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The Self Build Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before Building Your Own Home

Self-build homes are a great way to get exactly the property you want. But before you start planning your dream home, there are a few things you need to know. In this self build guide, we’ll cover everything from finding the right plot of land to getting planning permission. We’ll also give you some tips on choosing the right builder and making sure your self build project goes smoothly. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re already in the planning stages, this guide will help you make sure everything goes according to plan.

What are the benefits of self-build homes?

One of the biggest benefits of self-build homes is that you can tailor them exactly to your needs. Whether you want a large family home or a cosy retirement bungalow, self-building gives you the freedom to create the perfect property. And because you’re in control of the build, you can also make sure that your home is as energy efficient and eco-friendly as possible.

With a real sense of accomplishment, you can look back at your new house after it’s completed, knowing that you made all of your lifestyle decisions around it.

How much does a self-build project cost? 

The cost of self-build homes can vary widely, depending on the size, specification and design of your property. You’ll need to factor in:

  • The cost of buying your land and any associated variables
  • The cost of professional fees (Solicitors, Planning, Architects, Warranties/Insurance Structural Engineers etc.)
  • The cost of the construction phase including any demolition
  • Fitting out your new home
  • The cost of your finance throughout your project including set up fees and accrued interest

To accurately work out a budget for building your own home, you can use a Self Build Guide calculator.

What are the first steps in self building?

If you’re thinking about self building, the first step is to find some land. This can be a tricky process, particularly at the moment when there is such a shortage of land in the UK. Many self build plots are often not advertised on the open market, but you can look on your Local Authority website to view all the requested planning permissions. There might be people that achieve planning and are happy to sell their site on to prospective developers. Once you’ve found a plot of land that you’re interested in, the next step is to get planning permission. This can be a complex process, so it’s worth getting professional help from an architect or planning consultant to help you draw up plans to ensure your self build is viable with local planning.

If you’re self building on a greenfield site (land that has never been built on before), you will also need to get what’s called “outline planning permission”. This is basically permission from the local council to build a house on the land. To get outline planning permission, you’ll need to submit a detailed proposal for your self build project, including plans and drawings. The council will then decide whether or not to approve your application.

If you’re self building on a brownfield site (land that has been used for industrial or commercial purposes), the process is slightly different. You’ll need to get “planning permission in principle” from the council, which basically means they’ve checked that your self build project is viable. Once you have planning permission in principle, you can start the process of applying for full planning permission.

Designing and Constructing your Self Build Home

The next step is to start designing your self build home. This is where you’ll need to start thinking about things like the layout of your property, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you want, and what kind of style you’re going for. Think about your family’s lifestyle. For instance, if you need an open-plan kitchen connected to the living room so that you can cook while spending time with your family and entertaining guests. Or a home office that’s located in a quieter part of the house. All these factors should be considered to construct part of your project brief and this is crucial to give to your architect who will draw up a more detailed plan that incorporates your wish-list.

The next step is to find builders and we recommend getting at least 3 builder quotes as you’ll probably find they vary dramatically. It’s also worth asking each builder for a list of previous self build projects they’ve worked on, so you can get an idea of their experience and expertise.

Project managing a self-build by yourself is very challenging, in fact research shows that only one in ten people embark on this alone! Many people opt for a full turn key package which includes everything from initial design, through to planning and the final build itself. It still means you get to be involved in how you want your self-build to look, but you have experts by your side every step of the way.

Building a self-build home is an exciting time, and with careful planning, preparation, and working with self-build experts, it should be a smooth process from start to finish.

There are several free resources available from CB Homes to guide you through every aspect of your self-build project.

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