WE LEARNED...

Build It - - READERS’ HOMES -

DON’T UN­DER­ES­TI­MATE the amount of time needed to pre­pare your plot for the build – even with the pack­age route. In par­tic­u­lar, make sure you ap­ply for ser­vices such as water and elec­tric­ity as soon as you pur­chase the site, as these take a long time to go through.

WATCH OUT for the CIL (com­mu­nity in­fra­struc­ture levy), which is a plan­ning charge some lo­cal au­thor­i­ties im­pose to help de­velop the lo­cal area. Self builds are ex­empt, but you need to sub­mit the right forms at the right times in ad­vance of the work to show you’re not li­able, and after­wards to demon­strate com­pli­ance.

IT’S WORTH RENT­ING close to the site so that you’re eas­ily avail­able to deal with any queries and main­tain lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your con­trac­tors. Although there is a down­side to this: we moved house three times in 17 months. It’s also im­por­tant to plan for any lan­guage dif­fer­ences that might arise.

AP­PLY FOR THE RHI as soon as your re­new­able heat­ing sys­tem is in­stalled. The cash­back is paid over a pe­riod of seven years, but you only have 12 months to ap­ply af­ter the tech is com­mis­sioned.

KEEP GOOD RECORDS of your VAT in­voices. You’re only al­lowed to make one sub­mis­sion for the self build re­claim, and this must be done within three months of build­ing con­trol sign off. We’d sug­gest speak­ing to a VAT con­sul­tant for ad­vice on ex­actly what can and can­not be re­claimed.

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