The eight stages of building your own home


From hard hat to housewarming, there are a number of things to think about if you want to build your own property

  • 1. Start from scratch or rebuilding?

    Are you building on an empty plot or converting a barn or outbuilding?

    Planning regulations, access to services and preparation will be different for each.

    If you’re rebuilding an existing structure, it may be close to electricity, water and gas supplies already. If you’re building from scratch, this may not be the case.

    You should seek professional advice before buying land, as not all land is suitable for building on.

  • 2. Think about what you want

    Make a wish list of the features you’d like. Think about which way it will face, how many storeys it will have and whether you’d like a garage or a garden, and whether the style will be classical or contemporary.

    You might also consider solar panels, rainwater collection tanks, eco-friendly insulation and hot water recycling.

  • 3. Find an architect

    While there are online communities dedicated to building your own home, it’s worth using an expert unless you know what you’re doing.

  • 4. Get planning permission

    You’ll need to apply for outline planning permission, which tells the authorities what you want to build.

    If you've bought land with outline planning permission in place, plans have already been submitted by the previous owner and approved.

    Be careful that you don’t divert from the original plans unless you obtain written approval from the Planning Service directly.

    For full details about this stage of the process have a look at the Planning NI Portal External link icon.

  • 5. Fund a self build

    Think about how much you can afford to pay upfront for things like land, architectural sketches and planning applications as well as money you might need to see the build through to completion.

    Danske Bank offer self-build loans, rather than mortgages. This is a short term, variable loan where you only pay the interest to free up as much as cash for the build itself. This loan is not repayable until the house is actually built, at which point you'll need to apply for a mortgage.

  • 6. Get the team together

    If you haven’t got the time to manage the build yourself then you might want to appoint a project manager to organise sub-contractors and keep an eye on overall costs.

    You’ll need at least an architect, quantity surveyor and a team of builders, and in time you'll need plumbers, electricians, tilers, painters, and so on.

  • 7. Complete the build

    It’s important that the property is finished to a habitable standard and you get all relevant documentation, such as your Building Control Completion Certificate and NHBC 10 Year Guarantee/Architect’s Warranty.

    Building Control is responsible for ensuring that your new property meets building regulations, which cover structural stability, fire safety, energy conservation and accessibility, and will issue a Certificate of Completion if all’s well.

  • 8. Convert your loan to a mortgage

    If you’ve taken out a self-build loan, you’ll need to convert this to a traditional mortgage or repay the loan in full once the building nears completion.

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