Project Managing Your Self Build07 August 2012
It is a common fact that the majority of people who build their own home do not get involved with the actual construction. Nevertheless it is important for them to keep an eye on the building plans.
Sticking to the schedule of your self build
Though the vast majority of people building their own homes do not get involved with the actual construction side of the task, they do usually take an active part in the project management side. Only 20% of self builders decide to hand the entire project over to a professional project manager, but (at the end of the day) you need to decide to do what's best for you.
Project management is an extremely demanding part of any development project, and it isn't a role that anyone can take on without first preparing properly for the task. You need to have the ability to prioritise and undertake a number of tasks at once, from ordering materials and hiring contractors to scheduling and ensuring that every job is carried out in order. You need to think about whether or not this is something you are qualified to handle before blindly rushing in half-cocked.
Poor management is one of the main reasons why self build projects fail before completion, so it is imperative that you are realistic about whether you should take it on yourself. It isn't just a question of ability of course, but of whether you have the time available to handle such a consuming role. If you rely on your income to pay for construction, then taking time away from work could leave you short of funds. You need to be on site most days and you will certainly need to be available at short notice while construction is underway.
The logical and systematic approach
Logical and systematic approaches are vital when undertaking a big development project. You need to be able to co-ordinate contractors and material deliveries, making sure that the right people are on site when certain things arrive. You also need to work to deadlines, taking advantage of specific types of weather and preparing for the unexpected in advance. Complications can arise at any time, so you will need to be prepared to think on your feet to get things done.
Cash flow is an essential part of the building process too, so you need to be good at managing your money. You will need to understand the knock-on effect of every purchase and be careful not to overspend. It's no good ordering in a load of lumber if you can't afford to pay the contractors required to handle it; and, conversely, you never want to be paying people to stand around waiting for things to be delivered. Good co-ordination needs to go hand-in-hand with good money management.
Materials and skills
You will need to source the right materials and skills at the best price, so a good project manager will always shop around and never be afraid to haggle. Aim to obtain at least three quotes for everything you source, and be aware that this might require some persistence. Factor in all costs when placing any order, including delivery and tax, and make sure you know when the quote you receive will expire (as costs can fluctuate considerably overnight).
You need to make sure you are adequately insured though out the process, not just for house renovation insurance, but for any liability or other business insurances you will need while work is being done. Home repair insurance or property development insurance is likely to be hard to source from standard insurers, you may need to seek it from a specialist provider. Renovation insurance can be obtained from HomeProtect, with an online quote, no matter what your circumstances might be. HomeProtect can deliver competitive renovation insurance cover for any self build project, as long as the property will be on fixed foundations within the UK.
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