FREE Self-build Home Planning Guide

Free self-build-home-planning guide


This FREE self-build-home-planning guide produced by Architect Garry Thomas is designed for anyone who wants to build a home and wants to know what’s important when designing and self-building their own dream home.


The guide will help you on your way to build your dream home, and:


  • understand how to build a house from the ground
  • help you make the right decisions when choosing to self-build
  • provide help when choosing a house plan
  • work out how much space you need
  • estimate the per square footage cost to build a house
  • learn about the home building process
  • put you in touch with a mortgage provider
  • assess if your site meets planning policy


Fill in the form below and your free guide will be sent to you.

If you are choosing to build your own customised home this guide is invaluable to help you assess all your needs and options for your house build.

When buying land and designing your dream home from the ground up there are hidden costs, and this guide will help you to make the right decisions earlier in the process, to avoid making costly mistakes, or worse, not achieve all your needs.

If you are purchasing a piece of land to build your own house this guide gets you to ask the right questions before you start and helps you to understand your needs and options in more detail, before parting with cash to purchase the plot of land, and before obtaining a construction loan.

Understanding your needs and options will make sure your buy the right plot and avoid investing in the wrong area. Too many self-build homes fail to consider daylight paths, overhanging trees, ground conditions and many other site issues that will influence how your home design will turn out. Who wants a home that is at odds with its surroundings, or worse, is costly to maintain.

If you are experienced at buying small plots of land for potential builds, or you’re a first time self-builder looking to buy serviced plots, or land to build your own home from scratch, this Thomas Studio guide is invaluable. The guide will help you to understand what is involved in the self-build and custom build process and provide you with a tool-kit to ask the right questions up front. Too many home builders come unstuck when they don’t do all their homework and try to move to the next stage without evaluating all their needs and options first. This leads to costly mistakes and projects that go very wrong very quickly.


“After two failed planning applications I felt I was being led up to the mountain, so I decided to approach Thomas Studio for help. They helped me have regard to understanding the special qualities of the site and to design a new construction approach to unlock a planning permission for a three bed two storey house on a difficult site next to an existing house and grade 2 listed building.”

Des Watkins

Designing and building a new home can be a daunting process, particularly if you haven’t built your own home before. Self-build TV programmes make the build your home process attractive, but seldom do they focus on the real heartache of the home owner, or the real problems involved in designing and building their own home. The Thomas Studio guide helps you consider what is important in your new home so you don’t feel like you are building in the Wampanoag and understand how you’d like to live and how you’d like your new home to respond to your family’s needs.

The guide sets out how to work towards assessing your needs and options to move you forward to the next stage and identify the site issues and assess how a self-build can respond well to the site and prepare home plans.

Whether you are: renovating an existing building, want to build a brand new home, or build housing, it’s important to organise the process and assess all your needs and options before preparing house plans and submitting a planning application seeking to comply with the planning act.

Many self-builders want a better quality build and better design standards compared to what the volume housebuilding market can provide. So if you have the stamina to embark on constructing a green home it is important to consider the upfront project costs, cost per square foot and in-use running costs, particularly if you want a Passivhaus. As there are hidden extra costs when using green technology and green building materials in your home. The free guide helps you move forward to assess your costs and your design needs. Up front construction cost tends to be higher for green-self-builds, but in-use running costs tend to be lower, and this can attract grant-payments to offset the initial investment in greener technology.

Designing and building your own home is a complex process with many hidden costs such as stamp duty and the hidden costs of clearing and excavation of the ground around the site. Every site is different and site conditions will influence the type of septic system to specify for your site or determine if timber frame and sheathing is better if you are using heat recovery or renewable heating in your location.

Variable site and eligibility conditions may mean an off the shelf cost efficient kit home system is viable or may suggest you use a more complex building system involving more ground works given the nature of the ground conditions. Making sure you assess this before offering the estate agent the sales price and signing up to buy your site can help avoid costly mistakes.

The process to determine the cost to build a new build house, or renovation project, and the process of hiring a contractor to build your house is important to ensure your project comes in on budget and you achieve the right cost per square foot.

Contractor led housing design processes tend to maximise the profit for the contractor and cheapen the finish quality of build projects. It will be important to assess what quality design standards you want in your custom house and this needs to be written into the building contract so that you get what you are paying for, before you make any early down payment to start construction, or repayment at the end of the build.

Putting in place the right cost plan process, prior to approaching your builder, to obtain a price per square foot to construct your self-build will help you to get the quality you want for your budget. If your quality standards are not written into the contract and cost plan, the chances are the general contractor will assume the basic standard and you will struggle to get the quality standard you thought you were getting, or worse fail to comply with building codes.

There are pitfalls-a-plenty and many cons when building your own house from scratch and this can put many people off. But there are advantages of building a custom home as your sole or main residence. Buying land and building a home can be daunting, yet if you get the process right and identify your needs and options fully, before you start, having the self confidence to build your own home can be a very enjoyable and rewarding process.

The guide will make sure you ask the right questions, up front, and point you in the right direction to enable you to move forward to the next stage to assess your needs and options fully and provide you with a bespoke road map for your home builder project. It will help you assess the build cost and consider the average cost compared to bespoke costs.

Whether it is: SIPS, stucco, timber frame, trusses, Oak frame, underfloor heating or straw bale construction you want to use, getting a cost plan prepared by a quantity surveyor for your build is good planning practice to meet your budget and brief aspirations. All this should happen before finalising the floorplan, or handing over the 50% deposit for your doors and windows.

Whether it’s a small house or a big house you are planning this guide can put you in touch with the right building society, or self-build mortgage provider, as it is not easy finding a building loan suitable for a self-build home construction project.

High street banks view homebuilders negatively, as they tend to believe the process is full of risk. Architect Garry Thomas spent over a year trying to find a suitable lender for his own self-build project, his invaluable industry insight is passed on in the Thomas Studio guide.

The guide will get you ready to make the right approach to a suitable lender. Providing you with a road map for your project, to ensure you don’t forget things like the structural warranty, or subcontractors’ warranties for things like the timber frame or heating system.

Making the right decisions earlier in the process will help to set you on the right track for your project. The self help guide will ensure you are ready for the new build process and ready for issues such as: submitting planning applications for planning to ensure your design meets policies in the local plan and doesn’t get refused planning permission by the district council or borough council, and applying for building regulations to meet the building act regulated by building control.

From Malvern Hills to Mole Valley, planning and building code varies so it’s important to get the process right. The aim should be to get no comments on the planning file, whether the project is in Islington, Worcester city or Oxfordshire the planning process is the same but can be daunting to the novice custom home builder.

The level of demand for people who are seeking to acquire a building site and want to build their own homes is rising. Volume housebuilders don’t craft new homes to the same high level as someone building a house. The self build house process is a tried and tested design and build process that works well if you follow the right road map for your project. The Thomas Studio guide helps you avoid the bland cookie-cutter approach to housing development and will unlock the design flare you never knew you had.

This guide will help to put you on the right path to achieve your needs and explore all your options fully, to make sure you invest in the right site and achieve your dream to get you ready to occupy your self-build perfect home and become a built home success story.

Fill in the form below and the free guide will be sent to you.