With a lack of affordable housing in the UK, more and more people are deciding to self-build. However, when looking for a plot of land to build on, what are the most important things to think about?
Fibre Architects have put together a list of the Top 10 things to consider when choosing a plot of land for your self-build project…
Is the location desirable?
This may seem like an obvious thing to think about, but would you actually want to live where the plot is located? Ensure the location of the site is convenient and well connected, i.e. close to schools and/or local centres, if these are things that are important to you.
Is your project likely to achieve Planning Approval?
Does the style of house you are looking to build fit into the local area? There’s no point charging ahead with planning a project if it’s likely to get rejected. Looking around to see if the house you’re planning to build is in line with other local properties can increase your chances of gaining planning permission.
Are there barriers to building?
The plot being near a listed building, having protected trees on site or restrictive covenants in the deeds can all offer a restriction to development, so do your research. Remember, Planning Approval does not override any legal obligations that the site owner may have to adhere to.
Think about views
Are views to and from your new house or garden important to you? If so, are they acceptable for your future enjoyment and privacy and will the garden size and the views after development of the new property be acceptable too?
Another important thing to bear in mind is, views can change over time too. Consider current and proposed land uses around the plot – you can do this by consulting the Local Plan or UDP to assess future land uses if required.
Is it accessible?
Is there adequate access to the property for vehicles and pedestrians (and wheelchair users, if necessary) without major obstacles? The likelihood is people will need to gain access the both on foot and by car at some point. And don’t forget access for maintenance!
Don’t always just look for a vacant plot of land, a small house or commercial building ripe for extension and/or conversion is sometimes much easier to find and work with, especially in much sought after locations.
Do the maths
For most people, the last thing they want from a self-build project is to be out of pocket. Does the purchase price when added to development costs create a property that is equal to or worth more than the amount spent? If in doubt, consult a Local Estate Agent for their guidance on this.
Take into account the availability of statutory services, electric, water, gas, and broadband. If your site doesn’t have some of these, maybe it’s time to think about a backup plan, e. g renewable energy sources.
Think about the topography of the site
Are levels an issue and are there means of dealing with foul and surface water drainage from the new property, or is the plot in an area with a risk of flooding? If so can these be overcome by design?
Are the ground conditions suitable for building with traditional foundations and is there little or no contamination from any previous site uses or activities?
Is sustainability important to you?
At Fibre Architects we are working on an increasing number of projects where sustainable design is important to our clients. This may consist of low energy, low impact design or incorporation of renewable technologies and sometimes only certain plots of land can accommodate this. If sustainability is a key concern for you, make sure to think about whether the plot is appropriate for your desired approach in this respect.
Fibre Architects have a great deal of experience assessing plots for their self-build viability, taking all of the above into consideration and more. We offer a free assessment and consultation on any plot you have in mind. If you think you could benefit from our expert help, contact us.