resources for the self-builder

“…an excellent service and each and every call I made to Fleming Homes I felt I was speaking to a good friend…”

Feedback like this leaves us confident that our approach, designed to support customers during their self-build journey, is one that delivers real value to those self-builders who choose Fleming Homes. Support is one of our FLAGSHIP values, and it underpins how we operate and the decisions we make. Our values have also guided the development of the educational resources you will find in this section, created to help you achieve a successful self-build home.

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The Self-Build Process & Hurdles

The key ingredient of a successful self-build project is, not surprisingly, you, the individual self-builder.

The ability to create something that is absolutely bespoke to you and that responds directly to your aspiration for living is one of the beauties of building your own home. It is also one of the reasons that each project follows its own unique timeline and there is no hard and fast rule for how long your build should (or will) take. The timber frame self-build timeline detailed above illustrates typical timescales (the average self-build takes between 8-12 months) which can be used as useful guide when starting to draft your project plan.

Here we dive into the stages of the timeline in more detail, highlighting some of the hurdles that self-builders face and tactics for overcoming them.

The Self-Build Process & Hurdles in more detail

RESEARCH (6 months+)

In our experience, the best self-builders are the ones who have thrown themselves into the research stage headfirst and who emerge having left no stone unturned. In this article that touches on ‘what makes a successful self-builder’ we highlight why an enquiring mind is so important. In short, when it comes to your structural system, like many elements of a self-build, it is interdependent with other decisions you make. If you’ve done your homework, you will undoubtedly be better placed to make more informed decisions that will ensure the success of your self-build home.  

Accessing the information you need to make the right self-build decisions has never been easier. There is now more information that ever available online, from magazines sites to virtual self-build shows. Good suppliers will also spend time with you in person, online and over the phone to help increase your understanding of their products and services. You can find a list of the events and shows we visit annually here.

We also have an office at the National Self-Build and Renovation Centre in Swindon. The UK’s only permanent self-build visitor centre it showcases over 250 exhibitors alongside its educational zones and extensive workshop and seminar programme. It’s well worth a visit.

A key part of the research process is working out what you can afford to build. This may sound obvious, but it is surprising the number of people who go through the process of designing a home that they cannot afford to build. Our cost calculator is a good place to start to understand the size of build that is within your budget range.

FINDING A PLOT (How long is a piece of string?)

Unless you are planning to build on a piece of land you already own, finding a plot is one of the biggest self-build hurdles you are likely to face. Finding the right land, in the right place for the right price is challenging, and so timing will come down to a combination of luck and/or compromise. Tenacity is one quality that will get you a long way when it comes to breaking down this barrier to success. You’ll find advice on how to start looking for plots here and the National Custom & Self Build Association’s ‘Right to Build’ campaign now makes it easier for you to signpost to local authorities that you seeking a plot of land. The Right to Build registers mean that councils in England have a duty to ensure sufficient plots are made available to meet demand. While it will not guarantee you a plot in the area you are looking for, it’s a positive step in ensuring more self-build plots come to market. 

The Right To Build Portal


A wise person once said, “the cure for most obstacles is to be decisive”. Designing your own home shouldn’t represent a hurdle (it’s the fun part, after all), but for some self-builders the agonising fear of getting it wrong, can mean the design stage stretches out into long months of revisions and design changes (and consequently, increasing architect’s fees). Because your self-build home is going to be bespoke to you, we agree that it is important you get it just right; however, it pays to achieve clarity early on. It should be possible to complete the design stage within 4-8 weeks although for some self-builders it does take significantly longer.

Our inspiration section offers a range of styles and layouts designed to help transform your initial thinking into early stage design ideas. We don’t have standard house designs, but any of the homes featured can be tweaked and redrawn by our designers to incorporate your ideas. If you’ve already secured planning permission, our free design service offers a cost-effective way to begin the design process.

Complete our design brief questionnaire or speak to one of the team to get started today.


Access to finance is often cited as a barrier to self-building, yet there are now more and more lenders within the self-build mortgage space. With experience of helping more than 25000 customers, is a great source of advice on mortgage related questions. If you do require financing for your self-build project the timescale for achieving a mortgage offer is typically 8-12 weeks.


Of the three main self-build hurdles (access to land, access to finance, and planning), planning is seen by some as possibly the most painful.

You are well advised to ensure any plot you purchase comes with the appropriate planning consent; however, it’s likely you’ll still want to make some design changes which will involve submitting a new planning application. If you are hoping to build on land you already own, then a planning application is a prerequisite. In this case you should familiarise yourself with your local development plan and consider submitting a pre-application to understand whether you stand a reasonable chance of success.

Most local authorities offer an 8-week turnaround for planning applications but factoring in time to prepare your application and it stretches out to 10 weeks (if your application is straightforward). Local authority requests for ecology reports, flood risk assessments and other concerns from the planners can all result in delays.

Our experienced planning team are well versed in the issues that typically arise and are well placed to skilfully help you navigate this stage of the process.  


If you decide to use our planning service, the same team can seamlessly help you through the building regulations (England & Wales) and building warrant (Scotland) stage. You can find more general information about planning permission and building regulations here.

Our building regs service is also available if you come to us with architectural drawings and have already secured the necessary planning permission. Together we will guide you through the steps required to demonstrate your project complies with British building regulations. We suggest allowing 6- 8 weeks in your project plan to work through this process.


When you choose a timber frame structural system, the manufacture of your kit can take place while you crack on with your groundworks. This is one of the benefits of timber frame manufacture over a traditional masonry build which is completed sequentially. Once you have broken ground, keeping your build schedule on track will become key to your project’s success and with timber frame manufactured offsite within a factory environment, not only do you benefit from factory based quality systems, you minimise the potential for delays onsite and slippage. At this stage, your architectural drawings will be translated into construction design drawings and the structural engineering for your project will be completed before your project moves into the factory for manufacture. Lead times will vary from company to company, but we suggest allowing 6-12 weeks, subject to demand and seasonality.

It's a point of pride at Fleming Homes that we have not missed a delivery date in 15 years (not that we missed one 15 years ago, it’s just that’s as far back as we can remember!) so you can be sure that your timber frame will arrive on the date we promise. 


This is where the magic happens, and self-builders never cease to be amazed by the speed at which their timber frame kit is erected. Depending on the size of your home, from arrival onsite to the wind and water-tight stage it takes on average just 2 weeks. With the typical time frame for a masonry build stretching to 2-3 months, timber frame significantly reduces this section of your onsite programme, minimising the risk of delays and helping to get your follow-on trades onsite faster.

FOLLOW-ON TRADES (3-4 months)

A week after your timber frame has been erected, it is ready for the first of your follow-on trades; usually your roofing contractor followed by your plumbers and electricians. This is the point in your self-build journey where we leave you. Unless, of course, you have ordered materials as part of our full specification, in which case, you can call off materials when you need them, eliminating unnecessary storage and ensuring receipt at the right time to suit your build schedule.

LANDSCAPING (2 weeks+)

Coming at the very end of the project and something that can be achieved after you have moved in, landscaping can sometimes get overlooked or becomes a casualty of budget overspend in other places. While your outside spaces may well be attended to later, it’s worth giving them consideration at the outset of your project to achieve cost efficiencies (e.g. reusing the spoil from groundworks excavations) and the integration of outdoors living into the design of your house.

VAT RECLAIM (Claim within 3 months of completion of building works)

The ‘cherry on top’ of a self-build project is the zero VAT rating. This allows you to get ‘more bang for your buck’ from building your own property and comes at the perfect time – just when you’re moving into your new home! You have 3 months from the completion of your building works to claim. Read more in one of our self-build articles, ‘Self-build Zero VAT - The Cherry on Top’.

use our helpful self-build resources

Looking for cost calculators, self-build factsheets and info on building regulations, mortgages and finding a plot for your self-build timber frame kit home? We’ve pulled together all the self-build resources and links you need in one handy place.


"We are onto our third self-build project. We've used Fleming Homes' design team for each of our houses and have been delighted with their flexible, friendly and reliable approach to timber frame supply."

Mr & Mrs Downie, York

"The personal service is excellent and it was reassuring to be able to pick up the phone and speak to someone throughout the self-build process."

Mrs G Douglas, Nenthorn, Scotland

"Fleming Homes are one of the finest and most client-focused commercial firms we have ever encountered. It was a very happy and positive experience."

Dr & Mrs Lovegrove, Perthshire

"Pulling all the component parts of a self-build project together is the real challenge. Fleming Homes are extremely helpful in this respect. Their service is exceedingly thorough right through the build process. Working with them is an enjoyable experience."

Roy Croucher, Brighton

"We first made contact with Fleming Homes at the Harrogate show, and from that initial contact, the whole experience of obtaining a quotation based upon our own design, accepting the quote, converting our design to detailed drawings for production, delivery and erection exceeded my expectations. Excellent service from start to finish."

Lee McKenzie, Derby

"A great kit, a great company, and a great team. The guys at Flemings are the best I have had the pleasure in dealing with. They really do care, and if you have any queries they will resolve straight away. Friendly, upbeat, positive. I have a few more builds still to go, and you bet I will be using Fleming Homes."

Steve Owen, Scottish Borders

"Wow, what a whirlwind journey, from arriving on a truck to sign-off of the timber frame in just three weeks. I don't think I have ever seen anyone work such long hours in freezing conditions, wind, rain and the occasional sunshine! Thank you Fleming Homes for helping make our dream a reality."

Julie Voller, Chertsey

"I’d happily recommend Fleming Homes to my clients in my planning consultant capacity."

Kate Jenkins MRICS MRTPI, Director, Ericht Planning & Property Consultants

"Fleming were amazing from start to finish. We could not have done it without them."

Mr & Mrs Fairley, West Sussex

"Fleming Homes are an all round excellent company to work with. The service provided by every contact I've had has been extremely professional and nothing was a problem. Fleming Homes have been one of the easy parts of building a house!"

Mr. Bulloch, Dunlop, Ayrshire

"I'd do it all again and with Fleming Homes. We are thrilled with our new house and it's turned out far better than we could have ever hoped for"

Paul Bates, Carmarthenshire

"I would wholeheartedly encourage self-builders to use Fleming without reservation.  The product is of high quality and eco-friendly. We had a faultless experience from start to finish."

Sylvester Dengzee, Ipswich

"We were delighted with every aspect of dealing with your company and our kit home, you could not do enough to help us and answer all our questions so promptly. Also the quality of the kit was excellent. We would use you again without question, your staff were so professional and did a great job."

Bill Cheape, Edinburgh

"I just wanted to let you know how impressed I  have been by the quality and the professionalism of all your team. They've done a great job and I would be happy to recommend them to anyone."

Peter Murphy, Buckinghamshire

"A massive thank you for everything you and your colleagues have done for us so far. The service from all at Fleming Homes has been superb. Please pass on our thanks to all concerned."

Neil Archer-Munro

"An excellent service and each and every call I made to Fleming Homes I felt I was speaking to a good friend".

Morris Manson

"Fleming Homes have been exceptionally helpful in all aspects of our build. We felt we could always phone for advice and someone would be able to help us out. Everything was clearly explained from start to finish. Cannot fault the company and cannot recommend them highly enough. We moved into the new house in Sept 2020 and are loving it".

Karen and Martin Young. Northumberland

"We made the right decision going with Fleming Homes, they were helpful, efficient and professional. ".

Jess & Tom Nancarrow, February 2021

"Our sincere thanks for all your assistance with our build. We felt fully supported from start to finish and are so happy with how the house has come together. Thank you for always getting back to us and for keeping us updated throughout. Paul, Davey and Connor have been absolutely amazing. We honestly couldn’t have asked for a better team to erect our timber frame. No question or favour was ever too much for them. They always took the time to talk us through details of the house and the work they had carried out. They really have done a superb job”

Mr & Mrs Parratt, Bristol, April 2021