DIY building plans will lead to success if you make your plans realistic. Our planning page includes information on site selection, zoning, material costs, DIY physical capabilities and more.
This is an overview of the planning process. More detailed specific information on each of the topics is offered on other pages.
When we first began visualizing our dream home in the desert, the sketches we drew and the size of the house we intended to build were very different from the house in which we now live. Our final plan and design changed for one reason or another right up to pounding in the stakes outlining the house footprint and breaking ground for the trenches that would accommodate roughed-in plumbing, footings, and stem-wall.
Most of the changes occurred when we accepted the fact that if we wanted a mortgage-free house, we would have to build it ourselves. There was no place in our budget for extensive and expensive labor costs, architects, contractors, or other professionals. What we wanted done, we would have to learn and then do it. Fortunately, we live in a county that permits DIY building.
Remember that, unless you have hired an expensive architect, redoing plans might seem like a time-consuming chore, but this is the stage where your alterations are cheap. Redoing and rethinking is simply a function of time and some paper. After you have your footings poured and your walls on the way up is definitely not the time to say “This isn’t what I want.”
So start with a dream, draw it out, cost it out, assess your capabilities to build such a house, and then change if you must. We altered plans and site location on our land more than a dozen times, but we only built once – with no changes after the first shovel of dirt.
DIY building plans are the first real step toward your new home.
Once you have all your information, check your budget. If the dollars work out, check your personal capabilities. Can you, or you and your partner, do the work? If these all check out, go for it. If not, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board. It’s your house, your budget, and your back. Now is the time to make inexpensive changes.
When going through the planning process, it is vital to
stay flexible. Don’t let pride get in the way of change. Be practical. Be
frugal. Constantly question your own ideas and plans. For those building with a
partner, as we did, listen to each other’s ideas and needs. Is this the
simplest way? Is this the most cost effective method? Is this the best material
for the roof, the floor, or any other aspect of your straw bale home? When you answer all the questions, finalize your DIY building plans.
Don’t fall into the trap of doing nothing because of indecision. Once you have reviewed techniques, materials, and other considerations, go for it! Far too many people spend their lives “getting ready”.
I hope that by reading about our journey from dream to plan to building, you will find the confidence to say, “I can do that, too!” and share the incredible personal satisfaction of sitting in your new living room and saying “I built this home.” Believe me when I say that there are few things more rewarding.
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