We began searching for a plot of land for our self build house in late 2004, using all the usual resources and spending many hours visiting the hopefuls on our short-list.
After 6 months of intensive searching and narrowly missing out on a couple of favorites, we were beginning to feel a little disheartened. On the verge of a rethink, we were over the moon when we found a plot that had just come back on the market and on paper it ticked all the boxes.
We headed off immediately for a visit and arrived to find an overgrown garden plot, but the excitement mounted, it looked like it could be the one!
After checking the basics we wasted little time submitting an offer, which following some negotiation, was duly accepted.
The plot already had outline planning permission for a detached dwelling and as we were keen to get started ASAP, we took the gamble of appointing a designer and getting the design underway before completing the purchase.
Luckily, the legal searches didn't uncover any nasty surprises and we completed with a sigh of relief.
Following completion we cleared the site of trees and undergrowth and took delivery of a 25 year old static caravan that would be our new home for the duration of the build.
The design process rumbled on reasonably smoothly and after some negotiation and a little compromise, our application was granted without any objections. Building regulation drawings approval followed suit.
Wanting to get hands-on with our self build house we decided to take on the project management and complete several sections of work DIY. Doing this and living on site saved us a lot of money but also meant that our build took a bit longer. From breaking ground to receiving our completion certificate took 15 months in total.
We appointed a local builder on a plant and labour basis to excavate, lay the foundations and construct the walls to the wallplate.
After speaking to local Building Inspectors we forewent a ground survey understanding that it was likely we would hit bedrock fairly quickly in the excavations and would be able to have them visually inspected by our Building Inspector before pouring concrete.
On the downside, our sloping site meant slightly more 'muck away' than we had anticipated or budgeted for. You win some you lose some!
With the footings in, we took delivery of our beam and block ground floor which went in very quickly and transformed the site in a matter of hours. It was soon loaded out with blocks and our fantastic brickies cracked on with the blockwork and yorkstone cavity walling.
Once the walls were up to the wallplate and after some help setting the roof trusses it was over to my wife and I to get on with slating the roof which would be the first major section of work we were taking on ourselves.
The timing had worked out perfectly though and we spent a few tiring but happy weeks on the roof enjoying some glorious weather and fabulous views of the Yorkshire Moors.
We proudly got the roof finished and had the windows fitted, sealing the house from the elements and it was time for us to move inside and get to work on the first fix joinery. We brought in electricians and plumbers for their first fix and it wasn't long before we were ready for the plasterers to get started with dot and dab.
Getting the walls plaster-boarded and skimmed is a huge turning point for a self build house when it really starts looking more like a finished home than a building site.
We coated the drying plaster with a mist coat of paint and everyone got cracking with the second fix.
As the finishing work progressed inside, the groundworkers laid the drainage, connected to a manhole that, luckily, was already on site and then backfilled ready for turf, paving and tarmac.
With a tarmaced drive, decoration complete, carpets in, testing and commissioning out of the way it all came together. Our completion certificates were issued from building control and the NHBC and we were able to finally sit back relax and enjoy the fruits of our labour!
We've now spent several happy years in our self build house and although we love it dearly, we've got the itch and are hoping to do it all again soon!
If you have finished a self build house or are in the process of building one, why not share your experiences with us and other self builders. We'd love to post your story so please get in touch.
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