If I have a plot sorted out and utilities would not be a problem – could I get 4 Bed chalet of 1.5 storey for under £200000 if I was to get the builder company to build and project manage. I have seen an two timber frame kit for around £55000 for this style – based on a simple rectangle shape – all bedrooms upstairs – and a finished area of either 170sqm or 200sqm. If the house is already designed that should save on an architect as well but surely I would need someone to organise exactly where in the plot the house goes. The fit out would be standard. The plot is in South Kent.

  • Adam

    The simple answer to the question Tim is yes. It can be done for a budget of £200k. If you are able to source the frame for £55k then £145k to lay foundations, build your walls, roof, glaze and finish internally should be more than enough.

    The crux of your question really lies with how you intend to spec the home. All of the decisions you take will have an impact on that budget. Everything from your choice of exterior finish to number and position of power sockets will need to be carefully pre planned so that an agreed price for the work can be reached and you can be (almost) certain that you will get what you want within the budget. Do the hard yards now in terms of research and choosing. If you make changes once the process has started it can have serious implications for pre set timeframes and the costs start to mount up ever so quickly. Making changes is almost certainly the biggest contributor to going over budget on projects such as this. Just don’t do it!

    Use the internet to find help on how to prepare yourself for the challenge ahead. There are a lot of self build websites where people share their stories, often laying bare the pitfalls they encountered so that others might seek to avoid them. You will discover that there is more to consider than you ever possibly imagined. There is so much choice it will make your head spin and probably drive you mad trying to filter through it all.

    You need to do it now though or if you ask for a quotation without a detailed spec the builders will price in "standard" items. For example; bland, square skirting boards when in your head you envisage grand Edwardian detailed skirtings. The cost differentials there would shock you! Door handles? The same. A B&Q trade pack is ugly but functional. Elegant ones can cost a bomb! It is only by looking at the minutiae that you start to see where your money goes and where you may need to pare back.

    Despite my warning that it is the hard work element it is also very enjoyable. Take some dimensions from your drawings and hit the shops. Hit the showrooms. Make notes of the things you like and see if you can find them online at better prices.

    Don’t forget to keep a contingency aside. It is tempting to blow the budget at the design stage but you would be wise to hold back 10% and enjoy it at the end when you don’t need it. There’s always landscaping, driveways etc that are overlooked that the money can be useful for. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

    And research the VAT situation! You should be paying NO vat on labour and services for your build. If you buy any stuff for yourself then keep the receipts and claim back the money at completion. It is imperative that you are clued up on how the VAT system works for newbuild before you start all this. If any mistakes are made by you or your builder you cant get the VAT back! I believe that there are good resources on this website to help you with that line of enquiry.

    Above all try to enjoy yourself. Building your own home is a great experience if you’re well prepared.

    Good luck.

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