How to save money on your self-build project

Self-build projects offer unparalleled freedom to create the home of your dreams. However to ensure you make the most out of your self-build budget it’s essential to learn about where you can make cost savings.

In this guide, Steve Mansour from specialist structural defects insurance supplier CRL offers some cost-saving tips for self-builders.


The planning stage is vital in determining the overall cost of your budget and for those operating to a tight cost margin, is undoubtedly the most important step.

There are numerous factors that’ll serve as multipliers for the cost of your self-build project, including:

Location: Unsurprisingly, where you choose to situate your self-build property will have reams of ramifications, ranging from the price of the plot, to the cost of connecting power and arranging infrastructure. Rural locations can come with their own challenges, such as planning constraints, local tree or wildlife protection orders and access to roads.

Scope: Similarly, you may have had your eye on converting a dream house, slotting into a plot adjacent to an idyllic village or powering your home almost entirely by renewable means.

Overconfidence: Even if you’re a builder in your day job – don’t assume you’ll be able to make all the correct decisions from the get-go. There’s a trade-off between taking the reins on the project and hiring in a specialist manager in terms of both time and cost.


Cost and time overruns will occur on your project and the quicker you resign yourself to that, the better. However, the chances and severity of these can be greatly mitigated by putting in your due diligence during the planning stage of the job.

A great deal of money can be saved by comparing materials and services, so before you get started – be sure to break out the spreadsheets and compare a range of quotes.

While you may find fancy features or materials desirable, it’s important to shave as much money off the basics, like bricks and roofing, before moving on to the more advanced areas.


Doing the simple things well will always trump outside-the-box thinking when it comes to self-build. While you may have been inspired by the marvels on TV shows like Grand Designs try and be realistic about what you can achieve with the funds you have.

Every item and issue that adds complexity to your project will translate to more money. For instance, vanity items like chimneys will set you back thousands of pounds, while simultaneously reducing the amount of floor space you’ve got to work with and potentially costing you more in long-term heating costs.

Hidden Extras

Don’t forget to think about structural defects insurance before planning your self-build. These kind of costs may be overlooked by a first-timer when initially planning a self-build project. It’s important to consult an expert to go through the ins and outs with you so you get the best possible value from your insurance cover.

UK mortgage lenders require structural defects insurance from a recognised provider before they release funds for a property purchase, both when the property is brand new and if it’s less than 10 years old.

At the same time a new home is normally the single largest investment in a person’s life. Structural defects are not common, but they can be expensive. A recent study claims it costs £42,000 on average to repair a structural claim so it pays to be properly protected.

More information

CRL provide structural insurance to self-builders, to find out more please visit

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