7 Tips to build your own home

Construction workers build a house in Kisumu.
Construction workers build a house in Kisumu. PHOTO/FILE
Building your own home is a very rewarding undertaking but without a competent builder your dream can easily turn into a nightmare.

Here are seven tips to help you avoid costly mistakes during the construction of your new house.

1.) Before signing a contract with your builder you must ensure it contains detailed specifications for your home.

Adding, say a few pages, of detailed home specifications to your contract will increase the probability of your builder meeting your expectations for the desired features and level of quality of your house.


2.) It is important to thoroughly describe your project, when inviting bids from multiple builders. This will increase the chances that their bids will be more accurate and comparable to one another.

3.) Before construction gets under way, you should discuss your specifications with your contractor. These discussions may bring to surface other important issues that may prompt you to adjust some of the limits of the allowances in the contract.

It is advisable to work with your builder to establish your new home specifications. You suggest the specifications to your builder, discuss them, reach agreement on them, and then append them to the contract. This way, you minimise misunderstandings between you and your builder – giving you a chance to build your own home with some peace of mind.

Having thorough specifications included in your contract ensures that your builder commits to meeting your exceptions and deliver on them.

READ: Cost of building in Kenya

4.) Listen to your builder’s ideas and be flexible. There is no point building a house with seven bedrooms if your children will be grown-up and leaving home by the time it is finished.

5.) Although it is the responsibility of the builder to meet the requirements of the applicable building code, every builder uses construction methods and selects building materials that meet his own quality standards. If you wish to make different choices than the builder, you should state these in specifications appended to the contract.

Detailed new home specifications helps your builder to improve cost predictability. The more detailed your specifications are, the more accurate your builder’s cost determination will be. They also help reduce instances of unplanned upgrades and changes.

6.) Do not leave everything in your builder’s hands. Go to site meetings, take an interest and speak out your mind. Be a hands-on client, or you will get the house your builder wants – not the one you want.

7.) Do not accept shoddiness. This is your house; and you are paying for it.