There is no consensus about the definition of a self-build. However, in the UK context, the term does not mean that the person responsible for the project is obliged to undertake all the construction work themselves. Nor does it imply that architects and other experts cannot be consulted.

If somebody is considering the option, it is worth them making use of an experienced builder, because they should have the knowledge to make the process a smooth one. Nevertheless, there are various reasons why self-building is a trend that is likely to be somewhat limited in scope.

Taking note of these different factors makes sense, whatever direction seems appealing to the individual:

Land availability really counts

Getting access to suitable land can be problematic, and the price may be a big obstacle to getting started. Moreover, there are parts of the country where asking prices are especially high. This is often because of land use competition, which can inflate prices above reasonable rates.

People who are determined to proceed sometimes have to be flexible with regard to location.

Finance clearly matters

Finance is frequently a major concern for the novice, but it is understandable if people worry about potential cost overruns.

There is also always a lack of certainty about future market conditions and, as a consequence, self-building is not an activity that should be entered into lightly. It is especially important for individuals to think about how inflation could impact on their projects going forward. This can be difficult when the prospects for inflation are particularly hard to estimate, so erring on the side of caution is prudent.

Including the cost of special features is essential, because using floor space as a sole guide is inadequate.

Planning permission

Obtaining relevant planning permission is imperative. The British planning system has been altered by government policy in recent years and, as a result, it is shrewd to consult with professionals. They can provide information with regard to the specifics of national and local planning regulations. Furthermore, they can comment on the major points that a planning authority should be interested in.

For example, a particular site might have certain constraints attached to it, so there may be a need to supplement architectural plans with additional evidence to secure permission. Ultimately, not every site can be developed, so care is necessary. Any self-build scheme needs to be treated with respect if it is to deliver what it seems to promise.