Around 20,000 people develop their own homes every year, whether converting, renovating or building from scratch. If you want to be one of them, there are a number of things to consider:
Using the Internet, you can engage the help of land finding agencies to get an idea of what land is available and how much it will cost.
Some organisations will even find you a plot, get planning permission and negotiate a price for you.
Plots come in many forms. They may or may not have planning permission, could be attached to someone else’s property, or out in the middle of nowhere. Some land might be affordable, but with good reason.
Local people can tell you more about the history of the land than you will find on the Internet. Chat to them and find out more about the situation, such as any plans to develop the surrounding area.
Take a look at *choosing your location* to find out how your plot can affect your carbon output.
It is wise to get planning permission before buying a plot, otherwise you may find yourself with land you cannot build on.
Different areas have different classifications, such as green belt land, or areas of outstanding natural beauty. These classifications have different restrictions on whether planning permission will be granted or not.
Planning permission also depends on the type of home you want to build. Using materials common to the area will satisfy one of the requirements of the planning authority.
Check what other national and local rules apply to your area.
An architect can manage your project on your behalf. Choose one you trust and make sure you like other buildings they have designed.
Be detailed about what you want and ask for visual tools such as models and scrap books.
With hidden and unexpected costs, your self build project could cost double what you expect. Tell your architect your budget from the start so things can be planned accordingly.
Self build mortgage companies release money in stages, which can help your cash flow when paying builders etc.
The government wants all new homes to be carbon neutral by 2016. With this is mind, think about what sustainable materials you will use for the structure, insulation and heating. Take a look at *sustainable self build materials*.
If you are building off the mains gas network, think about how you will heat your home and water efficiently. Design around this, rather than limiting your choice of fuel to what will fit around your finished product. Compare fuel options.
Look at our energy efficiency tips.
Decide how involved you want to be in the project. You can hire a project manager, or take a one-day course to help you manage the development yourself.
When looking for a builder, go by local recommendations. Ask to see work they have done and get references.
Be sure to ask for quotes, not estimates, so you know exactly how much you will pay.
*sustainable self build materials*– your options for sustainable building.
http://www.planningportal.gov.uk– advice on how to get planning permission for your self build.
http://www.findabuilder.co.uk - find a builder from the Federation of Master Builders.