Build Your Own House: How To Get Started On Your Self Build Project

Build Your Own House

Contrary to popular belief, building your own house isn’t just for those who are experienced in the construction industry. In fact, self builds can be a better option than purchasing a newly built home. You get the chance to design your house exactly the way you want and tailor your home according to your needs.

When you choose to self build, you’ll be in control of the entire process. But how do you carry out such a project? What steps do you need to take to get started?

What is a Self Build House?

As the name implies, a self build project refers to a process in which the individual obtains a plot of land and builds a house on it. It does not necessarily mean that you will be involved in the building work itself. You will more likely work together with an architect and team of contractors, or a design and build team. The level of involvement you will have in the build will vary depending on your own preference. You can even hire a project manager to oversee most of the process if you favour a hands-off approach.

Is Self Build the same as a Custom Build?

Self Builds and Custom Builds are not interchangeable. In a Custom Build, a property developer will handle most of the process (obtaining the land, finding contractors and managing the construction). You will be able to customise some aspects – such as the layout of the building, or the finishing touches. Custom Builds are often finished faster than Self Builds, but you also have far less control over the process.

Why Build Your Own House When You Can Just Buy One?

It is true that building your own house will take longer than buying an existing house. However, if you have specific ideas about what you want your home to be like, you may have to carry out extensive and time-consuming alterations. In contrast, self builds allow you to build the home of your dreams from the beginning. You’re not constrained by the existing features of the building.

How to Self Build

Arrange your finance

The money for your self build project might come from your personal savings, equity from an existing home, a self build mortgage or a combination of all three.

The UK Government is launching a Help To Build scheme in the near future – it is worth looking at applying to this.

Set your budget

It is also good practice to set aside 10-30% of your budget as a contingency. This should only be used for unexpected costs or delays throughout your self build project. Once your house is completed, you can consider spending this money on finishing touches if you wish to.

Find your plot of land

There are many ways to find a plot of land to build on. Websites such as Plotfinder.net or Plot Search are a good place to start, but it is also worth checking your local newspaper, visiting auctions, and spreading the word amongst your community that you are looking for a plot of land.

Ensure that you are on the Right To Build register for your local area too. This places pressure on your local council to provide enough self build land in your area for the demand.

Choose your self build route

If you are experienced with building, you can take on the build yourself. You will still need to adhere to Building Regulations, and you will require a competent person to sign off or install some aspects of the build.

Some self build projects involve the homeowner managing a team of subcontractors. You may also choose to hire a project manager to oversee the construction process if you do not have the spare time to oversee it yourself.

However, if you don’t have experience in the construction industry, this is not a problem. Less than half of self builders manage their own projects. Many choose to opt for package builds (also called turnkey providers). Package builds offer a complete service, from design to labour and material supply. Most companies now offer bespoke approaches, where the package can be tailored to fit your individual requirements. For example, you can choose to have the company deal with the construction up until the watertight stage and handle the interiors yourself. Alternatively, you can opt for a complete turnkey solution – one of the fastest and most hassle-free ways to self build.

Ensure the essentials are in place

Before beginning your self build project, you must obtain planning permission, building control approval, self-build insurance and any other special permissions (if applicable).

The cost of applying for planning permission varies throughout the UK. Currently, it costs £462 to apply in England. You can expect to wait around 8 weeks to hear back about your application – the more complex your plan is, the longer you may have to wait.

Insurance, warranties and VAT

Accidents can happen on a building site, so it’s vital to prepare in advance. Communicate with your contractors regarding their insurance before work starts, and confirm that it covers the following:
– Fire
– Vandalism
– Injuries during work
– Theft
– Destruction and damage to the site

It is also worth taking out a structural warranty. The warranty provider will perform inspections on the build throughout the construction, and your home will then be covered for 10 years. To save money, we recommend taking out this warranty at the beginning of your project. It is possible to obtain one after you have finished your project, but it will be far more expensive if the insurer was not able to supervise the construction process.

One of the largest benefits of self build projects is that you can reclaim VAT on a majority of the building materials. However, you can only make one claim within 3 months of completing your project. Ensuring that you retain all VAT receipts throughout the building process will save you massive amounts of time when you are reclaiming VAT.

Looking for assistance with your project? Astrum Construction is here to help!

With over twenty years of experience and a long list of happy clients, we can help you construct the house of your dreams.

We provide a full turnkey service. Our professional team can assist you with every stage, from planning to interior design, build, decoration, and even smart house solutions. Want to oversee more of the work yourself? Not a problem! We will allow you to take the lead, with the knowledge that you can come to us for support if necessary.

You can expect your house to be constructed on time, within budget, and exactly the way you desire.

We cover the areas in and around Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire, including the following locations:

  • Astwood
  • Bromham
  • Cranfield
  • Chicheley
  • Hardmead
  • Lavendon
  • North Crawley
  • Olney
  • Stagsden
  • Turvey
  • Wootton

Contact us today to get started on your self build home.

Ready to find your self build plot? Read our top tips before beginning your search.

Wondering whether self building is the right option for you? Read to find out why you should choose a self build home.

We’ve debunked 5 common myths about self building so that you can make a more informed decision.


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