A summerhouse can be the perfect way to add storage or a dry space to socialise in your garden. Brick outbuildings can be anything from sturdy and cheap storage to beautiful sitting spaces with breezeblocks to keep you cool in the summer. Whatever you want to do with your brick-built summer house, these small and beautiful buildings can probably accommodate you. The only thing you have to do is plan, set a budget, and hire a contractor to do the work.
The average cost of building a brick summer house in the UK is £1,000 to £12,000, or an average of £6,000. These costs depend on size, amount of customization, and any prep work that has to be done before the building is built. In addition, if you want large windows or doors, it will change the cost of the building.
What Is A Summer House?
Summerhouses are small, decorative outbuildings nestled in a garden or against the house. Unlike a standard shed, summer houses are designed with aesthetics in mind and may match the house or sport decorative elements. Often, they feature windows, open areas, and good lighting, making them an ideal place to sit, work, or even to use as a bedroom.
A brick outbuilding allows you to build a durable and beautiful summerhouse. And, depending on your wants and needs, it can take the form of a closed structure, may be very similar to a shed, or may be open with no windows or doors. Essentially, there are no limits to what you can do with your summerhouse. The only limitations are the size allowed by Building Control, the space in your garden, and what you want to do with the building.
- Shed or storage building
- Sport or workout space
- Socialising space
- Gardening space with orangery installed
Essentially, your summer house is whatever you want it to be. However, you should have the main goal of the summerhouse in mind before you design it. After all, if you want a socialising space with a fire pit for socialising, you might want features like the option to open the roof, open windows, and a wraparound bench. On the other hand, if you want to use the space as an office, you might be more concerned with insulation, a good view of the garden, and power supply in the building.
Set your priorities, and then design your outbuilding.
How Much Does A Brick Summer House Cost?*
Brick is one of the most expensive building materials. However, it’s also one of the most durable and longest lasting. Brick is easy to repair, unlike concrete, so you’ll also have good longevity. However, initial costs can be considerable.
For example, if you take the average summer house size of 2 x 2 or 2 x 2.5 or 2.5 x 2.5, the costs will work out roughly as follows:
|Hourly Rate||£10- £50||£536- £2,910|
|Pouring Slab||3-5||£30- £250|
|Electric Work||2-3||£236- £430|
|Building Regulation Approval for Notifiable Work||£0- £640|
|Roofing||£425 – £750|
*Please note, these costs were based on price averages at the time of writing in April 2023. Actual rates are subject to change and may be different at the time of reading.
5 Brick Summer House Price Factors
The cost of installing a brick garden house will depend on two large main factors. These are the cost of labour and the cost of materials. However, other costs, like potentially paying for Building Control notice can also make up a large part of the cost.
1. Cost of Labour
Skilled labour typically costs £10-£50 per hour. On average, you’ll pay £25- £45 per hour. Here, you typically want a Registered Competent Person to do the work. You’ll also want to ensure that your labourer is registered, insured, and has workers’ compensation insurance to ensure that if anything goes wrong on the job, it’s covered.
Hourly rates mean that the cost of labour is often the second highest or highest cost-factor of building a summerhouse.
For example, average timelines work out to:
- 3-5 hours for a concrete slab
- 24-40 hours for bricklaying
- 2-3 hours for electric work
- 2-4 hours for roofing
So, with a minimum of about 30 hours and a maximum of about 55 hours, you can expect to keep at least one person busy for a full workweek. If you have two people working on your summerhouse, it might go together more quickly, but the hours will be about the same – although you’ll normally pay a bit more for having two people on the job because brick only dries so fast.
2. Cost of Delivery
Delivery costs will normally range between £40- £150, although you can also choose to simply pick up the necessary materials from the hardware store on your own. That may end up costing you more in time and petrol if you end up making 5 trips to pick up 1500 bricks.
3. Cost of Materials
Brick is an expensive material. This means that the cost of materials is often one of the most significant costs in putting up a brick summerhouse. That’s true whether you’re going for simple brick or breeze blocks.
In most cases, you need 120 standard UK metric sized bricks (215mm x 102mm) per square metre of the double brick wall. The standard summer house is usually 2 x 2.5 metres or 6 x 8 feet. If the roof is 2.5 metres high, you can calculate:
(2 x (2 x 2.5)) + (2 x (2.5 x 2.5)) x 120 = 1,510
The cheapest bricks normally start out at around £2 each, meaning you’ll pay from £3,000 in brick alone. Of course, the most expensive bricks cost well over £7 each, which means you could pay significantly more.
You’ll also have to add on £85-£150 per square metre (in this case, 5) for roofing materials. Here, you’ll most likely have a wood cap roof with shingles – although you can choose for cheaper materials – which will reduce the cost.
In addition, you’ll have to pay for concrete for your slab and foundation, which normally starts out at around £60- £150 plus labour. For example, if you want a large foundation, you’ll have to purchase concrete and rebar. If you just want a small foundation, a simple concrete pour will be sufficient. On average, foundation and footings cost about £100- £195 per square metre if done well.
Of course, you’ll also need other materials:
- Mortar for brickwork – £25+
- Electrical work – £40+
- Windows – £600+
- Doors – £100+
- Wood for roofing and beams – £100+
- Any brick wall supports – £100+
- Interior wall materials – £9-£18 per square metre
Of course, if you’re getting a bare bones outbuilding with no internal walls and no lighting, you won’t have to worry about any of those costs.
4. Thickness of Building
Your brick building requires at least two layers of brick or a concrete block layer with a brick exterior. You can also opt for additional layers or to add wall cavities for insulation. In many cases, if you want to use the outbuilding as an office, you’ll want two layers or brick and an internal wall cavity. That could add a lot to costs.
Of course, if you’re opting for a cinder block interior wall and a brick exterior wall, the total costs could be much less. That’s a great idea if you want to save costs and are covering the inside with wood or other finishing. In this case, using a supporting cinder block wall could save you a great deal.
Cinder Blocks average £15-£55 per square metre.
So if, you look at the costs above, you could reduce the brick costs to £1,500 and the cost of the interior layer to £337. Of course, you’d still have to pay for the interior finishing and you’d never be able to strip that interior back to see brick on the inside. But it would save you upfront.
5. Design Costs
If you’re choosing a bespoke building, you’ll normally have to pay for design work and engineering. That can cost anywhere from an extra hour or two of work with your contractor to £450+ by a design agency. Costs normally depend on where you go, the complexity of the build, and what capabilities the firm you hire are offering.
Here, if you want a custom design:
- Look for a construction firm that offers design and bespoke buildings, so costs are rolled into the project
- Get quotes based on your specifications before choosing a contractor
If you go to a separate design agency, you’ll pay higher fees, because most firms have base fees for starting a project, which you’ll then pay twice.
Benefits Of Brick Outhouses
Brick buildings offer a lot of benefits to homeowners, especially if you’re planning to stick around for a long time. There are plenty of reasons to choose a brick outbuilding, and these 5 benefits are just a good place to start.
- Low Maintenance – Brick doesn’t have to be painted, oiled, replaced, or repaired like many other materials do. Wood has to be painted or refinished periodically to keep it dry and in good repair. Vinyl has to be replaced every 10-15 years. Metal has to be painted or coated to prevent rust. You might even have to seal concrete to prevent it from absorbing too much water. Brick is fine exactly as it is and you won’t have to do anything but occasionally clean it for aesthetic purposes.
- Ease of Repair – If something does happen to your brick building, it’s relatively easy to tear out the damaged brick and replace it. Often, that’s a simple case of re-mortaring the damaged bricks after something goes wrong. For example, if a tree falls on your outbuilding, it’s relatively easy to repair the damage by replacing brick and re-mortaring brick.
- Durability – Wood, vinyl, and metal buildings are rated as being built to last 25-30 years by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Brick buildings are rated for 100 years. This means it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll ever have to replace a brick outbuilding during your lifetime.
- Adds Value – Brick is a durable material and having a brick outbuilding will add value to your property.
- Energy Efficient – Brick is a good insulative material, meaning that your summerhouse will stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Of course, you’ll still need insulation or assisted heating if you intend to sleep or work in the building. However, brick offers better insulative properties than most other building materials – making it a great choice if you want to save energy or want to have a comfortable space without investing in heating and cooling.
Essentially, brick is a great material for a large number of reasons.
In most cases, you can expect your brick summerhouse project to take two weeks to complete from the start of the build. However, the full project may take longer depending on what you choose.
- Planning and Design – If you have to submit planning permissions, you have to do that upfront. This can take 6 weeks or more.
- Initial Inspection – Your contractors will visit your site, offer a quote, and let you know when they can do the work. Normally, projects fit in anywhere from 2-6 weeks after the initial site visit.
- Site Preparation – You most likely want to dig your foundation, add drainage, and level the site before getting started. This will normally take a day. Plan to have the ditches for electrical work dug at the same time to save money.
- Foundation/Footings – Your construction crew will pour your concrete slab. This normally takes 2-4 hours. You’ll have to wait 24 hours before you should walk on the slab. You’ll also normally want to wait 7-10 days to start putting significant weight, like brick, on the slab.
- Framing – Your crew will normally put up framing for the brick walls 1 day before the brickwork starts or on the morning of that day.
- Brickwork – Laying brick normally takes 3-5 days for a small outbuilding. However, if you’re using a cinderblock interior, it may go faster. In addition, if you have more than one person, you can halve that time. However, you’ll still have to wait for the mortar to dry. Your construction crew will always stick around for the first three days to keep the brick wet so that it can cure properly.
- Roofing – You can add roofing either after 24 hours or after 3 days depending on what type of mortar you choose. This can normally be completed in 2-4 hours.
- Electrical Work – Running electrical work to your summerhouse should take 2-4 hours total. This includes any sockets, lights, and switches on the interior.
- Interior Finishing – Interior finishing can take 0-4 hours depending on what you want for the building.
In most cases, you can expect the full span of the project to be about two weeks – with about a week of active labour, and the rest is simply waiting for your materials to cure.
Should You Go Bespoke
In most cases, if you choose a brick build, it’s best to go bespoke. However, you may be able to choose a pre-designed building and have it erected for you.
Here, there are pros and cons to each approach:
If you can choose a building model from a design book and simply have your firm build it for you, they will offer reduced costs. For example, you won’t pay a design fee. In addition, many costs may be standardised. The firm already knows what’s involved in the project, down to the number of bricks. This also means that their quote and the number of hours they expect the project to take will be very accurate. So, choosing a non-custom project enables fast, predictable builds at predictable prices.
Choosing a custom-building means that the engineer will design it for you, based on your needs and your space. This may better allow you to make full use of your space. That’s especially true if you have odd corners in your garden, trees you want to work around, or any custom requirements. However, there may be a design and an engineering fee. You may also pay more for construction, because the team is not fully confident in what they are building – meaning quotes may not be as accurate as with a standardised building. Therefore, there may be a difference in quote and actual pricing – although you should get a guarantee on that.
Do You Require Planning Permission?
You won’t need planning permission for most summerhouses. However, any outbuilding that is over 2.5 metres tall requires planning permission.
You don’t need planning permission if:
- The summerhouse does not cover more than half the area of the garden
- The building does not exceed 3 metres with a flat roof or 4 metres with a pitched roof if the building is more than 2 metres from the property boundary
- OR the building does not exceed 2.5 metres in height if the summerhouse is less than 3 metres from the property boundary
- No part of the building projects beyond any wall of the house visible to a road or footpath
- The building is either smaller than 10 cubic metres or more than 5 metres away from the house
- The floor area does not exceed 15 square metres
- There are no planned sleeping accommodations
- There is no planning condition attached to the original property
- It is not being built in a conservation area or near a listed building
If your summerhouse does not meet those requirements, you will need planning permission. Otherwise, you can build without seeking planning permission.
What About Building Regulation?
You will need to Notify Building Control in any case where you perform notifiable work. This normally translates to any instances of electrical work or plumbing, as defined under Part P of the Building Regulations. Any new construction counts as notifiable work. This means that at any point when you construct a brick or other building, you’ll have to pay for building control to come and inspect it. Depending on your area, that will cost £170- £640 if you’re complicit in doing it yourself.
For small projects, like outbuildings, you can normally get away with a building notice. If your trader is part of the competent person scheme, they will likely report the work for you. If you decide to do any of the work yourself, you’ll have to report the work yourself.
Building a brick summerhouse in your garden will normally cost upwards of £3,000. However, prices can range much higher, depending on materials, windows, and the cost of labour. On average, you can expect your summerhouse to cost about £6,000 for a standard size. If you’d like to compare costs in your area, get in touch to request quotes on building a brick summer house.