10 Steps to Building Your Own House

1st December 2017

Planning your build from start to finish will save you time and money in the long run. We've helped many customers who have learned the hard way that understanding your limits as well as your opportunities is crucial to getting it right first time.

1. Decide who you need to help your build project.
This depends on how much experience you have in things like architectural design, obtaining planning permission, choosing materials and house building. Everyone is different - some people have all they need to manage the project themselves; others benefit from professional support.

2. Decide on your budget
Include estimated costs for planning applications, building materials, fixtures and fittings, fees for people to help you with things you plan not to do yourself.

3. Pick your location
If you don't already have a firm idea of where you want to live, you'll need to identify an area that meets all your lifestyle and working requirements. Check local information such as crime rates, local school OFSTED reports, transport links, house prices. And visit a few locations to make sure it's somewhere you want to call home. If you're planning to build then sell, you'll still want to investigate all these aspects to test whether you're building in a desirable area. House prices will ultimately be what you need to take into account, along with your budget.

4. Work out what is important to you in your build
Make a list of the absolute priorities for your new build, including number of bedrooms and bathrooms, additional reception rooms, room sizes, access, garden space and specific features.

5. Find your perfect plot
Now you need a plot to match your requirements. You can find more about this in our article: How to choose a plot for your self build house.

6. Obtain planning permission
Firstly, ensure you understand the relevant Local Authority Local Plan and National Plan policies and guidelines. Then, make an appropriate plan that is clear and well presented. The quality and presentation of your plan is crucial; remember that your drawings and plans will be viewed not only by the Parish Council but also by other non-planning people, such as local residents and neighbours. You can find out more about obtaining planning permission in our article: Planning considerations when choosing a plot for your self build house. 

7. Purchase the plot
You can make a provisional offer for a plot before you receive planning permission but you should not proceed with a purchase until you are sure you can obtain the necessary approvals.

8. Design your build in detail or recruit an Architectural Designer to do this for you
Rushing ahead to the build phase without a detailed design is one of the most costly pitfalls of self build housing projects. Ensure you have the experience and capability to design your build fully - or recruit a specialist to help.

9. Build your house
Choosing a builder is a key decision. Ask around locally for recommendations (and check whether they delivered to time and cost), do your due diligence online, ask for examples of completed builds and get a range of quotations. Don't be tempted to choose the cheapest quote, as that can often backfire. Finally, ensure that the project is contractually controlled by the use of a Standard Form of Building Contract.

10. Get your VAT back
If as a self-builder your preferred build route is with a main Contractor, then your project will be zero rated for VAT (subject to HMRC guidelines). Alternatively if you wish to Project Manage your build and appoint sub-contractors, there is a process in place for you to reclaim the VAT you have paid (again subject to HMRC guidelines).

At Oakland Vale we specialise in bringing house build projects to life through creative, customer-focused design. We're also highly experienced at guiding our clients through the planning permission process. If you'd like to speak to us about how we can help, please get in touch.

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