“One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it.”
– Sidney Howard
Doing it yourself: The Owner-builder
• Provided that the owner-builder knows precisely what his doing, he can effect substantial cost savings.
• He can build his home in his own time; halts proceedings if he runs out of funds; resume when more become available.
• Owner-builder risks faulty basic design.
• He needs to have – but in most cases won’t have – detailed knowledge of the ingredients of the building process, from soil conditions through to the laying of tiles. In addition, he must have a thorough understanding of building regulations and more than a nodding acquaintanceship with quantity surveying, cost accounting and bookkeeping.
• He must supply the materials himself; problematic at the best of times, but especially risky during economic upswings, when shortages could occur. Rescheduling the project can be both difficult and expensive.
• Quality control: Very little recourse in the event of poor workmanship.
• Supervising sub-contractors is a tricky, complex and risk-laden task – one best left to the true professional.
• Local authorities will be laboriously meticulous in examining Owner-builder’s plans, which means delay and frustration.
• Lending institutions tend to be suspicious of owner- builders; the required loan might be difficult to obtain.
Disadvantages outweigh the advantages unless the owner-builder is highly skilled and experienced and has an admirable tolerance of frustration. A valid option for the unqualified but competent handyman would to have the core unit professionally structured and then to do the finishes himself.
Commissioning an Architect and Builder