Owner builder stress is genuine. Owner builders constantly juggle work, family, and their owner building project. Time is scarce, leaving little to spare for anything else. Juggling the three commitments can be challenging at times.

Owner Builders Get Benefits of My Experience

With my extensive home and renovation builder background, I’m familiar with the pressures of day-to-day operations. Dealing with stress and anxiety is an unavoidable part of the job.

As an owner builder, you may bear the brunt of stress and anxiety. We have compiled some ideas to help you manage your stress during construction.

Having been in the construction industry for many years, I know that projects sometimes go differently than planned. Even professionals experience unexpected obstacles – and owner builders are no different. Being flexible is a great way to stay on top of any changes, freeing up valuable time instead of being overwhelmed by stress.

Owner Builder Balance

A dedicated workspace for owner building will increase your efficiency and reduce stress. You’ll be able to stay focused on the task at hand and nothing else and less likely to be distracted. This is particularly important if you share your home with family or roommates. A dedicated space gives you the discipline, organisation and efficiency needed to perform better. This helps create a better balance between owner building, working, and personal life. Working from anywhere else (like your place of business, couch, or bed) can lead to burnout as there’s no mental disconnection between activities.

Setting Realistic Goals and Expectations

It’s easy to get tempted by having it all. Some realism must come into the picture when constructing your dream home or renovating it. You must be sure of your budget. Stay calm, owner builder; you are not alone!

Failing to prepare can have catastrophic consequences for your budget. Employ a system such as Owner Builder Checklist  and a spreadsheet to capture and anticipate expenses. Remember to keep the system current, so you are permanently aware of your financial position. Ignoring the situation is sure to create fiscal chaos and immense anxiety.

Building a home or renovating to a specific figure can take time for experienced builders. Practically impossible for those taking on an owner builder role. Unexpected issues happen. Leading to add more cost, which is usually beyond anyone’s control. Issues such as higher demand for trades and resources and pandemics, natural disasters, and war, can drive up prices. A contingency fund can help ease some of the financial burdens.

Please take care of your spending. A few hundred dollars here and there can be the difference between budget success or failure. Keep an eye out for small, extra expenses—an example, a little paint is needed or an additional power point. Remember, ten transactions of $200 each are $2,000 in total – money you still need to account for!

Working with Professional Contractors and Suppliers

Engaging a colour consultant is highly recommended to ensure thorough interior and exterior finishes selection. Your colour consultant will provide a document including all the product codes for easy ordering and reducing mistakes. Making selections early in the project is critical for staying within budget and avoiding delays from miscommunication or last-minute adjustments during the build process. Check out our colour selection schedule to make your colour selections.

Team Communication

When you embark on a building or renovating project, many specialists must come together to help complete the job from beginning to end. Examples may include financiers, surveyors, tradespeople, engineers, council representatives, suppliers, designers, and colour consultants. You would think your involvement would be minimal with all these people working together. However, it is quite the contrary. As the owner builder of this project, you essentially become the puppet master. You are very heart and soul connecting each professional. To ensure your project runs on time and within budget, expressing yourself clearly and accurately and interpreting your instructions are crucial. One helpful tip is summarising the main points of discussion afterwards.  This guarantees everyone is on the same page and helps reduce stress levels.


Time Management is essential when undertaking a build or renovation, prioritising organisation and neatness. Good organisation is critical in the site’s cleanliness and the business side of things. I think it’s essential to stick to your plan to ensure success.

A clean worksite is a must for effective time management. If the site is in disarray, the upcoming trade needs to spend time and money tidying up before they can begin work. This can be an incredibly inefficient use of resources. To avoid this issue, double-check after each trade has finished ensuring they have cleaned up their mess. For future reference, please set rules with trades before they start to ensure the site is kept tidy throughout the job.

Effective time management is integral for success. Paperwork can quickly become overwhelming. To avoid chaos, Owner Builder Checklist has been developed to help you stay organised. Neglecting your documentation will result in products not being ordered. Trades are not being scheduled. Suppliers and trades are unpaid. Leading to prolonged delays and budget blowouts.

Creating a list of priorities, ranking them by importance, and breaking any long tasks into smaller ones are essential. Even the most minor tasks should be remembered. Accumulating small actions can become a much larger job.

Multi-tasking is a skill that can distract from the task at hand. Our brains are designed to work on one thing at a time. Trying to juggle multiple jobs can mean none are done to the standard we would wish. To combat this, one approach is to allocate periods during the day for specific tasks, such as answering emails and making calls. This wise strategy can help keep the owner builder on track. 

Reaching Out for Support

Sometimes it can be tempting to take on too much. It’s easy to be overzealous with the number of commitments and tasks we try to fit into our schedule. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed by everything we have taken on.

On occasion, saying no can be a challenge. Being able to refuse requests in a considerate manner is a skill that requires practice. When what’s asked of us disrupts our tasks and time management, it’s essential to use this one word. Saying yes when we mean no leads to worse outcomes and more stress than saying no from the beginning. It takes time, but eventually, saying no will feel like second nature!

Burnout can be detrimental to your mental well-being, productivity and motivation. Taking a break from work can benefit your mind and body as it allows you to return feeling rejuvenated. Setting healthy boundaries and avoiding feelings of guilt is the key to returning feeling refreshed and productive in the long run.

When taking on a project, we can be faced with an overwhelming amount of responsibility, from juggling family and work commitments to tackling tasks with little knowledge or expertise. It’s no wonder owner builder projects can feel like a challenge! However, Owner Builder Specialists have created two programs – Owner Builder Checklist  and Owner Builder Coach. To break everything down and make them simpler. So why not let us lend you a helping hand?


Contact us now to get your owner builder stress under control: by using the contact form or email [email protected].

The VBA has some great reading for owner builders.

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