Q. What is the attraction of self building?
A. The popularity of self build is back on the increase. At the moment around 20,000 families build their own homes each year. Home buyers want quality as well as high functionality from their new homes and self build is the best way to ensure this. Customers can design homes to suit their own tastes and requirements, which provides the opportunity for more interesting designs and higher-end specification than otherwise available.
Q. Why choose a timber frame?
A. Timber has many outstanding qualities for building.
- Timber offers excellent value for money.
- It offers a reduced build cost thanks to speed, quality, and ease of erection.
- Timber offers increased design flexibility to allow more opportunity to meet the exact needs of the customer.
- Construction not weather dependant – it can be done any time of the year.
- Timber is, arguably, the most sustainable and environmentally friendly construction material available.
- The high level of efficiency in modern Timber Frame homes results in low running costs.
- Modern Timber Frame homes have better acoustic insulation qualities than stone homes.
- Modern Timber Frame homes easily exceed the latest Building Standards.
Q. What’s the difference between a Timber Frame home and other homes?
A. A Timber Frame house uses timber on the inner walls rather than masonry. Both styles are sturdy and secure and look the same on the outside.
Q. Will a Timber Frame home last?
A. Absolutely. Timber Frame homes have been around for centuries and last as long as, if not longer, than any other type of new home. They also have to adhere to building regulations as with any other form of construction.
Q. Will my Timber Frame home be as strong as a brick house?
A. Yes. And, indeed, Timber frame homes out-perform brick and block houses in many ways. Brick and masonry construction only became popular in the last century.
Q. How do I go about starting a self-build?
A. Carry out research. Invest time and energy in finding out what is involved; decide what you want and what you can afford; and plan meticulously. Follow our eight-step process and you won’t go wrong.
Q. Will I have to do DIY/build the house myself?
A. Only if you are ready, willing and able! There are three general preferred means of managing a build:
- Manage the build yourself.
- Hire a professional project manager to oversee the management of the project.
- Appoint a contractor to undertake the complete build.
Q. Will I be able to get a mortgage and insurance on a Timber Frame self build home?
A. Yes. A mortgage for self-build is the same as any other except funds are released in instalments for certain stages of the build rather than all up front.
Insurance companies treat modern Timber Frame homes and those of and brick and block construction the same way.
Q. How much should I pay for a plot of land?
A. About a quarter to a third of your budget is as much as you should pay for land.
Q. What should I do when I have located a likely plot?
A. Get its dimensions, order a survey, get a valuation, check services (gas, electricity, water, etc) are available within a reasonable distance and check if there is planning permission for the plot.
Top tips for success
- Play it safe – Always build a contingency fund into your budget – about 10 per cent of construction costs is a sensible safety net.
- Monitor – keep close eye on costs to ensure you stay within budget.
- Be flexible – The unexpected may happen in a self build. Stay calm and roll with it.
- Get Value – Always shop around for the best quality at the best price that will suit what you need – e.g. get multiple quotes from builders, compare quality of work and prices of a few architects.
- Planning process – Do your research. Have an idea of what to expect. Find out what the local planning board have said yes and no to in the area you wish to build in recent years.
- Get the right people – It’s no use an architect being brilliant if you cannot get on with them or communicate with them. Get a feel for the people you are contemplating to take on pivotal roles in your build before you hire them. Never hire someone without checking out their references and inspecting their previous work.