EBS Blogs and videos
Picture of construction site hard hats hanging up on wall.

09 Mar 2017

Posted in: 


Building your own home can be one of the most rewarding things you can do, but there are pitfalls you need to watch out for – even for those who fancy themselves as a bit of a Bob the Builder type.



You could end up with the home of your dreams, but if you don’t plan your self build efficiently from the get-go, you may end up in a sticky situation.

To avoid a structural skeleton that falls apart or an awkward letter from the local authority, today we’re taking a look at seven of the biggest mistakes self builders make – and how to avoid them.

1. Not getting full planning permission beforehand

Applying for planning permission is no one’s idea of fun, but it’s absolutely essential. For your own sake, don’t even attempt to start work on site until you get the go-ahead from your local authority. If you risk building without permission, the local authority can pull the plug entirely. Goodbye, dream house!

Before applying for planning permission for your self build, make sure you give public notice of your proposals by placing a notice in a locally circulating newspaper, and by putting up a site notice too.

You’ll also need to consult a qualified architect or engineer with planning experience on the location of your site. The application must be received by the local authority within two weeks of the notice appearing and must remain in place for at least five weeks from the date of receipt of the planning application.

Phew, quite the mouthful! So mark those dates in your diary!

2. Not having adequate insurance for your build

When it comes to insuring your build, resist the temptation to cut corners. For instance, a lack of adequate insurance could have serious consequences and potentially leave you in very hot water.

What kind of hot water? Well, if your house is badly damaged, insurance could cover a rebuild.

Insurance will give you peace of mind for the development and save a lot of tears if something happens.

There are different type of insurances self builders are required to get (building, content, public liability, etc.)– so it’s a good idea to get acquainted. EBS offer 12 months of free construction cover with your self build mortgage. For more information, click here.

3. Not budgeting accordingly

Underestimating the budget is the most common mistake made by self builders.

When you’re getting started, break out a spreadsheet and make sure you’re accounting for every single cent involved in the development. Yes, every cent. As your mammy always said, ‘mind the pennies and the pounds will mind themselves.’

Every build is unique so trying to estimate an average spend for a self build project is almost impossible. Even with the best laid plans, your build might cost more than you think, so make sure you’re prepared. If it’s a big build or if you’re not the best at money management, have a think about appointing a qualified project manager to regularly review your budget and oversee the development costs.

4. Hiring the wrong developers

The developers are the vital ingredient in any build. There aren’t any guarantees when it comes to the different trades working on your build, so take the time to check references and experience so you know that your build is in the right hands.

The last thing you want is to be scammed by cowboy builders because you took the lowest quote off the bat. Shop around and look into at least three quotes before you sign on the dotted line.

5. Not laying out a realistic timeline

Building your own home takes time, so make sure you set yourself deadlines for each job so you don’t lose the run of the build.

You need to know exactly what each trade does (and when they’re going to do it) if you want to ensure that your house is finished without any major drama.

Get an accurate estimate of the time it’ll take for each trade and keep up to date with how everything is going from the tradesmen themselves or your project manager.

If you’re doing the build yourself, there’s a bit of leeway, but you still need to make sure everything is motoring along on time or you’ll be waiting to move in until next Christmas.

6. Not talking to previous self build owners

A lot of the time, the best advice tends to come from experienced self builders.

Have a chat with any builder friends about potential pitfalls, hidden costs, and any questions you have. A little advice goes a long way.

7. Not communicating with your lender

Keep the lines of communication open at all times! Regularly update your lender so you’re on the same page and on schedule. Your lender is all ears so don’t be afraid to call them up for a chat.

They’re here to help, after all.

Are you thinking of building your own home?

Check out this handy guide to building your home in Ireland complete with stories from EBS customers who have already built a home.

Find out how much you can afford to borrow with our mortgage calculator or book a mortgage meeting to suit you with one of our mortgage experts.

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page for the latest home inspiration, news and great competitions.

The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

EBS d.a.c. neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

EBS d.a.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

EBS d.a.c. Insurance is brought to you by EBS d.a.c. and is solely underwritten by Allianz plc.


Back to Blogs