Many self builders will have a certain element of DIY in their project, most usually when it comes to interiors. Others will make sure they are a useful member of the labour force, turning their hand to anything they can, but having builders alongside them to make sure things are done properly. The most determined of DIY self builders can say they designed, managed, built and finished their project — only taking help where law dictates they must use a qualified tradesman (eg electrics).

The DIY route is certainly not for the faint of heart. Not only do you need to be physically capable of lifting and fixing, but a strong will is also essential to push you through the tough times and bad weather. Remember that the harder something is, the more satisfaction you will have at the end, when you can stand back and say “I built that”.

Advice for those looking to do a DIY self build:

  • Only take on what you are physically and technically capable of. If you are unsure how to do something, don’t feel like you are failing by asking for help.
  • Always work within the parameters of the law. You must use qualified electricians and new builds must meet current building regulations.
  • Work to your strengths. If you are creative, get involved in the design. If you are a great leader, take on the project management. You don’t necessarily have to get your hands dirty to save money and feel like you have really contributed to your build.
  • Make sure you have sufficient time to do the work yourself. Being busy and putting things off can lead to weather damage if you have not reached the stage of a weathertight shell. This could lead to expensive repairs and more setbacks.
  • Let the professional fitters who supply expensive goods (such as windows) fit them. They know any special techniques particular to their products and save the risk of you damaging things.

Case studies

Learn more from those who have taken the DIY route.

An amazing low-cost self build

An eco home built for less than £100k

A DIY Timber-Clad Self Build

Timber clad self built constructed on a DIY basis

A Self-build Fantasy

Amazing home built without formal plans

Robin Cochrane's DIY and self designed self build

Even the furniture was made by the owner in this DIY home

Small Budget Self Build

A home completed on a DIY basis over two years

A Family Home for £100,000

A home built on a communal DIY basis through a Community Land Trust

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