Top 10 things to consider when choosing a self-build plot

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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!

Be flexible

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.

Consider amenities

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.

 

Top 3 Fibre refurbishment projects!

Breathing new life into tired old properties is one of the most satisfying things you can do as an architect. Whilst there’s no doubt that designing a new building from scratch allows for an enjoyable amount of creative freedom, refurbishment projects present the unique challenge of maintaining the attractive original features of the property with creating modern and up-to-date internal spaces.

This makes refurbs so exciting to work on and at Fibre, we’ve been lucky enough to be involved with a variety of these types of projects with some stunning results. We’ve put together a list of three of our favourite current refurb projects, so check them out below…

Cote Royd Dental Practice

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In 2014, Fibre were tasked with designing a conversion of Cote Royd Dental Practice’s Grade 2 Listed building into luxury apartments. The building was simply too big for the practice’s needs, and due to its age was struggling to keep up with ever-tightening hygiene standards within the dental profession. We put together plans that sensitively split the building into seven large self-contained apartments that maintained many of the original features of the building, which you can see above.

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In addition to this, we were also asked to design an extension and refurbishment of the former stable building to provide bespoke new accommodation for the practice, which is where the team happily reside today.

Huddersfield Community Church

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Last year we announced that we had won a bid to design the re-development of the former Britvic factory in Birkby, Huddersfield. Fibre have begun to draw up plans to convert the building into a church and community hub for the whole of Birkby and its local community to enjoy.

The large existing spaces provide more than enough opportunity to create a variety of spacious accommodation for all of the client’s needs, including events spaces, meeting rooms for charities and support for local families, and those in need in the local community. This exciting project will be moving forward significantly in 2017 and we can’t wait to see the final results!

Brendon Drive, Birkby

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Our clients had lived in Birkby for many years and loved the area but not their existing tired house that had too many poorly proportioned rooms, little open plan space and insufficient natural light in its heart. After many unsuccessful attempts to find a more appropriate house locally, they turned to us to see whether we could help.

fibre architects huddersfield architect renovation

Following consideration of a number of options, the preferred solution was to carry out a major refurbishment, effectively gutting the existing house and giving it a new lease of life with open plan internal living, kitchen and dining spaces, larger rooms, new (and more) windows and a new central feature staircase. Together with refreshing new external cladding and render truly makes this feel like a totally new house, for a fraction of the price of one and in the best possible location for our clients! A very successful refurbishment project indeed…

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If you have a refurbishment project in mind, Fibre Architects are here to help. We are proud to have designed a number of high-quality refurbishment solutions and conversions for some very happy clients. If you want some more information, or simply want to discuss the feasibility of a project you have in mind, get in touch with Fibre Architects here.

Top 6 questions to ask your architect to make sure they’re the right match

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Choosing the right architect for your project is key to creating a home that you are proud of. Here at Fibre Architects, we are passionate about listening to exactly what each of our clients wants, and going above and beyond the brief every time.

In order to be able to do this, we’ve put together a list of questions for you to ask us, or any potential architect, in order to ensure you find the perfect match for the design of your project.

  1. How would you approach this project?

Every architect will approach each project in a slightly different way. Don’t be afraid to ask each architect how they would tackle your project.

  1. Can I see some examples of your work?

The best way to judge an architect’s work is by looking at the projects they have worked on in the past. Architects should be proud and want to show off their work, take a look at some examples of Fibre’s previous work here.

  1. Can you refer contractors that you like?

One of the biggest advantages of using an architect can be the connections they have to builders and contractors in the local area, so ask if they are able to make recommendations.

  1. What are going to be the largest obstacles with this project?

A good architect should be honest with you about the challenges you may face with your project, and how they will help you overcome them.

  1. What are your fees?

It goes without saying that costs are going to be a consideration for any project, be clear right from the start what kind of fees you will be expecting from an architect’s work.

  1. How long would you expect the Planning Application, Building Regulations Approval and construction to take?

Although there are a number of factors that can alter this as the project develops, architects should be able to give an estimated time frame for each aspect of your project. Then you have to decide whether this fits in with your own desired time scale.

If you want a local, reliable architecture firm with a passion for high-quality design we’re sure that Fibre Architects will be the perfect match for you. Contact us to arrange a free consultation – and an opportunity to ask us any of the questions above and more.