A year ago, I thought a self-build was where you had to order all your materials and roll your sleeves up for the next year or more. Then I met the team from Scandinavian Homes, and a whole new world opened up. I’ve worked for construction-related businesses for large chunks of the last 20 years, so I’m not exactly a stranger to the industry, but house-building was a new specialist subject that I was unlikely to take on Mastermind. So, as an outsider joining a business I knew nothing about, I had a pretty substantial learning curve (trajectory still not completed; learning every day!).

Things I have learned:

#1: Top priority is your budget, if you want to avoid doing a lot of research only to find your project is unaffordable. Do a feasibility study on whether you can afford to self build: look at local plot prices and/or houses to demolish and ask for budget costs per square metre to build. Then consider all the additional costs and definitely add a contingency. If you don’t need to spend it, you can afford some nice new furniture or a fantastic holiday to celebrate your success!

#2: Finding the right plot is often the hardest part of the whole business, so at Scandinavian Homes, we try to help by keeping an eye on various sources of plots for sale, and posting the good ones (especially ones that already have some level of planning permission) up on our Twitter feed (which is also visible on the homepage of our website). https://twitter.com/ScandHomesLtd https://www.scandinavianhomes.com/

#3: Once you’ve found your plot, you’ll need to look at getting planning permission. If you’ve been lucky enough to find land where it’s already been granted, then you’re off to a flying start, but more often you will need to spend time and money getting planning for the house you really want. It may be worth getting advice from a professional planning consultant if there is any doubt about permission for your ideal house. We suggest working with a package house supplier, as it is always easier to start with a design you like and customise it to suit you, rather than trying to realise your ideas from scratch.

#4: Research is time-consuming, however Google is your friend. Most of the players in the industry are online, they have websites and a social media presence, and you can find out all about them relatively easily. Look on their website, follow links to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest etc. as these may have info that isn’t on the website and will give you an idea of what sort of people work for the business.

#5: Finding the right partners for your venture is key. You may need a planning consultant, architect, construction team, project manager etc and if you have neither time nor confidence to arrange or do this yourself, that’s where a package company such as Scandinavian Homes will take the pressure off you.

It’s been a fascinating fascinating and hugely enjoyable experience so far and hopefully by the end of a year I will have even more helpful insights to impart. That’s it for for now except to say good luck if you’re starting on your own self build journey!