What is a self build?

When an individual or an association of individuals build their own house (or houses), this can be considered a self build.

Self build is a way to own your home as in opposite to buying it from a commercial developer, which is the majority of the cases in the UK.

Embarking on a journey to self build your home can give great satisfaction and you can claim unexpected benefits at the end of the process.

What experience do I need to do a self build?

If you want to be a self builder, you don’t need to do the works yourself or be an expert of construction.

While many self builders want to be somehow involved in the physical process, often in the finishing stages of painting and floor-fitting (helps to save on the cost of workmanship), you can hire people to do the works for you.

Self-build is a project strategy where a private individual, not a company or a public entity, is developing their own house and taking project decisions, usually with the support of an architect or consultant, or directly working with one or more contractors.

Self build projects still require to comply with planning and building regulations, so better have an expert at your side for advice. Time is money.

Why are there so little self build projects?

As they say: no pain, no gain.

You will need to find a plot of land, present a project for approval to the planning authority, have sufficient financial resources – savings, a mortgage, or equity in your existing home – to support the entire operation, arrange the temporary accommodation where you and your family will stay while the works go ahead, ensure access to services is provided to the site – unless you want to be living off-grid, but the construction works may require water and power, somehow.

Self build is stressful, definitely more that browsing real estate websites.

What are the benefits of self building?

Some of the best reasons to undertake a self build projects are extremely practical, and include:

  • have a very bespoke house, tailored for your family and lifestyle
  • save up to 30% on the market value
  • future-proof your home, include all the technology and features, or allow for them to be installed in the future.
  • have easily 25% profit on the investment (or more)
  • claim back VAT on almost all building materials
  • pay reduced VAT rate to contractors

Additional VAT benefits could apply if you are converting an existing building to live in it.

Tempting, isn’t it?

I want to a kit home. Is it self build even if it is a prefab?

Off site construction is an excellent approach if the budget is not too stretched or if the site is located in a difficult context – limited access, adverse weather.

Yet it provides very high-quality results being the components factory made and inspected carefully during the process.

Alternatively, we are specialised in low tech and use of natural materials.

Either way, it could still be considered self build with all the associated benefits.

Here you can find further information on self building:
Homebuilding & Renovating
Self Build Portal

If you are thinking of self building, you should already contact us to talk about your project.

We currently offer a free consultation service and we are pretty sure you will like it.

It’s as simple as clicking on get in touch and we will help you take the right steps.

What should I do if a project goes wrong

If you have decided to start a building project without an architect at your side, you must be prepared if things don’t go in the right direction.

If you are not happy with the project or with something that the contractor is doing, or simply is not as agreed, it is best to speak with them.

Chain of command

Remember that general tradespersons may not have the full vision of the project and there is a strict chain of command to respect for a project to go smooth.

Start speaking about your concerns with the site manager or project manager, they can help with your queries and take action. It is good practice to recap what you asked and what they answered in an email.

If this was not enough, you can escalate your complaint to the contractor’s administration or company director.

Ask them to put things right and ask them to explain how they will do it.
Ask them also to put a plan of action in writing to you.

If the works are ongoing, keep a written note of any lesser products being used, unsatisfactory workmanship, unexplained delays or not following plans.
Remember to document with photos, receipts and emails/screenshots, make a note of dates.
Keeping records will help you prove if they are in breach of contract.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says the trader undertaking home improvements, building or decorating should take reasonable care and skill.

The trader should put right any unsatisfactory element of work or – if this is not possible – give you a refund.

Things going wrong

If your concern is about any part of the work being unsafe, highlight this immediately to the contractor, if the problem is not resolved promptly you should report them to Trading Standards.

If the contractor (or tradesperson) does not correct the problem or give you a refund, you can take your complaint to the trade association of which they are member.

Outline your rights and contact act in a letter, explaining the problem, what you have asked to remedy and what has happened in response.
Also, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau has letters you can copy that will show service providers you know your rights.

If no action has been taken to this point, you can consult a law firm or charity specialised in alternative dispute resolutions, where an independent person will look at your problem and decide what should be done about it.

Agreements made during this process are legally binding and it is cheaper than going to court. Should you end up in court in the worse case, some judges prefer if you have tried this route first.

Some trade associations have their own alternative dispute resolution, so try asking them before appointing your own.

More information about what to do if you have problems with building work can be found on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website.

Hassle-free solution

A project can be as simple as renovating and re-decorating or as complex as an entirely new construction.

Among our services we offer the possibility to assist you during the works until completion as your representative and inspecting the site regularly.

We will assign a CSCS qualified Competent Person working with the contractor to take site decision and using our expertise to foresee problems to prevent things from going wrong.

If they still do, we will be at your side to make sure they will make things right.
Having a professional at your side is the best hassle-free solution.

Whether you are planning a project from scratch or you already have a layout to bring to construction, we can help you achieve great results.

You can visit us to talk about your project or contact us and request a call back.
Being in expert hands is few clicks away.