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A beginner’s guide to self build

Every year, more people embark on a project to create their perfect home from scratch. If you want to become one of them, Mike Hardwick’s advice will answer all your questions about what to expect

So, you’ve watched Grand Designs on TV; seen the beautiful properties created by others in Build It magazine; compared them with the uninspiring schemes on offer from the massmarket house builders; and thought to yourself, “I wonder if I could build my own dream home?” Well, around 13,000 projects every year are successfully completed and the number is rising, so the answer would be a resounding “yes” from anyone already living in a bespoke house.

The big question is where to start. In this month’s article, I’m looking at the basics of self and custom build, with a beginner’s guide that will tell you whether they are right for you – and if they are, how to set offin the right direction.

Why should I do it?

The reasons for self building are many, but chief among them is a desire to create a house that is tailored to your lifestyle. The big developers work to a price, throwing up homes that are often small, characterless and of marginal quality. Self building, meanwhile, offers the chance to get exactly what you want. It is possible to create a dwelling that costs less to construct than the retail value of massmarket properties. But rather than looking at this route as a way to get a cheap home, it’s better to think of it as an opportunity to achieve a much better house for less than what you’d pay for a similar one on the open market.

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February 2017
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About Build It

The February edition of Build It magazine will help you get your self build, renovation or extension project off on the right foot. It’s packed with inspiration and advice, including: • A run-down barn transformed in to a stunning contemporary home (page 22) • A beginners guide to self build (page 62) • 8 hot ideas for stoves & fires (page 69) • Create your ideal kitchen with our in-depth guide (page 74) • Get room sizes right (page 96) … and more!