We are often asked if we have any top tips or golden rules for self-builders about to embark on a property project.
The answer is yes. We have lots of tips and tricks our team has picked up in more than 30 years of helping people to create their dream homes. Here are eight of our favourites, which should help if you are just starting out:
1 Listen to your design team.
Ensure you get a good team of construction professionals, including an Architect, surveyors, planning consultants and engineers. Only start a building project after taking professional advice – no matter how small the project – and make sure you listen to this advice.
2. Allow enough time.
Most home-building projects take longer than the gestation period for humans. If you are pregnant, the work will finish after the baby arrives. It will probably be ready after Christmas. Allowing enough time will help you manage your costs and reduce stress levels.
3 Trying to achieve too much with too little funds.
Set your priorities around your means and objectives; be realistic, don’t expect champagne if your budget is better suited to sparkling wine, and make sure you include a contingency. Building projects almost always cost more than you think.
4. Allow enough time for the design process.
Commonly, people underestimate the time it takes for an architect to design their home. Good design is challenging; cutting corners when your project starts will likely increase costs and delays.
5. Don’t change the specification (more than finishes) after a contract price is agreed upon.
Securing accurate pricing from a builder relies on a detailed description of the property and the finish you want to achieve. If you change this frequently after contracting a builder, you should expect the price and professional fees to increase.
6 Choose your builder carefully.
A contractor’s past performance does not guarantee future performance. It is a good indicator, and reference checks with previous clients are essential but remember to do your homework before appointing your builder. Are they a limited company? Do they have a good credit rating? How well do they communicate? Employing a contractor should always be about more than just price.
7. Don’t assume it will go without a hitch.
Building is not like shopping, and the end product can be intangible. Trust your architect and prepare for the inevitable bumps along the way. Building your home will be stressful, but engaging a professional and experienced architect will help.
8. Choose your site carefully.
You can’t change the location or move where the sun rises or sets. A good architect can advise on a site before there is even a building, which should give you the best possible result.
So there you have some of our golden rules for self-builders. We hope they are useful in helping you to get your property project off on the right foot.
You can always contact us if you would like some advice tailored to your situation. Our team of architects and interior designers are always happy to help.