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Self Build Advice

Self Build Advice

I have built many self build projects around my home and I thought I would share some tips with you.

7 Ways to Cut the Cost of Your Home Extension

7 Ways to Cut the Cost of Your Home Extension

An extension is just like anything else – you want to get the most for the least money.  Extending the house is often cheaper than moving to a new, larger one but can still be a substantial investment.  So what ways are there to cut the cost of your home extension?

The design – keep it simple

The more straight forward the design, the less it will generally cost.  So opting for a rectangular or square shape for your extension is usually less expensive than one with a fancy shape.  A simple pitched roof will also help keep costs down.  Doors and windows that are standard size and therefore don’t need to be custom made are other steps to reducing costs.  Use common construction elements such as concrete blockwork for the sub-floor and timber cladding for an attractive but cost effective finish to the walls.  And use roof lights rather than dormer windows.

Check about planning permission beforehand

While this one doesn’t save you money upfront, it can save you a fortune down the line.  Always check to see if you project needs planning permission before you start.  New relaxed rules often mean that extensions don’t but if they do, and you don’t get it, you can be made to remove the extension and foot the bill.

Let your neighbours know what’s happening

This is another step that could save you money in the long run by not leading to costly disputes.  Under the Party Wall Act, your neighbours can stop or have an extension removed if it is too close to their boundary wall.  And if there is a dispute, you will be liable for costs, which could be around £700 per neighbour, more if a surveyor is involved.  Therefore, by letting your neighbours know what’s happening and dealing with objections before the project starts, you could save yourself a lot of money in the long term.  Plus, it keeps the peace in the neighbourhood!

DIY work

While the idea of doing DIY or self build extensions may seem intimidating for those not in the construction industry, it can be easier than you would think.  Labour costs are typically half to two-thirds of the cost of any project so the more you can do yourself, the more you save.

Some of the easiest tasks to take on DIY include labouring for the people constructing the extension, doing your own decorating and landscaping once the extension is in place.  Depending on your skill set you may be able to do secondary jobs such as tiling or flooring, adding coving and skirting boards or laying carpet.  

Self build extensions

Self-build extensions are the next step up from DIY and involve a variety of different levels.  Some people can take on the whole project themselves while other can manage the project, therefore saving costs on a project manager.  You may even want to take a course on self-building beforehand to learn what you can do yourself.

Shop around for quality workmen

Paying more for workmen than the lowest price may seem counter-productive in efforts to save money but can work out as a big cost saving.  You should always shop around for the workmen involved in your project and look at more than the cost.  Ask for reviews, case studies and check out they are members of relevant trade associations.  If there is any gas work required, ensure they are Gas Safe.  And check they have relevant insurance.  This can all save money in the long run.


Recycling on a building project is a growing trend that can save money for homeowners and make them feel like they are doing their bit for the environment.  One big area for this is timber and oak framed extensions – leftover wood can easily be recycled, saving money and avoiding charges for disposing of the rubbish from the project.

If you are renovating an area, there might also be materials that can be recycled.  Floorboards, doors, radiators and pipework can all be recycled in different ways and this can save money on disposal costs.  It may even make you a little money as some recycling places will pay for certain materials that they can then reuse and resell.

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