Home Improvements are rising in price, says a new report from the Royal Institute of Surveyors’ Building Cost Information Service (BCIS www.bcis.co.uk). Apparently the average cost of improvement works has increased by 20% in two years, as eastern and central European workers return to their native countries, which is pushing up costs through a shortage of labour. Another reason for rising costs is the ongoing increase in oil prices, which impacts on the price of transporting materials.

‘Global demand for raw materials remains at an all-time high,’ the report states. ‘With emerging giants such as China and India showing no signs of a slowdown, commodity prices will remain high for years to come.’ This is well illustrated through the cost of trades, as roofing costs have rise by 26%, plumbing and electric work by 22% and painting has risen by 17% since 2006.

BCIS Director Joe Martin said: ‘The current downturn in the housing market is forcing some homeowners to become more creative in meeting their accommodation needs. Many are choosing to stay put and renovate or extend in order to upgrade their property rather than taking on more debt in a falling market. This can be a wise strategy as home improvements add value to a property, and people will be well placed to take advantage of this uplift in value when the market shrugs off the current slump.

‘Given that the cost of home improvements rose by 20% over the past two years compared with only 8% in average wage growth, many homeowners are opting to act now rather than paying more further down the track.’

PRICE RISES FOR HOME IMPROVEMENTS – EXAMPLES

Repairing windows in poor decorative order (both sides of an average window size from 600 x 900mm to 1500 x 1200mm)
Was £75 – £280
Now £88 – £330 
17% rise

Replacing cracked brickwork  using scaffolding (2m length of crack at a high level)3
Was £205 – £330
Now £240 – £380
16% rise

Resecure roof tiles/slates
1 tile was £220 now £280
6 tiles was £245 now £31
17% rise

Adding double glazing (PVCu sash window – approximate window size 600x900mm – 1200x1200mm)
Was £850 -£1,580
Now £1,040 – £1,930 22% rise

Basement conversions (Floor size 3x5m)5
Was £8000
Now £10000
25% rise