Real Cost of Laying a Patio
So, I hear it all the time. I just want a new patio laying, £500 should cover it, shouldn’t it?
The truth is……. NO!
Well it is if your wanting it to be laid by competent and skilled workmen that will remove your waste in a correct manner and construct it to the products specifications.
Let’s have a look at the process and see where the costs come from.
We are going to look at laying a simple Indian Sandstone patio, the patio size will be 4 meters by 6 meters.
Let’s work the maths out:
4m x 6m = 24m2
So now we know that the surface area of the paving and area to be excavated is 24m2, now for our new patio to be laid we must first remove the old patio and excavated the ground. Below is our basic existing and proposed plan.
For the patio to be laid correctly the contractor must lay the patio in the correct manner, this involve excavating and removing the ground to the correct level for the new patio to be installed.
Here is the correct configuration of a new patio installation, this is for a typical Indian sandstone patio, configurations will vary for different paving units.
So, if the existing garden is relatively flat, we can now work out the amount of earth to be excavated.
We know the area of the garden is 24m2. Using the drawings above we can work out that the depth the excavation needs to be:
Mortar bed 40mm
Compacted aggregate 100mm min
30mm + 40mm + 100mm = 170mm
The total depth of the excavation is 170mm or 0.17m. we must now work out the volume of the earth to be removed for waste removal or if we are to use it elsewhere on site.
Length 4m x Wide 6m x Depth 0.17m = 4.08m3
The total amount of earth to be removed from the excavation is 4.08m3, what we must keep in mind though is once the earth has been unconsolidated its volume will increase. The usual calculation is to plus 30% the amount of earth to be excavated to arrive at the correct amount for ordering skips or waste removal measures.
The actual amount of earth to move from site is 5.3m3.
We now have the numbers for the amount of paving, mortar and aggregate we are going to need to construct the patio, we also know the amount of earth to be removed for the patio and have multiplied that by 2 for waste removal measures.
So, lets next look at the costs of doing the work.
We will look at a using a fully insured and competent contractor to install the patio, it is important to do your own research and due diligence when selecting a contractor to complete the works. If the contractor doesn’t have the right insurances in place and damages anything such as a mains gas pipe or electrical wire the costs will be significantly increased.
What are the costs of using a competent and insured contractor?
Most landscape contractors will have a set rate for laying paving, this may be £100 - £150 per m2 depending on the product and the intricacy of the job.
The rate has been like most things in life, worked out on a time basis. How long will it take to lay 1m2 of paving = the 1m2 rate, its that simple.
I always feel comfortable knowing that the contractor’s rates leans slightly towards the £150m2 rate as I know that they have included for setbacks, errors and the unforeseen. If I ever see a rate as low as £80m2 alarm bells start to ring.
What are the costs of using a noncompetent and insured contractor, well my uncle had a saying “buy cheap, buy twice” I will leave that topic there.
The rates of a landscape contractor
The rate of trades people will vary dramatically throughout the UK and it would be unfair to call one high and the other low, for this example I will use the rates of local contractors to myself within Lancashire.
Skilled Landscaper = £180 - £160 per day
Semi-skilled Landscaper = £160 - £120 per day
Labourer = £120 - £80 per day
The above rate can vary drastically and no one rate is fixed to that individual.
So, if those are the rates, what are the costs per day?
Let’s say we have a 2 and 1 gang, 1 skilled landscaper, 1 semi-skilled landscaper and a labourer,
£180 + £160 + £120 = £460.00
£460.00 per day, now let’s not forget about the tax man having his cut, £460 + 20% = £552.00.
The actual cost of the team for the day is £552.00, the next thing to look at is the time it will take the contractor to do the work. This will vary from project to project and certain considerations need to be looked at such as access. If the access to the job is easy and the contractor can get machinery to the job the cost in time will be considerably less than if the access is limited and the job must be hand dug and wheel barrowed out, round the house and up a hill to the skip.
So, lets look at our project.
We can see from the drawing that the contractor will have 2 possible routes to the project area, a primary route which will be faster and a secondary route which will take longer and require surface protection. We can also see that the driveway will be large enough for the skip and if the client didn’t want the skip on the drive, it could also be place on the roadside.
We have established that the access is good, a skip can be stored on site. Now time for some more maths.
First the skips, these vary from region to region and from different companies, we are going to use £200 for an 8YD skip which will hold 6.1m2 of soil. We know from our earlier calculations that we are going to have 5.3m3 of spoil to remove from site, so with simple maths we can divide the amount of spoil by 6.1m2 to arrive at the actual amount of skips required. The contractor will only require 1 skip for the spoil, we will add an additional skip for waste from the new patio waste and any other waste that is produced such as existing materials, cement bags, sand bags and any other waste produced from the job.
Let’s get the price together
Laying the 24m2 patio @ £120m2 = £2800
Cost of 2 skips @ £200 = £400
Subtotal = £3200
VAT @ 20% = £640
Total = £3840.00
I hope this has help to put things into perspective, this was a straight forward project with good access and basic materials. Always beware of someone that says that they can lay you a new patio for little money. Always ask yourself, what are they compromising on, what have they forgot to price for, what come backs will you have?
FINALLY, ALWAYS ASK TO SEE A BROKEN-DOWN QUOTATION FROM YOUR APPOINTED CONTRACTOR.