Well I am very pleased to say that finally all the barriers, hurdles and red tape has been dealt with and I am now able to start to build.

While I read widely before embarking on the project the difficulties of getting to this stage have been surprising. As I mentioned in my last blog the process to have a sewer diversion approved has been painstakingly slow. Readers may be imagining a 3m deep 1m wide main sewer that serves 500 houses. The reality was a 20m run of a 100mm pipe for three properties. The water company did apologise after some ‘gentle persuasion’ and finally approved the diversion proposed. They were never able to give me any reason for the delay or why several promises were broken. However I am glad to have overcome this obstacle.

My self-build is easier than some projects for a variety of reasons. It is within the approved development zone, it is a replacement dwelling, it is not an area of outstanding natural beauty, it is not part of a National Park, there is no one local architectural style and there are no rare or endangered species on the site. Services too are all on site already. Despite this there has been a significant amount of ponderously slow ‘red-tape’ to overcome. I personally think it is brilliant that many steps have and are being taken to help make self-build easier. However there is a very long way to go if self-build is to become a more mainstream option in the UK.

A crucial nugget of advice to anyone planning to self-build is that upfront costs can be significant long before you break ground. In my naivety I did not appreciate this fully when I started. To give you some idea these are the services and people I have needed before starting:

Solicitor – (for purchase)
Valuation – (for mortgage)
Mortgage – (product fee + lending)
Architectural Services – (design, planning and building package, drainage)
Local Council – (planning and discharge of conditions)
Ecological Survey
Aboricultural Survey
Site Survey
Building Warranty
Building Control
Structural Engineer
Water Company (sewer diversion)
Self-build insurance
Specialist Design Consultation (hempcrete)
Party Wall Agreement (as building within 3m of neighbours property)
Oak Frame (deposit to order wood and book manufacturing slot)

Please don’t let the list above put you off self-build but do remember to consider it and the potential costs in your financial planning right at the start of your journey.

So there we have it all ready to start building. Looking forward to blogging about some construction work finally! Watch this space.

Oak frame timbers
Close up of oak frame timbers
Oak frame timbers in the yard

Just to whet your appetite for what is to come the pictures above courtesy of Luke Sutton (Roderick James Architects LLP) show you the oak for the frame that has arrived at Carpenter Oak’s framing yard in Devon.

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