Which self-build route is right for you?

Self-building is a personal journey that’s growing in popularity. Based on HMRC’s release on VAT refunds for DIY Homebuilders, a survey from the National Custom & Self Build Association (NaCSBA) found 13,210 self-build homes were completed for the 2018-2019 Financial Year, which is an increase of 2.2% year-on-year.

Although the phrase ‘self-build’ may suggest an image of you armed with bricks and various tools, in reality it offers you the flexibility to be as hands-on or -off as you wish! To learn about the process of self-building, we’ve created ‘A beginner’s guide to self-build.’

Before we delve into detail about the varying self-build routes available, we recommend you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is my/our total budget?
  2. How much time do I/we have?
  3. What skills do I/we have? Do I/we know anyone who can help/make recommendations?

A self-build oak frame home in progress on a development site in Herefordshire


This is a traditional self-build route which requires the most amount of time. We find our customers manage a high percentage of their build from start to finish, while utilising their skills to support some/all aspects of the construction process, from groundworks to plastering.

Have you followed the self-build journeys of Charlie and Helen, and Craig and LB? Having purchased and secured planning for two oak framed cottages on a Herefordshire development site, here’s how both couples began by clearing their plot.



If you would like to oversee the day-to-day logistics of your project, such as the schedule, finances, trades and suppliers, you may choose to self-manage your home build. Similarly to the DIY route, self-management will require your time, however, you can brief and entrust the construction work to your builder or contractor.

Working to a fixed budget and with a clear vision, here’s how Dick and Sue Maaz project managed the build of their oak frame home in Warwickshire.

The Maaz' self-managed the build of their dream family oak frame home in Warwickshire

Project management and turnkey

When considering the questions at the beginning of this article, how much time did you decide you can dedicate to your upcoming build? Among other factors, we find time is the primary reason why some of our clients choose to hire a main contractor or project manager to oversee the build of their oak framed home.

If this is a route you’d like to explore, we can help. Our turnkey service will provide you with complete peace of mind that your dream oak frame home is being looked after by an experienced turnkey project manager who understands and is passionate about bringing your design to life. From sourcing and managing trades, to handpicking finishing finishes for you to choose from; your designated turnkey project manager will oversee your whole project, so on completion, you can quite literally ‘turn the key’ to unlock your home. Click here to discover more about this service.

Discover how Trevor and Sarah Rolls benefitted from our turnkey service to create this stunning oak frame home in the Thames Valley.


Custom build

This route is a standalone form of self-building, where you have the opportunity to purchase a plot of land from a developer that already has as outline or full planning permission attached for a house. Other benefits, such as services (electricity, gas, water etc.) may also be included to drive your home building plans forwards.

Click here to browse three unique custom build sites in Herefordshire and the range of plots currently available there for you to build your dream oak frame home.


Start your self-build journey by discussing your wish list and aspirations with one of our Architects. Call 01432 353 353 or email enquiries@oakwrights.co.uk to arrange an online design consultation.