This will be one the hardest Stage of the whole project but completing it can be life changing.

There may be a bit of overlap with Stage 4, but the Design Stages are now generally completed, and every significant detail of the building should now be defined.  According to the NaCSBA Self-Build Portal, this stage of the project takes about 6-9 months, but every project and Building System will have variations which can alter this time scale significantly.

It is now time for the construction of the chosen Building Systems to begin in accordance with the Construction Programme.

Construction Programme

A construction program, often referred to as a construction schedule or construction timeline, is a detailed plan that outlines the sequence of activities and tasks required to complete the build element of the Project Programme.  It is like a roadmap that helps ensure everything happens in the right order and on time.

In self-build property construction, having a construction program is crucial.  It includes important milestones such as obtaining permits, laying foundations, framing, plumbing, electrical work, all the way to finishing touches like painting and landscaping.  Each task is assigned a start and finish date, which helps project managers and builders track progress and manage resources efficiently.

Each build will need a construction program to keep things on track.  It ensures that your dream home is built in a systematic and timely manner, making the construction process smoother and more manageable.


If you are new to Project Management a good book I have read a few times is from the “What You Need To Know About” series called Project Management.  It is best to understand the key terminologies at an earlier stage when work on the Construction Programme begins during Stages 2 onwards at the point when Building Systems can strongly influence how the building will be constructed.

Digital Technologies

Within Aerospace we have used software and 3D modelling for decades to improve design and safety and to minimise costs.  It is common for parts and assemblies to be reworked several times in the 2D and 3D worlds before a final design is determined and then sent for manufacture.  As the technologies used in leading industries becomes more readily available, more industries adopt them to provide a competitive advantage or just improve upon their existing offering to clients.

Within the construction industry here are some commonly used digital technologies:

  1. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Software: CAD software like AutoCAD, SketchUp, and Revit are fundamental tools for architects and designers.  They allow you to create 2D and 3D drawings, renderings, and floor plans.  These programs are versatile and widely used in both architectural design and construction planning.
  2. Building Information Modelling (BIM) Software: BIM software such as Autodesk Revit and ArchiCAD is specifically designed for creating intelligent 3D models of buildings.  It allows architects, engineers, and construction teams to collaborate more effectively by providing a centralised database of information about the building.  This can really improve the data on sustainability within building projects by comparing building systems to see the impact on the buildings Carbon Footprint.
  3. 3D Modelling and Rendering Software: Software like Rhino, Blender, and 3ds Max are used for creating intricate 3D models of buildings and landscapes.  They are valuable for producing realistic visualisations and renderings that help clients and stakeholders understand the design concept.
  4. Sketching and Illustration Tools: Traditional sketching and illustration techniques, as well as digital tools like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, are still essential for conceptualising and communicating design ideas.
  5. Structural Analysis Software: Programs like SAP2000, ETABS, and RISA are used by structural engineers to analyse the structural integrity of buildings and ensure they meet safety standards.
  6. Energy Analysis Tools: Energy modelling software like EnergyPlus and DesignBuilder help architects and engineers evaluate the energy performance of a building, which is crucial for sustainable and efficient design.
  7. Geographic Information Systems (GIS): GIS software, such as ArcGIS, is used for site analysis and understanding the geographic context of a project.  It is valuable for urban planning and large-scale projects.
  8. Project Management Software: Tools like Microsoft Project, Primavera P6, and Procore help manage construction projects, including scheduling, resource allocation, and collaboration among team members.
  9. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): VR and AR tools are increasingly used for immersive design presentations and walkthroughs, allowing clients and stakeholders to experience a building design in a more interactive way.
  10. Laser Scanners and 3D Scanning Software: These technologies are used for capturing precise measurements and existing conditions of buildings and sites, which is valuable for renovation and retrofit projects.

Due to the level of advancement now available, the use of certain digital technologies during the design stages can allow a trial run of the Construction Stage which can dramatically reduce the amount of Site Queries and issues faced on-site.  This can reduce the timescales of the Construction Programme which in turn can dramatically reduce the cost of the build as most sub-contractors charge day rates.

Change Control and Defects

The implementation of the Change Control Process decided upon in Stage 3 Spatial Coordination will come into effect as the resolution of Site Queries takes place.  Anything that is not clear in the needs to be raised and clarified by the responsible party determined in the Responsibility Matrix.  If there is a design error, then the Design Team will need to issue a solution.

As the Construction Programme nears completion, a Defects List (sometimes known as a Snag List/Report) will be created.  This is to ensure that the Construction Quality aligns with the requirements laid out in the Building Contract.  If there are deficiencies in the build quality then they should be corrected by the contractor, if they are missed then it could be quite difficult to get them to return to site to correct once the building is signed off.

Building Manual

The creation of the Building Manual is primarily for the ongoing use of the building.  The Client would use the manual as a guide for maintaining the building effectively and safely.  This will be in the form of guides for using the installed equipment in the property, such as how to operate the heating system or energy saving devices such as solar panels.

It is a mandatory requirement in the UK for the Building Manual to include Health and Safety information as well as Fire Safety Information.

There should also be warranty information so that Construction Quality can be ensured over the determined lifespan of the equipment and materials used in the building.  This forms part of the Asset Management Information that is to be handed over in the next phase of the RIBA Plan of Work.

Join us again for our next post which discusses the Stage 6 The Handover.

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