Considering a Self Build – Is It for You?

Self Build

Considering a Self Build – Is It for You?

Stuck on your next move? Bored of the identical boxed houses going up every which way you turn? Then self build could be for you! We as a nation have a love for our homes, house proud and always striving for the wow factor. Self-Build is the way forward, and now you’ve come to the right place.

The term ‘self-build’ means to create your own new home. You can be involved in your project as much or as little as you like. This is obviously dependant on many factors; such as your personal time available, your skills and ultimately, your budget. Many people love the initial idea of designing and building their own home but in the real world, a little help from the professionals can go a long way. Helping to alleviate stress from any potential issues you haven’t even thought about. Let’s face it, you want the experience to be a memorable one and the less stress on you, the better.

Front view design for self build development - Provided by Carter-Zub Building Consultancy

Front view design for self build development - Provided by Carter-Zub Building Consultancy

You may have the skills to do some of the work yourself, which is great! Getting your hands dirty on your own project is an exciting prospect which in return will save money. But, unfortunately, sometimes people have no experience within the construction industry, nor the time available around their day jobs. So, it really is about finding the right balance. Plenty of self-builders will take on certain elements of the project and then get the professionals involved for the remainder of the works.

For example, the self-builder may choose to take on the project management aspect of the build, this is a route which is often used but proper co-ordination and planning is crucial to its success. Trades need to be organised and on site on time, working in unison together whilst having access to the correct supplies and materials ready for them to complete the works on time without any issues. If this isn’t possible, the self-builder then runs the risk of the project being hit by delays and financing issues.

Carter-Zub, Self Build

On the other hand, they may choose to let an Architect and Qualified Professional, such as a Project Building Surveyor, Design, Plan and Deliver the project for them. This ensures everything is done to the highest standards and correct requirements. This is a safest route, ensuring the safety and success of the project and enabling it to be delivered as stress free as possible, minimising any issues that may arise in the future from the get go.

It is then the professional’s reasonability to organise the project on the client’s behalf, from start to finish. But don’t worry you, the self-builder, is still involved as much or as little as they want. The professionals will offer advice and guidance throughout the entire process, helping to co-ordinate things on site, as well as advising on best designs, approach and budget, creating cost breakdowns and adhering to important planning and building regulations for the project to run smoothly.

An Architect is advisable as the plans and drawings created are used throughout the construction process. It is vital that they are done accurately, giving the client chance to make any amendments and to see a 3D visual representation of the exciting new project. This gives the client the opportunity to fully envisage the design from a very early stage and mitigate any risk for potential design constraints which could easily be overlooked. The drawings will then be used as reference and the construction team will build the project according to the plans and specification sheets provided.

Carter-Zub Self Build

A second factor to consider is the workmanship of the build and the accuracy in which it is carried out. For example, the sizes and shapes of buildings to the types of materials used to construct may be wrongly chosen if the plans and specification sheets are not accurate and correct. This would add further setbacks and time delays to the project and reduce profits on the build. Ensuring quality workmanship is on site will minimise the risks of the structural integrity of the building being compromised and the self-builder being 100% satisfied with the end result. Overall it is vitally important that plans for the project are done to the highest level of accuracy. Using a qualified Architect is a safe way of making sure this is done.

Some other responsibilities to consider which often get overlooked when considering a self-build project include;

Rear view design for self build development - Provided by Carter-Zub Building Consultancy

Rear view design for self build development - Provided by Carter-Zub Building Consultancy

Planning Permission:

Which is almost always required. Using a professional can take away the stress of applying and completing all the relevant documentation as well as them providing their own personal opinion and guidance on the matter.

Building Regulations:

Another thing to then take into account is building regulations. These are the minimum standards that need to be followed for design, construction and alterations to almost every building. Again, a professional will be able to do all of this for you.

Notifying HSE:

You as the self-builder are required to send notification. Although, the Principal Designer or Principal Contractor can take on the responsibility for notification of a domestic project when there has been written agreement between both parties. You are required to notify the HSE if the construction project is scheduled to last longer than 30 working days and/or it will have more than 20 workers working at the same time on the site. It is also notifiable if the construction work requires more than 500 person days.

It is also advisable to get the professionals involved when carrying out either of the following. Their expert advice can save you a fortune in the long run. All of the services listed can have an impact on the design and influence of the build, so it’s definitely worth considering.

  • Feasibility Studies
  • Land Appraisals
  • Site Access
  • Potential Constraints
  • Flood Risk Assessments
  • Conservation Areas
  • Ecology & Environmental Impact
  • History of the Site
  • Budget Costs
Aerial Photography of Construction Stage - Provided by Airpixa

Aerial Photography of Construction Stage - Provided by Airpixa

The above are all things a self-builder needs to implement and think about when building a home.

In conclusion, a self-build project is a brilliant idea. But consider the best approach for you. Time, Cost and Quality are of maximum importance when contemplating the best route for you and your perfect project. Remember, a building consultancy and professionals within the industry are there to help you create your perfect, dream home.

Here at Carter-Zub we offer all of the above services! We can help with feasibility studies, architectural design, planning, construction drawings, project management, project delivery and much more. We take all of the stress away and have an abundance of experience within the field.

So, what are you waiting for?

Written by Jack Beaman – Trainee Building Surveyor