The most important tips for self-building success, where do beginners start self-building?
Especially if they have no previous experience in the construction industry?
Here are our top tips for a budding selfie
1. Do your homework
Every building needs a solid foundation, and nothing is stronger than careful research.
Search through “self-building” events and exhibitions, and talk to people who have built their homes before.
Read all about the self-building process.
There are a number of exhibits and shows throughout the year that help educate potential self-builders in what to expect from their project.
Attending self-construction seminars can be very beneficial, and these are usually all-day events organized by individual companies or experienced trade organizations.
These seminars do not focus on individual building methods, but rather spend more time teaching attendees to become confident in building oneself.
Conversations give potential self-builders access to professionals – from architects and engineers to contractors.
There is also a chance to talk about your project with about 20 other people in your same position.
Think about what you hope your self-building project will achieve, and gather some detailed research on the costs you think your ideas might accrue to.
Compare the details of what you want and need from self-construction, and always think about the schedule for your project.
This is what attending presentations and seminars will give you basic knowledge of what exactly you need to consider,
and who you need to approach in the future.
2. Recruit Your Self-Build Team
A self-building project is about building for yourself, not necessarily building on your own,
and if you have not been extensively trained as an architect, or are skilled in the construction trade, it is always better to seek professional help.
By hiring an experienced project manager, project builders can save time and money
by taking care of things professionally, from finding a plot to designing a home, and from preparing the budget for the project to building it.
Hiring professional consultants is always a wise move, and the self-construction process requires an architect and a structural engineer.
However, if your project is in an inconvenient location, or has potential planning issues,
then you should consider adding a planning consultant, geotechnical engineer, and topographic surveyor.
If you are looking to obtain bank financing, you will need to speak to a professional mortgage advisor as well.
3. Create your Self Build Brief
You need to prepare a design brief to work on, before your architect can start designing your self-building dream.
It should cover the basics of self-building design, such as the number of rooms needed, or the architectural styles you prefer (or don’t like).
The way you and your family live in this self-building system is an important factor that you should also consider.
To help your architect designing your self-build house have a stronger understanding of your lifestyle,
try putting together a volume of magazine clippings, or using the Internet to share your insights via a virtual inspiration board.
4. Map your self-building plan
The prospect of building your own home is exciting,
but it is important not to overthink when you envision what your self-building system will look like.
Focus on acquiring the plot of land that you will have to work on before considering any design planning.
Once the correct plot of land with the required permission is yours,
you are ready to work with the architects to design your self-build house.
Don’t give yourself the frustrating and disappointing scenario of having self-built design in mind, and there’s no perfect place to build it.
A portion of your budget should include the cost of a plot of land,
and the cost of this will vary depending on the area you choose for your self-construction home.
You can waste a lot of time searching for land, so it is essential to determine the appropriate areas before searching for the plot.
5. Set realistic timelines
The time between your first envisioning the perfect self-building and the day when you move anything from 10 months to 10 years can take.
It is important to set realistic timelines,
as this will affect your borrowing requirements as well as your living arrangements in the meantime.
Too many self-makers mistake an unrealistic completion date,
based on a family occasion or major birthday – this is never a good idea because it can add undue stress to a process that really requires psychological calm.
6. Setting the Self-Construction Budget
Your brief will help you choose your architect – and let your architect design his services according to your requirements.
Depending on whether you want a particularly energy-efficient self-design,
or have detailed plans for a “large design”.
Your architect needs a budget to be able to design self-building,
and a good architect will never hold back from telling their clients that they can’t afford something.
Set a realistic budget for your self-construction project.
Make sure that money is not always spent the way you think it will be spent, and you should always be prepared for any mishaps.
Any minor issue at any stage of the self-building process can involve unexpected costs, so consider some emergency funds.
7. Evaluate your self-build site
Once your self-building designs are in place, another good way to check that you are happy with the plans is to outline the building on a large scale – using tape, for example.
Visiting the site to do so gives you the opportunity to discuss any inquiries you may have with the architect.
When you install building shape or room sizes don’t worry if you feel your self-build floor plan looks small.
Ultimately this is your project, your self-build house,
so going to site meetings is a great way to monitor how things are developing.
Regular meetings with project manager,
carpenter or professional team will limit any issues or problems and if there are any problems they can be picked up early and corrected quickly.
Try not to make a lot of changes once you start creating,
and keep in mind that changes to paper drawings are relatively cheap, and that changes to anything on the site will be more expensive.
There are many lessons to be learned during your self-building journey,
so build on them, and benefit from the experiences in other aspects of your life.
You may get stuck and envision another self-building development in the future,
so learning from your mistakes may be important moving forward.
In general, dealing with a self-built home tends to be an opportunity that will only be repeated once in a lifetime;
So, it is important that you enjoy this process as much as possible.
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