Last edited 16 Jan 2021

Main author

LABCWarranty Website

6 steps to building your dream home

See also: Self build home project plan for more detailed information.


[edit] Consider the land

The first thing to consider is whether there is suitable land available in the area you want and for the right price. There are several ways you can search for land to buy such as plotfinder, auctions, aerial maps, local council registers, energy companies or direct enquiries to private land owners. You can even advertise what you are looking for on Need-a-Plot noticeboards and wait for interested parties to come to you.

[edit] Setting a budget

Next you need to consider how you are going to fund your self-build project and make sure you have identified all the costs involved such as the plot of land itself, designers, contractors to do the work, cost of surveying, taxes and legal fees etc. Homebuilding and Renovating have a dedicated Build Cost Calculator which might be useful to gain a rough idea of costs involved.

It is worth looking into loans available to help you with your project, for example a government loan or a dedicated self-build mortgage.

[edit] Planning permission

The government have recently relaxed the rules on planning permissions but you should still check out what you can and can’t do without planning permission before you start. The Planning Portal website has some useful information to help guide you, but it is best to talk to the local authority.

You will also need to register your plot of land with the land registry.

[edit] Designing your home

Now you are ready to start designing your dream home. The first step in achieving this is to liaise with an architect or other designer to draw up options. It’s a good idea to have a clear design brief in mind beforehand to outline your aims, budget, style, etc. Make sure your designer has the appropriate competency to undertake the design.

Building regulations approval will be required.

[edit] Insurance/warranty

You will need self-build insurance to cover liability for the site and public liability. If you are managing the project yourself rather than through an architect you should consider getting employer’s liability insurance as well.

It is also worthwhile investing in a dedicated self-build structural warranty especially if there is a possibility of selling the home in the future as any mortgage lender will require this before sale.

See also CDM for self-builders and domestic clients

[edit] Construction

This is the stage where you will appoint your builders/contractors to carry out the work if you are not doing this yourself. The best way to choose who you want to complete the works is to obtain references and examples of their work and where possible visit existing properties/sites and talk to the home owners. Be sure to get several quotes for comparison and agree costs and timescales in writing before work commences.

See How to find a builder for more information.

For more detailed information on building your self-build home download a copy of the LABC Warranty technical manual free from our website.


[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

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