Are you the right person to manage your project?
If you've arranged a wedding or organised a big holiday, then you’ve managed a project. But whereas most of us wouldn’t hire a wedding planner, and many turn their noses up at package holidays, we find the idea of someone project managing our self-build reassuring.
Project managers are trained to deliver a project on time and on budget, and can advise on anything from contract law to earth movement. But they can also cost up to 15 per cent of your budget. So also consider hiring one on a consultancy basis, or doing the job yourself.
Your budget is king - £200,000 is not £215,000; £15,000 is a lot of extra money to find. Try visualising £15,000 in ten pound notes. 'Managing your own project is a great incentive to do a good job'
Reaching for your credit card at any point in your project is a clear indication that your project has problems.
Be clear about what you want from the people you hire. If someone does a poor job, then give them the opportunity to do the work again, and if they still don’t come up with the goods, pay them for the work they have done so far. And then fire them.
Really good tradespeople often don’t need to advertise – you invariably hear of them through other self-builders.
Be wary if your builder needs cash upfront - he’s got cash-flow problems. It's common practice in the trade to pay two weeks in arrears.
A good builder will cost each detail of your build in writing without being asked. If not, then they've probably pulled your quote out of thin air.
If money isn’t a major concern, go ahead and fill your boots – but on things that will count in the long run, such as solid doors and hardwood floors. In other words, not £1,500 taps.