Building your own home

Whether you have been inspired by Grand Designs or are simply keen to provide a tailor-made home for your family, self building can provide not only your ideal home but also a real sense of achievement.

Guide to building your own home
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Though the process can be exciting and fulfilling, it is not without its stresses and if things go wrong, a self build project can be costly.

Here are a few tips on how to get started, how to minimise the risks and practical tips to achieving a successful build.

Before you start
Building your own home is a huge undertaking and the decision to self build should not be taken lightly. Cost should, of course, come into consideration - you will need a rough estimate of how much the build will cost for initial planning and a contingency fund is essential if you are to overcome unexpected problems.

It is also important to decide whether you want to be heavily involved in the project or employ a project management service to provide the design and carry out the build. Homebuilding can be a time-consuming process and varies greatly from project to project - if you have a tight budget, you may have to sacrifice quality for cheaper options in order to keep costs down, as the longer the build, the costlier the project in general.

Think about where you will live once the build is underway - put in place plans and preparations, whether it be a rented property or an on-site caravan and factor these costs into your financial plans.

Buying the land
Good plots are not always easy to find in the UK and getting planning permission can be tricky, so it is important to remember that a piece of land that looks like a bargain is probably so for a reason. However, there are plenty of online plotsearch websites from which you can find opportunities across the UK.

If you have found a plot via other means, be sure to check the planning history and permission status and take the time to research potential constraints such as protected areas, flood risks, land contamination and so on.

Designing your home
Whether you have very specific vision in mind or just a rough idea of what you want, employing a designer either via a package company or architect will make life easier. They will be able to carry out site surveys, will understand building regulations and ensure that they are met, and produce formal plans to submit to planning officials.

Of course, you can discuss your options and change things according to your needs but always make sure that costs are not running out of control.

Alternatively, there are a variety of kit houses on the market, such as the HUF Houses featured on Channel 4's Grand Designs, which can be altered to provide a property that is unique to you and a quick to construct, saving you money.

The build
If you plan on project managing yourself, be prepared for plenty of pressure and a sizeable serving of stress. It will be your job to coordinate contractors, materials and equipment as well as keep an eagle eye on specifications, time frames, quality and legal requirements such as building regulations, health and safety and planning permission.

Should you choose to go down the package company route, then this will be largely taken care of but it is important that you monitor the situation closely to ensure that you don't end up with extra costs.

Careful planning and monitoring the build are key to a successful build but if you are determined to create your dream home, why not pay a visit to the National Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the Birmingham NEC. Running from 24 - 27 March, there will be experts on hand to provide advice, ideas and inspiration for your project.