Self Build or Employing a Contractor?

A self builder would contact a series of subcontractors, such as bricklayers, joiners and electricians, and supervise these trades for the purpose of the construction of their house. A contractor would amass the subcontractors, co-ordinate their services, secure the site and profit from this. Therefore the self-builder would save by coordinating the various activities and services, which is more time consuming than dealing with a contractor.


The majority of self-builder’s would finance construction by availing of a self-build mortgage or bank loan. The Architect would inspect construction at various stages and if satisfied, a certificate would be issued. Consideration must be given to financing the early stage of the project by your own resources before finance is received from your lender.


Allow a contingency of approximately 15% to your original budget.

Defer Building work

If a portion of the building work could be deferred until a later date, such as a garage, the initial loan or mortgage would be less – a consideration given loan availability during these austere times.

Statutory Approvals

Planning Permission and Building Control Approval must be obtained before work commences on site. Permission should be sought regarding connections to utilities such as electricity, sewers, mains water, gas and telephone. If a mains sewer is not available, an on-site sewage system such as a septic tank or a bio-disc must be utilized and therefore a percolation test performed. Seek the utility permissions before construction work commences to account for extra expenses that may ensue.


Appropriate Self Build Insurance must be obtained and responsibility assumed for all Health and Safety on site. Materials and waste storage must be carefully monitored to ensure tidiness and good housekeeping.


Preparation is key to a successful Self Build. The more information that you can gather beforehand, the less vulnerable you will be to unforeseen circumstances.