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Anyone built their own house?

(30 Posts)
Asleeponasunbeam Sun 25-Jan-15 08:22:05

Not literally, we don't have any construction skills, but would project manage it ourselves.

I'd just like to hear of resources, forums, workshops, exhibitions etc that have been helpful to people.

We're at the thinking/ waiting for a plot phase right now. Our starting point has been visiting nearby self builds and just beginning to talk to people.

SASASI Sun 25-Jan-15 10:03:56

In NI we have an ideal home exhibition show twice a year which features heavily on self build info & materials but if you are mainland thats not much help!

Were renovating a derelict property - no heating system etc & the best £ saving tip we have had is to use people who are not vat registered so you only pay vat on materials and not labour.

An architect would be a gd starting point but have a clear idea of your style / needs first as they each have their own styles if that makes sense?

WhatKatyDidnt Sun 25-Jan-15 10:22:06

Ideal home show in london was pretty poor last year - unless you live on the doorstep and get a free ticket I wouldn't bother. Grand Designs exhibition might be better.

Looseleaf Sun 25-Jan-15 10:52:14

We are thinking of doing this too. I think there's a big self build place with talks etc near Swindon somewhere.
I don't know how to find a good plot an hour or two West of London as googling hasn't found anything promising. So we haven't got far

Pickforme Sun 25-Jan-15 11:15:51

Yes, I built my own house with exDH. With reference to the post further up about only paying vat on materials. If it's a complete new build you don't pay vat on labour anyway and can reclaim vat on materials. My advice is to be super organised with receipts and invoices though as its a bit of a nightmare trying to find them all and sort it out at the end.

Don't know what else you want to know, any questions just ask smile

Asleeponasunbeam Sun 25-Jan-15 11:32:08

Thanks, I don't know what else I want to know either! Good to know it's possible.

I've seen exhibitions advertised in Swindon. Also quite a lot going on in Bristol - nearer for us. We're SW.

shanghaismog Sun 25-Jan-15 18:42:48

Yes, currently in the final stages. Has been an adventure and huge learning curve! Ask away!

Howaboutthisone Mon 26-Jan-15 14:33:24

Homebuilding and renovating magazine does some good shows that we've found helpful.

EnriqueTheRingBearingLizard Mon 26-Jan-15 15:36:52

My advice is to be super organised with receipts and invoices though as its a bit of a nightmare trying to find them all and sort it out at the end

It was a long time ago now but when we did it you could only submit the VAT reclaim form once, so best to budget well for spending it all and having a nice refund, rather than thinking of costs being net. You need to be able to buy as much as you possibly can before claiming.

We had to submit our file and they did go through it knocking back anything that wasn't allowed. There were odd anomalies such as you could get the VAT back on a fitted kitchen but not on fitted wardrobes; a proper range cooker if it also did the hot water but not if it didn't. That kind of thing.
Spreadsheets and ringbinders with folders for all receipts are your friend.

If you google self build forums UK you will find a few results including

Given my time again I'd put a lot of effort into researching the heating system and also the costs of servicing the site with utilities.

Would love to do it all again.

DramaAlpaca Mon 26-Jan-15 15:47:32

Yes, but we're in Ireland so resources here wouldn't be much good to you.

My advice is to be patient and expect it to take a lot longer than you think. It can be a very frustrating process at times. The end result is well worth it, though. Take your time finding the right plot for you and the right architect who shares your vision. We were lucky because our plot was serviced with utilities already. We ended up with a lot more house for our money by doing it ourselves, but there are several things we'd have done differently if we were doing it again.

I'd build again in a heartbeat, but I think we'll be in this house for a very long time. It's not perfect, but we love it.

ThreeQuartersEmpty Mon 26-Jan-15 15:54:57

Yes, we have.
One tip I have for you is to know where you are going to put furniture so that you can plan for sockets to be wired and radiators to be plumbed in the right places. Also, wall switches controlling floor or table lamps is handy.

Once you start to build, be prepared for the trades to ask questions that need immediate decisions to be made. You need to have planned every detail of your home before you start to build it.

Winterskies Mon 26-Jan-15 15:55:22

Yes. We did. Potton kit build. Came in on budget too. Would do it again if we ever had the need

Looseleaf Mon 26-Jan-15 19:10:16

Everyone sounds so positive smile

winterskies we are hoping to build a Potton home and did you find a potential plot and investigate planning for your specific house idea before you bought the land (if you did). I don't know how it works

We are finding it hard to find a good plot but it's early in our search and often agents seem to say things like 'outline permission for a 2 bed bungalow' when we want a 4 or 5 bed 'rectory' type house

Asleeponasunbeam Mon 26-Jan-15 19:28:20

Yes, you do all sound positive. Thanks for tips so far - I'm looking on the self build portal and have seen some courses that might be useful. Have also signed up for a couple of journals.

We're early on in the process of looking for a plot, although have been 'planning' this always.

Winterskies Mon 26-Jan-15 19:54:28

We built the rectory, the same as the show house. We already had the plot with outline planning permission and the council were no problem to deal with.

Looseleaf Mon 26-Jan-15 20:07:19

Thank you! DH sounds very excited and it looks amazing to live in...

We've been warned need a third of funds for the land, a third for connecting utilities and a third for the actual building costs

Winterskies Mon 26-Jan-15 20:26:51

It's wonderful to live in. Really warm and there is nothing I would change. We had 3 quotes from builders and used a local firm to do the build for us. The secret to keeping the costs down is to make your choice within budget and stick to it. Don't go on site too often because every alteration will come at a cost. The people at potton are really helpful and have regular seminars. Good luck!

Looseleaf Mon 26-Jan-15 21:51:21

How exciting. I worry we won't find a plot but going to give it a good shot and very cheered you got on so well.

Asleeponasunbeam Fri 30-Jan-15 12:00:41

A plot has become available that we're interested in - location and price perfect. It has detailed planning permission to pull down the existing 'cabin' and build a 4-bed house.

How do we find out how much flexibility there could be in the design? Our own requirements are obviously going to be very different to what's already been planned, otherwise we'd just buy a house ready-built. Who do I contacy about that initially? There's no point in us looking further at it if there is no flexibility there.


Asleeponasunbeam Fri 30-Jan-15 12:25:59

Have had some information from the agent, suggesting that a change in design is likely to be acceptable as the proposal that has been accepted is for something pretty unusual - ours will be too, but this is a good precedent I think.

Winterskies Sat 31-Jan-15 19:20:52

Excellent - speak to the planning department at the council for some guidance at this stage.

Asleeponasunbeam Sat 31-Jan-15 20:09:40

Thanks. Do you start paying for advice at this stage, or do council planning people meet for free?

Londonbug1 Sat 31-Jan-15 23:44:41

Yes we did for a second home.
To be frank it was a wonderful experience. Far far easier than an extension we have have recently completed .
My advice would be enjoy it its a great achievement how exciting you won't regret it

Winterskies Sun 01-Feb-15 08:19:33

You won't need to pay the council at this stage. Give the planning dpartment a call and have a chat.

Asleeponasunbeam Sun 01-Feb-15 08:44:17

Excellent, a job for tomorrow. Thanks.

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