The first step in a self build process is to find an available plot. This needs (of course!) to be in your favoured location and that it is suitable for its ended purpose. You may wish to consult with a building professional, such as a chartered surveyor, prior to purchase. When you're ready to proceed, appoint a lawyer/solicitor to put in a conditional offer on your behalf. Once applicable consents and legalities are dealt with, the land is yours.
We – along with our partners at estate agencies and the online agency PlotFinder – can help find the ideal plot for you. Get in touch with your requirements and we can let you know when suitable plots become available. Small estate agents local to the area you are interested in will often have a mailing list they could add you to. Dedicated websites such as Buildstore’s Plotsearch can help.
Otherwise, get to know the area and the people. Sometimes land could be available without being actively advertised. Be brave: identifying a plot and asking the landowner if they are willing to sell can pay off. The worst they can do say is no.
Contact us! We have over 18,000 unique visitors to our website each month. If you have land to sell, we could connect you with potential buyers.
Even if a plot already has outline planning consent, it may not be as suitable as it first appears. Do your research or commission a professional to do a feasibility study before you take the plunge into a self build house project.
Here are some questions you need to consider.
If you have a plot in mind we would be happy to give an opinion on its suitablity.
A long access road to the house position can be very costly. The story of the family who built a mile-long road to the site of their dream home – only to find they could only afford a caravan afterwards – is not apocryphal. Level access over a short distance will save you money.
It would be worth asking a local contractor for an estimate on putting in an access road and clearing the site before concluding a purchase.
Building on a bog is not impossible, just inadvisable due to the expense in making the ground structurally secure. Likewise, hard rock may have to be blasted or broken which again will have a financial impact.
We would advise that before a site is purchased a condition of sale would be a ground investigation by an engineer. It is much easier to have an idea of the road and foundation costs if what is under the ground is known.
Without a water main, you could consider drilling a borehole or taking water from a spring. But will this water meet safety standards? Similarly, a distant electrical supply will mean incurring more unforeseen expense.
Obtaining estimates of these servicing costs before missives are concluded is always a good idea. HebHomes can help with this.
Can you connect to a mains sewerage system or will a private septic tank or treatment plant be required?
Sometimes sites have very expensive drainage and sewerage solutions. Occassionally there is no solution depsite the site having planning permission. We would advise that this is investigated before the site is purchased. HebHomes will organise this under our Planning and Building Control service.
There are a number of more general issues that also need to be considered when considering the site of your flat pack house:
It is always worthwhile getting a topographical survey of your site done. Your agent or architect should arrange this. Such a survey will allow you to better select the house position and access, and to minimise the amount of earth removal and rock breaking required. Planning departments will also often ask for levels and sections through the site.
HebHomes will organise this as part of our Planning and Building Control service.
New housing should fit in with the existing settlement and surrounding landscape. Be respectful of local planning rules and opt for a design and site that suit the context. Our houses have the benefit of being developed from historical forms – which means they should be able to fit beautifully into a town, village, farmyard or remote setting.
If your site does not yet have planning permission it can be helpful to use a local planning consultant. They can be invaluable in preparing the best arguments for approval and crucially, taking the correct approach with the authorities. HebHomes can work alongside the planning consultant to prepare the application.
Landscaping is often overlooked during the building process. But building stane dykes (drystone walls), decks and timber outbuildings can help bed your house into its surroundings. Larch, stone and metal are the common building materials of the countryside, and by using them on and around your house you will develop a continuity of design.
If you have the budget engaging a landscape architect can ensure that your beautiful HebHomes building will sit within a beautiful garden.
You will want to exploit the views from your site, but consider too the prevailing wind and sun. How will you find shelter from the south-westerlies? Could the house be positioned to benefit from passive solar gain? Could planting or an outbuilding act as a sound barrier or wind break?
Overheating tends to be the problem with highly-insulated modern buildings rather than the cold. Large areas of glazing to the south may require to be solar reflective. HebHomes would generally recommend a trellis to provide shade in summer but allow warming from the low winter sun.
HebHomes can help you with much of these issues if using our Planning and Building Control service. If you have your own architect or agent they should assist you with all these parts of the process.