There are many elements to a self build project to take into account and overlooking any of them could cost you both time and precious funds. Most of us only think of the obvious of design, build and construction but there are also a few more unusual responsibilities that you need to be aware of, from site access to drinking water!
At the start of the project it’s crucial to make certain you have the appropriate consents to build, including planning permission and building control approval. It is always the owner’s responsibility to ensure that planning permission has been granted for what is contracted to be built on site.
Warranty: We would strongly advise to have a structural warranty in place. This needs to be taken out for the whole build and not just the structure, providing you with peace of mind and will be required by any mortgage provider.
Insurance: On any private building site the owner is liable for injuries and death and items being stolen so protect yourself and your project with adequate insurance. This also applies to having adequate self-build insurance throughout your build. Even if your contractor(s) already hold insurance policies, you’ll still need to take out specialist self build insurance.
With all the paperwork for contracts, warranties and insurance in place, you’re ready to make the site a safe and productive environment.
Site Safety: Protecting your self build is vital and takes many forms. Be clear to the public that your site is private property and secure it with the appropriate height fencing and suitable locks to discourage people from entering your site and highlighting the dangers your site could pose. Plus you must ensure PPE (things like high vis, steel boots and a hard hat) is worn at all times, even by you.
Who will run your site? – Health and Safety is paramount and you have a choice how your site is run in order to comply with H&S regulations, either running it yourself or appointing a contractor to do this for you.
Site Welfare – by law, you need to provide full site welfare for all contractors and trades, such as power to the site/site office; drinking water and warm water; lockable area for storage of tools; site office/canteen to prepare food and drink; toilet facilities; site waste disposal e.g. skip.
Delivery – do you have sufficient space and access to the site for the different sized delivery vehicles? If access is tricky, using smaller vehicles could involve more deliveries which could impact the original costs agreed with the supplier.
Working Area – many contractors require a hard standing, free draining working area around the perimeter of the building as well as level footpaths used for access for workers and visitors on site for the duration of the build. You may also need to put a loading bay on your scaffold to make it easier to get materials to higher levels and a larger hard standing area will be needed for this.
Whilst there may be a lot to consider, once all these factors are in place, it will significantly help with the smooth running of your build project and ensure a safe environment without any preventable unexpected surprises.
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