Top tips from Dermot Bannon on self-building
11 expert tips for a self-build
1. Start with a really good set of working drawings from your architect, with a detailed specification. These are your instructions for the build so the better they are the easier your build.
2. Work out a realistic programme for the build and mark these down onto a critical path graph. Items that are on the critical path have a knock-on effect on everything else.
3. If you can get somebody to price the drawings, to give you a proper indication of what each part of the build should cost, this will give you an indication of what your quotes should be coming in at.
4. Give yourself time to get three quotes in for every item and set deadlines of a couple of weeks before the items or subcontractors have to be on site. If you rush these you won’t get the best prices.
5. Choose sub-contractors that have been recommended and registered. The worst thing on site are subcontractors who don’t get along. You want everyone on site to work as a team - less stress and a better build!
6. Be aware of lead times for certain delivery of products such as windows - they can be up to 10 weeks sometimes. This can have a huge effect on your build if ordered too late.
7. Leave yourself enough time in the day to go to the site and handle phone calls. Many people enter into a self-build whilst holding down a full time job. Things will need to be acted on and decisions made every day.
8. Expect that it will be stressful and difficult at times. You are taking on the role of the builder, not going into it blind will make it a little easier.
9. You are in control of the budget so you may make a significant saving on some items. Whilst it is a good idea to stick rigidly to your drawings, there may be opportunities to upgrade items such as radiators or underfloor heating and still keep under budget.
10. Be aware of the new building regulations. Appoint an assigned certifier and take their advice!
11. If you can afford it, appoint a project manager. It saves you a huge amount of time and energy.