Why should one apply for a self-build dwelling?


Self-builds have always been a ‘thing’. However, they are very much a potential solution to the shortage in housing at present, as there are new schemes launching, such as ‘Help to Build’ which will encourage more and more people to build their own home. Of course, there are countless other benefits to building your own dwelling, from designing it to your and your family’s specific needs, to low energy usage and maintenance. In addition, self-builders typically make a 25% profit  on their investment.

There are various routes you can take to building your own home, but the majority tend to be involved in the creative elements, by actually designing the layout, both interior and exterior and then employing a variety of tradespeople to undertake the actual physical build. On average, a self-build will cost somewhere between £1k – £3km2 to build.

Raising funds

You will need access to funds to buy a building plot, pay for services such as architectural design and surveys and of course to fund the build itself. You could use savings, equity from your existing home or a self-build mortgage. Or, a combination of all three.

Finding land

You will have to apply to your local authority for planning permission. The cost of submitting this is relatively low in the grand scheme of the entire build. However, the costs really come in the form of the preparation of this, i.e. plans, documents and surveys. It then takes around eight weeks for the approval (or rejection) of your application.

Planning permission is granted with attached conditions and failure to adhere to these, will invalidate your consent, making any work undertaken, illegal.

Self-build and the building regulations

All new homes must comply with buildings regulations and an inspector will visit at key points in the build to ensure compliance. These stages include:

  • Excavation for the foundations
  • Pouring concrete for the foundations
  • Building the oversite
  • Building the damp-proof course
  • Drainage
  • A visit prior to completion
  • A final visit on completion.


The second contracts are exchanged on your plot, you will need insurance — specifically a specialist policy for self-builders. A comprehensive self-build policy is advised and will cover any public liability, building works, employers’ liability and personal accident.

Services to your site

This all depends on your site’s location – It could cost anywhere between £500 and £10k depending on whether your connection needs to be across private land or public highways. Throughout the duration of the build, gas and electricity are not essential, however, a water supply is required from the beginning.

Reclaiming VAT

One of the main benefits of building your own property is the ability to reclaim VAT on the majority of the building materials. You can only make one claim, utilising the VAT 431NB form and this must be made within three months of completion.

This is a whistle stop tour of the benefits and the ‘hows’ of building your own property, but as you can see, it can certainly be worth your time, if you’re able.

If you’re completing a self-build project and need assistance with planning permission, please don’t hesitate to contact us now on 01242 231575 or contact us now.

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