Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

You can reasonably expect that any building plot advertised for sale will already have planning in principle. This was formerly known as ‘outline planning permission.’ This establishes whether a development of the site is acceptable to the local authority ‘in principle.’ If planning in principle (PIP) is approved, a further application must be made for the details and design of the scheme. An application for detailed permission after receipt of PIP is sometimes known as an "application for approval of reserved matters specified in conditions."

The names of our kit house designs follow a simple system. First, we use a prefix to indicate the design range:

The subsequent numbers indicate the design and how many storeys it has: so, LH102 is the first design from our Longhouse range, and has two floors.

We also use suffixes to indicate if a porch extension (P) or dormer window (D) has been added to the core design.

The package price depends on which type of package you choose. For example, you may wish to choose a supply and install package rather than supply and deliver only. The base prices shown on our website are for supply and delivery only, without any added options such as internal joinery pack.

The VAT rate payable also depends on which package you choose. Our base package (supply and deliver only) is normally standard-rated (20%) for VAT. The VAT element can be reclaimed from Customs and Excise upon project completion. Where there is an installation element (I.e. where we both supply and install) the package will normally be zero-rated for VAT.

The rest of the build will be handled by the contractor of your choice. Alternatively, you may wish to 'self-build', where you arrange the rest of the build yourself. This involves arranging the various trades and materials required, possibly even with an element of your own labour.

Try getting to know the locals in the area where you want to build, often the best plots are not advertised. Remember to contact the local estate agents and get them to put you on their lists.

Check the internet. A dedicated website such as Buildstore Plotsearch can help. It's the UK’s largest and most accurate database for land, conversion and renovation opportunities with details of approximately 6,000 self build opportunities across the country.

To view the indicative floorplans of our houses you need to register with us. Use the 'register' link on the left hand menu bar. Once you have registered with us you will be able to log in at any time to view floorplans and other information about the designs.

Obviously your choice of building plot is largely down to your own requirements but there are some basics to think about:

  • Is the location right for you - does it have the views you want, access to local shops etc?
  • Does the plot have at least Outline Planning Permission (or Planning in Principle) and if not, how likely is it to get permission?
  • Are there any onerous planning conditions which may unsettle you or your mortgage company? This is one for your solicitor to look into.
  • Is the plot the right size and shape for your needs?
  • Are services such as electricity and water nearby? Will you be able to get these services if not? Will you need to organise a borehole if you can't get mains water?
  • Will it be expensive to prepare the plot for building because of difficult ground conditions and/or the requirement for a long access road? This can be difficult to ascertain and it may be advisable to consult with a qualified surveyor before purchasing
  • What will the sewerage arrangements be? Mains? Septic tank and soakaway, or some other arrangement?
  • Will the plot be easy for builders to access when it comes to building and is there an area for setting down materials?
  • Cost is often an important factor - can you afford the site without eating into your building budget?

It's a good idea to listen closely to the advice of local estate agents who know the area. Speak to the local Planning officer to see if he can provide any further information. You may wish to speak to a surveyor. Always take legal advice before making any definite decisions.

Got to the plot considerations page in our Guidance section for more information.

A planning application must be lodged with your local authority as part of the normal process of receiving permission to build a house. Contact your local authority for guidance and confirmation of the level of fee required.

Scale drawings of the proposed house/development must be submitted as part of the application. These must show the exterior elevations of the house as well as sections and floor plans. If you proceed with Hebridean Contemporary Homes Ltd. these drawings will be provided for your submission. You will also require a site and location plan which HCH does not provide. Your agent - or a local architect, surveyor, draftsman or technician - can draw these up. The planning authority also occasionally request sections through the site and landscape proposals. Again these should be organised locally.

If your house cannot connect to a mains sewer, your local authority may ask for details of your sewerage arrangement as part of your planning application. Again, seek advice from your agent or local planning officer.

Once your application has been approved and you have received Detailed Planning Permission you are ready to proceed to the Building Warrant stage.

Yes. HebHomes works with affiliated contractors, and through them we can organise a complete build package for you.

We also erect SIP kit packages to "wind and watertight" (Stage 1), working alongside the appointed main contractor at this stage of the build. There are also partial Turnkey options, where we complete the house externally (including the foundations) leaving yourself to finish off the inside. 

Alternatively, if you tell a local builder about us and about which design you want, you can ask them to arrange the build for you.

The builder can buy the kit from us directly, and quote you a price for the complete build. However, we would always advise that you seek professional advice when appointing a contractor.

These are industry standard terms denoting a particular stage of the build process. This would usually mean that the kit shell has been erected on the foundation, the windows and doors have been fitted and the roofing and wall membranes have been applied.

Your house will still let in water at this stage. No house is truly weathertight until the roofcovering (e.g. slates) and external cladding (e.g. blockwork) have been applied, and all gaps sealed up. It is perfectly normal for windblown rain to drive into the kit at this stage and your own building contractor should take measures to begin sealing up the house as soon as possible after the kit is up.

The internal floor area is the approximate total floor area (ground and upper) of the house measured in square metres.

A modern mortgage such as the Buildstore Accelerator mortgage could be the solution. This award-winning self build mortgage is very flexible and can provide up-front funding for the purchase of land in advance of the build.

A location plan shows the area in which your plot/proposed plot is located. It allows a Planning officer to pinpoint where your site is. It is also used for purposes of informing neighbours of the location of your proposed development.

A site plan (sometimes called a block plan) shows the site in more detail with your proposed house positioned upon it. It also shows other information such as the position of the access road and the drainage arrangements.

These plans obviously vary greatly from site to site, hence they are not provided by us as standard. They are, however, required for Planning and Building Warrant applications. We can drawn these up for you for an additional fee or may wish to get a local architect or technician to draw them up instead.

Our range of homes has been carefully architect-designed to make excellent use of space and light. We stand by the integrity of our designs.

We understand that clients will sometimes require alterations to their chosen design. For example, your site may require the house plan to be mirrored, or you may require a larger window to the gable or an extra velux window. Simple design amendments can be undertaken for a nominal charge, although changes will also affect the kit price.

Bear in mind that there are several steps in the pricing, design, engineering, ordering and production phases which will need to be re-evaluated if you request modifications. So the extra cost of modifications can quickly add up. The financial savings of building a kit house over a bespoke architect-designed house spring from the fact that they are pre-designed and engineered. So modifying something pre-designed will always cost more and take more time to achieve.

Beyond simple alterations, a full bespoke architectural design service can be provided by Dualchas Building Design.

No. We do not sell the plans for our designs separately. The plans are provided as part of the package when you purchase one of our kits.

Any use of our designs without our express permission will be considered breach of copyright and we will take immediate action to recover costs.

If you are not able to connect to a mains sewerage system, you will be required to install a private septic tank or treatment plant. The run-off "grey water" from the system is often discharged in to a specially constructed percolation pit, known as a soakaway. A more eco-friendly alternative to this is to construct a reed bed.

In order to obtain consent for the above, you will be required to carry out a percolation test. This is a test to examine what the ground conditions of the site are like in terms of drainage. It is important to know this so that the correct arrangements can be made for dealing with surface water, soakaways from septic tanks etc.

Local authorities require evidence to be submitted along with Planning applications showing that this test has been undertaken. The test must be undertaken by a consultant approved to perform such tests. The approved consultant will charge a fee for this service. Check the internet or Yellow Pages for Drainage Consultants in your local area.

After obtaining full Planning Permission, but usually before proceeding to build your house, you require a Building Warrant. You will have to apply to the building control officer at your local authority for this.

As with planning applications a fee will have to be submitted when you apply otherwise your application will not be processed. The level of this fee is usually based on a sliding scale and depends on the size of the proposed house in square metres and the likely construction cost.

Detailed drawings must be submitted along with this application. This large set of drawings shows the detail of the house construction, allowing the building control officer to decide whether the proposed development meets all building regulations.

The construction drawings provided by HebHomes will form the majority of the Building Warrant application drawings. However, your agent will have to arrange other drawings such as block plans showing the sewerage, parking arrangements and any further information requested by Building Control. We can liase with your agent and provide electronic versions of the drawings to them if necessay.

We understand that people like to get a feel for the total build cost of their house at the start of the process. We will discuss notional costings with you so that you are sure that your budget matches your ambitions. You can aslo access an Order of Costs spreadsheet by clicking the 'turnkey' button on our house pages. 

HebHomes can also organise for a Quantity Surveyor (QS) to price your chosen design and update your Order of Costs. There is a fee of £500 for this (an additional £300 for an optional site visit from the QS). As much information about your site, and your choice of finishes and heating system will allow the costing to be fairly accurate. This will enable you to progress with your project with confidence.

There are a great many factors which govern the total build cost of a house. These include the quality of materials (bathrooms, kitchens, flooring etc) you choose, site conditions, ease of getting services to the site, length of access road and local construction market conditions generally.

HebHomes is experienced in dealing with all sorts of builds in a variety of locations, so please discuss through your ideas, and your budget with us. You could also get an idea of your costs by using our budget planner and inputting your own estimated figures.

Our Price your House calculator will also give an accurate estimate. Please note exclusions and specification when using this tool.

You will need an architect or other qualified building professional to provide advice throughout your project on matters such as siting of the house within your plot and a whole host of other queries which will arise during the process. HebHomes can provide this service up until Building Warrant through our Planning and Warrant service. If you do not use or Planning and Warrant service we advise that you engage a suitable professional such as an architect or Quantity Surveyor.

This qualified person will also be able to act as your agent in the submission of Planning and Building Warrant applications. They can provide (or arrange to provide) other site-specific drawings which you will require, such as those for detailed drainage arrangements.

We can communicate directly with your professional to provide them with the information they may require from us.

This professional can also tender your project and arange the contract between you and the main contractor as well as advise on CDM regulations. When your house goes on site you will need this qualified professional to adminster the terms of the contract and ensure that your contractor is undertaking the work satisfactorily, and perhaps to provide the stage valuations for your mortgage company.

It is important that the construction of your house complies with all relevant building standards. The easiest way to ensure this is to employ a contractor who is registered with the National House-Building Council (NHBC). This will mean that the contractor is obliged to comply with all NHBC standards when building the house. It will also mean that your build is covered under the terms of the NHBC warranty.

If you are not intending to use an NHBC builder you will have to arrange another form of build-quality certification. An architect or surveyor may be able to perform this service for you. You could also consider a self-build warranty such as the NHBC Solo scheme.

HebHomes works with affiliated contractors, and in many locations, we can organise for you a quality build with a contractor who will work efficiently and to a high standard. The benefit of this is that our contractors know how to build our houses - and what standard is expected of them. It also means you can get a clearer idea of total costs at an earlier stage.

If you do not use the HebHomes contractor, it is something which your agent can help you with. Fortunately, now is a good time to find a builder, as there a plenty of good builders looking for work. Use word of mouth, as well as internet search engines and the Yellow Pages.

There is usually a formal tender process for deciding which builder will get the job. Often three to five different firms get the opportunity to put in their tenders and there is a cut-off date when they must be in by, to make sure all is fair and above board. This happens after the Warrant stage and a builder cannot start on site until he gets the go-ahead from Building Control.

It's worth trying to ascertain which firms to send tenders to at an early stage. See if you can find out more about them, how busy their schedules might be, and how good their reputation is. But don't expect too much from builders too early on. They can't give you an accurate price until they have Warrant drawings and a specification.  Remember - the cheapest tender is not always the best value for money.

Once we have received your signed contract and engagement fee the process can get underway. We will provide the following drawings and info to you or your agent:

Detailed Planning Application Stage:

  • Plans, elevations and a cross-section of the house design

Building Warrant application stage:

  • Detailed Building Warrant plans, elevations and cross sections of the house design
  • Set of our standard detail drawings
  • General specification document
  • Kit structural calculations (for the kit only)
  • SAP calculations (generic only)

Prior to start of build on site:

  • Panelised drawings of the house kit
  • NHBC (National Housebuilding Council) Standards CD-ROM
  • TRADA book of timber detailing (for timber-clad projects only)
  • Kingspan standard details (SIP only)

We do not provide:

  • A structural certificate for the full build (often referred to as SER certificate)
  • Certification of foundations, or foundation drawings specific to your site
  • Site specific drawings such as block, drainage and location plans
  • Certification of monitoring or valuations

Our installation team do not fit the rooflights as part of our erection service for two reasons. Firstly, the exact height of the rooflights above the SIP roof must be known so it can be fitted accurately. This height can vary depending on slate and batten thickness. If we were to fit invariably the rooflight would have to be lifted out and adjusted.

The primary reason we do not fit however is to prevent water ingress. If we fitted the rooflights they could be left exposed for a considerable period while the main contractor organises his roofers. This can mean water pouring into the building and damaging the chipboard flooring.

For these two reasons we do not fit the Fakro rooflights.

Pros
• Great quality product at a competitive price
• Lifespan of 40 years +
• Connections to agricultural heritage - planning

Cons
• It can be more expensive to repair if larger sheets need to be replaced (vs. tiles)
• It requires more maintenance than slate roof

If building close to the coast we would recommend an aluminium roof rather than steel.  This is more resistant to seawater corrosion but is more expensive. 

40 years +

Companies will typically over warranties of 30 years for their metal roofs if fitted as manufacturer's instructions. 

The Ecology Building Society asks for this in their Self-Build C-Change mortgage. A SAP value of 85 or above is required. This is something that we will manage through the building warrant stage to ensure it is met. The SAP result is determined by various elements of the house, including orientation to the sun, the heating system as well as the building fabric.  

Pre-planning consultation is important if you do not have any planning permission on your site and are unclear whether it is likely it can be obtained.  Forms can be accessed from the relevant council website and are straightforward to fill in.  You may want the input of a planning consultant to make sure that the correct approach is taken.  In some council areas planners are happy to give an informal response to an enquiry which may give you the confidence to proceed with a full application.

Planning in Principal or Outline Planning if approved will mean that the council has agreed that a house can be built on a plot.  This gives the land value but it is importnat that reserved matters are checked.  As well as the design not having been approved, it is often the case that a workable sewerage system as not been designed, road access has not been considered as well as services connection costs and availablity. 

Hebhomes generally recommends using a high quality timber cladding such as Grade A Siberian larch.  Larch is extremely resiliant - especially the slow growing Siberian variety - and has the qualities of a much more expensive hardwood. The secret to its longevity is in the detailing.  If Hebhomes details are correctly followed larch cladding will last over 50 years.  But remember damaged timber can be easily replaced. 

If you would like black timber we would suggest a thermally adjusted timber such as Abodo or Thermopine.  This timber will not expand or shrink in the heat unlike timber that has been oiled or painted. See www.russwood.co.uk for more information.  

An ASHP essentially involves an exchanger unit, usually in a fan unit (box typically approx. 1x0.5x1.2m LWH) outside the property, which will use a small amount of electricity to gather heat from the ambient air to then heat up an internal wet system. This can be used for flow through UFH and/or radiators, as well as for hot water. ASHPs are very common in Scandinavian countries and are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, especially when gas is not available. For newbuilds in rural locations, ASHPs are usually the first choice for heat and hot water, due to their simplicity and ease of installation.

GSHPs deliver similar results to ASHPs, but with slightly higher efficiencies as they gather heat from the ground which has a more stable and on average slightly higher ambient temperature than the air. GSHPs also attract larger incentives. The GSHPs require an area of land adjacent to the house to lay pipes, if this is not possible, pipes are fed deep underground (up to 200m). Due to the requirement for drilling, these tend to have high capital costs which limits their popularity. Generally, the GSHP is a good option for the higher heat load properties only.

This relies on enough space to store the pellets, occasional manual intervention, and reliable delivery of pellets in bulk to the site. From our experience, biomass often calls for frequent maintenance and repair, which can become problematic if the site is relatively inaccessible. If storage and transport isn’t an issue, or you have lots of free wood, biomass is an affordable, generally low carbon resource, but speaking from experience we would suggest it requires detailed investigation if you want a reliable heating source. 

• provide adequate fresh air
•  extract excessive moisture, pollution and smells,
•  prevent the build-up of pollutants and moisture.
•  minimises ventilation heat loss 
• designed to provide a draft-free, comfortable and quiet indoor environment.
Full turnkey - Jan 2021- July 2022 (18 months)
Partial Turnkey - Jan 2021 - Jan 2022 (12months) - assume 1/4 of the main build allowance. Note there is an increased time on site due to social distancing.

The programme for getting on site will be determined by the speed of planning permission, building regulation approval and the availability of a contractor to commence works.  In England because Building Control has been partially privatised it can be quicker to get on site, saving up to two months on the programme.  Another way to speed up the process is to submit planning and building warrant (regulation approval) concurrently. 

Lead in time is dictated by the window order. The windows generally take 8-10 weeks to be delivered.  Within that time period we will panelise and manufacture the kit.

There is usually a month of preparation work on the site before it is ready for kit delivery.  This includes forming access, site clearance, sewerage, foundations and slab.  Once this is complete we will inspect the site and ensure it ready for kit delivery and erection.

This means that windows need to be ordered at least a month before work begins on site. 

Please refer to the Sustainability section of our website. 

CPS - Manufactured and fabricated by Ochil Timber, Stirling.
SIP -  Manufactured by Hemsec in Liverpool and fabricated by our partner Highland SIP In Perth. 
CLT - Manufactured and fabricated by Binderholz of Austria.

Full Planning - typically 9 weeks
Building Warrant - typically 9 weeks

Planning decision timelines can vary depending on the capacity of the lcoal office, the complexity of the application and whether objections has resulted in it being referred to committee. 

In England the Building Regulation approval stage has been partially privitised.  This means a third party consultant can check the drawings and submit to the council, allowing a start on site almost immediately. 

General rule of thumb is the width of our kit homes are fixed due to the engineering of the kit. The length can be easily amended to suit. Small changes to drawings are at no extra cost.

More information on design changes can be found here. 

We can advise only. Using local estate agents, asking local farmers or using the following websites - PlotFinder, Buildstore’s Plotsearch.  We are happy to give a view on teh suitablity of a plot once you have found one you like.  

For more information please visit this page. 

As with any new build, there is no set time. As long as the property is well maintained and looked after it will have a very long lifespan.

There are manufacturer warranties or guarantees that come with individual elements of a house such as the SIP, the windows, the roofing etc.  However, Hebhomes cannot offer a warranty on the completed house.  That is because there are many elements that we are not in control of or have responsibility for.  We recommend that a warranty such as NHBC is obtained for the completed house.  This is something our affiliated contractors can usually offer.  Alternatively, you can organise your own warranty such as Buildcare or have an architect or quantity surveyor inspect and certify that your house has been completed to the appropriate standard. 

No.  But the thicker wall does mean that the blocks supporting the external CPS walls are laid on flat, meaning a more expensive foundation. 

No. Our contractor provides quantities based on our drawings. 

No. The contractors measures quantities based on our drawings. 

Installed on site.  Because of the remote location of many our our deliveries it would be too much of a risk to fit the windows in the factories in case of transit damage. 

Our engineer generally advises to steer away from this as you need a specialist contractor, specialised equipment and is generally more expensive than a pile foundation. It is marketed as a 'light touch' to the ground, however, it is actually very intrusive by piling several meters into the ground. Screw pile foundations are also not suitable to all ground conditions - depends on the finding from a ground investigation survey.

See above. Generally we propose small pad foundations, steel beams to elevate the structure with SIP cassettes as the suspended floor. Quite a few of our Airighs have been built like this - see Ardmair Bay, Ullapool on our website. Note that our Structural Engineer will advise on a project to project basis as the structural loading and ground conditions will vary.

We tend to avoid this and recommend not to connect as 20% vat will apply if house is occupied.  We can review an option where a local architect details the link and we provide drawings for the kit.

The main saving is in the erection cost as it reduces time on site and equipment can be sared across all the units. Supply cost discount to be discussed on a project specific basis.

Once  planning is submitted, the local council will consult with utility providers. Generally not an issue to wait until this point as opposed to consulting utility companies before the application is submitted. Clients typically liaise with utility providers for new connections. We can provide this service at a fee of £150 for water and £150 for electricity. Essentially contacting the provider and then filling out application forms. This should be carried out at Building Warrent stage in preparation for site works.

Generally no, significantly more expensive becuase;

- Two leaves of blockwork is required for the substructure
- Blockwork is labour intensive and can be weather dependant
- Different specifications of render vary the cost (site considerations e.g. coastal site)
- Fire stops in the cavity are required
- Painting the render white

Render boards are cheaper but generally not used as low quality - has only been used above large structural openings in specific circumstances.  

Some mortgage lenders ask for this (usually only commercial finance).
No, this is not something we are involved in. The site and location will also impact the end value which - appoint a building surveyor to advise and provide a valuation. Be careful who you choose howevr.  Some agents do not recognise build or architectural quality.  Choose one that does. 

Supply Only Package - VAT is added but can be claimed back
Supply & Erect - VAT is not added
Turnkey - VAT is not added

VAT applies to professional services in a new build but not construction costs.  So VAT is charged on our Planning and Warrant Service.  If you are buying from the Republic of Ireland we will be required to charge 13.5% VAT. 

If you would like to discuss your project, please get-in-touch.

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