Sources of information

The more time you spend researching your project and building a network of useful contacts, the easier it will be when you get your dream home underway.


An essential visit for a potential self builder is to attend a self build show, which take place across all the countries in the UK. Equally, a trip to the National Self Build and Renovation Centre is essential, and it organises numerous training courses and webinars, some of which are free to attend.

Our Events section lists shows and training events that are coming up.

Print and digital media

There are several mainstream specialist self build magazines, such as Build It, Homebuilding & Renovating and Grand Designs magazines, which also have websites packed with information. Many of these have excellent supporting guides and tools, such as build calculators. Equally, the ‘The Self Build Guide is also a good online source of information and advice.

Professional bodies and specialist companies

Professional bodies, such as the Structural Timber Association or the Federation of Master Builders often have resources for self builders, and you’ll also find specialist companies, such as timber frame manufacturers or custom build developers, often have tools that offer insight into the process.

Be aware though that some companies will be offering insight and advice about their system, rather than generic systems, so consider the source and get a range of information from different places.

Examples of tools and services include Cost Calculators, such as Fleming Homes or CB HomesPotton’s Self Build AcademySaint-Gobain’s Self Build Manager and BuildStore’s series of PDF guides. Build It and Homebuilding and Renovating’s websites also have many useful tools.

Planning guidance

In terms of finding out about the role of planning, government has a guide to custom and self build, in terms of how it relates to the legislation in England, while the Planning Portal has a useful guide. The Scottish Government also has a good general introduction to self building. These are aimed at professionals, but provide a good introduction for the layperson looking to find out more.

Social media

Part of every self build journey is compiling – and ordering – your ideas. Digital tools such as TodoistEvernote or Microsoft OneNote can help you organise your ideas, and group them by themes, rooms or build stages.

Many self builders, and suppliers, have social media accounts, and these can be invaluable too, both from a fact finding perspective and for inspiration.

Look out for self build blogs on Instagram and Facebook and for inspiration from sites such as Pinterest (left), where images are grouped by theme, such as outdoor living, kitchens or architectural windows.

Copying and liking to your own Pinterest board or social media account is a great way to build up a bank of things that you love and would consider in your own home.

Self build magazines and books

self build book

Build It

Magazine and website filled with help and support for any self builder, together with PlotBrowser.

Visit the website
self build book

Home-building & Renovating

Magazine and website packed with information and advice for your project.

Visit the website
self build book

Grand Designs

The magazine behind the ever popular TV show dealing with self build dreamers and doers.

Visit the website
self builder homemaker

Selfbuilder + Homemaker

Website and digital magazine, available in print to self builders (but not in shops)

Visit the website
151 things every self builder should know

151 Things Every Self Builder Should Know

Barry Sutcliffe’s  guide to creating your perfect home, packed with info.

£18, Amazon
self build book

House-builder’s Bible

Mark Brinkley brings you the 14th edition of the must-have book for every self builder, with over 20 years’ of experience behind it.

£27.50, Amazon
self build book

Self Build & Renovation for Dummies

The classic self help format brought to the subject of self building. A great starting guide by Nicholas Walliman.

£11.99, Amazon
self build book

Self Build Simplified

Answer all the questions you have about a project – before you’ve even started with this A-Z guide.

£18, Amazon
self build book

Self Build Manual

Haynes useful guide to planning, managing and building the home of your dreams, written by Ian Alistair Rock, MRICS.

£22.99 Amazon
self build book

How to Project Manage Your Self Build

Kingston’s guide to project managing, deals with planning, budgeting and more.

£9.98, Amazon
self build book

Self-Building Easterways

The story of Broadhempston Community Land Trust – six affordable eco homes built at Easterways. Read more.

£12.49,(book), Kindle book £4.99, Amazon
designing self build homes

Designing and Building Your Own Home

A start to finish guide to self building by Roger Sproston and Paul Marshall.

£4.79 Kindle, Amazon
self build survival guide

The Self Build Survival Guide

Katy Jackson and Daniel Salisbury bring you a guide so surviving a self build or renovation – the eco friendly way.

£12.99, Amazon
self build book

The Green Self-build Book

Sustainable and eco-friendly will support you as you work to design and build your eco home.

£14.99, Amazon
self build book

Get Together and Build Yourself a House

BADSBA’s guide to helping people build collectively, with practical advice on how to get started.

self build book

Oak Frame Homes

Full of inspiration and advice, this is an essential title for anyone planning to build in oak, by the team at Homebuilding & Renovating.

Book, £25, Blackwells
self build book

Creating Community-led & Self-build Homes

A guide to the practices in creating collaborative self build and community-led homes in the UK.

Book, £13.82, Blackwells

Walter Segal – Self-built Architect

A biography of the father of self build in the UK, and creator of important self build sites in London in the 1970s.

PDF £45, Amazon
self build book

Self-build: How to Design & Build

The second edition of architect Julian Owen’s sumptuous and practical advice guide for anyone planning or doing their own self build project.

£45, Amazon
self build book

Finding a Building Plot

BADSBA also has a useful booklet for anyone looking for plot. 27 pages of help and advice to ensure that you’re project gets started.