Tips for Managing Your Self-Build

Published on Sep 24, 2020
© Andrea Piacquadio

We live in an age of identikit houses built on vast estates and crammed together in huge numbers with little or no privacy or garden space.

This is probably one of the reasons why some people decide to build their own. The attraction of designing and building a bespoke home, one that is to your exact specifications, is irresistible but you must be aware of what it entails before you start.

Plan Everything

Woman planning
© Tatiana Syrikova. Tatiana Syrikova

A self-build is a major project and one which will succeed only through careful planning and good planning for a successful project always includes your budget. Before a brick is even laid, you must work out as accurately and as honestly as possible how much money you can allocate for the project. It’s a fact that most self-builders will either run out of money before completion or, more usually, run over the budget, so always include an amount of say 10% within your budget to cover unexpected costs because these always arise.

Don’t rush the planning stage. Take your time to work out exactly what you want the house to look like inside and out; study all available design and materials options. Get as much advice from the experts as you can from land and planning experts to architects, builders and designers. Talk to others who have built their own homes to get the low-down on any pitfalls.

Consider taking out a self-build insurance policy and a structural warranty to cover any unforeseen complications during and after the build.

Choose Tradesmen Wisely

© Andrea Piacquadio. Andrea Piacquadio

You’ll need qualified tradespeople for certain aspects like gas and electricity fitting so get several quotes first and most importantly, get verbal and written references where you can. Don’t always go for the cheapest quote; if a tradesman is quoting really cheap there’s usually a good reason for this; the best builders and tradespeople are usually busy and in demand so be prepared to wait for the right person.

Follow the Rules and Be Nice

© Anthony Shkraba. Anthony Shkraba

You must have full planning permission to build a new house so have this in place before you start anything to avoid costly mistakes.

Keep any neighbours happy by keeping them informed throughout the build. Keep intrusive parking, dust and noise to a minimum and nip any grievances in the bud with a timely apology.

Keep your tradespeople happy by being considerate, treating them well and paying them on time!

Finally, if the worst happens and you decide the project is bigger or more difficult than expected don’t hesitate to get help from the professionals. This could save you pouring good money after bad and may turn things around quicker than you could manage on your own.

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