The Good, The Bad and The Downright Mad – Self Build Homes


The term 'self build homes' is a bit of a misnomer. Very few people actually roll up their sleeves, start mixing concrete and invest in a nail gun. The truth is that most self builders will hire an architect, and will only get their hands dirty when it comes to the final decoration.

There are many arguments for and against self building and the main one is cost versus hassle. There is no doubt that building your own home is cheaper than paying a premium to a house builder, and if you truly go down the DIY route it's even cheaper. However, the stress involved in finding land, laying foundations and creating a home far outweighs the stress of simply moving into one.

That said, in Britain we are still curious about those who take on the challenge of self building. Over three million of us regularly tune into Grand Designs to watch the ups and downs of self-build projects. Surprisingly, as a nation we lag behind many other countries with amount of actual self building that we do. Only 10% of homes in Britain are self builds compared to 80% in Austria and 60% in other parts of Europe.

Taking on a true self build project can be as daunting as it is exciting. If clambering up an A-frame brandishing a nail gun is your thing, then DIY self-building is for you. However, if you want the ability to ensure that your new home fits your lifestyle as much as possible, but brandishing a paint brush is your limit, then hire an architect.

When it comes to self-build projects, an architect can be worth their weight in gold for the time saved and hassle avoided. They will project manage all the other construction professionals required and keep you updated regularly. Engaging an architect prior to selecting your plot of ground can reap great dividends. For example, that gorgeous bubbling stream that you see meandering through your back garden could translate as a genuine flood risk come the April showers when seen through an architect's eyes.

So before your project gets off the ground, weigh up the good points (lower cost), the bad points (loads of extra stress) and decide if you are of the DIY variety of self builders (you get to use a nail gun), or if you want an architect to protect you from all of the stress. Whatever you decide, happy self-building!

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