Options for managing your build

Project managing a self-build is a time-consuming job where you have to keep many plates spinning at the same time.

The good news is that you don’t have to do it alone. There are several options out there when it comes to managing your self-build.


If you decide to project manage the build yourself, you will be cutting down labour costs.

The trade-off is that you will spend more time overseeing the build and finding and dealing with subcontractors. This can be tricky if you have another job or other commitments.

But if you can spare the time and have good organisational and people management skills, you can have more control over the budget and ensure work is done to your standards.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing builders, but in most cases, it’s important to maintain a professional and friendly relationship with builders.

Be clear about what your expectations are, but remember they are trained professionals and sometimes it's worth taking a step back and letting them do the job you hired them to do.

Couple looking at plans

Using a prime contractor or general builder

A general builder can handle the project on your behalf. Although this is a more expensive option, the builder will oversee subcontractors, deliveries, admin, equipment hire and various other tasks.

It also means you have one contract with one firm, instead of having to deal with the individual trades that will be working on your home. They will either have tradesmen to hand or can call in labour as necessary.

It’s important not to go over their heads by issuing orders directly to subcontractors. If you want to make a change, discuss it with the general builder first.


Project manager

Project managers are professionals who oversee the build on your behalf. They control all aspects of the project, which includes dealing with costs, safety, allocation of labour, planning and overseeing all contractors.

They will often have key contractors they have worked with before and can coordinate contractors' proposals.

Bear in mind they are expensive, typically charging around £100 - £200 an hour, adding around 10-15% to the full cost of a build. However, many self-builders see this as a worthwhile investment.

When it comes to your options for managing your self-build, it’s important to explore all of the above. Bear in mind that your budget, your time and the scale of the project will truly decide what route you take to ensure a smooth process of your self-build project.

Using an architect to project manage

Builder climbing stairs

Architects and designers can manage your build in exchange for a percentage of the overall build costs.

Hiring an architect can result in a hassle-free build but it will increase costs. They may also hire a project manager to handle the process – but this is something you could do yourself.

Did you know?

One of the biggest headaches self-builders often cite is making sure the right materials arrive on site when they're needed, in the right order, smoothing out budgeting and making the best use of sometimes tight space on site.

Services like Build Aviator can help address all of these issues and schedule your materials according to your build plan.


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