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Is now the ideal time for self-build?

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 February 2013 | UPDATED: 22:41 20 February 2013

Garden extension, David Sheppard Architects

Garden extension, David Sheppard Architects

Devon architect Jonathan Braddick says "Now could be the ideal time to consider creating your dream home through self-build, renovation or conversion"

Is now the ideal time for self-build?

Devon architect Jonathan Braddick says "Now could be the ideal time to consider creating your dream home through self-build, renovation or conversion"

Whilst many of the large house builders seem to have stalled, and the Governments new homes targets are under threat, now may be the time for self-builders and renovators to take advantage of the increased reduced cost availability of land, labour and specialist advance payment mortgages.
This is certainly the view of many: according to the National Renovation and self-Build Centre, up to 20,000 people are building their own homes each year. the market is estimated to provide around 13% of all the new houses that are built annually across the country with an annual spend on land and building costs in the region of 2 billion.
But what is self-build? the main role of the self-builder is to organise and manage the project from start to finish. Usually the self-builder will not carry out any of the building work at all, the role being to make the financial arrangements organise the project team and then manage the build, carrying out the function of project manager, ensuring that the various steps throughout the process are achieved. Only a very few (probably less than 5%) will carry out all the building works themselves. the term self-builder is, therefore, perhaps misleading!
For the majority of self-builders, it is a fantastic experience that allows the opportunity to create their dream home. But self-building your own home is not easy so dont be afraid of seeking professional advice along the way. most architects will be happy to initially meet with you at no cost at the very earliest stages of your planned project, even before you have found a site. As architects have a high level of technical and legislative knowledge, they are able to offer an overview of the whole process and as such may be able to give expert advice at the very earliest stages of your project that could save you time and money further down the line.

What to consider before starting out:

Budget: be realistic and allow 10% for professional fees, planning application and building regulation fees.
Construction method: whether you buy an off-the-shelf solution and employ a company to provide a full design and project management service, or create a more bespoke home that is tailored specifically to you, will affect the length of time your build will take and the cost.
Logistics: where will you live while your build is underway and how far from your home is your plot? Dont underestimate the amount of time that may be taken up by travelling.

These issues may seem obvious, but it is important to examine all eventualities before you start, always hope for the best but plan for the worst!

To give your project the best chance of success, good planning and a clear strategy from the outset is essential.

Next month I will examine the best places to find a site and what to consider when appointing an architect.

Jonathan Braddick is a Chartered Architect and Chairman of the Plymouth branch of the Royal Institute of British


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