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As you would expect, building a house is not straightforward. You need to consider many things, including the method of construction, costing, planning permission, the type of house you want to build, insurance, and plenty more.

Assuming you have permission to build a house, the blog below provides an overview of what different questions you may want to consider when constructing a property. 

However, if the stress and costs of building a home are getting too much, sell your property to online estate agents

Types of UK housing

In the United Kingdom, there are four main types of houses:

  • Detached
  • Semi-detached
  • Terraced
  • Flat

Some property types have sub-categories, though – such as a maisonette, an ‘end of terrace’, or a bungalow.

What are the different property construction methods in the UK?

In the UK, there are two main ‘traditional’ construction methods: brick or block wall construction.

With this type of construction, the walls are usually built in two layers: an internal blockwork wall and an external wall of brick or stone. These walls, along with some internal partitions, support the structure of the house.

Some of the ‘non-traditional’ methods that can theoretically be used include metal frames, precast concrete, in-situ concrete, and timber frames.

What Is Timber Frame Construction – and is it still used?

Timber frame construction is a method of building houses using timber frames, now considered ‘outdated’ in England. However, this method of construction is far more common in Scotland than in other countries across the UK.

Generally, there are two types of timber frame houses: timber framing and post-and-beam. 

A timber frame house is constructed by securing the frame’s joinery with wooden pegs. On the other hand, a post-and-beam property uses metal fasteners, which are either hidden behind timbers or face the interior.

Do UK lenders offer a mortgage on all types of construction?

Across the UK, each lender has different requirements for what construction method they will or won’t lend on. Many of the major banks only offer a mortgage on a house that has been constructed in a ‘traditional’ way—i.e., made from brick or stone walls, concrete foundations, and a tiled roof.

Lots of non-standard construction methods may be extremely difficult to secure a mortgage on because they are considered ‘riskier’ by the lenders. Some organisations will be willing to provide a mortgage on these properties, so you should research which ones these are and then have a conversation with them directly about your situation.

What is the most popular type of UK house construction method?

Brick and block construction is by far the most popular method of constructing a house in the UK. The vast majority of properties around England and Wales are built using this approach.

The ratios change slightly in Scotland, with timber frame houses being somewhat more common.

The steps involved with building your own house in the UK

To develop your property, you will need planning permission – otherwise, the council can order you to destroy the building anytime. Applying for planning permission costs several hundreds of pounds. It will either involve the outline of a plan or a detailed and ‘full’ plan.

Once you have achieved planning permission, you will need an architect to design the property. Usually, this architect will also be required to produce the plans necessary to obtain planning permission in the first place. You must get a qualified expert to help with this; otherwise, the property could be incorrectly built and dangerous to you and your surrounding area.

After an architect has designed the building, you must select the team involved with constructing it. This will require various services, from building to plastering, interior design to electricians, plumbing to decorating, and more. You may need to coordinate with public bodies or local authorities to ensure everything is done correctly. You will need to get price quotations from all these parties to calculate how much it will cost.

You could also choose to bring in an experienced project manager who can ensure everything is done correctly throughout the process.

Many people building their own homes choose to get insurance before work begins so that everyone working on the site is protected—including themselves. Several types of policies are available that can cover this, so you should speak to an expert if you want to know what options are available.

Lastly, many accountants recommend reclaiming your VAT at the end of the project, as the purchase of building materials is exempt from this type of tax.

Do I need insurance to build a house?

Although you are not legally required to have insurance when building your own home, it is strongly recommended that you do so.

When you use contractors to assist with the work, they usually have their insurance, which protects them. However, this does not protect you or your home when they’re off-site. Therefore, you may need to take out your self-build insurance policy. 

You can speak to insurance experts who can assist you with this.

How much does it cost to build a home?

The cost of building a home will vary significantly, depending on the size, location, and contractors that you use. For example, the average construction salary is less in the north of England than in London, which may impact how much you have to pay. 

Equally, the size of your house makes an enormous difference. A small property with little complexity could usually be built with tens of thousands of pounds. In contrast, a large house with complicated features can cost hundreds of thousands, or sometimes even more.

It is recommended that you calculate the total cost of building a house before you get started. You can do this by getting independent quotations from all the contractors involved and then factoring in additional costs such as applying for planning permission, the rent you pay while living somewhere else, the cost of materials, and so on.

Advantages and disadvantages of building a home

One of the main advantages of building your own house is that it should give you more control over how the end result will look. You can dictate the design of the property and the finish (e.g., colours, interior design, and so on) to your precise tastes. This ‘blank canvas’ is something you do not get when purchasing a property that someone else has already constructed.

One of the disadvantages of building a house is the enormous stress, costs and challenges involved. Building a property can take a long time, and you will need to house yourself in the meantime. You will also need to navigate taking out insurance, paying your contractors, ensuring everything is done to a high standard, getting all the correct materials in, and countless other projects. 

If you already have a full-time job, dedicating all your attention to this can be nearly impossible. That’s why many people bring in an experienced, capable project manager who can do it for them.

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