Last edited 20 Nov 2020

Self-build home: Prepare a brief

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A clear, written brief should be prepared:

  • To help decide what is required.
  • To create a record of what has been agreed.
  • To describe requirements to other people, such as designers.

It can take a considerable time to develop a thorough brief and some self-builders may wish to seek expert advice to help them. However, it is important that the brief is 'owned' by the self builder, reflecting their personal requirements, not those of a consultant.

The brief is not a static document, it will develop as the project progresses and requirements are better understood. However, beyond the concept design stage, the brief should be strictly controlled as subsequent changes will incur increasingly large abortive costs.

Prepare a brief.

In the first instance, the brief should focus on the functions that need to be performed in the building, and should avoid being just a list of accommodation. That is, it should focus on ‘what you want to do’ rather than ‘what rooms you want to build’. This helps keep options open during the design process and avoids leaping to conclusions before requirements have been properly assessed.

The brief might include information about:

Next stage: Find a plot.

List of all stages.

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