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Grand Designs: Deconstructed

July 19, 2019 | 5 MIN READ

Grand Designs: Deconstructed

Over budget? Delayed windows? Living in caravans? It’s been almost 20 years since the iconic series Grand Designs came on TV screens, and found a place in the country's home-building hearts.

To celebrate the UK’s longest standing property show, we've watched every single episode (over 125 hours…) to take a closer look at the talismanic series, examining fan favourite statistics, including budgets, locations, and how much you could make if your house was on the show!

UK Map of Grand Designs

Certain locations crop up more than others on Grand Designs. We've created a chart and a map to outline where most of the Grand Designs houses have been built across the past 19 series.

From the chart, we can see that 21 properties were built in London, while Sussex came in second place with 11. After the top 2, the regional self-build hotspots enter the fray, with Devon, Wales, Scotland and Cornwall all attracting more than 6 appearances each across the last 20 years.

A North/South divide does exist within the show as there are only 23 properties built in the North, compared to over 100 built in the South. In London alone, a total of £12,870,000 was spent on building the 21 Grand Designs properties.

Percentage of houses over/under budget

Everyone who builds a house on Grand Designs sets out a budget that they intend to keep within fans of the show will certainly know this is one of the main challenges for self-builders.

Overall, 80% of the Grand Designs go over budget, with only 8% under budget and 7% on budget.

Average and total spend per build

The average Grand Design build is budgeted at the proposed amount of £371,213.78. With 80% of builds going over budget, it’s unsurprising that the actual average spend is much higher at £495,570.67. That means that the average Grand Designer goes over budget by 34% (£124,356.89).

Budget winners and losers

In the Seaside House episode set in the picturesque Isle of Wight (Series 16, Episode 3), Robert and Mila Gaukroger went over budget the most in the entire series by £1.35 million. In second place was the Derelict Water Tower in the capital (Series 12, Episode 5) that went over budget by £1 million, and in third, the perfectionists bungalow found in East Sussex in Series 16, Episode 1 that was over budget by £750,000.

The Floating House (Series 14, Episode 7) built by Andy and Nicki Bruce went under budget the most out of any Grand Designs build, spending £100,000 less than they initially intended to. The other properties which went under budget by the biggest margins were the Derelict Barn from Exeter (Season 2, Episode 8), and the Stealth House (Season 10, Episode 2) which both came under budget by £75,000 and £50,000 respectively.

Plotting the budget ranges Grand Designs were built within

You’d think that the luxurious self builds featured on Grand Designs are guaranteed to cost an arm and a leg, but this isn’t always the case

You’ll be able to see that most of the houses – 22 to be exact - are built within the £200,000-£300,000 range. In fact, it’s more than feasible to build your own house for under £200,000 – as 24 Grand Designers have proven.

Post Grand Designs value

When a Grand Designs house goes on the market, its price greatly exceeds the original budget. On the right hand side is a table showing the top 10 Grand Designs houses that have increased in value since their creation.

Leading the way are Jonathan and Deborah Broom from Series 13 Episode 2 . After spending a total of £900,000, they put their house on the market a year later at a total of £3,950,000.

A Grand Designs house goes on the market at £1.28 million – 108% more expensive than it originally cost to build approixmately.

How long does a Grand Designs build take

Despite, it taking 17 months on average for people to complete their Grand Designs house, the data above shows that the majority of self-builds on the show are completed within two years. In fact, 47 houses on the show are completed in less than a year.

Although the majority of Grand Design homes are built within two years, many of the houses on the show can take more than four years to complete as fans will be aware of the financial issues that self-builders run into. In some cases, a few houses from the show take up to 7 years to build (The Devon Cob house), and even one or two are left unfinished forever (The Eco Barge, Medway).


Across the past 18 series, we’ve seen triumph, failure and persistence. The South seems to conquer, with the capital thriving in showcased builds. Some self-builders have come in spectacularly over budget, while others have won when watching their wallets. We’ve seen caravans, ecohouses, numerous babies that been born during the build, and homes that are literally staying afloat by the skin of their teeth.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Grand Designs, will you decide to be featured on the show? Anything’s possible…

*Please note: Statistics for this article were compiled from the most available data from the Grand Designs series, and did not include any statistics from Grand Designs Abroad, Grand Designs Indoors, Grand Designs House of the Year, or Grand Designs: The Street.