Common pitfalls of self-builds to avoid

Embarking on a self-build is an amazing and rewarding journey-guaranteed to return many ups and downs. However, there are some precautions you can take to reduce the negatives and ensure your self-build project runs as smoothly as possible. In this months feature, we explore some of the common failures experienced during a self-build project and how you can take some precautions to reduce them.

Builder overlooking a house

Underestimating the time-frame

Far too often projects run over-time, causing added stress and tension to an already mammoth task. This can be a result of many reasons, often events you may perceive as being out of your hands such as late deliveries or unforeseen circumstances like a burst water pipe. Although some issues can’t be avoided, there are precautions you can take to ensure your project runs as smoothly and effectively as possible – and the main method is sufficient planning. Creating a Gantt chart may seem a tedious task, but can end up saving you days if not weeks of your self build. By establishing a time frame, and tasks that can be executed consecutively you can drastically reduce the time spent on your project – and reduce time spent waiting on a delivery of materials. For example, off-site manufacture is an increasingly popular building method and one we advocate and adopt at Sustainable Design Collective. It’s a great way of reducing on site hours and ensures a smoother running of procedures.

Taking on too much yourself

A common, but understandable, mistake to make is attempting to take on too much of your project yourself. Although you might be handy with a toolbox and eager to get involved – this can be a risky approach which may ultimately cost you time and money. Hiring a contractor for the specialist elements is much safer and will deliver reliable results, where you can specify time frame, quality and resources. Knowing when to bring in the experts will help you to stay on top of your workload whilst also harnessing the knowledge and expertise of professionals.

Underestimating the costs

Setting and sticking to a realistic budget is a vital aspect of a self-build project, but often one of the most challenging. Unexpected costs are almost inevitable, so ensuring you have a necessary buffer in your budget to accommodate for these is essential. You may also need to consider outside expenses too, such as your mortgage or living circumstances while you build. Figure out what’s essential for your project and what’s just a ‘nice to have’.

Planning in design

The temptation in a self-build home is to include everything you have ever dreamed of – granite worktops and four bathrooms, why not? The reality is you need to create a workable home that is also affordable. When building for yourself it’s important to consider what it is essential and what is a luxury – and make your home tailored to those specific needs. However, this said, it is also important to consider building for the future. Building a cosy one bed house may sound ideal – but if you’re planning a family in the future you might outgrow your dream home sooner than you think.
At Sustainable Design Collective we specialise in self-build homes, offering everything from architectural services to award winning timber frame kit homes for Passivhaus and Low Carbon projects. Our wealth of experience and knowledge can help you avoid some of these common mistakes, for any stage of project, don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free design consulation.