In your experience, what is the most common mistake people make when designing their home?

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In your experience, what is the most common mistake people make when designing their home?

Catherine Gaines, Kent

 

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Hello Catherine,

In considering your self build project, this is potentially the biggest undertaking of your life and so naturally you want to get it right. Not only right, but right for you. Most self builders work to a tight budget, and will look to try and save money where ever they can.

Having made the decision to embark down the 'self-build' road you are generally on the right path to saving money over buying a house from a developer seeking to make a profit.

So, two things to do before you start that not everyone does:
Pro-Help
1. Get professional help

  • If you are using a design kit this does not apply, but if you want to create something unique for you and yours -Employ a building design professional


  • Give him or her your sketches and ideas, and let them hone a cohesive design that works for you. The average lay person too often fails to appreciate how a building layout works. How to minimise circulation space, and maximise useable space and importantly visualise the solution. This is a building design professionals job. Don't cut this corner, it's one of the most important ones to keep square.


  • Having said that, don't just go to Sid the plan drawer. Seek out someone with the qualification MCIAT or RIBA. Their fees are not expensive in the scheme of things, and it's a one-off cost.


2. Having got your design take it to a friendly contractor, or qualified quantity surveyor who specialises in domestic projects, and have them draft a detailed schedule of materials that will be needed for the build.

  • Again there will be a cost involved, but again by the end of the project you will be so glad you did.


  • This is one of the biggest mistakes self builders make - not to fully cost the project from start to finish. Don't forget that little garden wall, and the fact that you will need taps on your bath, but what kind, and made by who £50 or £500 - you must decide at the beginning rather than half way through.


Okay, so that's it

  • Don't skimp on the design
  • Seek professional help
  • And make sure you are fully conversant with every cost you will encounter, because I guarantee that if you don't, you will encounter some expensive surprises.
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