Do-it-yourself building is a common dream that many of us share. In the United States, the dream to build your own house is a common piece of the “American dream” – it signifies security, success, and freedom. But this dream transcends geographic boundaries and culture – at the core, the dream of building your own house reflects the basic human need for shelter. It also goes beyond basic need to other important considerations for our fulfillment. I think the dream also reflects our deeper needs for creative expression, emotional and spiritual security, and a connection with others.
My do-it-yourself building dream started in high school. My uncle was one of my heroes and happened to be a carpenter – so I naturally gravitated in that direction. I took every shop class I could in school and loved working with wood. Later, in my 20’s, after starting a family, the dream to build my own house started to take root. I wanted a small place in the country to raise my children – a place big enough to have a shop and a garden. I was interested in building with wood, stone and other natural materials, energy efficiency, and passive solar design – green home building before its time.
Everybody’s dream is different. One of the best parts of building your own house is to cultivate your own dream; to tap into your creativity in order to express your personality and best meet your needs. What is your dream? What will it take for you to be a successful owner builder?
Lifestyle Assessment – Put Substance To Your Do-It-Yourself Building Dream
There are many questions for an owner builder to consider at this stage of building your own house. Here a a few to help you get started:
- What personal and family needs are important to you?
- What values do you want to consider and express in your home?
- What style or combination of styles are you drawn to?
- What options for materials and construction methods are suitable for your project?
- How much home can you realistically afford?
- What resources do you need to be a successful owner builder?
Moving On – Put Structure To Your Do-It-Yourself Building Dream
Do-it-yourself building can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t understand the process of being an owner builder. It’s easy to get anxious and get the cart before the horse. It’s easy to miss an important step or overlook critical details.
In order to get your dream in motion, the next step in do-it-yourself building is to fully plan every detail. Thorough planning requires consideration of many aspects and will save you money, time, and headaches – here are four primary areas:
- Home building loans
- Building site selection
- Home design plans
- Home building costs
Additionally, the planning stage is the place to consider green home building principles and whether a home building kit or some form of prefabrication is appropriate.
After thorough planning of your do-it-yourself building project, a construction management process is crucial to make your dream a reality. Building your own house requires construction management in these primary areas:
- Choosing materials and suppliers
- Choosing and working with subcontractors
- Scheduling for efficient progress
- Financial and quality control
Lets now look more thoroughly at step two of the do-it-yourself building process and the details of each area of consideration. Lets go to the Plan.