Self Build Projects: Frequently Asked Questions

self build project

How long does a self build take?

A realistic timeframe is between 14-24 months for your entire self build project. You should expect to spend up to a year on research and planning. This phase of your project includes securing the finances, which can be a lengthy process.

Obtaining planning permission sometimes takes a while too – once you have submitted your application, you must wait around 8 weeks for a response. If it comes back with changes, you’ll need to take more time to consider these.

Building your self build home can take between 6 and 12 months. The length of your construction time will depend on the complexity of the project, and whether you run into any unexpected delays along the way.

Of course, answers to questions like these are highly subjective. However, early organisation is key to a smooth and efficient self build project. You must decide who is responsible for each aspect, and when you expect it will be finished by.

How do you start a self build home?

1. Determine your budget, create a shortlist of your ideal locations, and think about your design preferences.

2. Understand the legal requirements for your self build project. Obtain all necessary legal permissions and permits.

3. Identify the materials and tols you will need to source for your self build home. Hire reliable contractors – or, if you’d like to streamline the process, choose an experienced self build company to work with.
For more detail about how to start your self build home, read this blog.

Should I project manage my self build?

You certainly can – IF you have enough spare time to take it on. As the project manager, you’ll need to check on the progress of your self build home regularly. If you don’t have time to do this often enough, you might miss important aspects of the build and increase the risk of encountering larger issues on site further down the line.

Finding land for self build

Before you do anything else, ensure you’re enlisted on the “Right to Build” register in your local area.

There are many methods of finding land for your self build. Of course, there are websites you can use to search for land to build on – including but not limited to your local authority’s website. However, you can also carry out the search for your self build plot in person. Your self build plot does not have to be empty to begin with. You can keep an eye out for structures around your chosen neighbourhoods that are for sale or disused. It’s also worth speaking to locals in your area about whether they know of any potential land for sale.

As you search for your self build plot, you will likely come across various site types – including greenfield, brownfield, and infill or backland developments. Read this blog for more information on the pros and cons of each self build plot type.

Is self build cheaper than buying?

A self build home can be cheaper than buying a newly built house from a developer. This is because the developer keeps 10-30% of the profit on the new home. This profit is yours to keep if you built the house yourself – plus, you can save money on VAT.

However, keep in mind that proper preparation and research is essential to keep your self build project on budget. Mistakes made may result in you exceeding your original budget and timeframe. Read about other things to consider when it comes to the cost of a self build home.

What is the process of a self build?

1. Prepare the land
Clear your self build plot for construction. Soil testing, moving earth, and clearing of trees, bushes and other debris happens during this stage. You should also take measurements and apply pegs during this stage, double-checking them against your original plans.

2. Foundations
Once your design has been measured and laid out on the site, you can begin the construction process. The length of time required will depend on what technique you are using to create the foundation. Many self builders use the trench fill technique – however, depending on the type of ground you have, this may not be a viable option.

3. Structures
Once your foundations are in place, you can begin building external walls. You may choose to use bricks or timber frames. During this stage, you may also reinforce steel and conduit for your electrics and pipes for your plumbing. You will also build a frame for your roof, gutters, and insulation. Once you have built the roof, you can ensure the building is weather tight.

4. Installation
During this stage, you’ll build internal walls and their supporting structures. Flooring and plastering can be done at this stage. Plumbing can be put in place, with toilets and showers installed, as well as heating systems and some other electrics. All of your windows and external walls will be in place at this point, so you can physically ‘lock up’ your house every time you leave.

5. Finishing touches
Now you can move on to decorating and snagging. Add fencing to your garden and do any external landscaping. Finish off the floors, paint walls, and finish any other aspects that require completing. After this, you’ll remove all waste from your self build site and clean your new house thoroughly before final inspections. If issues arise during the final inspection, you’ll need to fix these before moving in.

How can we help?

With over twenty years of experience in the construction industry, Astrum can help you create your dream home. We’ll walk you through every step of the way, from concept to completion.

We currently work anywhere in the Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire areas, including but not limited to the following villages:

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

Check out some of our previous projects or contact us today to get started.

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