The Self Build Self Help Site Hints & Tips

These pages are aimed at helping you to overcome the problems and pitfalls that are inevitable when undertaking a project as large and complex as building a house.

The term 'self build' can be construed in a number of ways, and your particular way of self-build will determine how you use the information from this site.

At one end of the scale, a self-builder will be project managing the build and doing a lot of the work him/herself. This is not for the faint hearted but should be the cheapest option. If you are considering this option then be aware that it will be a full time job unless you do it in your spare time and don't mind the project taking many years. You will also be handling the problems yourself, and will only be able to turn, perhaps, to your architect or your sub-contractors for assistance. You will need to understand your architect's charging structure - if you have only contracted them to produce plans then they may charge extra for any significant help or site visits they do for you.

Some days you could spend most of your time on management activities - which may jeorpordise your timescales if you have not factored this in. Overall, you could be spending up to a fifth of your time on project management (more on this under "Project Management").

You could employ a project manager on your behalf - who will then take a lot of the heat away from you, dealing with you and the sub-contractors, suppliers, architcts, resolving problems etc. You should still hold the reigns regarding design change decisions. Your architect may offer this kind of service, or be able to suggest a company who can.

The other end of the scale is to employ a main contractor who will then manage the work and consult with you when neccessary. This will be more expensive but will be safer and likely to get the job done much quicker - as long as you have employed a reliable company.

Whichever way you progress your self-build (or extension, renovation or modification) we hope that these hints and tips will provide working help or give an insight into what is being done on your behalf.

Although these tips have helped the authors when building houses, there may be particular local circumstances where they may not apply. If you are in any doubt then you should consult your architect or your main contractor.