Whether you are thinking of building your own home, or adding a sizeable extension onto your current property, residential construction projects such as these can be incredibly rewarding. However, like most large building projects, you need to get your plans straight right from the start if you want your building work to progress as stress-free as possible.

If you are struggling to know where to start, then we have put this helpful guide together for you to follow. Don’t forget though that our helpful team of residential construction experts are here to help you, so do not hesitate to give our friendly team a call for further advice and guidance.

Look at your Finances

There is no getting around the fact that every building project starts and ends with money. You may have a clear idea in mind of what end result you want from your construction company, but you need to have enough money in place to make your dream become a reality.

Check to see what you can borrow from your bank or building society to get an idea of how much money you can put towards your construction project. Next you will need to contact your chosen construction company to get an idea of the costings for your build. This will include materials and labour costs.

If you are considering a self-build, then you will need to include the plot price, which could be affected by your local housing market. Building plots can be 50 percent more expensive in more affluent areas than a comparable size plot in a less desirable area. Bear this in mind when you are looking at building plots for your dream home.

Finding your Plot

For those who are planning to build their own home, then finding your ideal site will be your next priority. Keep a regular check of weekly lists of planning applications submitted to your local authority. It also helps to register with your local authority under their ‘Right to Build’ scheme.

Check on Google Maps for plots of unused land and find out who owns the land via the Land Registry. You can try approaching the owner to see if they are willing to sell to you. Also register with internet services such as Plotfinder, which can help you find private sellers that don’t want to sell through estate agents.

Take your Idea to a Designer

Designing a residential construction project

You cannot get a proper quote for your building work until you have a building plan on paper. At your pre-design stage, you may have an idea for your ideal layout, but a professional designer will be able to take your ideas and create your home on paper with realistic considerations and actual measurements that your building contractor can work with to come up with a quote. Until you have an agreed design to work from, your costings will be pure guesswork.

A knowledgeable residential construction designer will have a good idea about building costs, so by knowing your budget in advance, they will be able to create a plan for you that should fall within your budget.

Depending on whether you are going for a self-build on a new plot of land, or if you are adding on to your existing property, you can still burn through a lot of money on designs alone. It is wise to approach a designer after you have secured your building plot so they can create a design that fits in with the size, shape and layout of your plot.

Remember that a designer cannot tell you what you want – they are there to take your ideas and needs and design something that fits your requirements and budget. Make sure your designer knows exactly what you want to avoid having two, three or more unsuitable designs drawn up for you. This not only is a waste of your time, but it will also be a drain on your budget. Generally, you can expect to allocate between five to ten percent of your budget for your design work.

VAT

When building a new house from scratch, your project could qualify for zero rating for VAT. This can be a great help as this will give you a bit of extra cash to put towards your costs for labour and materials. Although you may be able to claim zero VAT for your residential construction, you cannot claim back VAT for such things as designer fees or furniture, décor and carpets.

Unfortunately, if you are adding an extension or completely renovating your home, you will have to pay the full VAT rate. The only exception here would be if you are renovating a house that has been standing empty for more than 10 years. However, you could qualify for reduced rates of VAT should you be renovating a property that has been empty for 2 years or more.

Turnkey Construction

If you are planning a self-build, then you could consider using a turnkey package where a construction company will offer an all inclusive build service. This will include everything from the design and planning through to the construction and finishing off.

Mostly, turnkey construction projects will be based around a timber frame construction, and can save you a lot of time and money as the combination of design and build costs are set at an early stage with a team that will work in cooperation with each other. You will also get a structural warranty on all works, which can be very reassuring.

Make sure that you thoroughly check out your chosen construction service provider to ensure they meet with the latest health and safety CDM Regulations for on site work.

Building your dream home

A guide to building your dream home

Timeframe

Check with your construction company about your project time frame. Most self-builds take about a year in planning and up to another year on site for an average sized property.

We hope this brief guide to residential construction in the UK has been of use to you, but if you have any questions, please contact us – we will be happy yo help!