Damon & Felicity Ball
Being an architect, ever since he can remember Damon always dreamed of building his own home though it was only in the past few years that this became a real possibility. He was always looking at plots out of interest though as Damon puts it, 'it was always really a pipe dream to be honest as I thought that my wife would never let me pursue the idea'.
A plot with great potential appeared on Rightmove while Damon and his wife Felicity were on holiday, it was in the perfect location and was within their price range. The remainder of their holiday was spent taking about the plot and Damon actually sketched out some plans while they were away. The couple agreed that as soon as they returned from holiday they would put their house on the market and put an offer in on the land. The house was sold within two days and their offer on the plot was accepted shortly after this and so from here things started to gather motion quickly!
Hints & Tips
Recommend finding a good architect as early as possible. (coordinate information, everyone working of the same construction drawings and add value to the finished project). An architect’s input ensures that you have the right information to hand before you start.
Damon describes the planning process as straight forward, “being an architect myself I am used to dealing with these types of projects on a regular basis”. For those who are not familiar with the industry he would advise to employ an architect to handle the design and planning process, most notably as “architects have the ability to unlock the sites full potential and take away a huge amount of the stress involved while building”. A watertight set of construction drawings and documentation are invaluable to ensure that all elements of the build are detailed so to avoid any variation claims and extras from your builder through the course of construction.
The project itself took approximately 12 months to finish and was completed to a strict budget of £1000 per square metre which on average is what we would expect for a self build, though Damon was able to stick to this budget while still building the house to a very high specification as you can see from the photographs! Damon took on the role of Project Manager and was extremely hands on with the project despite still working full time. He did a lot of the interior fit-out himself and fortunately had friends and family in various trades who offered lower rates. When budgeting, Damon would advise aspiring self builders to use an architect which knowledge on how to detail and design within your budget, go out to tender with sub-contractors to obtain competitive pricing and finally a qualified project manager will cost though will save you a lot of time and stress.
Hints & TIPS
A full set of detailed construction drawings is essential so there is no confusion with any of the trade’s onsite and to ensure that you don’t get stung with hidden extras.Find a Builder
BuildStore arranged a self build mortgage for Damon and Felicity to fund their building costs. As the couple already owned the land, an arrears stage payment mortgage was recommended with the Newcastle Building Society. Damon described BuildStore as being very helpful, 'they took all of the stress out of the financial side of things away … the service was excellent!', he would highly recommend BuildStore to others, especially his self build clients.
Damon and Felicity have settled into their new three-bedroom family home well. They have made provisions for the future as there is room for extending the house at the rear should they need more space as their family grows. Having said that, Damon can definitely see himself building again in the future, at least once more! Even though it was extremely stressful with working full time, it was something that Damon 'thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish and wouldn’t hesitate to do again'.
Location Longcot, Oxfordshire
Project New build, three bedroom detached house
Construction Traditional brick and block
Plot Cost £146,000
Build Cost £145,700