With the help of renowned award-winning architect, Piers Taylor, the team at Scotframe look at what to consider when planning your project and how you can ensure your self-build project stays on track.
A self-build project can be a demanding, yet rewarding process, so it’s important to consider the reason you are choosing to build a self-build property. If you’re hoping to recreate a house similar to your neighbour, then a self-build project might not be the right option for you.
However, if you’re looking to create something unique, developing a room configuration and property that suits your lifestyle, then self-build project could be the ideal solution. And as Piers explains in the video, if it’s not all about you and what you want from the property, then there’s no point in making the investment.
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Piers Taylor is a renowned award-winning architect and broadcaster. Not only has he starred in many TV shows about self-builds, he also built his own home for him and his family to live in. These accolades made Piers the perfect person for Scotframe to team up with to discuss what to look out for when taking on a self-build project. Take a look at the video and read on to find out more.
Planning a self-build project can feel intimidating, as it can be a complex process. However, there are numerous people available to help and support you at each step throughout your journey. Whether it’s an architect, quantity surveyor, consultant, or experts from one of your suppliers, such as the knowledgeable team here at Scotframe, there’s someone available to give you advice and expertise at every stage of your self-build project.
Start with choosing your plot
It’s important to find a plot that works for you and your needs. However, it can be difficult when you’re unsure of what to look for in a piece of land. Firstly, it’s important for you to be excited by the space and potentially see something in it which no one else does, this means you can create something unique to you.
In some cases, you might not fall in love with the space straight away, but after a while you will start to learn things about the plot and understand the best use of the space, which will help to make it work for you and your build.
So, what are the key things to consider when investing in your plot of land?
What does it come with? Does it have all the services available for your project? A key element to consider is the road access – can the plot be easily accessed by a road? If not, this could have a significant impact on costs.
It’s also essential to check the ground in your plot and do your research on what’s in it and what it’s made from. Large rocks can cause disruption to a build, so it’s important to run soil analysis and trial pits or ground investigations. It might be an expensive exercise, but it could save you money and time later on in the process if you do this early in the build.
Finally, when you’re buying a plot of land to build your home on, it’s imperative to know you can build on that land. We would suggest having an informal chat with your local authority and planning department to ensure the land is available and that it’s safe to build on.
Knowing where and what you can build
When choosing your plot of land, consider where you can’t build, for example, on green fields or outside of a settlement boundary, unless you’re prepared to enter a very time-consuming planning process.
When buying a plot of land, it’s very important to know you’re able to build on that land – is it within a defined settlement boundary, has it had outlined planning permission or has it got full planning permission.
For some self-builders, planners are seen as the enemy, telling you what you can’t do. But Piers explains that planners shouldn’t be seen this way – they can tell you what you can do and help you get consent for your build. Planners will provide a framework with a planning policy, which tells you everything you need to hit in terms of points and ultimately get planning permission.
When planning your build, one key thing to consider is the local character of the area. The UK has very interesting architecture and each region is different and unique.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to match what’s already there. For example, if the environment is historical, you can still build something which is modern, but it’s important to be able to take cues from what’s already there. If you understand what your local policy says, are aware of the local architecture and keep this in mind for your build, you’re much more likely to get consent.
Our architectural team at Scotframe can be on hand throughout the process to help you obtain the correct approvals for your build, supply drawings and information to help you get your project underway.
Planning your budget
As part of the planning for your project, setting a budget and having a way of controlling it is a key part of the process. It’s important to be realistic about how much things cost. To ensure you’re realistic about the costings, we would suggest getting a cost check done by a quantity surveyor at an early stage, as this will help with accuracy.
A cost check will also help you gain a clear understanding of what’s included in the costs and look at what your mortgage covers and other options, such as a self-build mortgage with stage release of funds. With this, once the project is completed, you can then change the mortgage and look to get a better deal which is more suitable to you when the project is complete.
Understanding your project package
Knowing what’s included in any scope of work is important and, in most cases, fixtures and fittings aren’t part of the package. At Scotframe, we provide the timber frame, the fabric of the building, along with the walls, roof and internal elements, and would expect to see the ground works and substructure in place ready for our stage of the build.
It’s also important to know clearly where the package starts and stops, and when it becomes your responsibility to finish the project. An element that can sometimes be forgotten in the budget is the decorating and styling of the home, so we would recommend keeping this in mind when planning your project.
It can be incredibly upsetting and disruptive when a project costs more than planned, but what is the best way to avoid the upset? Planning in advance, defining a budget from the start, sticking to it, controlling, and managing it are all essential. However, it’s also important to ensure there’s a contingency plan in place, which can help cover those unplanned costs in unforeseen circumstances.
Things do often go wrong with a project, but that’s okay and is normal. There will be a team of people around you to help manage the situation when things go wrong, and it’s normally always possible to fix the problem, but you must allow contingency for the things that happen and that you can’t predict.
However, there are certain types of delays which you can plan for, such as the weather. Accepting your project will always be weather dependent is important. Plan for the colder, wetter months by making allowances for the weather, as it can influence the building process.
There might be pitfalls along the way with your self-build project, but as we have mentioned, there’s always a way to work around the problem and get your build back on track.
To find out more about how Scotframe can help with your project, or if you’d like to speak to one of our experts for any advice on planning a self-build project, please complete our online form or contact a member of the team.