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.
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, 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 Homes, Potton’s Self Build Academy, Saint-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.
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.
Part of every self build journey is compiling – and ordering – your ideas. Digital tools such as Todoist, Evernote 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.