Your Simple Guide To Self-Build Procurement Routes
You’ve found the perfect plot! You have the designs for your dream home, and they got through planning! You have a set of construction drawings that have passed Building Regs inspection, and you are ready to start building. By this point, you will have decided on your self-build ‘procurement route’ i.e. who is going to build the house and what contracts will you have in place to manage that process.
For those at the start of the journey, it is worth thinking about this decision now. The choices you make at the beginning of your journey will affect your entire design and build.
There are countless variations on how you can procure your build, but in general, they will fall into one of the following:
- Physically build the house yourself and buy all your own materials;
- Contract individual trades or packages of work (with options to procure materials yourself); or
- Appoint a main contractor to take sole responsibility for your build.
Most of the UK’s self-builders don’t want to physically build their house themselves. If this is your position, how do you decide between routes 2 and 3?
Risk, cost and time
It’s only human not to want to pay ‘extra’ for a main contractor, especially if you believe you can save money by doing things yourself. However, this can be a false saving and before you make that decision, it is worth thinking about two important factors:
How much time and effort are you able and willing to give to your self-build?
Do you want multiple companies to be liable for various elements of your build?
Don’t underestimate the cost (and value) of your own time and, if you’re new to building, how much longer it will take you to complete a task compared to a professional. Don’t underestimate the ways in which individual trades will blame someone else if things go wrong. You need to be confident that your contracts for each package of work leave no room for uncertainty, otherwise, you will be the one bearing the cost of bridging gaps or putting things right.
For those who don’t have the time to project manage the build themselves and don’t want the added risk and complexity of multiple contracts, the value of a main contractor who takes on sole responsibility for an entire build is huge. And the good news is, that with a well-negotiated contract it shouldn’t cost you more to follow this route. It will certainly avoid you footing the bill of unplanned costs to put things right.
Liability for putting things right doesn’t end when the build is finished. It carries on through the defect liability period and beyond. However, as time moves on, it gets harder to work out who is responsible when things go wrong, making a single point of liability even more attractive.
For those self-builders looking for an oak frame design, it is not unusual for the oak frame manufacturer to encourage you to enter a contract directly with them. This frequently happens before the true cost of the rest of the build is known and puts people in significant danger of overspending, with little room for manoeuvre. Not to mention split liability across complex construction elements. This isn’t the only way to procure your oak frame or any other off-site manufactured item, so don’t be pressured into this position. At the very least, make sure you have independent advice about the likely cost of the rest of your build before you enter such contracts. Complete Oak Home has all the expertise you need to help you through this process and since we’re not an oak frame manufacturer or a window salesman our advice is completely independent.
If you decide that working with a main contractor is the right route for you, there are ways you can achieve even greater cost certainty and remove more risks from your self-build by choosing between a tender process or a negotiated contract. Discover the difference this could make to your self-build dreams in our next blog.
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HERE'S WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY:
The Complete Oak Home offer something rather different, not oak frame manufacturers but oak frame experts who design & build oak frame homes.
HOMEBUILDING & RENOVATING MAGAZINE
The one thing that has enabled us to progress is I believe finding a company that is prepared to partner with us from the very beginning and take us through planning, design/costing, tendering and build through to completion (or to any stage along the way). The Complete Oak Home offers us a way of achieving our dream by undertaking those tasks for us.
M SMITH - KEARY
We have both had a good look at the designs and we absolutely love them. It hugely exceeds our expectations and for this we are truly thankful of your superbly impressive work! We are so excited to think that this could be ours - you are very talented indeed.