Good evening. Having moved from our previous family home we have recently been looking to purchase a new family home with little success. We just cannot seem to find the right house that isn’t a complete compromise and that still needs work so we have decided to go down the self build route.
We have already arranged a mortgage in principle and identified a piece of land that has detailed plans already approved for a four bed dwelling with services already in place.
We are looking to buy the land outright and remain in rented accomodation whilst we sell our family home before progressing with the build. During this time we would look to instruct an architect to design our ideal home and ignore the current and somewhat boring plans that are currently on site.
We have already spoken to the local planning department and have been told that as long as we were not to go any higher or larger than the current property we wouldn’t have any issues with completely altering the current plans. This also goes for the alterations to the roughcast and replacing it with either a different colour or stone cladding.
Just for piece of mind before I put an offer in on this land I understnad from the guide I should have a site survey carried out to identify soil and tree types on the land, the land has been formed from a cutting into a woodland. Should I coplete the survey prior to an offer being submitted or should I wait and see if my offer is accepted in principle and then have a survey done as I do not wish to pay for a survey should my offer not be accepted? This part seems a little chicken and the egg.
I feel I have just scattered ideas and thoughts all over the page but I hope that you can understand the issues that come with learning the self building route from stage one.
Thanks in advance.

  • Rachel Haynes

    Hi Karen,

    It all sounds really exciting and we wish you all the best with the new house.

    Assuming you are in England or Wales, it is probably worth checking your initial offer has been accepted first before engaging a surveyor or structural engineer. I say the latter as you say the site has been formed from a previously wooded area. This could have an affect on the ground as the voids left by the roots as they rot away (if they were left in the ground) or the disturbance to the ground when the tree roots were removed could mean that you may require deeper or pile type foundations. If you ask a structural engineer to look at this for you he can arrange the survey to make sure the right information is picked up and then give you an idea of the foundation type required – if you know the cost of this and if they are more expensive than "standard" foundations this may give you some bargaining power in final cost negotiations.

    We work on a lot of self build projects – please do get in touch if you have any queries.

    All the best

    Thread Architects

  • karen callinswood

    Thank you for you response we are located in Scotland. We believe the site was cleared back in 2009 as planning permission was granted around the same time but we will be finding a structural engineer to asses the points you have raised.

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