Thinking of a self-build? The most common pitfalls

There are few things in the world that are more satisfying than building your own home.  Equally, making mistakes on such a project can be costly and time-consuming. At Chaucer Homes we recognise that this is a uniquely personal experience and that is why we take the time to get to know our clients and understand exactly what they are trying to achieve from the very inception of their project.

Building your own home is an enormous project to take on, if you have no background in construction or project management.

As experienced property developers we have seen it all. So, we thought we would take the opportunity to touch on a few of the most common mistakes people make when taking such a project on by themselves.

If you are thinking of embarking on such a project, give us a call on 01753 392 410 or email us. We could write at length about each of these issues, but for now, here are some of the most common mistakes.

Taking on too much

One of the most common misconceptions is that building a house is a relatively simple design and build project. Underestimating the nuances of the industry and the time it takes to manage such a project is the most common point of failure.

Trying to balance managing the project fully as well as a holding down a full-time job, family life and everything else is almost untenable for the lay person.

Some people don’t like the idea of paying for a project manager and think that they can take on the lion’s share of the work. However, we are regularly contacted by people who have made a start but hit a wall and need professional help. Don’t underestimate the commitment, speak to a construction expert.

Choosing your plot

Due diligence is the key phrase here. Picking a plot which is suitable for building requires research and a certain amount of expertise. Unfortunately, there are some scams out there which will purport to sell a piece of land which has no chance of gaining permission to build on it. If you have even the slightest doubt about anything to do with the purchasing of land, make sure you call a professional.

Aside from scams, there are a number of other issues you will need to keep an eye out for when buying a plot of land. Research its previous usage; chemical disposal or landfill can cause a number of issues and it’s not always obvious that the ground has been contaminated. Ensure you thoroughly investigate any previous ownership and usage.

If your plot is inside or within close proximity to a conservation area you may be restricted in how you can use your plot. This could include placing restrictions on the size of any property as well as what types of building materials you can use. You may also be encroaching on an area of protected wildlife and plant life which could count against you when applying for planning. Get your research done before committing.

Planning permission

Just because a plot doesn’t have planning permission, doesn’t mean it can never have one. Often a site will have planning permission rejected only for it to be granted on appeal or re-application. It is possible to gain pre-application advice from your local authority but there are no guarantees.

If you buy a plot with planning permission, make sure you check the date on the permission; they are only valid for three years and if your permission only has six months left to run, you might run out of time. This could also affect any financing you secure; lenders are less likely to accept a proposal if the timing is too tight.

While the process of renewing a planning permission is relatively simple, it is not guaranteed. Therefore, ensure your timelines have plenty of wiggle room.

Changing your mind

Once the project is in motion, changing one small detail could have a domino effect on a number of other aspects; from scheduled completion to materials and budget. Take your time to settle on your ideas during the design phase of the project. This will help you to stay on target with your overall timelines and budget. Changes mid-build can be time consuming and expensive.

The lesson to be taken from these common mistakes is to ensure you work with construction professionals who are experienced in building residential properties.

Get in Touch

If you would like learn more about how we can help you to build your perfect home efficiently and expertly, please contact us on 01753 392 410 or email us. You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – we would love to hear from you.

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