This comprehensive guide to building your own home is written by someone who has actually done it. All the pitfalls and delights are laid out in over 500 pages. And there are plenty of pitfalls.
The time, money and effort involved in self-build has blown many marriages apart, and busted many a bank balance. The first thing to decide is whether self-build is really for you. Have you got the money? Whatever you think you will have to spend, double it. Will you find the land? That can be time-consuming. And assuming you are not actually doing the building work yourself, are you able to organise the many professionals you will need — from architect to builders to craftspeople?
The first chapters are about choosing your land, design, planning and building regulations. Buying a beautiful plot of land is no good if you then discover there is no chance of getting permission from the local authority for your amazing new house design. Planning permission is time-consuming, so you may decide to just take a risk and start building, only to run into all sorts of problems later.
Writer Robert Matthews warns up front that a decent house on a good plot of land will cost you on average 160,000. So most people who have the necessary one-two years available to put into the project won’t be able to afford it.
And it can all go horribly wrong in so many ways. From Boundary disputes to foundations, drainage and planning, Matthews charts them all.
By the time you have finished this book, you might decide that a small plot of land to park a camper van is the best solution. If it hasn’t put you off altogether, this will be an invaluable companion, and the only book you will need to buy.
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
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