Part of planning your self-build project should include creating a schedule to work out how long it will take to complete. Although there are many variables, you should typically expect the build to take around one year, with an additional year prior to that for research and pre-planning. So you should expect your self-build project to take about two years to complete.

In detail: How long will my self-build project take?

From the initial planning to moving in, there are a number of factors that can impact the overall time it will take to build your house: how big it is, if the design is complex, what materials are used, and how many people you’ve got working on the project will all affect how long your self-build project will take.

Here’s a breakdown of a typical self-build schedule to help your planning. Use this as a guide to research further and work out exactly how long it will take you to build your new house.


How much time should I allocate for planning my house build?

It could take anywhere between a few months to a few years to plan your self-build project.

Once you’ve worked out how much it’s going to cost to build your own home, you’ll have to sort out your finances. Whether you have savings or are applying for a mortgage, make sure you know what money you’ll need at the different stages of the project. Some reports suggest self-builders should expect it to take up to six months to get their finances in place, particularly if they’re applying for a loan of some kind.

You’ll also need to make sure you’ve got your plot, which can take years to find, so it’s advisable to start researching potential locations as soon as possible.

On top of this, you need to get planning permission. It should take no longer than eight weeks to get a decision after submitting your planning application. but if your application gets rejected for any reason, you’ll have to start the process all over again potentially adding another couple of months to your schedule.

Other parts of the planning stage before you can start building your own home include arranging warranties and insurance to protect yourself if anything goes wrong.

You should apply for water and electricity as soon as possible too, as it’s useful to have access to these on site during the building stages and it will help to reduce disruption further along the build. Whether you’re planning on electric central heating, solar panels, air source or ground source heat pumps, you need to apply to get connected to the local services.

Choosing architects and designers, drawing up plans, getting the plans signed off and obtaining building regulations can take months and months of preparation and work. Start finding your builders and tradespeople as early as possible too in case your preferred contractors are already booked on other self-build projects.


How should I plan time on site when constructing my home?

Although every self-build project will be different, below is a typical breakdown of the different phases that need to take place on site.

Phase 1: Site preparation

In the first phase – which will typically take around a month – you’ll need to prepare the site. This includes clearing and leveling it, marking out and setting up the facilities you’ll need on site for the builders and team working on your house.


Phase 2: Foundations

Before you start on the structural work, you’ll need to lay the foundations and get the floor structure laid out, which could take between one and two months.


Phase 3: Structure

After the foundations and floor structure are in place, it’s on to building the structure and external walls with blocks or frames, as well as building and installing the roof once the wall structures are complete. It’s also important to get the building weathertight as soon as possible – especially with Britain’s unpredictable weather. Allow up to around three months for this phase, although you may be able to complete it in two months.


Phase 3: Building and installing

You can expect to spend between two and four months on this phase, which covers tasks such as installing electrical and plumbing runs, building internal walls and supporting structures, plastering, connecting electrics and heating systems, fitting and plumbing toilets, sinks and showers, and installing fixtures such as flooring.


Phase 4: Finishing touches

Decorating, fixing snags and external landscaping all need to be accounted for in your construction schedule too. Depending on how many people you’ve got working on your self-build project and how big the property is, this could take anything from a few weeks to a few months. People often overlook how long the final finishing touches will take, so don’t underestimate these steps.


Is there a quicker way to build my own house?

The information above is based on the time it typically takes to design and build a home using traditional construction techniques. However, smart construction and off-site construction can help to reduce the amount of time it takes to build a home.

Sometimes referred to as modular homes, prefabricated homes, or self-build house kits, this way of building a home can have a number of benefits because they tend to be quicker to build, you save money thanks to reduced labour costs, and there are fewer health and safety risks. A lot of modular homes built with modern design, materials and construction techniques offer a high level of performance and energy efficiency too.

As with a traditional build, you’ll need to factor in time for finding the perfect location, planning permission and coming up with the design. You’ll also need to spend a few weeks preparing the site, but it could take just a few days to erect the prefab house once the components are delivered on site.

With Britain facing a huge housing shortage at the moment, it’s thought by some that modular homes could help to provide much-needed housing, quickly. Modular homes could also provide an option for would-be self-builders who are looking for a quicker and potentially cheaper way of building their own home.


If you’re planning your own self-build project, find out more about how an integrated renewable heating system could help you save money, reduce your carbon footprint and increase comfort in your new home.

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