Guide to Self Building a Home Checklist


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Find a plot of land. What building opportunities are there in your area? Speak to your local council; some local authorities have started putting aside areas on large developments specifically for self-build, or consider joining a self-build group.
If there aren’t any developments or groups locally there are other ways to find your plot. Use the internet to search for specialist websites advertising land for sale. Speak to estate agents and check in the local press for land auctions. Try to find a plot with outline or full planning permission, and always get legal advice and a land survey on any land you’re interested in buying.
Beware! Avoid scams and 'land banking' investment schemes where a landowner divides their land into many small plots to sell and they claim that the plots have good investment value, usually in the expectation of future development. Visit the Land Registry for more information.
  Once you’ve found your plot, if needed, submit an application for planning in principle. This will tell you what design of house will be accepted in the area and what restrictions there will be on the type of bricks, roofing, windows or anything else that may be a factor.
  Determine your budget. Calculate how much it will cost to build your home using an online calculator like the homebuilding calculator. Allow for extras, such as the cost of hiring an architect for the drawings, legal advisors, site insurance, and full project estimation.
  Secure your funding. Will you be financing the project with savings, through the sale of your home, or a mortgage? There are mortgage companies that have products specifically for self-builds. Don’t forget to put aside a contingency fund for unforeseen problems and expenses.
  If you find you can’t afford to build your own home from scratch, look at alternatives such as renovating an existing property or converting a barn.
Work out what kind of construction you wish to use. For example:
  • Traditional brick and block
  • Timber frame
  • Concrete filled polystyrene blocks (ICF)
Or others such as steel frame, straw, or block and beam.
Hire an architect to draw up the plans for you. They’ll know what the current building regulations are and will talk you through all of the design and build options available. Doing so can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Submit your plans. Send your plans to your local planning office for detailed or full planning permission. This usually takes 6-8 weeks but may take longer, the earlier you can do this the better, and be prepared to have to make some changes before your plans will be approved.
Decide what role you want to take on for the project. Do you want to project manage, do all or some of the building work, or employ someone to do it all for you?
Hire your builders and contractors. Obtain quotes and work out a schedule, and make a list of who you’ll need to bring in for specialist work such as plumbing and electrics.
Finally, decide on your fixtures and fittings, colour scheme, kitchen and bathroom, flooring, doors, and all the other things that will make your house into your home. 

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner OBE, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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