Build It - - EXPERT HELP -

It’s easy to for­get that keep­ing to a bud­get, for most of us, means ex­er­cis­ing re­straint and mak­ing choices based on value for money, rather than buy­ing what­ever takes your fancy.

Check which way doors open on the draw­ings and pic­ture how these would feel in the fin­ished house. Do any of them clash with each other or in­ter­fere with your planned lay­out?

If you’re us­ing a tim­ber frame struc­tural sys­tem, it’s easy to over­look where you’ll need to re­in­force nog­gins or add bat­tens to hang the likes of a big TV, towel rails or kitchen wall units. This is straight­for­ward to do be­fore the plas­ter­board is fit­ted, but dif­fi­cult and dis­rup­tive af­ter­wards. Make sure ev­ery­one’s work­ing off the same struc­tural draw­ings. Plans tend to evolve slightly over the course of a pro­ject, and it’s im­por­tant ev­ery­one is singing from the same hymn sheet to avoid hic­cups be­tween dif­fer­ent trades’ work. Num­ber and date draw­ings be­fore cir­cu­lat­ing them so that it’s easy to check what ver­sion peo­ple are us­ing.

You can net con­sid­er­able sav­ings from sim­ply be­ing bet­ter in­formed about the process in­volved in a pro­ject – of­ten to spec­tac­u­lar ef­fect. Build It’s web­site at is a com­pre­hen­sive re­source; and NACSBA’S Self Build Por­tal (www.self­build­por­ is worth a look, too. Con­sider mak­ing a trip to one of the ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tions, such as Build It Live ( or the events at the Na­tional Self Build & Ren­o­va­tion Cen­tre in Swin­don ( The NSBRC also of­fers a suite of pro­ject ad­vice courses (there’s a charge for these).

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