Begin­ners’ guide to self-build

Build­ing a fu­ture

The Arran Banner - - Self Buid & Renovation -

Whether you’re a joiner, builder, trades­man, or home owner, Rem­brand Tim­ber will help you find the ma­te­ri­als you need all un­der one roof, at their Irvine branch.

Hav­ing been the largest in­de­pen­dent tim­ber mer­chant in Scot­land for over 30 years now, and with 18 branches around Scot­land, they’ve got the tim­ber, sheet ma­te­ri­als, doors, floor­ing and win­dows that you need for your job, and, more im­por­tantly, they’ve got the right qual­ity at the right price.

To all this add build­ing ma­te­ri­als, plas­tics, roof­ing prod­ucts, dec­o­rat­ing, plumb­ing, bath­room sup­plies, and a friendly knowl­edge­able ser­vice all here at Rem­brand Tim­ber. While the largest num­ber of new homes be­ing con­structed in the UK each year is not self-built, many of us dream of build­ing our own home. Of course, most of us will never do it, leav­ing it in­stead to the pro­fes­sion­als. How­ever, ev­ery year, some 13,000 peo­ple em­bark on a self-build ad­ven­ture. There are en­thu­si­as­tic ama­teurs, ex­tremely com­pe­tent DIYers and in­di­vid­u­als with a back­ground in con­struc­tion who will un­der­take most as­pects of the build­ing work them­selves. Then there are those who have nei­ther the skills, the time, or the in­cli­na­tion to at­tempt the work, pre­fer­ring to ap­point a rep­utable con­trac­tor to un­der­take the work on their be­half. Which­ever way you choose to go, the process and the stages of con­struc­tion will be the same. How­ever, ei­ther op­tion will bring ben­e­fits and chal­lenges which will be­come ap­par­ent in dif­fer­ent ways as the project de­vel­ops. Typ­i­cally, by do­ing all the work your­self the key ben­e­fit will be one of sav­ing you money. Of course sav­ing money is great but with­out a large team of helpers who are will­ing to work free of charge, it will take longer to build, es­pe­cially if you have a day job to go to. Bud­get con­trol has to be your num­ber one pri­or­ity, ir­re­spec­tive of the route you choose. Depend­ing on the scale of your project you will also be li­able to pay­ing VAT, which in­curs an ad­di­tional cost of 20 per cent. We’ve all watched pro­grammes like Grand De­signs, and while these un­doubt­edly pro­duce some stun­ning re­sults, they are not with­out their chal­lenges when it comes to hav­ing ex­pec­ta­tions that ex­ceed bud­gets. This is where many self-builds be­gin to strug­gle from day one. It is re­ally im­por­tant that if you plan to man­age the work your­self, you un­der­stand the scope of works that you are about to un­der­take and the costs as­so­ci­ated with achiev­ing your de­sired fin­ish. Cap­tur­ing the essence of un­der­stand­ing cost and value, art critic John Ruskin once said: ‘It is un­wise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too lit­tle. When you pay too much, you lose a lit­tle money – that’s all. When you pay too lit­tle, you some­times lose ev­ery­thing, be­cause the thing you bought was in­ca­pable of do­ing the thing it was bought to do. The com­mon law of busi­ness bal­ance pro­hibits pay­ing a lit­tle and get­ting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the low­est bid­der, it is well to add some­thing for the risk you run and if you do that, you will have enough to pay for some­thing bet­ter.’ What he is say­ing is that just be­cause you have a cheap price don’t think that this is go­ing to give you ev­ery­thing you have asked for. You need to be able to in­ter­ro­gate your cost base to en­sure it is de­liv­er­able within your bud­get and ini­tial scope of works. In­evitably, you get what you pay for. If you are go­ing to em­bark on the self-build route, our ad­vice is to em­ploy a com­pe­tent quan­tity sur­veyor to as­sist you in com­pil­ing a ro­bust scope of works that can be priced and will give you a ba­sis for manag­ing and con­trol­ling cost as the project de­vel­ops. Manag­ing the project your­self will take time. You need to en­sure that you have the time to ded­i­cate to the project, rather than re­ly­ing on trades­peo­ple manag­ing them­selves by day and you try­ing to pick ev­ery­thing up in the evening, as you also jug­gle fam­ily life. The self-build route will def­i­nitely save some money. How­ever, un­less you seek com­pe­tent cost ad­vice at the out­set the sav­ing will be im­mea­sur­able as you won’t have a ba­sis upon which to as­sess the in­vest­ment in your own time and lack of pro­fes­sional knowl­edge against that of a com­pe­tent, ded­i­cated con­trac­tor.

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