Primary Factors in Your Brick Outbuilding Cost

Brick buildings do take longer to build than using a material such as timber, and the material costs will be the most significant part of the budget. However, the benefits are that the construction will remain standing for decades and offers greater flexibility when designing the size and shape.

Outbuildings made from the same brick as your property can also be preferable since they remain in keeping and are consistent with the style of your house, improving saleability and the aesthetic.

As well as the bricks, materials and labour, the costs will also include:

  • Insulation for brick outbuildings to be used regularly.
  • Clearance costs to ready the land being built on.
  • Excavation works and concrete to pour foundations.
  • Connectivity charges to set up running water and electricity.

The average garden office or studio costs between £6,000 and £9,000, factoring in these additional prices.

However, the materials will remain one of the core costs, with the below pricing showing three of the most common types of brick, and the price for one single skin wall measuring five metres by 1.2 metres:

Type of bricks Average price per small wall
Machine-made £530 – £744
Handmade £656 – £1,176
Reclaimed £614 – £1,140

If you want to build a brick outbuilding from the same materials as your property or wish to use reclaimed bricks from a sustainability perspective, the cost of the raw materials will increase.

Labour is the next significant cost, with most contractors charging an inclusive price for completing the shell – or a project cost to include insulation, finishes and utility connections.

Bricklayers charge an average of £150 to £200 per day, and general labourers usually slightly less. The larger the outbuilding, the more work is required, and the higher your labour cost will be.

In addition to bricks, materials will include other costs, all of which need to be budgeted for:

  • Glazing for windows and doors.
  • Sand, cement, plasticiser and capping stones for the construction.
  • Insulation – which can be for the floors, walls and roof.
  • Roofing materials and tiles – usually around £1,190 depending on your choice of finish for the structure, plus around £1,200 for felt, batons and tiles.
  • Foundation works and land clearance – an average cost of £2,500 for one metre deep trench fill foundations.
  • Waste removal, such as skip hire.
  • Security locks or lighting.
  • Furnishings and decor – flooring, plaster, paintwork and electric fixtures.
  • Installing guttering and drainage.

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Additional Budget Considerations When Building a Brick Outbuilding

The extra costs to include will all depend on what you are using the brick outbuilding for. As we’ve discovered, adding electrical power points or a bathroom will inevitably cost more than a brick outbuilding used as storage or for a garage.

Some of the typical extra tasks include:

  • Fitting security lights – essential for brick offices where valuable equipment is stored.
  • Garden waste removal – to include clearing shrubs or bushes from the build area.
  • Electrician Callout costs to fit lights, plug sockets and power outlets.
  • Gates – fitting a garden gate will cost between £230 and £350.
  • CCTV Drain Survey to inspect the condition of drainage pipes underneath your new outbuilding or ensure they are in good shape to supply extra piping to a new office.
  • Laying turf around the new construction or repairing paving or flagstones.
  • Joinery or carpentry work to build desks, shelves or storage.
  • Plumber Callout if you wish to have a bathroom or WC in the new outbuilding.

Breaking Down a Brick Outbuilding Cost Quotation

As we’ve seen, there are a vast number of variables depending on the size of your brick outbuilding and what you wish to use it for.

The contractor’s prices will usually be broken down as follows:

  • Materials – around 60% of the cost.
  • Labour – approximately 35%.
  • Waste removal – about 5%.

It is worth asking for an itemised quotation to see what is included – for example, a home office will need flooring, electricity, at least double-glazing and long-lasting roofing materials, all of which need to be installed before you can use the space.

If your quote is for the shell alone, it is essential to request further pricing for the other works, such as plastering and glazing, to ensure you have control over the total budget.

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What are the Most Popular Reasons to Build a Brick Outbuilding?

With your quotations for a brick outbuilding cost, you’ll want to know that you will get maximum value from your new space – and a new garden room can add value to your property.

It is also often the most cost-effective option when you need additional room for storage, work, or a kid’s play area rather than selling up and buying a larger property.

Popular uses for a brick outbuilding include:

  • Home office or studio.
  • Gym or training space.
  • Kids play area.
  • Storage capacity.
  • Garage or garden shed – find out more about brick shed costs.
  • Entertaining space – such as summerhouses.
  • Additional bedrooms or guest accommodation.

If you have extra garden space that isn’t being used, a brick outbuilding is one of the most robust structures that you can put to multiple uses. It can always be repurposed if you sell the property or decide that you would like to convert a brick building into something different.

If your quote is for the shell alone, it is essential to request further pricing for the other works, such as plastering and glazing, to ensure you have control over the total budget.

FAQs - Building a Brick Outbuilding

Here we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about constructing a brick outbuilding.

Do I Need Planning Permission to Build an Outbuilding?

Planning permission depends on the use of the outbuilding. In most cases, if it isn’t going to be used as sleeping accommodation and doesn’t have a bathroom or kitchen, you can build under the Permitted Development rules.

However, if the construction will be a bedroom or a self-contained annexe, you will need approval. This also applies to holiday lets or long-term hire accommodation.

Permitted Development rules apply where:

  • The outbuilding is one storey high.
  • It is under three metres tall, or 2.5 metres if within 2.5 metres of a property boundary.
  • The construction does not take up over 50% of the land space available (including other extensions or conversions).
  • There are no verandas, balconies or raised platforms such as elevated decking.

Can I Build a Brick Outbuilding Myself?

Potentially, yes, although you will need to hire professionals for parts of the project, such as fitting electrics and laying foundations. Constructing a standalone brick building is a big project and will take a substantial amount of time.

However, if you have bricklaying experience and aren’t concerned with how long the project takes, you can undertake some more straightforward jobs yourself.

That said, building your own brick building, such as a garage, is likely to cost just as much as it would to hire a contractor to complete the work in a fraction of the time.

This happens because the cost of materials, such as concrete, roofing tiles and bricks, will be much more expensive to individuals outside of the trade. You will need to pay callout charges for each professional you need for different elements of the job.

UK average costs to build a brick garage yourself stand at around £20,000.

Which is Better – a Modular Garden Outbuilding or a Custom Brick Build?

Modular buildings are built offsite and are usually made from standardised materials – you can find modular garden buildings with brick skins.

Most modular kits have some aspects you can customise, whereas a bespoke modular design is more flexible, and you have more control over the size, design, layout and finishes.

You will need to pay extra for additional materials, including glazing, doors, and insulation in most cases. Basic garden outbuildings such as a storage shed can be cheaper in modular form. However, you won’t have the capacity as with a brick outbuilding to construct exactly what you want in a design and shape that perfectly fits your garden.

Therefore, modular buildings are usually best suited where there is an existing area of level ground or pre-existing foundations.

What is the Best Way to Heat a Brick Outbuilding?

Garden outbuildings for sleeping, entertaining or working will certainly require heating to ensure they are comfortable to use year-round. You can choose from several options, depending on whether you want to use the outbuilding daily or occasionally.

Running electrics and plumbing from the main property is usually a more accessible option. Still, there are alternatives if your outbuilding is some distance from the house or your contractor has advised that the costs would be prohibitive.

Examples of heating options include:

  • Underfloor heating – contractors can run electric underfloor heating solely from mains power, usually, if your flooring is a hardwood engineered timber. You can also opt for water-powered heating by connecting it with your mains water supply and central heating system.
  • Log burners have become very popular as a style statement and can turn an outbuilding into a cosy warm space. A HETAS accredited engineer should always install this type of heating, and while more attractive, they can be more expensive to run and maintain.
  • Oil radiators are a relatively low-cost heating solution, and can be fitted with thermostats and timers to automate the heating in your brick outbuilding. Most are floor mounted and somewhat bulky but are cheap to run.
  • Electric convection heaters are a way to heat an outbuilding through linking with your main power supply, but without requiring any plumbing or gas connections. Convection heaters can be mounted on the floor or wall, so they are quite flexible and have thermostatic controls or timing systems available.
  • Electric radiators are similar to convection heaters but are a little slower to warm up. If you work in a brick outbuilding at a set time each day, it’s advisable to set the timer to turn on an hour or so before. The benefit of electric radiators is that there are no exposed elements, and they are therefore safer.

There are several options, each costing a different amount to install and power, so it’s advisable to speak with your contractor about the options available and which is most suited to your outbuilding.

Will I Need Foundations for a Brick Outbuilding?

Probably, yes – depending on the size of the construction, the type of soil or land it is sitting on, and what materials you use.

Most garden offices or brick outbuildings used for accommodation are built on foundations, calculated to the weight and size of the outbuilding.

Tradespeople will usually include foundations in a total cost from a contractor, but if not, this needs to be budgeted for separately, including excavation works, concrete pouring and labour hours. Site clearance is another initial cost that will need to take place before the building work can start.

Slab foundations are among the most common types for a brick outbuilding and for constructions built at ground level. This involves excavating the land and laying hardcore before soft sand and a damp proof membrane to protect the structural integrity of the building.

Timber frames are then laid, and concrete poured and levelled, with the frame removed when this has fully set. You can also opt for piled foundations with steel posts set into holes and used to reinforce the concrete – a contractor will usually recommend this for more significant brick constructions where a more stable foundation is essential.


Rich Crossley
Having spent 30 years working all over the world for top-tier investment banks, I’ve owned and developed houses all over the world – Europe, the US and Asia. I’m now based back in the UK and involved in the property industry – oh, and I’m a keen DIY enthusiast!
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