How long does it take to build a house?

Take a look at our rough guide for typical timeframes to build a house, listed by construction method.

By Hugh Metcalf | 21 February 2020

Considering building your own home, but not sure how long it could take? Here’s our approximate framework to use as a rough guide.

timber clad self build house on a hill - grand designs

Image: In series 17 of Grand Designs, Jon and Gill Flewers planned to have finished their build in 18 months, but found that it took 2 years. 

Building your own home can seem like a daunting prospect – the time and energy that will go into such an endeavour is not for the faint of heart, but with the potential of yielding life-changing results.

If you’re considering taking on your own project, we’ve outlined the time considerations for key forms of house-building below .

Of course, every project is different, so always consult an expert, but these timeframes are based on a typical home build of 200 square metres.

Brick and block

Brick modern contemporary self build home - grand designs

Image: House of the Year longlisted property Kenwood Lee House is vast at over 2,000 sqm, and took 2 years to complete. 

Allow two weeks for foundations (assuming standard trench fill). It will typically take between 12-16 weeks to construct the shell to wind- and water-tight stage. Allow 24 weeks for fitting out and finishing.

Considering building your own home, but not sure how long it could take? Here’s our approximate framework to use as a rough guide.

timber clad self build house on a hill - grand designs

Image: In series 17 of Grand Designs, Jon and Gill Flewers planned to have finished their build in 18 months, but found that it took 2 years. 

Building your own home can seem like a daunting prospect – the time and energy that will go into such an endeavour is not for the faint of heart, but with the potential of yielding life-changing results.

If you’re considering taking on your own project, we’ve outlined the time considerations for key forms of house-building below .

Of course, every project is different, so always consult an expert, but these timeframes are based on a typical home build of 200 square metres.

Brick and block

Brick modern contemporary self build home - grand designs

Image: House of the Year longlisted property Kenwood Lee House is vast at over 2,000 sqm, and took 2 years to complete. 

Allow two weeks for foundations (assuming standard trench fill). It will typically take between 12-16 weeks to construct the shell to wind- and water-tight stage. Allow 24 weeks for fitting out and finishing.

Image: Not all timber frame buildings are created equal. Grand Designer Paul Rimmer chose to have the frame of his two-storey self build built on site, which slowed down the process, but saved on costs. 

Timber frame

In estimating the timeframe for timber frame construction, we’re including both oak frame and post and beam. Give yourself two weeks for foundation work, as it must be accurate. Frame erection can be as little as 3-4 weeks, depending on the system. Allow for 18-24 weeks for fitting out and finishing.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)

charred timber self build made with sips - grand designs

Image: This garden home build by Footprint Architects constructed using pre-fabricated timber SIP panels from SIPs Panels Ltd, allowing for speedy on-site building within 3 weeks. Photography: Alex Campbell 

Allow a fortnight for foundation work again. SIPs panel shells can be erected in 3-5 days. Timetable 18-24 weeks for fitting out and finishing.

Insulating Concrete Formwork (ICF)

timber clad self build house on a hill - grand designs

Image: Jon and Gill Flewers constructed this timber-clad hillside home using Insulating Concrete Formwork, however; finding structural engineers and builders familiar with this type of construction held up the build. 

Allow two weeks for the foundations. Superstructure can built in 1-2 weeks, and fitting out and finishing should be allowed 16-20 weeks.

Natural building methods

self build home using natural materials with grass roof - grand designs

Image: Simon and Jasmine Dale’s low-impact build, featuring on Grand Designs in 2017, used a timber pole and straw bale building method, but this wasn’t the only reason the home took an extended time to complete. Building themselves, with the help of volunteers, as well as creating a small business on the side of this experimental development plot, meant that construction fell by the wayside for months at a time. 

Builds using natural building methods such as straw bale, cob and rammed earth tend to be more labour intensive with materials created or sourced on-site, so timescales vary. Expect for this to take at least as long as a typical timber-frame build.

 

How do your own self-build experiences compares to these timescales? Share your thoughts with us by tweeting us @granddesigns or post a comment on our Facebook page.

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