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Planning your own Grand Design


Contents INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................................... 2

PLANNING IS KEY ............................................................................................................................................. 3

BUILDING PLANNER ......................................................................................................................................... 4

ADVICE ............................................................................................................................................................ 5

USEFUL LINKS .................................................................................................................................................. 6


Introduction Why to build your own house There are many benefits to building your own house with the main one being the fact that you can get exactly what you want. Building your own home is an exciting prospect but there are a number of things you should consider before jumping right in.

What to be aware of It’s expensive! It seems obvious but there are a lot of costs to consider when thinking about building your own house including planning costs, legal costs, problems that will inevitably come up, the list goes on. It takes a while to complete! Again another obvious fact but one that people do not always realise. You have to find a piece of land you would like to live on, then make your plans up, get it through planning and then build the house. The whole process could easily take a year or longer. It can be rather exhausting! Whether you have someone project managing the whole thing or not, there are thousands of decisions to make and there will always be some form of problems or delays.

Key things to decide    

Where do you want to live? Budget (remember a contingency pot) Professional Architect & Project Manager or DIY? What is the main aim of this house? Eco home or High-tech spectacular?


Planning is KEY The first thing you need to decide is do you want to manage the project yourself or do you need a professional? Well here are the benefits and pitfalls of each…

Professional Planner vs. DIY Professional Planner Benefits:   

You can keep working You know the project is in good & safe hands They can deal with most of the problems on site for you

Pitfalls:  

It is another expense You do not have total control of your own build

DIY: Benefits:   

You have total control over your build You know exactly what is going on at all times You can see what is happening every day

Pitfalls:    

You would have to give up your current job and project manage everyday You won’t have the experience, knowledge needed You probably don’t have the networks or knowledge of suppliers It would be exhausting for you to do and would involve lots of research time on the various material options.


Building Planner There are many elements to building a house so here is a breakdown of your building planner:

1. Find your land 2. Draw out your plans for the area 3. Submit them to the local authority for planning permission 4. Co-ordinate with Building Controls 5. Research and then Book your builder 6. Organise Services & Utilities 7. Get Site Access a. Start Digging b. Walls and Roof c. First Fixes (plumbing and electrics) 8. Second Fixing & Detailing a. Plastering b. Door Fitting c. Kitchen d. Showers e. Tiling f. Painting/Decorating 9. Landscaping

10. Final Inspections from Building Control and MOVE IN!


Advice Some final bits of advice before you embark on the epic journey that is building your own home… 

Do as much thinking before you get started! Include everything from door handles to wall colours. This will make the process much quicker and simpler if you know exactly what you want.

Be sure you are happy with the final plans Make sure you are entirely happy with everything in the plans as making changes on site can be time-consuming and costly. Map it all out on the floor or in the garden so you can image space and where you want everything. Try floor planner which can help you visualize it all.

Research, research, research Again this will help you prepare of some problems or questions that may arise. Think about everything from materials to potential problems in house building. Also make sure you research your builders to make sure they have done good quality construction jobs in the past. Also speak to their previous customers to find out their experience of them.

Budget enough money and TRY to stick to it With building a house, costs can easily escalate dramatically so once you have got a rough budget, check it over. Look online at cost estimators to see how accurate it is and then talk to your builder. Ask them if it is realistic, if not then work out how you can make it realistic. Then, most importantly, add in a contingency fund of between 10%- 20% of the overall cost for those unexpected costs.

Keep records We would hope it would all go well, but you can never be too sure. Keep records of what happens where, e-mails or phone conversations and keep copies of all your paperwork.


Useful links Hopefully this will help you in deciding what you want to do and how you want to go about it so here are some additional links to help you when looking to build your own home: 

Planning Permission Portal o http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/

Building Regulations o http://www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/buildingregulations/

Government Advice site o http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/BuyingAndSellingYourHome/Bui ldingYourOwnHome/index.htm

Floor Planner o http://floorplanner.com/

Channel 4 Guide to Self Builds o http://www.channel4.com/4homes/build-renovate/self-build-advice


Planning your own Grand Design