Buckland Timber: Building a picture of pricing and costs for your project



How do you go about building a picture of the costs of a new project?

We’re going to assume here you’ve already decided to use glulam for your project. You’ve researched the benefits, you’re sold on the aesthetics, you understand the quality, perhaps you’re keen on using locally sourced products.

But a glulam frame does not a house make. How much will the whole thing cost and what is involved?

We always try to be as helpful as possible around pricing to help you better understand your project’s feasibility. So, here is some insight into what to expect and how you can get ready to type accurate figures onto that lovingly created spreadsheet…

‘Give me a ballpark figure. You know… something to go on.’

You can imagine we’ve heard this type of request many times. It might seem vague, but it’s wiser than you might think. It reflects an understanding that variability, unpredictability and unexpected events pop by to ‘say hello’ in all build projects. We know this, which is why our customers feel safe knowing we’ve seen it all before.

From floor to frame

We can’t deliver a bespoke budget for you here. You’re not expecting that. But we can make sure you benefit from our massive experience of designing, sourcing, manufacturing and installing the frames everything else in your project will hang on. You won’t be left with just a finger in the air hoping the numbers balance.

Let’s imagine you’re building a typical two-storey house and you’ve opted for spruce glulam. Here is a design we worked on recently for a glulam portal frame:

pricing glulam project

From floor to frame, this frame measured 130 square metres footprint and the cost was £60k. To help you understand where that goes the breakdown is as follows:

Glulam material £12K
Glulam finishing £2.5K
Glulam machining £6K
Metal work £5K
Design fees £6K
Project Management £3K
Installation, including crane hire £20K
Contingency £5.5K 

pricing glulam project

How much of the total project cost is glulam?

This is one of those questions that is difficult for us to answer as every project is different, however speaking to local builder Clive Tonkin he advised that the glulam portal frame element for a project this size would be around 18-20% of the total cost.

Naturally, you’ll need to factor in planning, groundworks, foundations, roofing, insulation, plumbing, electricity, furnishings and other labour costs so Clive put together a budget based on a similar building for us. The budget for standard building costs came in at around £350,000.00 in total – £60,000.00 for the glulam frame as outlined above, plus foundations, drainage, glazing, doors, roof etc and the usual things included in standard construction. Anything bespoke, high end or particular to a build such as upgrading doors, adding a septic tank etc would be additional.

Does timber choice or design make a difference to the cost?

Generally speaking, the bigger the project, the bigger the bill.

But what else is important to think about?

The choice of glulam does change things. For this project, the timber of choice was spruce glulam which is around five times less expensive than oak for example. If oak was chosen, the price would have been higher, but the material only makes up around a fifth of the project cost. The other costs would have remained very similar.

With bespoke designs and expertise comes bespoke pricing. Some smaller projects will be more complex, so may have greater design and machining costs. Or, if larch glulam is being used externally, the material and finishing costs will rise.

It’s also worth mentioning a cross-laminated timber (CLT) design will have higher material costs. Though, other parts of the project will again stay at a pretty similar price.

How do I estimate the cost of my project?

Talk to us.

We’ve been bringing people’s ideas to life for over ten years and are happy to offer advice at any stage of your project.  Check out our Glulam Beam Cost Calculator if you fancy taking a closer look.

A third of our employees are engineers and draughtsmen – we’re just as excited working to an architect’s plan as we are designing from a rectangle on a piece of paper.

Your big build is within reach.

For more examples of glulam portal frame projects, see our blog here  Building with glulam; how much will your project cost?

If you have a project in mind and would like some help with costing, do get in touch and one of the team will be happy to help.