While every project is unique, the sequence of a typical self-build will follow broadly the same pattern, regardless of where and when it is taking place.
There are a number of scheduling programmes out there, many of which cost a fair bit of money and are primarily aimed at developers who will benefit from the investment in software spread over a number of schemes.
But for a one-off project, most self-builders and renovators manage to track their finances and block out a basic timetable on a spreadsheet, in conjunction with their contractor.
I’ve pulled together a simple schedule based on the average construction time for a large detached house. The calendar spans 30 weeks, offering an idea of what happens and when during a typical build.
The programme shadows both a masonry and conventional timber frame home, each with standard trench foundations. I’ve restricted the plan to these systems because trying to apply a universal timetable to other build routes simply won’t work.
For instance, some flat pack structures that come ready with insulation, doors and windows already installed can be erected in a matter of days, so your schedule of works will be advised by the supplier and their construction team.
Be aware that this sequence of events is indicative only – some activities may take more or less time for your particular project (depending on the size and complexity). It’s up to you to agree a precise itinerary and appropriate programme to work to with your contractors.
Always be prepared to amend the timetable on the advice of your tradesmen and the reality of the situation at the time. For example, you can’t slavishly stick to a schedule if you’ve just had a week’s delay because of heavy snowfall.
Before you start
The 30-week plan begins when construction work starts on site, but before any of this can go ahead, you’ll need to ensure the following is completed:
(M.O): Masonry only
(T.O): Timber frame only
Note: The erection of a timber frame superstructure is generally much quicker than a masonry build, so you’re likely to get to watertight up to six weeks earlier. For the sake of simplicity, the next few weeks in this schedule allow for the remaining masonry elements, with timber continuing at weeks 18-19. Please allow for this in your timeframe.