Last Updated on September 18, 2023

Self-building is a popular way to make changes to your home (or build a brand new home), providing you with greater control of the process and allowing you to have a hands-on part in your design vision. However, although you may have a self-build in mind, is now the best time to start? In this article, we look at self-building during the coronavirus pandemic, why it’s becoming more popular for those looking to make alterations to their home, and tips for beginning the self-build process.

Why self-build during the coronavirus pandemic?

Research by the Building Societies Association (BSA) and the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) revealed that 1 in 3 adults in Great Britain is interested in self-building at some point in the future, despite the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. This indicates that, while this is a difficult time for everyone, homeowners are looking to plan their lives for the future – perhaps even with the effects of the pandemic in mind.

Create a work-from-home-friendly environment

National lockdowns and social distancing have prompted many employers to ask staff to work from home; in addition (as of 13th December 2020), 9.9 million jobs have been furloughed in the UK. With many of us spending more time at home, we are rethinking our spaces and how they can be adapted to this potential new way of living.

By self-building, you can create a work-from-home space that suits your needs, whether that’s creating a dedicated office space, expanding on your current space, or adding space-improving features such as larger windows, underfloor heating or smart-home technology.

Office space

Choose and control the quality of materials

With a self-build, you have more power over the quality of materials used in your project. This can influence not only how well your build stands the test of time, but also how it impacts the environment. 

According to the BSA and NaCSBA, “a third of people said living in a home that had less impact on the environment and was more sustainable was a key benefit of building a home (33%), and nearly 9 in 10 people (89%) said energy efficiency would be important if they were to build a new home”. 

Control costs

If you have control over elements such as the materials used in your self-build, or services such as builders and architects, you’ll therefore have control over the costs. This allows you to set a budget, and it is up to you to decide how this is divided.

Is it cheaper to self-build? 

It absolutely depends on the location of your project, materials and services used, your own involvement, and other financial considerations. Many people believe that self-building from scratch is far more expensive than purchasing a house; however, this is not necessarily true. Remember that developers must make a profit when selling a house, and this is money that you wouldn’t have to pay if you were self-building.

In addition, those who are concerned about obtaining funding for a self-build can now begin to rest easy, as mutual lenders (such as building societies) are now making it easier for people to begin the process.

Suffolk Farmhouse - Building Conservation Award

How to design a self-build

Most self-builders design their projects in collaboration with an architect. Hiring the services of a professional can help move your project through the sometimes difficult process of obtaining planning permission, aid in realising your vision and bring it to life, and even save you money by making suggestions about materials and other elements that you might not have considered. Plus, if you are finding the process of self-building challenging and stressful, some architects offer project management services, which can help the operation run much smoother.

At Whitworth, we would be delighted to talk to you about your self-build project, however big or small. You can read our architecture services page here to get a better understanding of how you can work with an architect during your project, or get in touch with a friendly member of our team on 01284 760421.