Building your own home is a dream for many people.
Finding a plot and then designing everything you have ever wanted in a house takes time, perseverance and energy and the emotional and financial implications of your undertaking should not be underestimated. Trying to imagine every detail and how the space will work can become all consuming. How many times can you watch Grand Designs, Grand Designs revisited, Grand Designs on catch-up? How many self-build or renovation TV programmes can you watch? How many self-build magazines can you read? Not enough is probably the answer to all of these questions. The majority of self-builders have very little contact with the construction industry until the time comes to choose a builder and get on site. Until then it is all dreams and drawings with architects and designers. The demands that are then placed on you to make important decisions very quickly are immense. Preparation and planning is key to reducing stress and making good decisions down the line.
At Rowebb, we work closely with clients, contractors, builders and architects to do our best to help deliver the house of dreams rather than a collection of compromises. The one thing the self-builder does have on their side is time. Time to research products and suppliers. Time to choose colours and textures. Time to think about the details. Time to plan how each space will be used and how it will flow. Selecting the right stone for your patio, may mean you can use the same stone in the kitchen as well. Choosing the wrong stone for your kitchen may mean the underfloor heating won’t work, the doors need adjusted, and there is a nasty change in level at a door threshold. Most decisions will have a knock-on effect somewhere down the line, so take the time you have before you start rather than rushing a decision when the builder is demanding an answer.
Are the rooms too small? Too big? What colour should the windows be? What heat source to choose? Kitchens! Bathrooms! Light switches! Bathroom floor! Kitchen taps! Sockets! Heat recovery systems….Where to put the TV….. Suddenly it takes over your life and becomes all consuming. After concentrating on all of these details (and 1000’s more) how is the house going to look form the outside? This is often a part of the build that many our customers overlook. All renders are the same aren’t they? It says on the plans “white render”. What more is there to it than that?
Building your own home
Building your own home is a dream for many people.
Working with planners and samples
To aid your render selection, we would suggest that you get samples of the different window profiles you are thinking about and sit them alongside samples of render and see how they work together. The colour of your windows and render are decisions that will be thrust upon you one day and it has a major impact on your budget, timescale and the final finish of your home so make it well in advance and be prepared. You might find yourself ordering your windows before the walls are even up, so plan ahead! As soon as there is an area of blockwork on site, buy some bags of render and get it on the wall. Have a look at the colour and the texture at different times of the day, in different weather conditions and in different lights if possible and see how it looks. Choose a few colours and see what they really look like. It might not be what is on the plans or requested by the planners, but it is a major decision so look at the colours you think you like and then narrow it down from there. Ask us what works. We supply over 1m square metres of render every year. It’s what we do, so we have an idea as to what colours work and what colours don’t, so just ask – it doesn’t cost anything!
The planners can have a major input into the colour and texture of your external render, but we have found that with good design, preparation and innovative thinking, we can normally help you achieve a render finish that will bring your dreams alive. With planners demanding a “white roughcast render” we can quite often prepare a sample that is exactly what the client wants, but also ticks the planner’s box. A white roughcast render can be interpreted in so many ways. With good sample preparation and presentation, we often find that an initial request made verbally to planners and is rejected can in fact be approved. We recognise that certain areas demand a specific render type, colour and texture, but with modern factory batched renders, this doesn’t mean that you need to compromise on quality.
We can work with you to select the render, design the specification based on the type of construction you are going to build and then source applicators to ensure you get a top quality finished render. After all, it is the one part of your build that you will look at everyday and it needs to be right!
In most cases, we supply small samples that will give you an indication of colour or texture free of charge. There is normally a small charge for larger samples and a higher charge for large samples panels. Sample bags are normally chargeable, but all of these samples will receive a percentage credited back against an order. Please contact us for details.
Dont forget some finishing touches
We can work with you to include areas of natural stone both internally and externally. Creating feature panels, adding a dramatic entrance or fireplace. Defining areas and entrances is important when designing your new home, and our Decarock Stone Cladding can do this without blowing the already stretched budget.
Once the build is finished, you will need to address the outside of the house so that it doesn’t end up being a new house plonked in the middle of a building site. It might be the most beautiful plot in the world with stunning views from every window, but if it is a mud bath outside, with piles of sand, stacks of old timber and abandoned building materials then it is never finished and you will never be able to fully enjoy the fruits of your labour. Remember and leave something in the budget for a final clear up and a bit of landscaping. You don’t need to do it all at the same time, but some gravel for the driveway, a small area for a BBQ, some planting and turf will set your new home off and allow you time to breath and recover.
Some useful information
With the self-build market currently accounting an estimated 15,000 new home completions each year in the UK, this equates to around 10% of market making the self-build community largest house builder in the country. Looking at the graph above, which outlines the percentage of new home completions that are self-builds or custom homes around the world, you can see that in the UK we still have a long way to go.
Hopefully some of the hurdles encountered in the self-build process will be eased in the coming years with Government intervention allowing improved access to public sector land, improved planning guidance, funding assistance and the increased availability of self-build mortgages.