Project management techniques

Building a home is like any other major undertaking – it takes planning, organisation, the ability to adapt and a fair chunk of risk management.

Most self-builders do a lot of this work themselves, but much of it can be overseen by the architect or the contractor if you've gone down the design and build route.

However, you organise the building work. The most important thing to remember is every moment you spend planning ahead will reduce complications, stress and the length of construction.

Project managing a self-build

Firstly, consider where you will live when undertaking your build. The process will take months or even longer and you will need to budget this in.

Most self-builders sell their existing property to fund the project and either rent a property, live on-site in temporary accommodation or stay with family. It’s also good to consider where you will store large items of furniture and appliances

Women looking at plans

Prepare a schedule of works

A schedule of works is a timeline of each stage of the build, including groundworks and snagging.

Make sure you draw up an estimate of how long each job will take on a month-by-month basis. By doing so, you can meet deadlines and keep in control of when to have materials on hand and when you need to bring in subcontractors, such as electricians and plumbers.

Just remember to be flexible and realistic in your estimations.

The above advice is a very basic overview of what a schedule of works entails as each project is different. We recommend thorough research into the self-build project management process tailored to your circumstances.

Call in support

A professional project manager, such as your architect or a general builder, will add between 10% and 15% to your build costs.

But if you can spare the cash, they will use their training, contacts and experience to ensure the build goes as smoothly as possible. They may even end up saving you cash by streamlining the process.


What will a project manager do?

  • Apply the building drawings on site.
  • Find, book and pay tradesmen.
  • Run the site. This involves managing health and safety and other considerations, like toilets, storage and fencing.
  • Organise and oversee deliveries.
  • Communicate with inspectors.