What Is The Definition Of Self-Build?

 

According to Wikipedia, the definition of self-build is “the practice of creating an individual home for oneself through a variety of different methods.” If you’ve taken even a cursory glance at self-building publications or TV programmes, you’re probably getting a case of identity crisis. Are you a self-builder? Do you need to lay bricks to qualify? Here we make some useful definitions to help you out of the mire.

Whilst these are not universally used definitions they may help you decide what companies and services will suit you best.

1. Self-build DIY

This approach is for people who can and want to undertake a certain amount of the building work themselves. This is normally because they have some of the necessary skills, are connected to the construction industry or have friends in it.

By using their own time and asking favours of friends, they expect to make cost savings on their project. They have the time and inclination to get very closely involved in the practical construction and are willing to take on the risks associated with doing so.

For those who genuinely have the appetite and expertise to carry out this role, this can be a good route.

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2. Self-build self-managed

This approach is for people intending to source and manage multiple sub-contractors e.g. ground workers, brick layers, carpenters, electricians, plumbers etc. in the expectation this will cut out a main contractor or builder’s profit.

They may have experience in project and contract management and are willing to take on some of the risk associated with building a house and have the time to dedicate to it.

The problem with this route is it rarely offers the expected because the DIY’er doesn’t get the level of trade discount available to builders, they need to fund at least some of the VAT until the end of their project before they reclaim it, they’ll have no retentions monies to ensure trade people complete work to specification, there won’t be a rectification period as with a main contractor, and (probably worst of all), unless they have specific building experience or a really simple build, the things they miss will end up having them pay more …

3. Self-build turnkey

A turnkey solution is for people who want to be closely involved in the design and specification of their house but want one company to look after all other aspects of the project, from getting planning, value engineering, cost control through to completing the construction.

They want a high degree of cost certainty, a house built within an agreed time frame and want to minimise risks that might prevent either of these happening. They will want to be in full control of their project but have the option to dip in and out at any time in the process, either due to their own time constraints or interests.

And because it avoids the pitfalls of the self-managed build, perhaps surprisingly, it usually costs no more, or indeed can even be more cost effective!

So there you have it. Hopefully this helps to give you a better understanding of the definition of self-build and to clarify what type of self-builder you might be. In addition it may help you decide which route you want to go down in terms of turning your self-build dreams into reality.

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