For many self-builders, building their own home has been a long time in the planning – with some realising life-long ambitions when they get started. So, while costs are increasing and borrowing can be challenging at the moment, it’s great to see that people are not being put off by the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Nevertheless, as costs continue to rise for everything from building materials to grocery shopping, one of the questions we’re frequently being asked is ‘how can I save money on my self-build?’.

Our key piece of advice for people looking to get the most out of their budget right now, is that they should be seeking to get the best value rather than simply the best price. When the market is unpredictable, the most valuable thing to have is a strong relationship with partners and suppliers who can offer sound advice and help to achieve value in the build. The closer the relationship with the build partner, the better, as they can advise based on individual needs and their knowledge of what’s happening in the market in real time.

This is also where early engagement is crucial. Once the decision on the build system is decided, get the supplier involved ASAP – this enables the supplier to value engineer the system from the outset and can bring significant efficiencies and cost-savings in the long run. They can source the best-priced materials through their trusted supply chain and can confirm availability of materials, then provide cost security with a fixed cost package.

Self-builders can also save money by being smarter with their planning and timings. One thing we often hear from clients is that they plan to build in the spring/summer when the weather is better, and the days are longer. While this is of course a logical thing to do, for self-builders looking to reduce costs, building through the winter is a much better time to build. Yes, there are fewer hours of daylight to build, and yes, there’s a chance that the weather could be a disruption. But if we’re building in the UK – the weather can also be a problem in July!

We can build timber frame homes all through the year, and rarely find the weather so bad that it is prohibitive. We can have the frame weather-tight in just 7-10 days, and we don’t stop building during the winter. As summer is a popular time to build, both the materials and trades are in high demand, so prices are higher, and timescales can be more difficult to manage. In the winter, it’s much easier to secure the timings across the trades, and prices are significantly lower. Prices now (in November) are around 10-12% cheaper than they were at the height of summer! If you’re keen to make some cost savings and are not put off by the weather conditions, this is an excellent way to save.

And finally, we might be biased, but one of the top things you can do to save money and build value into your home is to choose a timber frame system. Materials that require energy to produce – such as steel, concrete and cement – are continuing to rise in price, as are the ‘novelty’ materials that are less standard and often incur hidden costs along the way.

Timber frame offers a tried and tested, sustainable building material, with a price and value that self-builders can have confidence in. There’s also the option to choose a complete package system, which gives a fixed cost and provides self-builders with good control of their budget. Plus, with an energy-efficient timber frame home, you’re building in value for the lifetime of the build, by keeping your energy bills to a minimum.

At Frame Technologies, we’re keen to help self-builders realise their dreams – whether it’s offering advice on building value into a project or providing expert technical advice. You can get in touch here or email Simon Orrells on