How to improve your self-build experience by being more hands-on

How you approach your self-build project depends on your skill set, the type of property you've chos

How you approach your self-build project depends on your skill set, the type of property you've chosen and the way in which it is to be constructed. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Archant

When it comes to the growing number of self-build projects, there is still a huge variation in the extent of how 'hands-on' people are willing to be, says Ron Beattie.

For many, self build is about designing your dream home, totally bespoke and tailored to your every design whim and desire, and the pleasure comes from seeing it rise from your carefully selected plot to become a beautiful forever home.

But for those on the other side of the coin, the dream is much bigger and involves going beyond the project management side of self build and getting truly stuck in and building it yourself.

The level of which depends on your own skill set but also the type of property you've chosen and the way in which it is to be constructed. Most self builders tend to be good at DIY – rather than qualified builders – but have the drive and passion to learn. So how do you go about this?

Many look to the internet for guidance and this can, of course, be a very useful place to start. There is no end of 'how-to' videos but the core construction elements should always be done by a fully qualified person – otherwise this will end up being very costly indeed, and often not meet strict building regulations.

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But for many, putting up some walls, tiling, or fitting a kitchen is the extent of their hands-on capability and will satisfy the need to be part of the build process.

Some self build companies offer classroom based training as part of a package, with courses covering elements such as managing a build effectively, planning and regulations, build systems and stages as well as snagging, testing and completion certificates. All such courses are invaluable to ensure your self build project runs as smoothly as possible – after all, knowledge is king!

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Going that bit further, there are various courses you can attend to learn about the basics of foundations, construction, and plumbing, but rarely do you have the opportunity to learn about the entire build process in such a short space of time and competently enough to allow you to physically build your own home.

At Beattie Passive we like to go that one step further and have helped many self-builders to build their own homes from scratch.

Our training academy courses help self builders to understand the fundamentals of Passivhaus construction and be confident on the delivery of the Beattie Passive Build System. And uniquely, you will manufacture and assemble a two storey, 27m2 Passivhaus structure in just five days – enabling you to take these newly acquired skills directly onsite to your own Beattie Passive Build. Now that's hands-on.

Find out more about our training academy at

This column is sponsored by Beattie Passive.

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