How to design and build your own home
An architect’s guide


The potential to design and build your own home is a dream for many homeowners. The opportunity to create a space that perfectly suits your family and lifestyle is a very exciting proposition.

But where do you start? There’s no doubt that the process can be complex and demanding, but with careful planning and execution, and working with the right professionals, your dream home could become a reality.

Here’s what you need to consider if you’re thinking of building your own home.

Define your vision and requirements

The overall vision for your home will guide you throughout the entire process. You need to consider the size of your family and your lifestyle. Do you like to spend time together in an open plan space? Or would you prefer smaller spaces that can be used for different activities? It’s also a good idea to consider what life might look like in 10 – 20 years.

Identifying the must-haves at this early stage will help you to maintain focus as the project develops.

Set a realistic budget

It’s no secret that building a house is expensive! It’s also a common known fact that budgets and costs can spiral as the project progresses. However, establishing a budget is a crucial step.

What would you like to spend and what are you prepared to spend?

Be sure to include a contingency fund to account for unforeseen circumstances.

Location, location, location

The right location can significantly impact your quality of life. Consider factors such as proximity to work, schools, and any local amenities. Conduct thorough research on potential neighborhoods and available plots of land and liaise with local estate agents who specialise in the area as the availability of land or potential plots is limited.

Find the right professionals

Be sure to collaborate with an experienced architect to bring your vision to life. We can translate your ideas into a feasible and aesthetically pleasing design while considering local planning regulations and constraints.

If you are building your home from scratch, it will need to meet strict energy efficient standards. Working with our partners at Energy Audits, ( we can help you to create an energy efficient home.

Create detailed drawings

Don’t underestimate the value of high quality drawings. Architectural drawings are not just there to get you through the planning process.They will ensure you gain accurate quotes, and enable your building team to complete the job smoothly and efficiently.

Planning permission

Gaining planning permission is quite often the biggest hurdle in any self build project. Working with a local architect who has an established working relationship with the local planning office and any local regulations will prove extremely beneficial.

Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to start without permissions or you will effectively be committing a planning breach.

You will also need to gain approval from building control to demonstrate that your home meets building regulations.

Select a reputable builder

Selecting a builder to work with is a major milestone and one that needs careful consideration. You will be spending a great deal of money on construction, and working with your chosen builder over an intense period of time.

Be careful of quotes that come in significantly cheaper than others. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Here at Taylor and Co Architects we provide a tender service so we can help you to manage this crucial part of the project and select the most appropriate builder for your job.

Project management

Stay actively involved throughout the process. Regularly visit the site to monitor progress, address any concerns, and ensure that the construction aligns with your vision. Open communication with the builder is crucial to resolving issues promptly.

Minor issues will always arise, no matter how prepared you are. Just make sure you deal with them quickly and efficiently to prevent costly downtime. As your architect, we’ll be on hand to help too.

Making it your own

Once the structural elements start to take shape, you can start to focus on the design of the interiors and make the space uniquely yours!

Select paint colors, flooring, fixtures, and furnishings that reflect your style.


Designing and building your own home is hard work, but is generally incredibly rewarding.

If you are about to design your dream home, get in touch to see how we can help. You can also check out our blog article on the common home extension mistakes to avoid