What is "self build"?

Dare say you've done well then. I once thought building would be cheap.. In the next town over I've a plot that was 30k and I've spent maybe 25k putting a 1100 sqft shell on it (just wind n water tight, no internal fit out) all myself.
Paused that project to make way for the current undertaking, a 4500sqft conversion on a half acre plot that was 100k to start with.. Spent about 200k so far and I'm still a way off finished though its habitable. Bit of a jump in price though, and I now know what big money is in terms of a personal endeavour. Sometimes struggle, having had my perspective set by earlier projects that were relatively cheap, why this latest one ended up so damn expensive. Thing is, I don't think I'd have done anyhing really that much differently, nor do I see where I could have reduced the cost to half/a third of its current value other than swapping in really cheap n nasty components. I do wonder what other people buy when they come with a report of having built for less than 50/sqft, with the most recent claim I couldn't believe being something like 16/sqft. I've no idea how anyone can buy a plot and build a house on it for that, even doing it solo at a time value of 0..

What was the secret for 32/sqft, using trades?
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What was the secret for 32/sqft, using trades?

1. I was the purchaser for everything. No tradesman 'added a margin' on a nail. Challenge the builder's supplier on every price: asking, "Can you do anything on that?", saved a load. Got bitten when I didn't- list price charged.
2. I did menial tasks (timber frame house, I did all the insulation and vapour barrier, jobs like that).
3. Cash jobs from word of mouth tradesmen. Not so easy these days I understand.
4. Read Murray Armour'e book 10 times before starting!
5. Paid nobody in advance ever!

I worked myself to the bone- went daily before and after work (almost pre-mobile, so contact was face to face). The 17 weeks is not a BS line. The pace was frenetic, and adding 2 months to the build wouldn't have killed us, but we had a Christmas deadline.

We (I) was too conservative. Didn't take any risks, and we could have gone slightly bigger; ensuites everywhere etc, but hey ho. The best bit is that 21 years on, my wife absolutely loves it still. I'd love to do another, but that ship has sailed I think.


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