Kevin McCloud’s top tips for building a Grand Design

Kevin McCloud reveals his top tips for self build success - some of which you've probably not even thought of.

By Jenny Mcfarlane | 9 August 2019

Kevin McCloud talks us through his top tips for building your dream home.

Pauline and Godfrey Brandt with Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs The Street Episode 6

Image: Fremantle Media Group

From hiring the right people to thining about the home’s exterior, we sat down with our Editor at Large, Kevin McCloud to get his building pearls of wisdom, from 20 years of Grand Designs TV experience.

The first step

They say that the first step is always the most important, and it’s very true in terms of building a house. However, even the most careful planners can expect costs to overrun. Adding a discretionary 20% to your budget is a good way of covering unforeseen costs that almost always crop up. Spend three years planning your project and putting everything in place in advance, and chances are you’ll be on site for six months. Spend six months planning and chances are you’ll be on site for three years!

Hire an Architect

Expert help from talented individuals doesn’t need to be hugely expensive, and if you go to a good architect, your fees will pay for themselves. In terms of what you want, a good architect will be able to give your home a unique feel, but also be able to let you know what works in a home, and, often more importantly, what doesn’t.

Hire a project manager

I see this a lot, people who can put up a piece of flat-pack furniture think they can build a house, people who run their own business think they can run their construction project. An experienced project manager will know the ins and outs of building, for example, digging a trench for pipes and cabling will mean starting negotiations with utility companies at least a year in advance, while pipes and cables need to be ordered at least eight weeks in advance.

Get the build costed a professional Quantity Surveyor

NEVER rely on a costing produced by your builder or your architect; you will soon learn that the construction industry is occupied by idealists.

Professionals are key

They do this for a living, so employ as you can afford, starting with a great project manager and builder, use recommendations, and always check references!