Case Studies

Steven Mewse & Vicki Richards

Steven Mewse & Vicki Richards

Steven Mewse and Vicki Richards had always dreamt of building their own home, but thought the reality of it was slim. When they had the opportunity to purchase a plot of land, the couple decided building their own home would enable them to have exactly what they wanted, rather than settling for a pre-built house that didn’t tick all the boxes.

While the couple had previously renovated on a small scale, they had absolutely no prior experience of self building. Vicki explained ‘we didn’t understand at first exactly how much is involved and what needs to be considered when building a house’. However the couple spoke to local builders and tradesmen who all united to piece together and organise the order of events for the build to take place.

The couple are a great example for those interested in building their own home as they demonstrate that you do not necessarily need a great deal of experience to truly get involved in the process of the design, build and management of the project to make this work.

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We didn’t understand at first exactly how much is involved and what needs to be considered when building a house

The plot where Steven and Vicki’s home now stands was initially advertised by a local estate agent. After discovering the ideal plot, the advertisement had been removed the following day and so with the worry of missing out they drove to the village and spoke with the local residents. The vendor made contact with the couple and luckily he was still prepared to sell the land.

Steven and Vicki were very fortunate as there was a huge amount of interest in the land, however, as they were a young family and that was how the vendor started out, he respected what they wanted to achieve and gave them the amazing opportunity.

For the couple, having someone else manage the build felt as though they had lost their grip on the build process and they were concerned things would we be done without being consulted. Steven and Vicki wanted to be involved with all details and decisions involving all aspects of the build, as well as wanting to know why and how things were being done so they understood.

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The couple took on the challenge to project manage the build, living in a mobile home on site throughout the duration of the build, which almost took 3 years. Steven and Vicki worked closely with the builders and tradesmen and where on call when needed, disposing of any rubbish and moving material. Although the couple both work and have two children, Vicki explained that even though it was challenging at times, they are glad they decided to manage the build themselves as there were so many decisions to make along the way that the couple needed to be involved in.

Both Steven and Vicki believe it is better if you can manage the build yourself. The couple looked into getting a company to manage the build project, however they soon realised there would be an increase in the cost of materials and they felt if you have the time and can do it yourself, you can save a lot of money.

One of Steven and Vicki’s main jobs was to order all the materials to sequence the stages of the build. They learnt along the way that there is so much choice on the market today in everything you purchase, that it is really important to do your research before committing to buy anything!

Steven and Vicki understood the importance of managing their finance and budget, keeping a spreadsheet throughout the build to keep track of what they were spending. The couple’s financial adviser pointed them in the direction of BuildStore because of our good reputation for managing the build process, especially for people like themselves with no experience. They found BuildStore ‘efficient’, ‘professional’ and ‘very helpful’ during the project, receiving quick responses from the team if they were unsure of the process at any time.

Research is vital for a successful build
Projects have lots of highs and lows
Weather can make a project difficult at times

During the build itself, the Great British weather made parts of the project difficult at times as all works had to stop until it was safe to continue. Decision making was also challenging for the couple too. Vicki notes ‘when you build a house you will never understand how many decisions you need to make about the slightest of things we take for granted when buying a house already built’.

Throughout the project itself, there were many highs and lows. Steven and Vicki learnt an awful lot from building their own home and they are so happy with the end result they would ‘never look back’ and if you have the opportunity to build your own house, they would definitely recommend it.

When you build a house you will never understand how many decisions you need to make about the slightest of things we take for granted when buying a house already built

Overall the couple describe their self build experience as ‘exciting’, ‘educational’ and ‘rewarding’ and when asked if they would consider embarking on another project advised ‘we have already discussed the next one’ although Steven and Vicki do wish to remain in their new house as they see it as their ‘forever home’.

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Location West Lydford, Somerset
Project New build, five bedroom detached house
Construction Traditional brick and block
Plot Cost £215,000
Build Cost £275,000