Do­ing your home­work can help save on self-build costs

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Sharon Dale

THE government is keen for us to build our own homes though there are many chal­lenges to over­come for those who want to cre­ate their own grand de­sign.

First you’ll need to find a plot and th­ese are rare in good lo­ca­tions. You can sub­scribe to www.plotfinder.net, which lists land for sale or keep an eye out for prop­erty that can be de­mol­ished to make way for a new home. Get­ting a mort­gage can also be a hur­dle. Most of the main­stream banks don’t lend to self-builders though some build­ing so­ci­eties are happy to lend to those who have a large de­posit.

If you do man­age to get to the start­ing block, spend time do­ing your home­work. Michael Holmes, ed­i­tor of Home­build­ing and Ren­o­vat­ing mag­a­zine and spokesper­son for The Na­tional Home­build­ing and Ren­o­vat­ing Show, be­lieves care­ful man­age­ment of your self-build bud­get can save up to 50 per cent on costs. Here are his tips: Con­cen­trate on the ba­sics when it comes to spec­i­fi­ca­tion. Most peo­ple have a pre­con­ceived idea that the cost of ma­te­rial, labour and ap­pli­ances will be really ex­pen­sive. How­ever, when on a tight bud­get, sim­ple meth­ods and ma­te­ri­als that house builders have been us­ing for years are usu­ally the best op­tion. For in­stance, a four bed­room de­tached house may need 15,000 bricks but by opt­ing for the cheaply priced ones you could save your­self £10,500 in the process.

Cor­ners add costs. A sim­ple four cor­ner house is cheaper to build than a six cor­ner house be­cause ev­ery time you add a cor­ner you in­crease the build cost per m2. The sim­ple ‘up and down’ roof re­quired for a four cor­ner house also makes it cheaper to build and al­lows you the op­tion of open­ing up a third floor which can in­crease your floor area by 40 per cent.

Utilise the at­tic space. If there is enough space it can be trans­formed into an of­fice or lounge or can be­come a study or an ex­tra bed­room.

Roof tiles. By opt­ing for large­for­mat con­crete tiles you will end up sav­ing more than if you pur­chase small, hand­made tiles or those from nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als.

Don’t in­clude a chim­ney. They are costly to build and mod­ern houses don’t need them. They stick out from the side wall and can sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the floor area of your house. By not in­clud­ing one in your self-build home, you can save around £2,000-£8,000.

Quoins and sur­rounds. Quoins are ma­sonry blocks placed at the cor­ner of a wall or win­dow which pro­vide a sur­round­ing fea­ture or dec­o­ra­tion. A cheaper and equally ef­fec­tive op­tion is to use con­trast­ing brick or a raised ren­der painted in a dif­fer­ent colour.

Ex­clude bay win­dows: They re­quire more work un­der­ground to form the foun­da­tions and you will also need spe­cial cor­ner bricks and lin­tels and, usu­ally, an in­su­lated, tiled roof and in­ter­nal ceil­ing for this. The lead flash­ings and cav­ity trays have to be hand­made and fit­ted mak­ing this more ex­pen­sive. As a re­sult there is usu­ally an ex­tra cost of around £2,000-£4,000 per bay.

Keep land­scap­ing sim­ple and turf the garden: An av­er­age garden area can be trans­formed for less than £500. To turf all your garden ar­eas by your­self just level, rake to re­move stones then roll and get the turf or­dered.

Grave. To make your drive­way and path­way look bet­ter there are many types and colours of gravel to choose from and they can be mixed and matched to good ef­fect. Al­ways aim to or­der full loads rather than the tonne bags as this will save you money.

Pa­tios. Sim­ple 2x2 con­crete riven-ef­fect slabs can be bought for just a few pounds each and will quickly give you a de­cent pa­tio area.

Fenc­ing. An alternative and much eas­ier way of putting up post and rail fenc­ing is by us­ing metal spikes in­stead of con­crete to set the posts in po­si­tion. This will make it faster, eas­ier and cheaper and you could even do it your­self.

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