Assessing a self-build plot
Before you purchase a site, you’ll need to make sure it’s able to match up to the criteria for your dream home. Mike Dade’s checklist will help you gauge a plot’s true potential for self-build
Groundwork issues and planning problems can stop a project in its tracks. Mike Dade’s essential checklist will help you gauge your site’s suitability before you make a purchase
Whether you’re keen to buy a particular piece of land or you’re eyeing up your own garden’s potential as a development opportunity, there’s a lot to consider before you can decide whether you’ve found the right site.
To help you make a smart, well-informed choice, I’ve put together a checklist that covers most of the scenarios self-builders are likely to encounter. Armed with this guide, you can be confident you won’t miss anything crucial that could influence a site’s suitability. This includes factors such as what and where you can build, whether the costs stack up, and the chances of gaining planning permission for a design you’re happy with.
Don’t be alarmed by the length of the checklist. On most plots, you’ll actually come across very few constraints. But taking a fastidious approach means you’ll be aware of any potential issues right from the beginning – so you can proceed with greater certainty and budget more accurately.
If you come up against anything you’re not sure about, the key thing is to seek advice from suitable professionals. That could mean speaking to your local council about planning matters, involving your solicitor for legal considerations or using other appropriate specialists. If you have an architect or planning consultant on board – or if you’re working with a package house company – they will be able to point you in the right direction.
Looking at comparable planning applications for recent nearby projects, via the council’s online records, may also prove helpful. Checking these over can alert you to possible stumbling blocks, including how the hurdles were overcome and who provided the necessary reports or advice.
Above: This former quarry has consent for a fourbedroom contemporary home. A pre-app meeting with the council could determine whether a revised design, to better suit the buyers, would be acceptable