Home building and renovating tv programs give some idea of the risks and rewards involved in DIY home construction, but also tend to romanticize the process, with renovations happening over the space of a few days, rather than the weeks, months or years it can actually take in reality.
Obviously as a do-it-youself builder there is definitely the potential to save money, and have the benefit of full control over the project.
By choosing not to use the services of an architect, or builder, to manage your project, and then taking on some of the roles of a carpenter, painter and other related services you can definitely reduce costs, but you also need to determine how much of the work you legally can do, as well as using skills that you already have.
Electrical and plumbing work in particular, need to meet certain standards, and be ‘certified’ to ensure they meeting building standards.
Some experience in the building industry (if you have it) gives a good background of knowledge and understanding of the trades. If you don’t have that then plenty of reading and checking out websites and youtube videos to arm you with some basic knowledge will help you take on the role of managing a build, whether it be large or small.
You also need to 'cost-out' the project so that you have a fair idea of expenses, and then allow at least a 10% budget for contingencies, as it will be you who needs to control the budget and ensure that work is done to a high standard.
As an owner builder you also need to take out the necessary insurances to cover the quality and workmanship of your project, as well as organizing necessary building permits and making sure the building meets building regulations.
In order to be able to occupy the building, it does require an ‘occupancy permit’, after a building surveyor has visited the property and ensured that it is safe to occupy in terms of health and safety. This does not mean that the building needs to be completely finished, you still may need carpets, painting and other smaller jobs to be completed, but that all major services are in place and are working.
Legal requirements will differ from country to country, but there are risks and responsibilities involved that you need to be aware of before taking on the role of 'owner builder'.
With that said, we do have some examples of owner builder, or D.I.Y container conversions, and will keep adding more, which we hope you can learn from.
Tropical Shipping Container Retreat
Container Home Office - Refrigerated container
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