Taking on a self-build project is an excellent way to ensure you get a house that’s tailor-made for you. However, it’s not something you can do on your own – you’ll need a whole range of professionals to help you throughout the process, not to mention a selection of specialist equipment.
Here’s a rundown of some of the most important tradesmen you’ll need to hire for a self-build project.
Before you can even think about breaking ground, you’ll need to have all the relevant paperwork in place. The most important thing to get right is the blueprints of your home – you’ll need to arrange for detailed plans to be drawn up well ahead of applying for permission for your project from the local council.
Finding an architect you’re happy with can take a bit of time – don’t be afraid to meet with different professionals to discuss what you hope to achieve before making a decision. Make sure any architect you work with is a member of the Architects’ Registration Board (ARB).
Another professional you can’t do without is a builder. Even if you’re planning to project manage the scheme yourself and deal with things like sourcing materials and equipment hire, you’ll still need a qualified builder onsite to make sure the work is done to the relevant building regulations and health and safety standards.
You should contact more than one professional and speak to them about their previous work – ask to see examples if possible. There are several qualifications builders in the UK can hold, but look out specifically for relevant NVQs and HNDs.
There are also numerous trade organizations and membership to one of these will often indicate the firm or professional is reputable. Check the listings held by bodies like the Federation of Master Builders and the National Federation of Builders if you need help with your search.
You should start looking for a plumber at around the same time as you’re searching for a builder. This is sensible because, even though the plumber won’t be involved in the initial stages of construction, they can advise about the placement of drains, water in and outlet pipes, and other aspects of your plumbing system.
If you need your plumber to carry out work with gas, for instance when installing your boiler, make sure they are a member of the Gas Safe Register. As with builders, it’s a good idea to choose a tradesman who is a member of a professional organization, like the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering.
A qualified electrician will be another vital member of your self-build team, as it is illegal to carry out major electrical works if you are not qualified to do so. One thing to bear in mind where electricians are concerned is that there is more than one certification scheme for such professionals in the UK.
ELECSA, NICEIC and ECA-registered tradesmen are the ones you’re most likely to come across. The Electrical Safety Council has set up a database in conjunction with these organizations, allowing you to search for professionals registered with any one of these bodies.
It’s also worth noting that the standards for electrical work are not the same in England and Wales as they are in Scotland or Northern Ireland, so you should make sure you know the standards in your locality before you hire someone.