Invest time and energy into choosing your team. Know what you want and why you want it.
Be prepared to ask and answer questions.
Choose a team that can work together, understand, support and appreciate your ideas and the natural build process.
Provide crystal clear instructions and information for your team.
Good clear communication is a must at all times.
Spreadsheets and Gantt charts are useful tools for creating time schedules and plan of works.
Respect your environment and aim to work with your natural surroundings, not against them.
If needed, seek advice from your local environmental or heritage protection agency.
Make site safe and secure.
Clear away obstacles and
obstructions and make site safe to get started.
Put up a secure boundary fence to protect nature, people and your site.
Get site insurance in place.
Create a clear access and a solid road.
You don’t want HGV’s getting stuck or damaged when delivering your materials!
Recycled hard-core is fairly cost effective to your purse and the environment.
Well pounded it makes a solid base for road and hardstanding areas.
If you plan to live on site, get services in place.
Will you be connecting to the national grid?
Do you have a private water supply?
Think electricity, water, telephone and gas.
Avoid oil at all costs!
Always ask for more than one quote when contacting your service provider and be prepared to haggle.
If you plan to live on site, get drainage and sewage treatment in place.
Think about how you will treat your waste?
Your percolation test results will guide and sometimes restrict your choices.
A few ideas include a compost toilet, septic tank, sewage treatment system, anaerobic digestion and reed bed systems.
Alternatively, you may want to connect to existing mains sewage and water systems.
The foundations take the load off your home.
Lay them with due care and diligent attention to detail.
A crucial part of a build, as the entire structure of your home is dependent upon the support from your foundations.
Ground floor construction solid or suspended?
This will be determined by your personal preference and natural build method.
Lay and insulate ground floor.
First fix plumbing
Lay pipes (underfloor) for all liquid needs and requirements.
Time for your build to take on structure and form.
The walls may form the structure of your build such as cob, earth bag or load bearing straw-bales.
For the likes of straw-bale walls, no further insulation will be needed.
For the likes of wooden frame, post and beam, or panel system, be sure and maximise your insulation using the likes of woodfibre, cellulose / recycled paper or sheep’s wool.
Construct and place on roof.
External doors and windows will make your build wind and watertight.
By this stage you should be starting to feel well pleased with yourself!
Basic joinery work includes:
Doors including handles and locks
Kitchen fixtures and fittings
Bathroom and toilet fixtures and fittings
First fix electrics
Run wires and cables to meet electrical needs and requirements.
Second fix plumbing
Bath, sinks, shower, toilets, back-boiler, wood-burner, all present and connected
Second fix electrical
Plugs, sockets, switches, light fitments, meter box all present and connected
You are almost ready to go live [if connecting to the grid]
Painting, decorating, floors finished.
Re-used and re-purposed fixtures and fittings creatively sourced and placed.
Completion is imminent!
New builds in the UK are exempt from VAT and as such you are entitled to reclaim VAT on the majority of your build materials.
In general this means you can claim back VAT paid on materials that will become a permanent part of your home.
Remember and keep invoices safe and in order. Be sure and get your name and site address included too.
For more information check out:
Choose your team
Flora and Fauna
Services on site
Structure and form
Wind and water tight
First and second fixes
So what's involved in a self-build?
The order is by no means fixed and will depend on many variables,
namely your budget, team and choice of natural build method.