If you remember the program Grand Designs, you’ll have probably come away with the impression that designing your dream home is a fool’s game. The people on that program never seemed to have enough money. They were always having to call in the help of friends or abandon the project for months on end whilst they lived in a caravan. Or they ran out of time. Some projects only being completed years after the original target date. And none of this includes all those builds that never made it to the program and failed outright.

Mortgaging your life away, sinking into debt and risk failing to complete a project is not fun. So maybe it’s worth giving your grand design a little more thought than the average person on grand designs. You need a detailed plan, and you need to stick to it.

A Bad Architect

One of the perennial problems that Grand Designs‘ presenter, Kevin McCloud lamented was the plans. Often, building work would have to come to a halt because there was a mistake in the measurements in the architect’s designs. This was bound to happen, considering that the designs were utterly bespoke and completed by rank amateurs.

Good residential architects should be able to generate the plans for a bespoke home without flaws. There are architects out there that specialize in producing luxury homes. They’ll be able to accommodate the problems that might befall a non-specialist. Things like designing a home that can cope with being built on a steep slope, for example.

Managing The Project Yourself

Many people that want to build their dream home want to be in charge of the process every step of the way. This is understandable, given that it is usually the focus of their lives. But this frequently turns out to be a mistake. It’s one thing managing a team of IT professionals in an office, it’s quite another managing a build. There are numerous suppliers, overlapping deadlines, and technical issues.

A project manager on the site can oversee the whole of the construction operation. They know that if you want to dig a trench to install cabling to your new home you need to start negotiating with utility companies at least a year in advance. And when you come to lay the pipe work, that needs to be ordered at least two months in advance. Construction managers know this type of thing, but most self-builders do not. Imagine how much problems like this delay the build process. It’s of the order of years.

Not Sorting Out Your Finances

This is perhaps the problem that accompanies self-builds the most. Often the confidence of the people that undertake a self-build does not reflect the reality of their financial situation. Or perhaps the financial situation is initially good, but the true cost of the build is vastly underestimated.

This is why it’s best to plan a month-by-month schedule of costs, using the least favorable estimates and timescales. Often it’s all the unforeseen little costs that add up to make a build much more expensive than anticipated.