Taking ControlFor many self builders the idea of managing a build seems like the most accessible way to get involved.
For many self builders the idea of managing a build seems like the most accessible way to get involved. In many ways that is a fair assumption, as it requires you to have no existing experience of the building industry. Nor do you have to be able to complete any D.I.Y.
It does however require you to be able to juggle a number of priorities, solve problems and manage people. Not everyone have these skills and if you feel you might be out of your depth then you can read our section reducing your role.
If you have got this far, and everything you have read makes project management sound like a challenge you would relish, then it is probably for you. Many people who have taken on this role, and successfully completed their build, say it offers a sense of satisfaction and achievement that is difficult to rival.
When combined with the possible savings you can make it can prove to be the best decision you have ever made, but be warned it does require you to run a tight ship.
The role is multifaceted, and encompasses more than you may initially consider; from sourcing materials and tradespeople, through day to day running of the site, to drawing up schedules and contracts. The breadth of the role is highly time consuming and will require you to be on site everyday. It will in a sense be taking over a large proportion of your life for the duration of the build.
Sourcing materials and tradespeople:
When it comes to sourcing materials and tradespeople everyone has seen a program about cowboy builders. But if this was the norm, rather than the exception to the norm, then nobody would complete a successful build.
So fear not, in the vast majority of cases this is simply not the case and by asking around for recommendations or visiting trusted websites, many of which can be found in our Directory, you greatly reduce your risk of a bad experience.
Day to Day running of the site:
You may think that if you are organised enough the running of the site will take care of itself. To a large extent it will. However as project manager you are responsible for the health and safety on site, receiving and logging deliveries, liaising with subcontractors and monitoring workmanship. All of which require you to be on site on a daily basis.
You may need to think carefully if you are considering holding down a full time job whilst simultaneously project managing a self build.
Schedules and contracts:
Creating schedules for the build, alongside creating contracts with all subcontractors, is perhaps the most crucial part of running a successful self build. If done well the result can be that everybody knows their role, what their deadline is, and works towards a common goal.
The most obvious schedule to complete is setting out a clear time frame for the completion of the build. For this to be achieved it is necessary to create deadlines within the schedule for completion of each of your subcontractors roles. These deadlines should then be written in to any contracts you hold with individual subcontractors.
On top of this, payment schedules should also be created, making sure you never pay upfront for any work. Subcontractors will then have an incentive to complete their work on time and you’re never left out of pocket.
This may now make the role of project manager seem extremely daunting, especially for those that have no prior experience of the construction industry.
There is plenty of advice around to assist you. Whether it be your architect, the builders’ merchant, the surveyors or maybe just an experienced friend, don’t be hesitant to ask if you have any questions along the way. There will be times when you will not know exactly what you’re doing, or what decision should be made. If you don’t ask anyone for some advice there is no guarantee you will make the right decision. Remember there will be professionals from the industry around you, who won’t expect you to know everything and will be happy to answer your questions.
If you have read this article, and the idea of taking responsibility of your self build seems a little too daunting, read our section Reducing your role to see alternative routes you can take to get your build to completion.