Build Loft Cost

How much does it cost to build a loft?

Lofts are simply economy versions of apartments or condos. They can have only a single room with a miniscule kitchen and bath attached. Alternately, they can be found as massive spaces that are more of a duplex or apartment than anything else. For the purpose of this discussion we will look at the costs of developing a standard/economy loft dwelling. The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that the average apartment is 861 square feet, the average loft, however is around 600 to 900 square feet. Few have many interior walls, and many have higher ceilings, this is the reason that a loft tends to have less living space than an apartment.

The creation of any loft would never be a "DIY" project and would require an architect, a contractor, a few subcontractors, and a cooperative developer/owner to get the job done.

According to Hawkins Research, Inc., the typical costs for the development of a single loft in a pre-existing or new construction would include:

  • With mid-range materials, efficient doors and windows, all appliances, and "turnkey" finishing would run at an average of $117,100 per unit to complete. This does not include demolition or acquisition of the primary building or land.
  • The above figures place this construction at roughly $156 per square foot, though national average stands at $125 for most multi-unit contractors. This building, however, may come in at a higher per square foot cost due simply to the excessive amount of construction required on the interior space. This pricing structure assumes that carpenters charge an average of $70 per hour, electricians around $65 to $85 per hour, painters roughly $20 and $35 per hour and plumbers between $45 and $65 per hour.
  • Materials would cost around $58,000, labor would cost roughly $56,200, machine costs would stand at roughly $3,000 and the contractor would take in over $16,000 for the project.

Cost breakout

The basic structure of any loft would have to work within the available space of the primary building. Most, however, tend to rely on a simple "four square" design with remaining rooms or closets utilizing all available space. Most developers look to an architect and a contractor for such projects. The architect will tend to demand an additional 10 - 17% of the total building budget;

  • An architect will:
    • Determine the scope of the project and establish a preliminary budget;
    • Draft list of proposed work, budget, and outline of plans;
    • Create the schematic design and draft floor plans with elevation drawings. Then work with any structural engineers and meet with planning agencies to verify any requirements;
    • Finalize drawings and incorporate all details about materials and finishes, any fixtures or equipment, and all systems in the structure;
    • Serve as the overall manager and review the plans with any required local agencies while also obtaining necessary permits;
    • Serve in an advisory capacity to select contractor and help the client through the bid review process as well;
    • Complete construction documents;
    • Administer the construction, ensure that contractor's requests for payments are accurate and that all "final" details are corrected or finished by the contractor; and
    • Based on figures given the architect on this project would receive from $11,718 to $19,900 for their services.
  • A contractor will:
    • Provide the services and materials required for the entire job;
    • Hire subcontractors according to need;
    • Suggest plans and ideas to architect/owner to help them meet goals;
    • Deliver final cleanup of entire job site;
    • Pull all permits for work and utility installation; and
    • For doing all of the day to day management of the project the average contractor earns around $85 to $125 per square foot. They might also "mark up" supplies and services as well. For example, on the loft project described here the contractor would earn around 14% of the budget and account for roughly $16,400 in markup and indirect fees.
  • A general loft construction project will cover:
    • Bath fixtures
    • Built In Appliances
    • Cabinets
    • Carpeting
    • Countertops
    • Doors
    • Excavation
    • Exterior Finish
    • Exterior Trim
    • Final Cleanup
    • Finish Carpentry
    • Finish Hardware
    • Flooring
    • Foundation, Piers, Flatwork
    • Heating and Cooling Systems
    • Insulation
    • Insurance
    • Interior Wall Finish
    • Lighting Fixtures
    • Painting
    • Permits & Utilities
    • Plans & Specs
    • Plumbing Fixtures
    • Plumbing Rough-in and Connection
    • Roofing, Flashing, Fascia
    • Rough Carpentry
    • Rough Hardware
    • Unit Heating and Cooling
    • Windows
    • Wiring
    • and more