Why should I self build?

The idea of designing and building your own home can seem rather daunting, but it makes perfect sense, which is why it is the preferred option for homeowners in many other countries.

Thanks to a relaxation in planning laws it’s getting easier, with some local authority initiatives actively encouraging self build and there are an increasing number of "Custom Build" options available. With custom build, you purchase a serviced plot and can then work with a developer - or sometimes a company of your own choice - to create an individual home based on a pre-defined design code for the overall development. There is also plently of help and advice around in specialist websites, books and magazines, and self build shows. 

Build a house to suit your needs

You can design a house that best suits your own needs, rather than buying one built by a developer, whose primary purpose is to make a house appeal to the greatest number of people with profit very much a priority. This inevitably leads to compromises on choice and quality.

Can a self-built house be as good as a one from a developer?

It is likely to be better because you are not motivated by profit where speed and cost will be the main considerations. The construction work will still be undertaken by professionals, but you will be in charge of the spec, and of the procurement, so the quality will be down to you and your team of designers, builders and subcontractors.

Will I make a profit?

If the project is run well, there can be some considerable financial benefits on offer. Firstly, you will be cutting out a developer’s profit of 10 to 30 per cent on the average house build. Secondly, the labour and materials will be exempt from VAT, which means a further saving of 20 per cent. This is refunded at the end of the build.

In practice, a lot of this cash is often spent on a higher spec, resulting in a more comfortable and energy-efficient house that will cost less to run than a developer-built house and therefore give savings in the long term.