Building your own home is one of the most exciting things you will ever do and we all dream of creating our ideal living space. But if you go down this route there are some vital processes that you must consider to get the results you want and avoid any frustrations that will cost you precious time and money.
FINDING A PLOT
Where you build your home is the probably the most important question to consider before you do anything else. It’s all about location. But once you know where you want to be, how do you go about acquiring the land to build? You have three choices here:
- Land with outline or detailed planning permission
- Buy a poor quality property on a good plot and demolish
- Garden plot, existing property with large garden
Finding the money to build your dream home can be a worry, but there are some options:
- Sell your existing property and rent whilst building new
- Self-build mortgage which works on stage payments
The cost to build a new individually designed house ranges from £1,500 to £2,500 per square metre, depending on specification, and this doesn’t include professional fees. An average 4 bed detached house is approximately 170m2.
- Decide on your total budget and stick to it.
- Consider final costs compared with property value?
Put together your own wish list, consider your lifestyle and maximise the available space. How about open plan living? Future proof the ground floor, bedrooms and bathroom by choosing classic colours and styles. Think about a teenager’s TV room, or home office. Before choosing an architect take time to look at previous projects, speak to their clients; did their design fit your budget?
Really do your homework here, builders are not all the same and skill and pricing vary hugely. Shop around, take your time and don’t make snap decisions. You could consider:
- Fixed price main contractor
- Employ a Project Manager
- Project Manage Yourself (we would only recommend this route if you have building trade experience and have several hours per week spare time)
There re a few choices here:
- Traditional masonry construction, which is still the most common method of construction in the UK
- Timber frame which is insulated on site
- SIPs Timber frame (Structurally Insulated Panel System) the panels are fully insulated off site.
ESSENTIAL CONSENTS &
It’s easy to get tripped up here, and there are no short cuts. So make sure you get all the permissions you need:
- Detailed planning permission and planning conditions
- Building regulation approval including SAPs assessment, air test on completion
- Warranty and insurance
DOS & DON’TS
There are so many of these, and you will learn fast along the way. If you know anyone who has
undertaken a self build, talk to them about their experience and learn from their mistakes and triumphs:
- Set a realistic budget and stick to it
- Build in a contingency
- Employ experienced companies and tradesman, follow up references, and take the time to look at their previous projects.
- Plan ahead, don’t delay the works because you haven’t chosen finishings etc.
- Set unrealistic timescales
- Where ever possible don’t pay for anything in advance. You should only pay in advance if the item you are purchasing is being purpose-made for you. If you do have to pay up-front check their financial status – will they still be in business when your materials are due for delivery?
- Make final payments until you are completely satisfied with the works completed
- Keep changing your mind when things have already been built
- Over estimate your own capabilities
Good luck, your ideal home is just a dream away!