Self Builds: What do I need to know when building a house in Ireland?

Building your own home in Ireland can be an exciting and rewarding venture, but it’s crucial to plan carefully. From budgeting to legalities and construction logistics, there are numerous factors to take into account. Documentation for self builds tends to be more extensive – you’ll need to consider costings, planning permission, stage payment certs – but don’t stress, this article breaks down the essential steps and considerations to help you navigate the self-build journey successfully.

1. Budget, Budget, Budget!

Before embarking on any self-build project, the golden rule is to establish a comprehensive budget. You can use a self build calculator, combined with average house prices per square metre in the area to help you. Be sure to factor in a contingency fund of 10-20% for unforeseen expenses, this will stop you going over budget. Being realistic about your financial limits will set the foundation for a successful and stress-free project.

2. Know your financial budget before you apply for planning permission.

Applying for planning permission without a clear understanding of your budget could lead to unnecessary complications down the line. There’s no point getting planning permission for a house you cannot afford to build. Make sure you have a solid financial plan in place before taking the first step.

3. Consult your Engineer once you know your Budget.

Engaging with a qualified engineer early in the process is crucial. They can help you assess the feasibility of your project within your budget constraints and provide valuable insights into the technical aspects of construction.

4. Consult your Solicitor if you are buying or being gifted the site.

Before finalising the purchase or accepting a gifted site, consult with a solicitor to ensure the legal title is clear and free from any potential issues. This step is crucial for avoiding legal complications in the future. Contact us today should you need guidance with this step.

5. Planning Permission BCMS Option to “Opt out of BCMS”

Understanding the Building Control Management System (BCMS) is essential. This body aims to support builders in delivering compliant and high quality buildings. A commencement notice must be served before construction begins.

For single domestic dwellings on a development site, there is the option to opt out of the requirement for statutory certification. Engage in a conversation with your engineer about the BCMS. Determine the best strategy that aligns with your project’s specific needs and local regulations.

6. Will you qualify for Help to Buy Scheme?

Explore the Help to Buy Scheme and check whether you qualify. Discuss this with your bank to ensure that your mortgage aligns with the scheme’s requirements, ideally covering at least 70% of the estimated final property valuation.

7. Do you have direct access from the public road?

Ensure you have direct access to your site from the public road. If not, discuss the possibility of obtaining a right of way with both your engineer and solicitor to avoid future access issues.

8. Where are you going to get your temporary supply of water?

Discuss the logistics of obtaining a temporary water supply during the construction process with your engineer and builder. Adequate planning for utilities is crucial to avoid unnecessary delays.

9. Will the Engineer/Architect who drew up your planning application be able to do up working drawings?

Clarify with your engineer or architect whether they can transition from the planning application to the detailed working drawings phase. Having continuity in your design team can streamline the process.

10. Are you Direct Labour or entering into a Building Agreement with the Builder?

Decide whether you’ll take on the role of direct labour, managing everything yourself, or if you’ll enter into a building agreement with a contractor. Each approach has its pros and cons, so carefully evaluate which suits your preferences and capabilities.

Direct Labour

Self build can be a good option if you want to have full control. You can also use any friends you have in the trade. If you do everything correctly, you may save money, but beware that this project will require a huge amount of your personal time and you will be responsible for fixing any errors that arise. Note that all materials purchased may be subject to a VAT rate of 23% as opposed to 13.5%.

Building Contractor

If you choose to hire a contractor, they will be your one point of contact. They will do all the chasing for you, and all material costs will be subject to 13.5% VAT. But beware that often contractors will do things as they see fit, not necessarily how you want them to be done. This option can also be more expensive.

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