8 Common Self Build Mistakes

self build mistakes

Building your own house is a fantastic way to ensure that your home caters to your needs and preferences exactly. However, self build projects can be complex and lengthly, with many pitfalls if you don’t know what you are doing. Research is key to a successful build, so avoid these 8 self build mistakes to make building your dream home as smooth an experience as possible.

Unrealistic timeframes

Building your own house takes time. You must plan each step carefully if you want to achieve the whole project. A large part of your self build planning involves setting and sticking to realistic deadlines.

Keep in contact with each of your contractors to gauge how long their part of the build should take. Based on this, you can create an estimate for how long the entire build should take. Check in regularly with your contractors so that you can amend your timeline if you have to. Make sure you leave room for error! Unexpected situations almost always arise.

To avoid making one of the most common self build mistakes, you need to tread a careful balance between losing momentum on your build and rushing into hasty decisions.

If you don’t have the spare time required to check in with your contractors regularly and visit the build site to see how things are progressing, consider hiring a project manager for your build.

Common self build plot mistakes

Rushing into your purchase

Before you purchase your self build plot, make sure you have a plot survey carried out by an experienced professional. A chartered surveyor can assess your plot for: soil quality and ground stability, risk of flooding, nearby power lines, land boundaries, existing structures and other legal concerns.

If there are any issues with your self build plot, you’ll want to find out about them before the build begins – not after. Carrying out proper research allows you to either deal with the problems before you begin the build or avoid them entirely, saving you time and money.

Planning permission

Never agree to buy a plot of land that does not have planning permission. Make sure you have contacted your local planning department before paying any money for a plot of land.

Land that does not have planning permission simply cannot be built on, so it’s vital to get this in place first. If you purchase land without planning permission, you run the risk of having your permission denied – and then being stuck with land you have no use for.


You’ll need to find out whether the following services are available for your self build plot: water, sewage, electricity, and broadband. If services are not already connected, get quotes for the connections. If connections are not possible, you’ll need to look at off-grid solutions. Unless this is the vibe you’re going for, it may be costly and difficult!

Soil survey

Before beginning your build, it’s important to get a soil survey done on your self build plot. The quality and type of ground determines what kind of foundation you need to build. If the foundation requirements are complex, it’ll cost you more money – so get informed at an early date.

Common self build budget mistakes

Overly optimistic budgets

Your budget needs to consider more than just the cost of your self build plot, building materials, and contractors. Some easily overlooked costs include: site surveys, architectural fees, planning application fees, legal fees, self build insurance, warranties, stamp duty and land tax – just to name a few.

No contingency fees

Speaking of budgets, it’s vital to add at least 10% of your overall budget as a contingency fee. This essentially means extra money on hand in case something goes wrong. No matter how well you plan your self build, anything can happen. This is why it’s important to expect the unexpected.

Overspending on the wrong things

It’s tempting to allow yourself to be upsold on fancy bathroom and kitchen fixtures, but make sure you don’t get carried away. Basics like effective insulation and good quality heating systems are vital to making your home a place you’ll enjoy living in for a long time.

We’re not saying you shouldn’t go for the smart home system or the newest appliances – after all, this is your dream home – but make sure you get the foundational items in order first, then see what your budget allows.

Build your own home with Astrum Construction

A problem shared is a problem halved. If you don’t have prior experience in the construction industry, taking on your own self build project can seem daunting. At Astrum Construction, we have over twenty years of experience in the industry. We can help you avoid the common pitfalls we see commonly among the self build community.

We can help you with every step of your self build, from concept to completion. Contact us today to get started on your dream home.

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