Your partner, supporting you on the journey to build your own home
With our experience, knowledge and contact base, we can add value, reduce risk, reduce wastage and costs, and help you deliver a superior self-build end product, quickly, to the right quality and within cost.
Self - build projects should have a similar approach to development projects; and all development projects should start with a preliminary Business Plan.
A Self - Build Project Business Plan will include limits and expectations about costs, budget limits, construction costs, and associated development costs.
If you dont have a Business Plan, please speak to us, we'll walk you through the development of a Plan, over the telephone or in person.
Make sure you consider costs for the land, for construction, for professional and legal fees, for associated costs and insurance. It is also a good idea to include a Contigency fund, for unknown surprises that may need to be resolved.
In your Business Plan, consider what type of construction methodology you wish to use. Traditional construction methods, or timber frame, or Insulated Concrete Formwork, or Structural Insulated Panels, Passivhaus Standards, or using Porotherm. Other alternatives include straw bale construction, steel frame or concrete beam-and-block floors.
If you are unsure, have a chat with us so we can help you understand the various technologies, and discuss the various merits of each technology to see how they suit your expectations.
Find a suitable plot of land
Think about how much land you want, which geographic area you prefer, and what your budget is. It may be that you enough financial resource to buy a plot of land outright, but if you dont, it may be worth speaking to your current mortgage provider about what sort of financial support they may offer.
Before you consider a self - build project, you should have adequate funds or arrangements in place for the purchase of land, along with a budget for how much you are prepared to pay for land.
After you have set a budget, and have the financial resources available, register with our Office, or with local Land Agents, or speak to the Local Authority, to see what land is available.
You may also wish to consider bidding for available plots at an Auction; if you do, be mindful of your budget, and the due diligence required before you start bidding.
Make sure you have a solicitor on hand for legal advice (you should have a budget for this service in your Business Plan), and make sure you understand the implications of having no Planning Permission, Outline Planning Permission, and Full Planning Permissions, with or without Planning Conditions.
We can help with your considerations in respect of Planning, so feel free to ask us to support you during this early stage.
Once you have the land
Once you have the land, invite us arond to talk about your design brief.
A design brief is an outline of what you want to construct. It should include details such as how many rooms you would like, what size they should be, how the position of each room is set against another, what materials you would like to use, what orientation you would prefer, what site characteristics you wish to take advantage of, how you want the rest of the land and garden spaces to be treated, and what sort of scale of development you are looking for.
All of these considerations and their finite answers will help us define your design brief. If this sounds daunting and worrying - it should! This is exactly where our service, support and knowledge is critical, so please call us to discuss and develop the design brief. We will help you define it, ready for realisation.
Once your design brief is agreed, and we have completed the overall design of the house for you, we will lead you through the process of applying for Planning Permission and Building Control Approval.
These two Approvals are critical parts of your development, to make sure your new home has the correct and relevant Permission for the way it looks, and, the correct construction methodology, to ensure it complies with the relevant parts of the Building Regulations.
Don't forget, once your proposed plans are submitted to a Local Authority, it can take eight weeks for them to determine your Application for Planning Permission.
Applications for Building Control Approval can run concurrently, at risk, and can take five weeks to have approved.
In both costs, occassionally, changes are required to enable a positive decision to be made, so be prepared for some change. We will guide you though this process, all the way, and will do all of the liaison with the Planning Authority.
Recently, to help the Planning System work better, a number of Authorities are inviting Pre-Application Enquiries. We are undertaking at least one of these per month at present, with various Authorities, and they involve early discussions with the relevant Authority, inviting their support through dialogue for the proposed design.
This is an excellent way of reducing 'Planning risk', and it helps improve the chances of securing Planning Permission promptly, by marrying your expectations, our designs and compliance with the relevant Planning Policy from a very early start.
Alternatives to Self Build
If the above sounds too daunting to worry about, there are alternatives. You could consider renovating an existing property, or converting a barn. Either way, let us help you find something suitable.
Establish how you would like the construction process to move forward. Would you like to Project Manage, or would you rather we do it?
Don't underestimate just how much work is involved in liaison, on site project management, and dealing with queries. Using us to assist, and the support of a good main Contractor may well help timely delivery and a better quality finish.
If you do wish to do it all yourself, make sure you do your research in terms of who you want to use, how much they cost (against your Business Plan Budget), and whether they can deliver in terms of quality, timing and cost.
It is worth setting out a construction programme, with adequate lead-in times. With our experience at serving Clients for over 60 years, we can help put a programme together for you.
Detail Design and Specification
Make sure you define every last part of your project, before you place your orders and confirm work instructions. This includes sanitary fittings, kitchenware, decorations and electrics.
If applicable, this should also include floor finishes, landscaping and furniture.
Making changes late in the process, and whilst the works are ongoing, is likely to cost you a significant amount of cost in abotive works.
Why Use Us?
Hopefully, the above at least tells you that we are knowledgeable about these types of projects! More importantly, just becuase you can or want to self-build, doesn't mean that you have to do it all by yourself.