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Michael Holmes, spokesperson for The Homebuilding & Renovating Shows, believes that when it comes to building your own home, careful management of your self-build budget can save up to 50 per cent on your build costs and help you put a foot on the property ladder. Here he gives his top tips:
Most people have a preconceived idea that the cost of material, labour and appliances will be really expensive. However, when on a tight budget, simple methods and materials that house builders have been using for years are usually the best option. For instance, a four bedroom detached house may need 15,000 bricks but by opting for the cheaply priced ones you could save yourself £10,500 in the process.
A simple four corner house is cheaper to build than a six corner house because every time you add a corner you increase the build cost per m2. The simple ‘up and down’ roof required for a four corner house also makes it cheaper to build and allows you the option of opening up a third floor which can increase your floor area by 40 per cent. This will save you tens of thousands of pounds in build cost on your project.
Utilise the attic space: If you make use of your attic you can increase your useable floor area and value by up to 40 per cent at a minimal extra cost. If there is enough space it can be transformed into an office or lounge or can become a study or an extra bedroom.
Roof tiles: By opting for large-format concrete tiles you will end up saving more than if you purchase small, handmade tiles or those from natural materials when the prices will be significantly more.
Don’t include a chimney: Chimneys are costly to build and modern houses don’t need them. They stick out from the side wall and can significantly reduce the floor area of your house. By not including one in your self-build home, you can save around £2,000-£8,000.
Quoins and surrounds: Quoins are masonry blocks placed at the corner of a wall or window which provide a surrounding feature or decoration. A cheaper and equally effective option is to use contrasting brick or a raised render painted in a different colour.
Exclude bay windows: They require more work underground to form the foundations and you will also need special corner bricks and lintels and, usually, an insulated, tiled roof and internal ceiling for this. The lead flashings and cavity trays have to be handmade and fitted making this more expensive. As a result there is usually an extra cost of around £2,000-£4,000 per bay.
Keep landscaping simple and turf the garden: An average garden area can be transformed for less than £500. To turf all your garden areas by yourself just level, rake to remove stones then roll and get the turf ordered.
Gravel: To make your driveway and pathway look better there are many types and colours of gravel to choose from and they can be mixed and matched to good effect. Always aim to order full loads rather than the tonne bags as this will save you money.
Patios: ‘2x2’ concrete riven-effect slabs can be bought for just a few pounds each and will quickly give you a decent patio area.
Fencing: An alternative and much easier way of putting up post and rail fencing is by using metal spikes instead of concrete to set the posts in position. This will make it faster, easier and cheaper and you could even do it yourself.