The first thing you need to consider is whether there is suitable land available in the area you want and for the right price. There are several ways you can search for land to buy such as plotfinder, auctions, local councils, energy companies or direct enquiries to private land owners. You can even advertise what you are looking for on Need-a-Plot noticeboards and wait for interested parties to come to you.
2. Setting a budget
Next you need to work out how you are going to fund your self-build project and make sure you have identified all the costs involved such as the plot of land itself, contractors to do the work, cost of surveying etc. Homebuilding and Renovating have a dedicated Build Cost Calculator which might be useful to gain a rough idea of costs involved.
It is worth looking into loans available to help you with your project for example a government loan or a dedicated self-build mortgage.
3. Complying with planning permissions
The government have recently relaxed the rules on planning permissions but you should still check out what you can and can’t do without planning permission before you start. The planning portal website has some useful information to help guide you.
You will also need to register your plot of land with the land registry.
4. Designing your home
Now you are ready to start designing your dream home. The first step in achieving this is to liaise with an architect to draw up the blueprints. It’s a good idea to have a design brief in mind beforehand to outline your aims, budget, style etc. Make sure you choose a fully certified architect which you can search for on the Architects Registration Board.
You will need self-build insurance to cover liability for the site and public liability. If you are managing the project yourself rather than through an architect you should consider getting employer’s liability insurance as well.
It is also worthwhile investing in a dedicated self-build structural warranty especially if there is a possibility of selling the home in the future as any mortgage lender will require this before sale.
This is the stage where you will appoint your builders/contractors to carry out the work if you are not doing this yourself. The best way to choose who you want to complete the works is to obtain references and examples of their work and where possible visit existing properties/sites and talk to the home owners. Be sure to get several quotes for comparison and agree costs and timescales in writing before work commences.
For more detailed information on building your self-build home download a copy of our technical manual.
By Anna Symington