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

Build It - - CONTENTS -

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

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