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Self build in Scotland on a budget


MrsM
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Hi, my husband and I are looking to build a 4 bedroom house in rural Perthshire. We are on a fairly tight budget and hope to complete the job for under 100k (not including plot). We have looked and seen people achieve this but are still very much at the start of our considerations. We have seen a possible plot and had a look at timber framed homes and also the Ty Unnos style of homes.

 

Any advice much apprecieated on how to make our budget stretch. We are not particularly DIY minded but are willing to learn and happy to do finishing bits such as decorating/flooring etc but are no good at joinery, plumbing or electrics. We are hoping that we can get the frame etc erected by a builder within this price but unsure if this is unrealistic?

 

Like I said, any advice is much appreciated...

 

 

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Welcome ..!

 

By Ty Unnos do you mean earth and thatch or the idea that there is a central “core “ to the building and everything is built around it ..??

 

To maximise budget, think square ..!! Squares and rectangles are quick, cheap and simple to work with. complexity and cost comes with circles and triangles so removing things such as dormers, curves etc will pay dividends. 

 

Despite the budget take a fabric first approach and also look at the options to build something that has the ability to be extended if budget and need arise later. 

 

You may be limited by the local design limits imposed by the council so have a look through recent planning applications to see what is being approved. 

 

 

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Hi and welcome. You have certainly come to the right place. Your project sounds very interesting and you should be prepared to make some tough decisions ahead. What size house are you looking to build - that in itself, might be an indicator as to whether or not your plans are realistic, especially given the fact that the main trades are having to be brought in so to speak. That said, I'm sure it could be done providing you are "economical" with your finishes. Either way, keep us posted as it will be a very useful sharing experience I'm sure.

Good luck. PW.

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32 minutes ago, PeterW said:

Welcome ..!

 

By Ty Unnos do you mean earth and thatch or the idea that there is a central “core “ to the building and everything is built around it ..??

 

To maximise budget, think square ..!! Squares and rectangles are quick, cheap and simple to work with. complexity and cost comes with circles and triangles so removing things such as dormers, curves etc will pay dividends. 

 

Despite the budget take a fabric first approach and also look at the options to build something that has the ability to be extended if budget and need arise later. 

 

You may be limited by the local design limits imposed by the council so have a look through recent planning applications to see what is being approved. 

 

 

100k is a big ask

 

we are doing most of the work ourselfs and quickly spent a 100 k on materials

We spent 50 getting foundations and drainage in

 

yiu are best costing the raw materials to get the structure up

 

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Hi and welcome.

 

Another one cautioning your budget may not be big enough.  We are building a 3 bedroom house and have already spent over £100K on the build and it is not finished yet. The actual build cost is likely to come in at about £130K which is still under £1000 per square metre. It is only that low because I am doing so much of the work myself, and estimate I have saved £30K in labour costs already.

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Hi and welcome. As a guide, the cost of the timber frame, windows and doors (supply only) was about a third of the total cost of my build. That was only my experience however so may not be the norm. We had the timber frame etc. erected by a local builder and then my husband did a lot of the internal work and we had local trades in to connect up and do the bits my OH couldn’t as needed. We managed the build for about £760 per square meter albeit the majority of that work was completed 8 years ago so prices would be higher now I imagine. That was for a fairly large 4 bed house (total cost 266k not including the plot). I think 100k will be a stretch for a 4 bed house if you are not doing substantial amounts yourself. 

 

The non structural things tend to eat into the budget quite quickly. By that I mean all the things that don’t actually contribute to the fabric of the house, so ensure that you have an idea of how much these will cost and budget accordingly. For example:

 

Building Warrant fee

Insurance

Warranty

Architect fees

Structural Engineer Fees 

SAP calculations 

Plant hire

Skip hire

 

If you need a mortgage there may be requirements from the lender that are costly too. 

 

Do also check out how much it will cost to connect services to the plot. There have been some eye watering quotes for connecting electricity in Scotland and there are threads on those on here, with this recent one as an example:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, MrsM said:

Like I said, any advice is much appreciated...

 

 

Four months ago I knew nothing about the cost of building a house, now I can lay in bed at night and recreate a house build spreadsheet in my head. I suggest you buy the house builder's bible and read it cover to cover a few times. Having done this you will likely conclude you cannot build a 4-bed house for £100k using conventional techniques and just a paint roller in your personal toolkit.

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Hi! 

 

We're coming towards the end (ish!!) of a 3 bedroom timber framed passive-ish self build in St. Andrews - not too far from you. If you want to, you're more than welcome to come for a visit to see our house and be bored senseless about the details. Drop me a message if you'd be interested incoming over :)

 

 

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I would second the suggestions to look at services connections before committing too much cash on professional fees etc - we lucked out with electricity and gas but our water and sewerage are going to be about 10-12K, and that's the cheaper option! The other one was 25K wish to dig up a main road, cobbles and caithness stone slabs. Not a happy thing.

 

Also - definitely fabric first - our architect is a big proponent of this approach, and it makes sense to spend your cash on things that you are not going to change for a long time. Although, I will admit that it stings a bit to spend a lot of cash on beautifully seamed and jointed zinc that is round the back of the house that I won't see again! It's worth it though. Good quality internals can be sourced relatively cheaply second hand - ex display kitchens, furniture, appliances - even a lot of building materials. We got a gorgeous pitch pine parquet floor for our bedroom for £450. It will be stunning once laid. Use the time it takes to get planning and building control through to start sourcing bits and pieces. 

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Solotimberframe produce some good spreadsheets etc...supply frame only, will organise other works (founds etc ) as required. Mind, they are in the South. you could consider a one/two bed house initially and add a two bedroom pavilion, extension in the future. Make lots of design decisions first (must haves, nice to haves etc) before engaging a designer.

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I hope it’s possible to build a 4 bed house for under £100k. As my budget is just under that ?

 

I’ve spent around £120k on my plot and getting this far. I underestimated the cost of excavation and muck away massively. 

 

Im confident I can do it within budget. I’ll release some equity when I sell my current home to help finish things off and do most of the internal work myself. 

 

 

 

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26 minutes ago, K78 said:

 

I hope it’s possible to build a 4 bed house for under £100k. As my budget is just under that

 

 

It would be really great if you could start a blog or write a few posts explaining costings as there seem to be many people who wish to build a family sized house for that sort of budget but not that many people on here who have managed (or aimed for) per square meter costs in that ballpark. I’ve been told that my build cost was very low but @ £760 per m2 it was still way over 100k for my 4 bed house. Out of interest what £ per m2 are you looking at, how big is the planned house, and does that include absolutely everything apart from the plot purchase? 

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1 hour ago, K78 said:

I hope it’s possible to build a 4 bed house for under £100k. As my budget is just under that ?

 

I’ve spent around £120k on my plot and getting this far. I underestimated the cost of excavation and muck away massively. 

 

Im confident I can do it within budget. I’ll release some equity when I sell my current home to help finish things off and do most of the internal work myself. 

 

 

Our budgets and house size sound similar, I also intend to do as much internal work as possible. In my case with some extra conservation area material costs I hope it will be possible to get to a weather-tight shell with a staircase, commissioned LPG boiler and a powered up mains CU for under £100k.

Edited by epsilonGreedy
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Thanks so much for all the helpful info. I should have clarified to start with that although we are not handy with joinery etc we do have access to a mini digger for foundations and also a father in law who has built his own house and is currently building his own extension. So we aren’t completely devoid of the ability to dig foundations or trenches for services. We are hoping that preparing the site ourselves would reduce costs.

 

Also, the site is near a farmhouse so hoping connection to water and electricity and phone shouldn’t be too much.

 

Edited by MrsM
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4 hours ago, PeterW said:

Welcome ..!

 

By Ty Unnos do you mean earth and thatch or the idea that there is a central “core “ to the building and everything is built around it ..??

 

To maximise budget, think square ..!! Squares and rectangles are quick, cheap and simple to work with. complexity and cost comes with circles and triangles so removing things such as dormers, curves etc will pay dividends. 

 

Despite the budget take a fabric first approach and also look at the options to build something that has the ability to be extended if budget and need arise later. 

 

You may be limited by the local design limits imposed by the council so have a look through recent planning applications to see what is being approved. 

 

 

With regards to the Ty Unnos, I have seen on the NaSCBA website plans for a box frame house which came in at 50k built! I don’t remotely think we’d be able to achieve something that cheap but it seems like an economical way to got. The frame goes up in a day and bolts into concrete foundations. It’s also based on standard module areas of 3.6m but is quite flexible within it. I just need to track down someone who knows how to make one (although we do have a couple of joiner friends who might be able to do it).

 

The other option is something like Scotframe which seems quite reasonable for the frame itself.

 

We are open to other structural options to make the house happen within budget though. We really don’t want to go over budget as we don’t see the point in having a nicer house if we are killing ourselves working to pay the mortgage. At the moment we have a nice set up with a good work life balance and don’t want to change that in the long term (although obviously realise we’ll be working hard during the build).

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22 minutes ago, newhome said:

 

It would be really great if you could start a blog or write a few posts explaining costings as there seem to be many people who wish to build a family sized house for that sort of budget but not that many people on here who have managed (or aimed for) per square meter costs in that ballpark. I’ve been told that my build cost was very low but @ £760 per m2 it was still way over 100k for my 4 bed house. Out of interest what £ per m2 are you looking at, how big is the planned house, and does that include absolutely everything apart from the plot purchase? 

 

My blog would have started years ago and not much has happened since. I bought my plot, intending to get a mortgage and build a passive house. I was then then made redundant and unable to get another mortgage. I’ve just been doing what I can on site since. 

 

When looking at costings online. They seem either really high, or crazy low like in the post I made a few days back. 

 

From costing things myself I think it’s feasable to build a house for less than 100k. Of course as mentioned sewer connections etc can quickly bring that cost up. 

 

Block build is definitley the cheapest route. They’re cheap to buy and have laid but it’s slow. I know block layers who say they can lay between 200-300 blocks a day and charge £1 per block. It’s tempting to me as I’m not using a mortgage. I could buy blocks as I need them and pay the block layers their day rate. When you calculate what blocks cost it’s a pleasant surprise if you’re ignorant like I was. 

 

I’d never personally commission a building company to do a block build. 

 

I’ve just had a reasonable quote for a 200m MgO sip house with a insulated foundation designed and supplied by AFT. It is considerably cheaper than the quote I had from Mbc for a timberframe and foundation. You can also render or clad directly on to them inside and out which I like. 

 

I just called Durisol over building a wall and they were insistent that I send my house plans because they’re sure they can beat any quote. It’s always worth haggling. I know some people don’t like doing it, but needs must in my case. 

 

The one one approach that doesn’t make sense to me is a basic 140mm timber frame package. By the time it’s insulated, boarded and brick/block clad. I think it’s expensive. I can see why it makes sense for large scale builders but not self builders. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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54 minutes ago, epsilonGreedy said:

 

Our budgets and house size sound similar, I also intend to do as much internal work as possible. In my case with some extra conservation area material costs I hope will be possible to get to a weather-tight shell with a staircase, commissioned LPG boiler and a powered up mains CU for under £100k.

 

I think it’s easily achievable tbh. Might regret that statement in a few months ?

 

I appreciate prices of materials have gone up, but developers were selling new 4 bed detached houses in less desirable areas for £130k 15 years ago. And making a very healthy profit at the same time. 

 

I know many people will hate the look but I plan to leave my wiring and ducting exposed. I’ll do it myself and get it signed off. It’ll save me a lot in battons and plasterboard. 

 

I’ll be using ex display kitchens and bathrooms too. I’m importing my doors and windows from Eastern Europe. Not as cost effective as it was post brexit but still a big saving. 

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Edited by K78
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29 minutes ago, MrsM said:

With regards to the Ty Unnos, I have seen on the NaSCBA website plans for a box frame house which came in at 50k built! I don’t remotely think we’d be able to achieve something that cheap but it seems like an economical way to got. The frame goes up in a day and bolts into concrete foundations. It’s also based on standard module areas of 3.6m but is quite flexible within it. I just need to track down someone who knows how to make one (although we do have a couple of joiner friends who might be able to do it).

 

The other option is something like Scotframe which seems quite reasonable for the frame itself.

 

We are open to other structural options to make the house happen within budget though. We really don’t want to go over budget as we don’t see the point in having a nicer house if we are killing ourselves working to pay the mortgage. At the moment we have a nice set up with a good work life balance and don’t want to change that in the long term (although obviously realise we’ll be working hard during the build).

 

 

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2 minutes ago, PeterW said:

I quite like the exposed stuff ..!

 

My house will look “industrial”. 

 

One of the benefits of being single. My ex would have gone mental ?

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Ok 

 

£100k is achievable but you will need to work at it. 

 

Sounds like you’re off the main sewerage network so it’s a treatment plant. Plenty on here that have them and can give you prices. 

 

A rectangular box that is 8m by 7m will give you 4 bedrooms upstairs - 3 at 3x3.5m, one at 4x3.5m with an ensuite as a master. Not big but still workable. Bathroom would be 2x2.5m

 

Downstairs is open plan 8m x 3.5m kitchen diner, lounge of 3.5x3.5m then a study of 3.5x2.5m WC in the remaining space. 

 

That is 112sqm roughly and you could do it under £100k If you don’t go for £4K bifold doors and £20k triple glazed Ali clad windows etc ...

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2 hours ago, K78 said:

The one one approach that doesn’t make sense to me is a basic 140mm timber frame package. By the time it’s insulated, boarded and brick/block clad. I think it’s expensive. I can see why it makes sense for large scale builders but not self builders. 

 

We had a timber frame (not a basic package however), with blocks on the outside. Timber frame made sense to us for a number of reasons. Firstly most builds up here in Scotland are timber frame, secondly as novice self builders it gave us the comfort that it was all being designed and cut to spec, and the sizes were correct for every component, and as it turned out it all fitted together very well. Thirdly once it was delivered on site it was up and watertight with astonishing speed (a bonus as the weather can be iffy here).  We also needed the house to be habitable pretty quickly and as it turned out we moved in once we had a kitchen, shower room and living space. The rest of the house took eons to complete but that’s a different story! We kept costs down by sourcing every component outside of the timber frame package ourselves, and all trades were on a labour only basis. 

 

The housing market was very slow when we built our house and mainstream house builders had pretty much stopped building locally so there were lots of trades wanting the work so we got decent people (well mostly, still ended up with a few knobs!), and they gave competitive quotes (labour only) as they really wanted the work. 

 

So if you’re building a 112 m2 house,  doing much of it yourself, sourcing all of the materials yourself including recycled where you can, getting trades in as and when you can afford to, and aren’t in any rush at all it seems achievable just about. If you want a house built quickly, insulated to within an inch of its life with a very high spec and finish then it’s not but as with most things in this life you pays your money and you takes your choice. 

 

Please do blog! This forum isn’t going anywhere so slow doesn’t matter,, and your approach to your build is different from many so will be of interest and provide a different perspective. 

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2 hours ago, MrsM said:

The other option is something like Scotframe which seems quite reasonable for the frame itself.

 

We used Scotframe and found them pretty good. Since being on this forum I am told they are not the cheapest however. I just checked and the timber frame kit that included things like internal doors, coving, skirting and staircase, and including windows and doors, made up 22% of the final build cost. The kits always sound pretty cheap until you start adding on labour and other materials. 

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We will be under £1k/m2 but its at a cost.  I'm doing the majority of the work.  If you are going to pay others to do most of it then you will have to keep it a very simple design and settle for lower end kitchens etc. You must design cost out before you start building.

 

Good luck with it.

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2 hours ago, K78 said:

I know many people will hate the look but I plan to leave my wiring and ducting exposed

I like this...... got me thinking now ! 

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