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General Chat Thread, Building Your Own House in General; Hello all, Random question I know, but has anyone on here done it or considered building your own house? The ...
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    Michael's Avatar
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    Question Building Your Own House

    Hello all,

    Random question I know, but has anyone on here done it or considered building your own house? The reason I ask is allegedly house prices are on the rise again and many properties are still well over priced! Many thanks!

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    Hello all,

    I ask is allegedly house prices are on the rise again and many properties are still well over priced!

    Many thanks!
    house prices are still down on their 2007 peak. They are rising because affordability ratio has improved,
    attracting buyers who had the means to buy during the more uncertain first half of the year.
    and interest rates abnormally very low....there's also the issue that very few properties are coming onto the market.....mortgage approvals are somewhere around half of where they are usually for this time of year.

    In these circumstances it's be strange if we didn't see a few months of rises in average prices. During the last crash there many months which registered a rise in prices.....but prices didn't recover for well over five years. The trend was declinging prices followed by an extented period of subdued prices.

    what are the fundamentals that will keep existing housing unaffordable, or a return to 10-20% per annum house price inflation ? You should actually do two things, don't listen to msm vested interest spin and secondly don't vote for the bubble blowing labour party.

  3. 2 Thanks to torledo:

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    has anyone on here done it or considered building your own house? The reason I ask is allegedly house prices are on the rise again and many properties are still well over priced! Many thanks!
    Building the actual house is the cheap bit (a few tens of thousands of pounds, loose change in house-buying terms these days), buying the bit of land and obtaining building permission to put a house on it is expensive. And what do you mean by "building" - do you actually mean building, or do you mean coordinating hired contractors?

    My Dad built his own house the long / cheap way - he got given some land (my Grandparents had a smallholding of several acres), got outline then detailed planning permission, got plans drawn up, then got on and built it. He didn't have much money, so he could only afford to hire help when he really needed to for things like electrical wiring. This was in Suffolk, though, in the countryside, and he worked at a place where his friends were builders and other trades he could ask advice and get help from. He could also borrow tools and equipment from work, including articulated lorries (which he was qualified to drive) and combine harvesters. If he was driving a lorry to make a delivery for work he could make a detour on the way home and pick up some building materials, including the yellow Cotswold stone the house is faced with. The only neighbours were his parents, where he could get a cooked breakfast every morning, so there was no-one to complain about noise or mess. It took 7 years for the house to be habitable, while in the meantime he and my (patient, obviously) Mum lived in a caravan in the middle of what used to be a pig field. He never did finish the patio, although he did fit patio doors high enough up the wall to allow for a patio to go underneath, and for years me and my sister thought it was perfectly natural to have to bend your knees and jump to go out of patio doors...

    I imagine the situation would be different today, especially in a more urban setting and with the skillset you are likely to have. My Dad wasn't very academic, and left school at 14, but his education (woodwork, metal work, animal husbandry, etc) and skills (being able to haul hundredweight sacks around) did, it would seem, fit him well for house-building. There is likely to be more paperwork involved, and the neighbours are likely to grumble if you leave a half-finished shell next door for most of a decade, so you'll need to hire help. You might not need to be able to carry a hod of bricks up a ladder single-handedly, but you will need to be able to project-manage and coordinate a bunch of contractors, all of which will cheerfully try and get you to spend more money than you originally planned.

    To be honest, I'd avoid the traditional brick-built approach and go for wooden pre-fabricated sections assembled on site and have a shell built around them. You prepare a foundation, get your kitchen, bathroom and whatnot picked out and built in a nice warm, rain-free factory where the workers have time to do a decent job, then have the sections delivered to the site by lorry and craned into position, then finish off by putting a brick shell around the lot and sticking a roof on top (er, I simplify somewhat, of course...). You hire a company to manage all this for you, of course, but you wind up having to hire a minimal number of contractors to finish things off.

    If you really want to save money and really build the house yourself you could go for a non-traditional building material like straw bales. They work well (no they don't catch fire, no they don't get eaten by mice, yes they do make great insulation, etc) but you have to convince your local planning permission office first. I doubt you'll convince anyone to let you build an earth-bermed house in a city (unless you buy a plot of land, discreetly dig a hole, shove in a prefab office or two, reinforce the roof with struts, make sure the walls are treated and waterproofed, then fill back in and hope no-one notices you're living there. You would need to hire a mailbox address for correspondence, disguise the plot from the air and you'd have to use low-powered items and figure out some kind of power supply like solar. Haven't given this any thought, honest), although there's some houses (Earthships) been built in Wales like that.

    Bearing in mind that in 30 years time (seriously, that'd be when you're still paying off the mortgage) flooding could become an issue, you might want to invest in something that floats. Barges can be built from scratch for around 60,000 and you used to be able to buy floating finger-moorings for around 25,000. Getting the post office to deliver your post there can be a challenge. You could always opt for something more sea-worthy (fishing boats going cheap?) if you wanted to be able to move around, or build your own craft from a cement base with a wooden exterior if your carpentry skills are up to it.

    --
    David Hicks

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    Michael's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies guys. I am aware house prices are cheaper than they were in 2007. I think they're around 2004 prices for what I've read. Just curious really whether anyone had done it, as I had also come to the conclusion that materials weren't going to be that much and that labour, land and planning permission would be the more costly and time consuming part of the process.

    I don't have any experience of building, but I'm a man that likes challenges! If I was going to go ahead with it, I would of course do it properly and build it on a hill I think the midlands should be safe from a complete flood; in my lifetime anyway

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    torledo's Avatar
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    agree with dhicks about the land and planning permission being the biggest hurdles to overcome.

    I quite like the idea of a prefab german custom build, like the one's the couple in grand designs went with, they built on a hill in bath from what i recall. Went with the whole eco-friendly gubbins aswell - ....they had all sorts of issues with getting it structurally sound because of where they were building, and that sort of build is not for the faint hearted in my view, but unless your going to mortgage upwards of 300k you won't be going for a grand designs style build anyway.

    The issue surroundign house prices is the scarcity of land, and that it's just so d*** difficult to get permission to build on what little is available in good locaitons. But more than the issue of housing supply, the availability and cost of credit is what matters most as regards the price of existing property.

    The other thing that's massively different from 2007 is the availability of credit. Number of mortgage products, mortgage lenders, and mortgages with high LTV's has shrunk drastically....

    don't give up hope of being able to afford somewhere. the noughties era of irrational exuberance is corked in my view.

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    somabc's Avatar
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    I think the house on grand designs was a HUF HAUS

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    Batman's Avatar
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    Those earthships are amazing... I want to build one!!

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    I also agree with prefabed components, the house I am in at the moment has walls made of 'laserboard' and it went from a concrete pad to watertight and wired in seven days. Brick exterior around that took another few days on top all with a single builder. Given the materials it is also extremely well insulated from both sounr ond temperture changes (for a New Zealand house) which makes it economical to heat and cool.

    A builder/property developer was brought in to do it so it was what they were best at and had done lots of simmilar builds so avoided vast amounts of hassle and issues.

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Keep thinking about it. Would love either one of the german designs like Huf or go with a canadian log style house. Probability of being able to afford it? Unlikely

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    I had a colleague who had a house built for him a few years back; I think he would echo the comments about how painfully slow & expensive the process is of buying the land & sorting out planning permission. He was a professional project manager & took on the task of managing the whole process himself. He & his wife lived onsite in a caravan for almost two years.

    They bought a plot of land that already had planning permission for a single dwelling; they wanted a seperate detached garage & stable for a couple of horses, they had no end of trouble convincing the planning authority that the outbuildings were not going to become residential by stealth! The planning process was delayed because their neighbours (150m away) were worried that the horses would attract flies.... and there were drainage problems on the site that threatened to wash their neighbours gardens away....

    The architect produced a grand design, which ended up being three times his budget for building by the time the quantity surveyors had finished their estimates, this almost ended up in court as my colleague prepared to sue the architect for professional misconduct....

    The builders chosen to build the house had trouble getting men & materials onsite in a timely fashion(especially the special 'pink' sandstone quarried just down the road); the builders laid a concrete floor for the garage & stable yard without reinforcement & the council made them break it all up & do it again.... finally the builder got most upset when they overran the finish date & my colleague invoked the financial penalties he had built into the contract.... according to the builder this was the first time anyone had done this to him!

    A process not for the faint-hearted, but by all accounts can be very profitable (or was).

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    a canadian log style house
    Remember, using any tools other than a single axe is cheating :-)

    --
    David Hicks

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    I lived in a caravan for 2 years when I was about 10 when my dad built our house... he laid every brick himself and did pretty much everything in the house including the roof. I had great fun on the scaffolding growing up but nowadays I imagine the HSA might have a word about it

    Think my dad bought the land for next to nothing as it was a bit of wastleland with a beck running through it.

    Land is silly money nowadays so unless your building lots of houses or a super house then its been priced out of the reach of the everyday person... theres a bit of land near me that I am interested in but its very small, overlooked by the neighbours (think it was their garage they are selling) and its got planning prmission already for 2 dwellings

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    Hedghog's Avatar
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    Self Builds

    As the others have said commitment over a long period and lots of stress is the order of the day. I've built, including sheep's wool insulation and all underfloor heating, a wooden frame house for my Mother in Law in my back garden and before I bought my current house was going to build my one my self.
    A good route to go down before you start is look for a magazine called, I think,"Build It" and look out for the self build show which used to be at the NEC. There is also a standing exhibition in Swindon which I think covers most aspects of what you are trying to do.
    Timber frame is definitely the way to go as it is more flexible, slightly more expensive initially, but you save money in the time saved. Many timber frame producers also do design and build services where the build the frame and project manage the rest.
    Definitely look on the WEB as there is a wealth of information on the subject.
    Hope this helps because I could go on for ages on this subject.

    Good Luck

    Peter

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    Building you own house may be stressful and tiring and cost abit, but in the end isn't it all worth it, as you have paid for it, its yours within what a year? thats if your working a budget, and have the cash saved.

    What would be good is to find an old warehouse somewhere and convert it into a house. You have the shell and have a massive space inside to do with what you want.

    Im 22 atm, and im already wondering what i can do now to have that dream of having my own family home build to how I want it, and that is different from the rest of the houses that are around it........Ah well better start saving.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Remember, using any tools other than a single axe is cheating :-)

    --
    David Hicks
    Does a well trained beaver count as a tool?
    Last edited by K.C.Leblanc; 6th August 2009 at 02:22 PM.

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