Want help to get your self-build project started?

Lewis Visuals outlines the key stages of the process.

Project parameters

  • Nice to haves.
  • Beware of ego trips.
  • Why are you doing this.
  • Project outcomes.
  • How are you going to measure the success of the scheme?
  • Think like a developer.


Establish a budget

  • You have a blank canvas.
  • What do we mean by budget?
  • How to understand the likely costs?
  • Establish a ‘live’ project cost planner.
  • Understand the relationship between cost and value. We’re not looking for cheap. we’re looking for the correct amount of value. Prius v Tesla.

Find a plot

  • Land listing agencies.
  • Planning departments-flipping is a source. Early forfeit is the best profit.
  • Auctions. Cash buyers, keep your emotions in check.
  • Land finders.
  • Council local plan. Parcels of land.
  • Talk to family, friends and acquaintances. What can they do with their assets?
  • Get to know your estate agent and be credible.

Having found a plot or plots

  • Only 11% of our land is used in the U.K.
  • Establish the restrictions on the plot. What are the challenges? Access for timber frame and loading.
  • Understand the design constraints. Contemporary or traditional.
  • Is there the infrastructure in place such as gas, electricity and mains drainage?
  • Have an open mind.
  • Think like a lender. The loan to value criteria is typically 90% depending on the issues on the site, check your get out clauses.

Secure funding

  • 55% of builds do not require lending at all.
  • Savings
  • Local borrowing.
  • Personal loan.
  • Self-build mortgage-arrears or tranches.
  • Equity release.
  • Hybrid funding model is often utilised.
  • Beware the media friendly credit card scenario!
  • Offering money and risk costs money.

Establish a design

  • Chartered Architectural Technologist CIAT.
  • Architect RIBA.
  • Architectural technician to evolve your own design ideas.
  • Predesigned plans/schemes.
  • Pattern book design.
  • Design is impacted by budget and vice versa.

Planning Permission

  • Planning is there partially to protect us from our neighbours.
  • Planning security is a prime factor in release of agreed funds.
  • Beware of planning conditions – understand them
  • Maybe purchase with planning in place, consider applying for changes…?
  • Planning drawings are not a means of costing

Building control

  • Ensure your design can actually be built and get accurate and reliable tenders.
  • Contract management is only similar if no changes occur.

Procurement of the work

  • Choice of methods.
  • Direct trades.
  • Package contractors.
  • Main contractor.
  • Design and build.

Tendering and procuring

  • Building control drawings.
  • Planning
  • Cost sum analysis.
  • Specification.
  • Survey and investigation.
  • Prelims.
  • Learn how to appraise and compare quotes tenders and estimates

The whole process can seem very daunting buy it doesn’t have to be, we’re here to help and support you along your way, it’s what we do.

For more advice call today 01252 714 985 or email admin@lewisvisuals.co.uk

Lewis Visuals – transforming lives through design