NEW BUILD ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN SERVICES

A GUIDE TO PLANNING AND BUILDING YOUR NEW HOME:

Case Study of RBD's New Build Development in West Berks : New Build Case Study

Choosing to build a new home means you can get exactly what you want in a property, for less than it would cost to buy it. This guide to new build and self building gives an outline of things you need to know

The benefits are numerous, from getting a space tailored to your exacting needs to  the chance to make a profit on your build if you ever come to sell, self build is definitely worth considering in your quest for the perfect home.

Of course, self build is likely to be far more challenging than simply buying a new home, but if you get to grips with the process with this helpful,  guide, you’ll be armed with all the information to both anticipate these challenges and succeed with your project.

Self build refers to when an individual commissions a house to be built on a piece of land that they own to live in. Self build usually encompasses a process where the would-be homeowner has control over the build, and can work with an architect, architectural technologist or design and build team to create a home that fits their specific requirements.

SELF BUILD

Self build is often lumped together with custom build, but the terms aren’t interchangeable as, and differ by the amount of involvement the individual has in the build and in the self build project management. While approximately 11,000 self build homes are built each year, less than 10% of those homeowners were physically involved in the process by taking on the building work.

You will also need to be aware of the factors that may cause your build costs to skyrocket, such as:

  • Location: land prices and labour costs will vary across the country
  • Size: the bigger the house, the more expensive it will be to build (although careful design can help achieve some economies of scale)
  • Plan, shape and layout: the simplest and most cost-effective floorplan is square
  • Number of storeys: multiple storeys make better use of the land and can reduce foundation and roof costs per m²
  • Specification: if you want premium or non-standard products, expect your build costs to rise considerably
  • Involvement: depending on how much of the work you are capable of taking on yourself, you can substantially reduce your build costs

of the obstacles faced by self builders, including finding land, securing planning permission and getting services to site.

This is also a more hands-off approach, but still offers the chance for an individual home that meets individual needs. Custom build sites are usually managed by developers who can give you more information on the financial requirements.

PLOT FINDING SERVICES

Specialist plotfinding services (like plotfinder.net) are incredibly useful when it comes to finding land, but they shouldn’t stop you from being proactive.

  • Study the local area. Drive around or use Google Maps to look for homes on large plots that have either a large side garden, or infill land
  • Contact experts. Some package companies, such as Potton or Border Oak, hold lists of available plots online
  • Visit local auctions. Many opportunities are sold buy auction so it’s worth finding out who the key agents are in your area
  • Check the local authority’s website for recent planning applications. In most cases, details of the owner or agent are included and there is nothing to stop you contacting them directly.

Plots will rarely fall into your lap, so you’ll often need to be savvy to secure one.

When assessing your plot, look out for:

  • planning permission that has expired, or is about to expire
  • any access issues
  • any covenants
  • services — are they already in place?
  • title deeds — make sure these deeds are ‘absolute’ rather than ‘possessory’ or negotiate on the plot price accordingly

Also, make sure you register with your local authority under the Right to Build, which requires local authorities in England to keep track of the demand for serviced plots in their area.

Do I need planning permission to self build?

JOIN THE PLANNING HUB

Join The Planning Hub

The Planning Hub is a new online resource that will help you understand how to get to grips with complex planning rules. Join today for access to easy-to-read guides which will provide you with key information to help you secure planning permission.

When you self build, you’ll have to apply to your local authority for planning permission.

The cost of submitting a planning application varies across the UK, but is currently £462 in England. However, the real cost of obtaining planning permission arguable comes from preparing the plans and documents (the design fees) in readiness for submission and any accompanying surveys (such as ecological surveys) that may be required.

You should find out when your local planning authority has approved your application after eight weeks — although more complex schemes can take longer.

All planning permission is granted with planning conditions attached. Failure to address the conditions will invalidate your consent, making any work done unlawful.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SELF BUILD?

How much profit could i make on a self build?

A self build project could make as much as 25% profit in the final value of the home in relation to the build costs.

On average, a self build house will cost somewhere between £1,000 and £3,000/m² to build.

You will also need to be aware of the factors that may cause your build costs to skyrocket, such as:

  • Location: land prices and labour costs will vary across the country
  • Size: the bigger the house, the more expensive it will be to build (although careful design can help achieve some economies of scale)
  • Plan, shape and layout: the simplest and most cost-effective floorplan is square
  • Number of storeys: multiple storeys make better use of the land and can reduce foundation and roof costs per m²
  • Specification: if you want premium or non-standard products, expect your build costs to rise considerably
  • Involvement: depending on how much of the work you are capable of taking on yourself, you can substantially reduce your build costs

SELF BUILD AND THE BUILDING REGULATIONS

All new homes need to adhere to the Building Regulations, and as such, a building inspector will visit at key stages of the build to inspect the work and ensure it complies. These stages include:

  • excavation for the foundations
  • pouring concrete for building foundations
  • building the oversite
  • building the damp-proof course
  • drainage
  • a visit prior to completion
  • a final visit on completion

FINDING THE RIGHT SELF BUILD TEAM

How to Build a Team for Your Self Build

You can establish contact with and line up a builder, main contractor, package company and/or subcontractors during the design and planning processes, but you won’t get an accurate quote for the work until your Building Regulations drawings have been finalised.

One of the best ways to find a builder and/or subcontractors is through word of mouth — ask your designer, friends, family or neighbours who’ve undertaken projects, and anyone else you know locally who’s built their own home, for recommendations.

Much like finding a designer, choosing a builder requires plenty of research. It’s best to meet with them to discuss your project and to ask them to quote (your designer can help you to prepare tender documents). It’s also a good idea to visit a project they’ve completed and to talk to previous clients.

The best builders and subcontractors will be booked up months in advance, so it pays to start your search as early as possible.