Where to Start
What you need to Know
Well it's pretty obvious that self building your own home means doing it yourself, this doesn't mean that to build your own home you have to lay Bricks and cut wood etc. However many people can do it themselves or like myself Manage others to do the physical work. On the surface this sounds easy, I can tell you from experience it is not! Many factors come into play when taking on a project like building a home, a heavy burden is put on the person who takes on the role to organise and plan the build, usually known as a Project Manager who/and/or in some cases is also labelled the Site Manager, as shown in the outline guide below there are many responsibilities (such as Planning and Organising people, dealing with Services ordering materials and many more jobs) that go into making a Project successful.
So, it shouldn't be a hard task you would think, however finding a Plot of Land is one of the hardest steps to take, getting the right location, Size and Price is hard to achieve but when the right plot comes along and you get the feeling that it is the right one, check the following; Before buying a plot of land I suggest you or your solicitor check the tittle deeds of the land, to check for any restrictions or conditions that may be attached to the land, these could be covenants which state only one house is permitted or no vehicles are allowed eg. I recently bought a plot of land with permission to build three houses, a restriction in the deeds said only "a" house could be built meaning only "one" house could be built (needless to say I had the restriction changed before I bought the land)
Planning to Building your own Home or Extension
If you are planning to buy a plot of land to Build or extend your own home you will obviously need Money, although many people have been put off by the Credit Crunch there is still many Company s, Banks and Brokers out there to help you finance your Build!. Typically you will need around 50% of the Land purchase fee to buy a plot of land using financial institutions, some company s will help fund the construction side (70 % up to 100% of build cost paid in stages retro spectively) but this also means you will need cash to start the construction typically around 25/30k to get things going.
If you have this kind of money in an account somewhere great! However if you don't you will need to raise it somehow. One way would be to re mortgage your existing property (if you have one) to raise the funds temporarily, another way could be a loan from somewhere or someone. After raising the funds, the general idea is to build as far as you can with the money and then have your site re- valued, your finance company will then release further funds (sometimes in several stages)until you reach completion where you can re-mortgage at the end of the build, as you will have a normal new house to mortgage!.
For Building Finance we would suggest you try talking to Richmond Securities at:
We have found them to be very helpful and give quick responses
If you are building a house or Extension you have legal responsibilities!, these can range from being responsible for health and safety on your site to dealing with local Planning Authority and Building Regulations (also found at your local Council offices). Before you buy any land you will need to know if you can build on it! Your local Planning Officer can tell you if permission has already been granted for a building or a few probing questions should reveal if an application has previously been submitted and refused. This is very important! As land with previous application refusal needs a closer look, you may also need to find out if Services (Gas, Elec etc.) can be provided (and at what cost!) to the site along with highway access, look out for crossing any land with services that does not belong to you! you may need to gain permission.
If you have to cross a footpath for your Highway access, check with services for any cables burried, again a recent job of mine punched up the cost by 17k + for BT optical cables to be lowered with inspection chambers in the footpath and move a BT Pole...they dont use copper cables for BT these days that can easily be cut and joined, Optic fibre cables can run for 10000m without a joint, can you imagine the cost to replace a damaged one! or try and put a connection box in the middle of the run?
Health & Safety
On a small site building one house or an Extension, Health & Safety could be managed by yourself providing you follow a few guidelines, a conventional site would use a Construction & Design Management co-ordinator known as a CDM to manage most or all aspects of Health & Safety along with compiling a list of all details relating to the houses future running & servicing which would be passed on to future owners. A few searches on the Net should get you the info you require but I must draw your attention to the fact that Health & Safety is not just a set of words to brush off, it is very important!, as Manager (or Owner) you are responsible for your Site, your Workers & the Public's safety.
One example of something you will need to address is Public Safety, Information from the NET should give guidance on what you may have to do for Public Safety, such as fencing around your site to stop anyone entering and getting hurt out of normal working hours, Security is a common problem these days and anyone! (thieves included) can claim or Sue for damages if it is found you have not taken steps to stop people entering your site!
Building Sites need insurance!, again a few company's offer site insurance for Self Builders (look on the Net) these company's insure against accidental damage and Public Liability Insurance, these are usually two separate policy's although a Broker will sort both for you but they are essential! Another form of insurance needed is a 10 year Structural Guarantee Policy to enable you to get a Mortgage on the Property later down the line, or if you want to sell your property in a few years time, this also is a requirement Financial Institutions insist on when lending money. The latter can be bought from NHBC or Other Bodies however NHBC monitor your build at key stages and also provide a Building RegsService which is very useful in reducing visits to your site for various inspections (why use 2 people to inspect when 1 will do!).
Stairs & Railings
Pergolas & Gazebos
Porches & Decks