13 May 2024

Pre-start self build checklist

By Self Build Zone
self build checklist

Beginning a self-build project, particularly when building your own home for the first time, can seem overwhelming. So, before construction begins, arm yourself with some basic preparatory steps that could save you time and money later.

These include organising site insurance for the entire build period, appointing a designer, and your approach to meeting the required planning conditions.  Arm yourself with this pre-start checklist and start to realise your dream.

Protecting your site from the get-go

When you become the owner of a plot and exchange contracts, it is advised to obtain comprehensive site insurance for the duration of your project. This protects against loss or damage to tools and property and addresses your liability for any accidents on-site (Public Liability Insurance). Standard home insurance will not cover self-build projects. Instead, you’ll require specialised self-build site insurance, which provides additional protection, including coverage for situations where the construction doesn’t meet expected quality standards.

Appointing a designer

Combining your ideas for your dream extension with the expertise of an architect or designer is key to making your vision a reality, ensuring both style and structural soundness. These professionals turn your concepts into detailed, regulation-compliant plans, guiding you from the initial design to material selection and construction oversight. Their role is essential at each project phase, including helping to line up the relevant suppliers for the build type, doors/windows and HVAC systems.

Surveys and reports – what is required?

Several surveys may be necessary to ensure the project proceeds smoothly and complies with relevant regulations. These surveys help you assess various aspects of the land and proposed property and how they work within the design and construction process. Some key surveys include topographical surveys, utility surveys, structural surveys and reports, and ecological surveys. [54 words]

Planning design cost considerations

Once your planning permission is granted, monitor the planning portal for any conditions that need to be in place before starting work. During this pre-construction period, you can also use handy online build cost calculators (such as Build It’s Cost Calculator and Estimating Service. These tools prove invaluable as your project begins to take shape and help you track your budget/spending.

Building Regulations and Project Specification

Every new home design must comply with building regulations, necessitating inspections from a Building Control Inspector at critical construction phases to verify that the work meets these standards.

The plans needed for building control approval are significantly more detailed than those required for planning permission and usually necessitate commissioning as an extra service. Building Control typically demands structural calculations from a certified structural engineer, who you can hire during the structural drawing phase. It is also recommended that you take out a self build structural warranty policy at this stage to protect the work carried out for ten years following the build completion.

Finding a builder and setting a schedule

Choosing a building contractor with experience with projects similar to yours is advisable and offers the opportunity to inspect their past work. Look for recommendations from friends and family and opt for builders affiliated with recognised organisations, such as the FMB, for greater confidence and peace of mind. Selecting the appropriate builder helps establish a feasible project timeline and working schedule, considering variables like weather conditions, material availability, and subcontractors’ schedules.

Is your site ready for the construction phase?

If your plot location is pretty remote or rural, it may take longer to connect your utilities. Work together with your builder to assess your temporary power requirements to allow work to start, plus any site huts/welfare hubs. [38 words]




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