Essential services for any self-build / custom-build or independent builder

A free consultation and pricing option for our customers

Our bespoke self build focussed estimating service is part of Ecomerchant's

 Ecomerchant Price the Plan 



We have linked our “Price the Plan” service, a free consultation with one of our self-build experts, to HBXL's powerful estimating service. HBXL are a market leader in designing estimating and building project software. Our estimates create an independent estimate of exactly how much your new home will cost to build; it gives a detailed breakdown using real labour rates and materials prices for any type of construction including non standard.

Price the Plan

What is different about the Price the Plan HBXL estimating service?

The difference over pretty much all other services is attention to detail and time. Our estimators will allow up to 2 days per estimate ensuring that nothing is rushed or missed, you even have the opportunity to chat to them over the phone. The result a much more thorough and accurate estimate.

The essentials component of any management plan to control costs and deliver your project on time and within budget.






For almost any project you will need to know the answers to the following questions

This is why we have introduced our Ecomerchant Comprehensive Estimating Service powered by HBXL software

With our estimating service you get ………


What you get

A hard copy and electronic version of the estimate which covers costings and activity for the whole project presented clearly and in a straightforward logical way the report includes, a full specification, summary charts, bill of quantities, materials list, payment schedule, extras list, and plant and machinery costs.

How much does this cost?

Our Price the Plan consultations are FREE,  the estimating service costs from as little £240 inclusive of VAT call 01793 847 444 to order.


Site Insurance & Structural Warranties

Build Zone Logo


Warranties can also be a challenge with natural and low impact materials. For example, the NHBC (National House-Building Council) will not approve render finish on external insulation even though it has been widely used throughout Europe for many years and some systems even have BBA  certificate  -British Board of Agrément  is the  UK's major authority of approval of construction products, systems and installers. The NHBC will expect to see a cavity, whereas with the thermal requirements for modern dwellings are better achieved through monolithic (solid wall) solutions such as timber frame, insulated concrete formwork  and clay blocks. Self builders using straw bales can even consider gaining a building warranty if they shop around. We are pleased to be able to recommend an alternative option to the mainstream solutions and suggest you consider Buildzone  when self building or using non standard construction methods.

Why would I need insurance during the build? 

When you decide to build a new sustainable home, convert, refurbish or extend an existing property to be more eco-friendly, it is important to consider how you intend to protect your project until it is complete .If something serious like a fire was to happen, could you afford to demolish what you have done and start all over again? Materials used in sustainable and eco-friendly homes are not as readily available as traditional building materials, and generally come at a higher cost, so for most people the answer will be no. This is why it’s important to protect yourself with Site Insurance during the build process, and to secure future lending or sale of the property you will need a suitable Structural Warranty which will cover the sustainable elements too.

What is Site Insurance?

Site Insurance is a comprehensive policy that combines many different elements of cover which are vital to making sure that you are adequately protected during the course of your self-build project. It covers new works, existing structures (if applicable), Public Liability, Employer’s Liability, Legal Expenses, your own tools and plant, hired in plant and machinery, site huts and caravans, caravan contents, employees tools and personal effects, personal possessions and personal accident and broken bones all under one policy.

What is structural warranty?

A Structural Warranty is an insurance product which provides cover for newly built and converted properties. Cover under a Structural Warranty relates only to the structure of the property (walls, roofs, floors, etc.) and provides protection against defects that occur due to the design, workmanship or materials used during the construction of your property. Structural Warranties are usually valid for 10 years from the date of your Building Control Completion Certificate and is fully transferrable. This means that if you sell your property before the expiry of cover, the Structural Warranty will transfer to the new homeowner. Apart from the peace of mind you gain by having a Structural Warranty, most Lenders will probably require a warranty as part of their lending criteria. So, whether you are looking to re-mortgage or sell the property within the first 10 years you will find it likely that the Lender will require a structural warranty on the property before releasing any money

Where can I find Site Insurance and Structural Warranty? 

There are a number of providers of these types of Insurances many of which can be found online.  Policy cover and limits vary and they don’t all offer both types of policy, and when it comes to sustainable homes the appetite is even more limited.  

We have found that Self-Build Zone (a trading style of Sennocke International Insurance Services Limited) offer the most comprehensive range of policies and cover for both Site Insurance and Structural Warranty. They  are accepted by most of the UK lenders when it comes to securing your mortgage, and are very happy to cover sustainable homes.  For more information and advice on their products and how to contact them go to 

Ecomerchant NHBC logo

Because were often asked this is a brief note on the National House-Building Council (NHBC).  New homes bought direct from a developer (“new build” homes) are not covered by the normal consumer protection rights of the Sale of Goods Act. Various commentators have pointed out that you have more consumer rights when you buy a can of baked beans or a toaster than you do when you buy a new developer-built house.

In the absence of this legal protection, buyers have to rely on a guarantee, the most common being the NHBC ten-year Buildmark warranty. The NHBC might sound like an official body, but it is really just an insurance company. So the NHBC warranty is actually an insurance policy, taken out by the developer but passed onto (and paid for by) you, the customer.

Many of our customers who ask about the NHBC fail to appreciate that an NHBC warranty is really only an insurance against the developer ceasing to trade. As long as the developer is still trading, you have to take up the problems directly with them – the NHBC only becomes involved if the developer ceases trading, or steadfastly refuses to act.

In any case, after an initial two-year “snagging” period, the NHBC warranty covers only structural faults, and after thirteen years, you are not covered for anything at all




Building Control

Ecomerchant encourages self-builders to use natural and low impact materials, which can sometimes present problems when dealing with Building Control. Some building control inspectors are very knowledgeable in this sector and positively encourage eco-building however some have not yet gained the experience and are very wary of new or unconventional building techniques and solutions. It is worth considering using approved inspectors in replacement of local building control as some have previous experience of ecological design and can help you through the process. Ecomerchant recommend you speak to local building control and an approved inspector before you decide which is the best solution.


Eco Accelerator Mortgage

Ecomerchant has also recently launched an exclusive new Eco Accelerator Mortgage with an attractive, discounted interest rate, in partnership with the Melton Mowbray Building Society and Buildstore. This new eco mortgage is for self build, renovation, conversion and refurbishment projects and it's the latest to be added to the BuildStore exclusive Accelerator scheme. The Eco Accelerator Mortgage does not simply focus on energy performance and generation, but also on the building fabric too. It promotes healthy living by rewarding you with a discounted interest rate for the lifetime of your mortgage, when you select sustainable building materials with a reduced global impact, while also ensuring your property is energy efficient. It's a simple approach that goes a step further to minimising global impact.

Exclusively available from BuildStore, the eco mortgage also offers the unique added benefit of advance stage payments - ensuring you have the cash to pay for your land, build and materials ahead of every stage of your project.