Project Management: Self Build House
Although you can submit the planning application for your new self build home directly to your local planning authority, if you have no previous experience of the planning process, you should strongly consider employing the professional services of a planning agent or architectural firm. This is especially true if the proposed development is anything other than a very straightforward change of usage.
The local planning authority will expect detailed descriptions of your house, plans, drawings, scale maps and test hole percolation tests etc. There are many reasons that may cause your local authority to deem your planning application invalid and the more prepared you are to answer their questions, the better.
If you decide to be your own project manager on a self build home however, here a few of the things that you should be aware of before committing yourself to the role.
The drawings and specifications that the architect has prepared for you will give you and any professional builders you employ a very good idea of how your new house is to be built but they will not tell you the quantities of materials needed to build your house.
You, as project manager will have to estimate the quantities of the materials involved and then organise the ordering, payment and delivery of the material to your new home site.
As each section of the house is prepared, from site clearing, through foundation digging, and right up to roof level and completion, you can use the dimensions on the architects blueprints to estimate the quantity of materials needed. Almost every self build scheme is on a tight budget but don't try to save money by assuming that all the materials you buy will be used.
Inevitably there will be wastage and you should factor in about 10 to 15 percent extra material when ordering. This will save you on time-consuming trips back and forth to the materials supplier.
Materials wastage is going to occur, so accept it as a necessary extra cost involved in building your house.
Unfortunately, the architects drawings, whilst essential, can only help you so much and an understanding of the techniques involved in each of the trades used on your building site is a great asset in correctly estimating material quantities needed. In some cases, you may be better advised to let the tradespeople involved order the materials needed and adopt a supervisory role, rather than act as a micro manager that, in reality, lacks the experience needed to do the job properly.
A final tip is to remember that experienced project managers often order 90 percent of the working material they need, and then as construction of a particular section progresses, they can better estimate the total quantity needed.
This article is only intended as a basic general summary and you should always seek professional advice where necessary.
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