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How long will it take to build my own home from foundation to finish?

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21 Aug 2017

Posted in:  First Time Buyer

We’ve all seen those tragic Grand Designs episodes where the build goes on for years – and toddlers in cribs when filming started are in school by the time the house is complete.

And yes, it can take years to finish a self-build; but if you’re diligent, and on track with your self-build, the timeframe from foundation to finish is roughly 26 weeks. No project is the same, and this is by no means a definitive timeline.

Every self-builder is different too. You could be building on the family farm on land owned by your ancestors for generations, or on a site you’ve saved for years to buy (in the location you’ve always dreamed of).

We know that this is the first time you’ve ever done this – so we’re here to help out. To start, we’ve outlined a step-by-step guide of the general steps you’ll need to complete your build.

Get all the preliminary work in (6 weeks)

As Roy Keane used to say, “fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” This goes for your self-build too.

There are loads of tasks you need to complete before even thinking about starting the building work.

These include hiring architects, going through the planning permission stages and getting quotes off your builder. Here’s a quick checklist before you start:

  1. Once you’ve found a site that suits your needs, you need to get an architects’ report. You can then proceed with your mortgage loan application and get fully approved for your EBS self-build mortgage. Once you have that in the bag, you can close the purchase of the site, get planning permission and decide whether you are going to hire a regulated building contractor or hire direct labour yourself.
  2. Then you should arrange water and electricity supplies to the site, fence it off and put up public safety signs (‘hard hats must be worn’ etc).
  3. You will also need insurance to cover any mishaps that may happen on-site.

That’s the easy part finished. Once you have those steps completed, you can finally start to get dirt under your fingernails and start the building process. Here are the four main steps you’ll be taking.

1. Setting the site, digging the foundations and blockwork (3-4 weeks)

First things first – the site and house is set out by the surveyor, and the top soil is removed. Once that is all done, it should take roughly two weeks to dig the foundation and trenches for services, pour the concrete foundation, get the damp proof course finished and pour the oversite slab. Phew.

Your construction company will pour your oversite slab, which will need to be reviewed by an architect or engineer.

It will take a further two weeks to get the blockwork done – up to the chimney and gables.

2. Watch as it turns from a building site to an actual house (9-20 weeks)

It’s time for the superstructure to be installed, and the first floor structure (allow three weeks for this). Then, it should take around four more weeks to finish the roof and get all the windows in. The chimneys and gables come next (around one week). Once the house is waterproofed, you can do the first fixes on carpentry, plumbing and electrics. Your power points, lights, TV points as well as radiators and underfloor heating are next in line. Now your home is really starting to take shape. (Ah, the excitement!).

Some people on really tight budgets have even moved in at this stage (once there’s a working toilet, hey presto). But it’s really up to you.

Once the first fixes are in, you can connect to the mains water and electricity – a major moment for any self-builder – even if it’s just to plug in your kettle, so you can have that all-important first cup of tea in your new home.

3. Appliances and interior installations (20-26 weeks)

The walls get plastered at this stage and the kitchen is installed. This can happen at the same stage as the second fixes of carpentry, plumbing and electrics. This means that you’ll finally see internal doors, skirting boards and the bathrooms and ensuites.

The fridge, oven and washing machine can be connected now (so you’ll be able to clean your clothes before hitting the building site again the next morning).

Once the heavy-lifting is over, you can get set for the fun stuff – the interior decoration! Painting, decorating and furnishing will all be finished in the next few weeks.

4. Snagging your self-build (2 weeks)

Now it’s time to put your new home to the test. Make sure it’s all in working order now so you won’t be caught out down the line. This is also the time to put the finishing touches to your home.

First off, check the exterior and get your BER assessment. Next, check for any internal repairs and decoration that are required. It might also be time to get that carpet fitted as there should be no more dust and wood chippings to contend with.

And what about the garden? Basic landscaping, turf, paving and seeding of lawn areas can be done now. It’s a good idea to have architect or engineer inspect all items.

To finish things off, make that all important snag list to tick everything off.

Thinking of a self-build? Get in touch with the experts

If this is something you are considering, then you can pop into your ever-helpful Mortgage Masters here at EBS at a time that suits you.

We’ve helped thousands of people through this – so while you might be quite new to the process, we’re old hands at it, and can offer you loads of useful advice. Why not book a meeting with one of our Mortgage Masters? And why not read our handy guide to building your own house in the meantime?

It’s also easy to book a mortgage meeting to suit you to see whether you could tap into savings on your mortgage.

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