micah t jones project managed his own self build barn in Ballygowen

How to project manage a self build

Ensure your build comes in on time, within budget and is everything you dreamed of

By Hugh Metcalf | 10 October 2021

Making sure that the people and materials needed to carry out each stage of a self build are in place at the right time and at the right price is fundamental to the smooth running of a project. You may be tempted to take on the role of project manager when building your own home, but if you’ve ever watched an episode of Grand Designs, you’ll know that this can be a risky decision.

A project manager may cost 10-15% of your total budget. But the expertise provided could save you their fee, if not more. Their experience can avoid costly mistakes, keeping your build on track and negotiating favourable deals from suppliers.

Exterior of a self build barn in Ballygowen, northern Ireland

Architect Micah T Jones managed his own self build. Photo: Bradley Quinn

Are you able to project manage a self build?

If you have previous project management experience, and the work is relatively simple, you may already have the insight required. It may still be worth engaging a professional project manager at the start of the build to advise on the process. If you’re coming to the project without experience, it’s crucial that you learn how to run a site before you commence. The National Self Build & Renovation Centre has courses that teach essential skills including organising budgets, site control and scheduling.

Be realistic about your capabilities and the amount of time and energy you’re able to devote to project managing.