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.

 

Fibre Architects has won the Best of Houzz Award 2017!

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We’re delighted to announce that Fibre has won the Best of Houzz Award 2017! This national award is presented to the best-reviewed firms on the popular architecture, interior design and decorating website Houzz.co.uk.

We’ve won the award for Customer Service due to a number of high ratings for client satisfaction on the website. We focus on providing high-quality building design, and offering a unique take on architecture, and we’re glad to see that has been well received by our clients. We are also a helpful and friendly firm that are there to help our clients with any queries or issues that may arise throughout the design and construction process.

Our Managing Director Martin Booker enthused about winning the award: “We’re so thrilled to have won the Houzz award here at Fibre. We always strive to impress our clients by going above and beyond their brief, so getting such a great response from them is really encouraging.”

Andrew Small, Managing Director of Houzz UK and Ireland said: “we’re so pleased to award the Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Fibre Architects,”“Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping them turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

“Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping them turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

Here at Fibre, we always keep the customer and their brief at the heart of our designs. We’re proud to have a reputation for being attentive to our clients and taking their vision and using it to create some truly exciting and creative home designs.

We have an exciting year ahead, with some big projects reaching completion, winning this award is the perfect start to an exciting year for Fibre Architects!

Fibre’s top 3 projects with Planning Approval being built in 2017

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At Fibre Architects, we’re confident in our ability to secure planning approvals across a variety of different types of residential project. We’ve got a number of exciting projects that have successfully received planning approval that will be built this year. We’ve chosen three of our favourites to make our top three planning approved projects due for completion in 2017:

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Stanley Road, Liverpool

Fibre worked closely with property developer New Regen Ltd to design a proposal for 30 new-build houses. Our design team worked hard to create high-quality homes that were both affordable and cost effective, using clever design techniques in order to maximise living space and keep construction costs down.

The homes were a hit with both the local authority and potential buyers. Our proposals were deemed “excellent” by the Liverpool City Council Planning Committee and over half of the properties have sold already despite being several months from completion. The projects should be completed just before the end of this year and we can’t wait to see the finished product!

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Listed Building extension, Quarmby

Following the successful implementation of a modern garden room in the grounds of the Grade 2 Listed house in 2014, Fibre successfully obtained Planning Approval for a modern “glass-box” style extension to the house in 2015.  This private client has decided to build out this exciting addition to the property this year, with construction work starting in April.

The new extension will bring abundant natural light and more much-needed family space into the heart of this impressive Georgian home.

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Extension in Scholes, Holmfirth

It’s not only old buildings that can benefit from a modern and exciting extension and remodelling project. Traditional, more recent house-builder type dwellings can also benefit from a fresh approach and this is exactly what Fibre designed for another private client for a property in Scholes, Holmfirth.

Planning approval was granted last year for a predominantly timber clad rear extension with large areas of sliding folding glass doors at ground floor opening up the remodelled house to an improved garden terrace area, including a brand new external pizza oven! Construction work has just started on site for this project, with an eagerly awaited completion due in around 4 months’ time.

Home extension – a beginner’s guide

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It is common knowledge that if your home has a lack of space you need, it can often be less hassle and cost simply to build an extension to your property, rather than moving home. However, obviously there are some important considerations involved when thinking about extending your home, including some that might not immediately spring to mind, such as:

– car access;

– soil conditions on the site;

– services;

– surrounding trees

– any history of flooding;

– right of way

Once these are out of the way, naturally questions turn to cost. So exactly how much will a home extension set you back?

Cost

Figures vary hugely due to a variety of factors, such as location or design specification, but as a rule of thumb it is said you should allow around £1,000 – £2,000 m². Remember to balance the amount you are willing to spend on your extension with the estimated value it will add to your home.

In an ideal world we would all finance our projects using savings, however, if you need to borrow the money for an extension it is possible to finance them using a credit card, loan or by re-mortgaging your home. Each of these options has its own individual benefits. If in doubt, arrange a meeting with your bank to discuss your options and ask for advice.

Planning permission

Another thing to think about is the issue of planning permission, will your extension adhere to planning regulations? If you have an idea for a project, here are just a few aspects of planning you may want to consider before the design stage

– You can extend a detached dwelling by 8m to the rear if it’s single storey or 3m if it’s double.

– It must be built in the same or similar material to the existing dwelling.

– Extensions must not go forward of the building line of the original dwelling.

– Side extensions must be single storey, maximum height of 4m and a width no more than half of the original building.

– An extension must not result in more than half the garden being covered.

Design

The next step is where Fibre comes in. After considering and overcoming all of these practical considerations, it’s time to think about design. Choosing an architect that you have confidence in and that shares your values is so important.

At Fibre Architects, we’re passionate about providing high-quality home design that often does something a little bit different and has some creative flair, and we love working with clients who share that passion. With over 20 years’ experience designing residential extensions, we help make the process of helping create an extension you can be proud of run as smoothly as possible.

If you’re thinking about extending your home and think Fibre Architects is the right company for your project – get in touch!

(data and article source: https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/extension-beginners-guide/)

Cote Royd Dental Practice

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In 2014, Fibre Architects were commissioned by Cote Royd Dental Practice to investigate the feasibility of converting their large Grade 2 Listed building into luxury apartments.

This was due to the fact the property was simply too big for their needs at that time.

It was also deemed necessary as increasingly stringent regulations within the dental profession meant it was becoming more difficult to maintain hygiene standards whilst retaining the features of the listed building.

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We drew up plans to successfully and sensitively split the building into seven large self-contained apartments with generous rooms which maintained their original proportions and many of their existing features.

At the same time, we were asked to consider the extension of the former stable building to provide bespoke new accommodation for the practice, with a new separate entrance to the rear, accessed from the car park.

Planning Approval and Listed Building Consent for both projects was successfully granted in July 2015.

Cote Royd House was then sold with the planning approval which added considerable value to the property, and construction work began on the extension to the former stable building in early 2016.

Fibre worked closely with the contractors to ensure that careful attention to detail, together with considered specification and use of appropriate materials made the new extension a seamless continuation of the existing building.

The practice was very happy with the end result and moved into their new premises (seen below) in October 2016.

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Here at Fibre, we always enjoy working with beautiful old buildings such as Cote Royd House.

We are always proud to be able to work creatively whilst still maintaining the charm and character of the original building – and we look forward to many more projects of this kind in the future.

 

How to Renovate for Profit

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Even the most ambitious of renovations can turn a profit if you follow these basic rules. Property developer and author of Renovating for Profit, Michael Holmes, shares his top tips.

1. Buy the Worst House on the Best Street
You can’t influence an area or change the street, but you can completely transform the house and totally rebuild it if necessary. At this point the price you pay is absolutely critical.

2. Get the Essentials Right First
Prioritising your budget, always put money towards the essentials first, to make sure the building is warm, dry and free of damp, and is a secure property.

3. Don’t Get Carried Away
Think: Who is going to buy this? What are they looking for? Do your research, have a look at what other developers are doing in your area.

4. Add Central Heating
Updating the central heating system will always add more to the value and is a priority to buyers. Seal any draughts, replace windows with double glazing and adding insulation into the loft space. If the existing boiler is in reasonable working order, try to make use of it by adding new radiators, a heated towel rail, or underfloor heating.

5. Consider Remodelling While Renovating
After looking at the basics, focus on making the best use of your space. Add space in order of cost-effectiveness:
• First, remodel the space that you have already got.
• After that, convert spaces perhaps the loft, a garage, or a cellar.
• Next, think about the possibilities of extending up because that’s always cheaper than extending out, and you don’t lose garden space; if that’s not a possible extend backwards or sideways.
• Extend down and create a basement, but that is expensive.
• If nothing else works, you can usually add extra space at the bottom of the garden with an outbuilding.

6. Fix Superficial Defects
Small defects don’t directly affect the value of a property. However, together they will prevent it selling at the optimum price. Examples of typical defects:
• Peeling paint
• Squeaking or sticking doors and windows
• Door latches that don’t work
• Mouldy sealants in kitchens and bathrooms
• Dripping taps
• Loose tiles

7. Remember the ‘Ceiling Value’
There is a ‘ceiling value’ – a maximum value that any property can achieve. The best way to identify this is looking at what other people’s homes have sold as; look on Rightmove or Zoopla.

Happy New Year!

Hello and welcome to our new blog!
We’ll be using this blogging platform to communicate latest news and events in the world of Fibre Architects.  So please check back regularly for updates.

Watch this space!