Hi there. We have recently moved to N.Ireland and cannot find a house we wish to buy, so we would like to build our own. However, we are utterly clueless about how to begin! Having searched the internet many times, we have conflicting information.
I expect the first thing to do is to find a site that we like. However, what about planning permission? I am worried that we would buy land that we can’t get planning permission on for our ideal home. Some sites come with full planning permission, but for a house that we don’t like and would want to change. Some come with outline planning permission, which sounds shaky. Some come without any planning permission. What do you do in each instance?
Then who should you employ first? Is it an architect to help draw up designs & plans? Can the architect then project manage and find the builder etc? What is the least costly way to build, i.e. which professionals is it necessary to employ? Is it possible to have an initial chat with an architect for free?
We would ideally like to build a passive house, but we don’t know if these are looked on favourably by NI planning departments, who appear to be rather behind the times.
If you have any information that may help us to make the first steps, we would be very grateful!

Thank you

Comments
  • Vince Holden - Construction Project Manager Holden

    Helena,
    Wow, you are certainly trying to jump in at the deep end!
    Firstly, I would not recommend buying a site on spec without the benefit of some sort of approval.
    Outline permission gives you potentially a bit more scope than detailed to mould the plans to the house you want, however if its at all like this side of the water, you probably will not be spoiled for choice since there are many many people trying to do what you want to do.
    Once you have found the plot, an Architect is probably your first port of call and then someone like myself (unfortunately you are a bit far for me based in the South of England) who can help guide you from word go.
    A word of caution ref Project Managers

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