With full creative freedom, little can compare to the achievement of building your own home. However, before you get started, here are our five top tips for first time self builders.

  1. Choose your location wiselyjuly-2021-site-progress_web-1.

Finding the right plot is perhaps the most important part of any self-build journey. First time self builders must be prepared to invest time and money into this, before the real work can begin.

Robert Dunoyer, one of our self-builders, explains the importance of choosing the right location: “As soon as I found Graven Hill, I knew it was the perfect option. Its unique ethos intrigued me, and I loved the sense of individuality that radiated from the site.”

Here at Graven Hill, our self-build plots come with a Plot Passport that provides all the relevant plot information and guidelines. As long as these are followed, planning permission is guaranteed within 28 days of registration, speeding up the process considerably.

  1. Prepare for the unexpected

Self-building a home is a significant undertaking, so it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. Issues such as planning permission, severe weather, and supply problems can all adversely affect your project, in terms of finances and timescales.

To help ease this pressure, there are certain steps that can be taken to accommodate for any unexpected hurdles you may encounter.

  • Leave some wiggle room in the budget
  • Consider back-up options for contractors and suppliers
  • Utilise Help to Build and specific self-build mortgages

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  1. Trust your builders

Some self-builders may choose to be heavily involved in the build, by being their own project manager and doing a lot of the work themselves. Others may rely on contractors to coordinate the build and ensure things keep to schedule.

“I carried out about 95% of the construction myself,” said Robert. “This helped to keep costs down, although it was physically demanding. Laying the first few ICF (Insulated Concrete Framework) blocks was an exciting moment for me, as it signalled the beginning of a lifelong dream coming true.”

Whatever path you choose to take, choosing trusted and experienced contractors is key to ensuring the build goes smoothly.

  1. Futureproof your home

When building your home, it’s important to consider a design that can withstand the test of time. Choosing a timeless structural design or layouts that can be easily adapted is a great way to prepare a home for the years to come.

For Robert, this meant incorporating plenty of natural light and space:


“A large open plan living and kitchen area, with high ceilings and cove lighting, has given the downstairs of the house an airy and contemporary feel that I love.”

  1. Do your research

Self-building can be demanding, so it’s important to come well prepared. Having some knowledge of what’s involved in the process and the outcome you’d like to achieve, can help guide expectations and prepare for what’s in store.

However, ultimately, there’s nothing better than living in a self-build home. Being able to carefully choose everything from the design to the finishes, makes for a uniquely rewarding experience. For those considering a self-build, don’t be afraid to bite the bullet.

For more information on how to get started, get in touch with our team today.