building Control

Following the final visit from the building inspector and provided they are satisfied that all works meet the building regulations you'll be issued, within eight weeks, the Completion Certificate which will be required by the mortgage provider/buyer. 

Final Sign off from the Warranty Provider

Following the issue of the Certificate of Approval by the Site Audit Surveyor, the warranty provider will issue their Final Certificate, the Structural Warranty Policy and the Certificate of Insurance outlining the services and complaints procedure and guaranteeing the builders work for (usually) a period of 10 years.  


With building control satisfied that the building has been constructed to meet the current building regulations, it's time to make sure you, the client, are fully satisfied. We'll go room to room together compiling a list of any minor defects or omissions that we need to rectify before handing over the building as complete.

Practical Completion & Handover

With any minor defects or omissions flagged during the snagging process now rectified, it's time to hand over your new building, which ends our liability. We'll hand over any manuals, certificates and guarantees for appliances and equipment installed as well as the Warranty details and Building Control Completion, Air Test, Sound Test and EPC certificates.  

Building Insurance

With the builder’s liability ended, it's vital that your own building insurance or landlords building insurance is in place. The building is now your responsibility so it is vital you have the appropriate cover in place.  

Final Bill Payment

With the project officially over and the Practical Completion having taken place, it's time to release the final pre-agreed retained amount to your building contractor.

Reclaim Your VAT

Our services on your Self-Build or Development will be zero-rated for VAT purposes or can apply for a VAT refund on building materials and services when building a new home or converting a property into a new home. You may claim a VAT refund for building materials that are incorporated into the building and can’t be removed without tools or damaging the building. You can find out more about what can be reclaimed at

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