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Building your own home

Discussion in 'Home and Garden' started by sja360, Jun 17, 2020.

  1. sja360

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 28, 2003

    Posts: 3,868

    Location: Dundee

    Has anyone gone through the process of a self build and regretted it or has any tips or things they wish they knew before taking up the build. I'm talking about the overall scope, ie wish they had a bigger or smaller plot, less or more internal space etc. Upped the budget etc.

    I'm highly interested in renewables and the passivhaus standard. I realise this isn't the right forum (self build forums all over the web) but thought I'd ask here to get an unbiased point of view.

    Hopefully someone out there has some experience/knowledge from doing it.

    Cheers,
    Stephen
     
  2. Semple

    Soldato

    Joined: Mar 5, 2010

    Posts: 6,586

    If i remember correctly @EVH had a megathread on here many years ago of his self-build? Not sure whether his focus was on renewables though.
     
  3. stuman

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Aug 27, 2003

    Posts: 1,657


    Me and the wife looked at this and started down the rabbit hole. It all quickly fell apart when we started to look at financing a self-build vs developer. There was not a lot of help from the government and mortgage wise, was looking at around 50% down.

    It's still on the cards for later, but we are going with a standard house and taking advantage of the government help available to first-time buyers which is not available when self-building.

    Sorry I'm not much more help, but i'd be interested in following this thread :)
     
  4. sovietspybob

    Mobster

    Joined: May 25, 2008

    Posts: 2,716

    Location: North Wales

    Yeah i built my own home 5 years ago, i'll see if i can find the some info i've posted on it before..

    Here it is - https://forums.overclockers.co.uk/threads/anyone-else-built-their-own-house.18804069/

    For us we bought a 1/4 acre plot and rented an adjacent 1/4 acre during the build as there just wasn't enough space as we produced a lot of spoil with where the house was located on the plot. We then bought the other plot and am so glad we did, while it wouldn't have been terrible it's really made it for me having the big garden with no possibility of another neighbour so close.

    You'll always need more money, we sure did compared to what we though. Then i'd say go over and over and over the floor plans that you get drawn up, we had quite a few revisions and you really need to mentally live in the house and think where everything will go. I'm quite happy with our layout but there's still some things i'd change. For example i wish our utility room was bigger so i could put a chest freezer in somewhere but there's just no room for it, but it is a bit 1st world problems!

    If you've got any questions please feel free to ask.
     
  5. kai

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 15, 2007

    Posts: 2,871

    Location: S.Wales

    In 2 - 3 years, we are looking at a forever home. We have already spoken with a few people who have done something similar. Basically, the general feedback was have a contingency of around another 40% - 50% on top of your budget. You develop ideas and things grow.

    It's something if you are going to do, you want to ensure you do not look back and think - i wish i had done X or Y or had enough money to do this major change.

    Rather than rushing into things like i have done in the past with the current house for things like extensions etc. We will be sourcing the right Architects and Building Designers alongside an interior designer that understands our taste and vision. It's definitely something you want to get correct.
     
  6. sovietspybob

    Mobster

    Joined: May 25, 2008

    Posts: 2,716

    Location: North Wales

    Good advise regarding the budget, like with our house i felt i 'owed it to the house' to not fit an MDF staircase or laminate worktops, it needed the solid oak and glass stairs and granite in the kitchen and proper oak flooring.
     
  7. kai

    Mobster

    Joined: Oct 15, 2007

    Posts: 2,871

    Location: S.Wales

    One thing my wife has started doing it following lots of people on Instagram who are in the middle of self builds or have recently finished. They often do Q&A sessions. I recommend looking at Houzz also to get ideas and get an idea of costs.:o.

    Often, people do not budget for things like landscaping. A garden transformation alone can be eye watering. Planning 40-50K these days on garden design and build is not uncommon
     
  8. Derek W

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 1, 2008

    Posts: 11,354

    Location: Glebe Park


    I can't comment on the self build process as such but how far have you looked into things yet or is it still just a thought you're having?

    Have you looked at plots of land / redundant buildings yet to purchase? You're just down the road from me so this link may help? https://bit.ly/2C8yDR1

    Architects and Engineers Fees to be considered, depending on the firm, they may charge a percentage of the total build cost or on an hourly basis to produce the drawings. Also allow for a variety of possibilities depending on the land / property you buy e.g bat survey, contaminated land survey etc

    Rough costs for a house in the area would be between £1800 - 2500 per square metre. But these figures change depending on the area you're looking in as well as finishes in the rooms of the house. E.G MDF is cheaper than Oak skirting etc

    Mortgages - if its a self build mortgage you're more than likely only going to get a max of 60% as the bank needs you to prove you can fund at least part of it and also the mortgage amounts only get released at certain stages after a segement is completed so you have to self fun the start of the process. Contigency - Allow at least a 10 - 20 % overspend within your budget because if Grand Designs has taught us anything, everyone's budget will be blown by 'unknowns' which are thrown up during the build, crap ground conditions resulting in more expensive foundations / fancy taps for your bathroom etc

    As mentioned by Kai, landscaping is sometimes forgotten about, who wants to live in a fancy house surrounded by mud and weeds!

    Services - depending on where you buy it could cost £1,000 to get an electric supply but it could also cost £10,000 and this applies to all services so be aware that your location could be great for views but dire for getting the basic water, electricity etc to you!

    In terms of renewables / passivhaus design, I produce EPCs for our clients so like yourself I'm very interested in that side of things as well (not a passivhaus designer though) I do have a book on passivhaus design but not read too much into it yet. I did see there is a table relating to a house of 78m2 (2 bedroom house) which based on 2015 figures estimated that a normal house would have cost approximately £98,000 but the passivhaus equivalent would have been £115,000 so about 15 - 20% more expensive than a normal house (better insulation etc). Renewables are a tricky one as there has been a fair reduction in grants / funding for the various options as its becoming more normal due to the way the regulations are geared up. E.g PV panels for electricity have pretty much run dry on any incentives (ability to get paid to feed back into the grid) and if you're paying £10,000 for panels on the roof you want some benefit which the majority of people wont unless you install a battery pack to store it for the evening when you will be at home (perhaps different in the current climate though!)

    Think that's all off the top of my head so far. :o

    Edit

    When designing things think about space. E.g compare room sizes you want / require for furniture etc in comparison to where you are now. So if your bedroom is too small add an extra metre or two so it's the size you want. Disclaimer - this will increase costs!
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2020
  9. Derek W

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 1, 2008

    Posts: 11,354

    Location: Glebe Park

  10. jsmoke

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Jun 17, 2012

    Posts: 9,214

    My dad built a house in the late 80s, I helped out as a kid. I was just talking to him about it, it's actually pretty easy according to him.

    Need planning permission/architect/surveyor etc.

    Then get in a digger to dig out the hole, fill with concrete, get your measurements all together, build the dwarf walls, lay the frame on top of these walls(frame doesn't even need to be secured to the walls), put up the trusses, fill in outside frame and roof with chipboard(plywood etc), put felt and tile batons on root, tile roof, get a bricky to do the brick walls.
    Get somebody to harl the walls.

    Build some steps. Work on inside plasterboard/painting etc tidy it all up, electrical, plumbing.

    Going to need to sort out drainage and sewerage also.
     
  11. sovietspybob

    Mobster

    Joined: May 25, 2008

    Posts: 2,716

    Location: North Wales

    While you can do a lot yourself, almost everything in fact you do still need to comply with building regs and get inspections at set points and also comply with all the relevant regulations so it's not quite as straight forward as renting a digger and cracking on.
     
  12. jsmoke

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Jun 17, 2012

    Posts: 9,214

    Well we did it and that's what what we did, may e things have changed since 30 years ago, I'm sure there are more regulations, however I did mention the surveyor, and yes we had people around inspecting it. We built a 6 bedroom house with sun lounge, so I can tell from experience that it's quite straightforward if your prepared to put in the hard work.
     
  13. lewism

    Mobster

    Joined: Mar 10, 2006

    Posts: 2,589

    Location: Fife

    There is a very stark difference between an architect designed, bespoke home and an off the shelf kit house. It comes down to how individual you want it to be and how much money you have.

    For me, the land is more important. I'd take a kit house any day.
     
  14. JRJ

    Hitman

    Joined: Oct 21, 2010

    Posts: 875

    Currently 3 years next month in our temporary home :rolleyes: The property we bought we are the 3rd generation to own and came with a considerable plot of land so had a sentimental connection and plots this size are difficult to find or are snapped up by developers quickly in our area.

    Listen to everyone's stories, plan for every contingency and if you're lucky it'll go to plan :D

    We gutted the original stone property back to bare walls with the original plan to have a builder build a sealed weather tight extension and renew the roof and frame internally the old house and would then become a self build from that point onwards, spoke to a lot of builders and settled on one particular builder, good reviews, won local awards for builds turns out he was absolutely useless at managing sub contractors which resulted in long periods of time with nobody turning up which then knocked on to missed time slots for plasterers etc so ensure you have a time frame written into a contract and penalties if they aren't met.

    Like I said you cant forecast every contingency, once digging on site started with us it was soon realised that the retaining wall needed to be bigger than expected with an extra 100ton to come out this also led to needing to underpin a neighbouring property £30k we hadn't budgeted for.

    I don't regret anything and I'm looking forward to living in the house, this will be our forever home.
     
  15. Kamakazie!

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jan 12, 2003

    Posts: 1,814

    Depending on your area, you want to engage a builder early. Experience around me suggests there are not very many builders with any working knowledge of modern building methods. Going Passivhaus means materials & methods that they really aren't used to and you'll have to do a lot of educating & monitoring particularly around things like air tightness & interstitial condensation.
    Finding a builder with some experience means you can design around the technologies they've used before.

    If in an area with more of this sort of building then you probably won't have any issue finding someone that used SIPS or ICF or adapted existing cavity to meet more stringent standards.
    This may increase your 'budget' because you won't have pricing competition, but would hopefully reduce your risk pot & improve overall performance.
     
  16. Derek W

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 1, 2008

    Posts: 11,354

    Location: Glebe Park

    Things up in Scotland work slightly differently in terms of the regulations. Everything needs to be passed off before you can start work where as with England and Wales once you've planning permission you can crack on and build while making sure you adhere to the regulations. Better in my opinion to have everything in place first before lifting a shovel! Still not too much of an issue to tackle things yourselves doing something but you will still need to have things checked / approved by a registered electrician / plumber etc as certificates need to be handed over at the end of the build to Building Standards. Might be tricky to get a sparky / plumber to certify someone elses work though as they'll have missed out on the job in the first instance but will no doubt add in a surcharge to make it worth their while.
     
  17. Derek W

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 1, 2008

    Posts: 11,354

    Location: Glebe Park

    @sja360 were you looking to move forward with this anytime soon (current climate may influence this!) Or just to get a bit more info? Obviously it's a big undertaking building your own house!
     
  18. sja360

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 28, 2003

    Posts: 3,868

    Location: Dundee

    Hey Derek,
    Looking at more information & experience at the minute. I've been scouting for plots for a while trying to figure out how it would all piece together and cost.
     
  19. FISHGUTS

    Hitman

    Joined: Jul 7, 2004

    Posts: 799

    Location: N.W. England

    Yes I've done 3 self builds.
    The last was 12 years ago now. I was planning to build my way out of a mortgage, but then found an old bungalow on huge plot, got planning for a replacement and then knocked it down & built a big house on the plot. Too happy to move now.
    So to get a decent size plot I'd look for a knackered bungalow on a big plot.
    I've done both traditional & timber, the last being timber & it's great.
    I'm now in detail planning for 35 houses & looking at SIPs timber frames, coupled with air source heat pumps.
    Scotframe do a great Timber frame build for selfbuilders, which is a bit of a one stop shop, where they supply a lot more materials.
    Their own designs are a bit crap though.
     
  20. Orionaut

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Aug 2, 2012

    Posts: 7,815

    Once you are getting to those sorts of prices, are you not possibly getting to the point where it is breakeven or even profit not to be connected at all.

    I have a neighbour with a borehole and she loves not being tied to the water company. We both have septic tanks (I may have a borehole somewhere from a previous owner but it is "Lost" for now, I will have to try to find it sometime :) )

    As for electricity, the issue for now is the cost/life of batteries. Installing suitable panels (And for hot water too) as part of a new build construction should be cheap enough