It is not a good idea to call self-built homes “self-build”. Only a few people will actually get their hands dirty, mix concrete and buy a nail gun droom. Truthfully, most self-builders hire an architect to do the design work and then only decorate. The truth is, as a country we are still curious to learn more about self-building. Three million people watch Grand Designs, yet only 10% are self-build projects in the UK. Compare this with 80%, yes, 80% of Austrian homes are self-build projects. In Europe, 60% of homes are built by themselves, while in America and Australia, the figure is above 40%. Self-build projects have many advantages and disadvantages. The cost is lower than buying a home from a builder because you have to first buy the land and have it paved. The financial gains should be weighed up against the hassles that you might face.

Theoretically you can build your home according to your own lifestyle, or that of your loved ones. Before you get the felt tip out, check for any existing planning restrictions. It is true that if you choose to do the DIY build yourself (with your sleeves rolled up and hands dirty with a nail gun in hand), you will save some money. But, is this really the best option? There is also the question of how eco-friendly you can make your building. It’s not just about going green. The eco homes on Grand Designs show you how far it can be taken. But will this choice of life be sustainable? You may know that you should use environmentally friendly lights, which are slightly dimmed until they heat up, but how sustainable will this be?

Self-build projects can be exciting as well as intimidating. If you like to climb up an A frame brandishing your nail gun, then DIY self-building is for you. Hire an architect to help you ensure your new home suits your lifestyle. In self-build projects, an architect will save you a lot of time and headaches. They will keep you informed and project manage the other professionals needed to complete your construction. Engaging an architectural firm before selecting your land can pay off. An architect may see your bubbling stream in the back garden as a flood risk during April showers. There are pros and cons to self-building a home, and there’s even a DIY option for those who are truly crazy.