Building It Yourself? 4 Costs That First-Time Self-Builders Always Forget

Thinking of building your own home? Read this first. When it comes to building a budget, many first-time home builders miss out on these crucial costs and stretch the funding when they need it most. Plan ahead, and make sure you factor in these commonly missed but critical items on your building’s balance sheet.

Legal Fees

This is a cost that is more often underestimated than missed completely. The bad news is that no matter where you are building, you are going to need some legal representation to get all the permission necessary to complete your build. It is the extra fees that catch people out. You may have a good idea of how much your legal fees will be for planning and construction, but then delivering the supplies you need may require an extra set of permissions and arrangements. All this comes with fees. Need a delivery from a large vehicle or a crane for an afternoon? Plan for extra fees.

Ecological and Environmental Surveys

You may be surprised by how many environmental assessments, reports, and ecological surveys you need before you can start building on a site even if it is in an urban area. Wildlife is a constant concern for many local authorities, and towns and cities are no different. Every modern construction has checks and surveys to make, and you will need to account for the cost of hiring a specialised surveyor, or maybe more than one, to assess your plot. They will estimate the impact your build and your finished construction will have on the local environment, and it may cause additional costs or time delays depending on the result.

Personal Protective Equipment

Going to pick up a spade and do some digging or try your hand at bricklaying? Factor some costs in for your personal protective equipment. Not only will this help prevent injury on site, but it may also be a legal requirement. Even if you may only be passing through and casting a client’s eye over progress as hired professionals take care of the big stuff, you should still invest in a hard hat and work boots to protect yourself as you inspect the site. Make sure any workers you hire are using it appropriately too, as worksite accidents can cause costly delays.


Self-build warranties are a worthwhile investment and maybe be required by your lender. They cover your construction for a set term, usually the first year. If there is an issue with your build, such as a material that you have used is faulty or weather-proofing has failed, a structural defects warranty can protect you from the cost of repairs or replacement. A self-build warranty can protect you during your build too. If you use a contractor for all or part of your build and they become insolvent while the build progresses. They will also be liable for repairs for up to two years after your construction is completed.

Don’t forget these costs; they could save you money in the long run. Budgeting for a self-build is hard, but missing these costs and having to cover them later makes the job a lot harder. Investigate warranties, and surveys, and have some money ready for excess legal fees and PPE. These small costs can all add up and put your build at risk.

Interesting Related Article: “Checklist for First-Time Homeowners