Saturday, 31 January 2015

Choosing an Architect

Having chosen your plot you are now ready for the next phase, choosing your architect. This can be done earlier if you are very clear about what you want in that case you will of bought a plot to fit the plan.  However if you have decided on your plot first it is important to see what you can expect to get on it.

As with most things it is always best to go on a referral from some one you know and whose opinion you trust but failing that don't be afraid to ask for references.  There are a number of architects advertising in your local area, we have used different ones over the years depending on how busy they are when we need them or what type of build is required and have found them to be very good.

An architect will deal with all the planning permission submissions and building regulations you require and liaise with the local authority as to what they will and wont allow, he will also produce a full set of drawings for you to get prices from trades/builders it is always advisable to ask for a few copies of the plans as you will need to leave one with the builder etc. for them to be able to price things and work from.

Cost?  I would suggest you allow at least £2,000.00 for Architect costs as a lot of work is involved in preparing working drawings but remember the more times you change your mind and alter things the greater the cost so think clearly about what bits are important in your dream house, sizes and layout then think about the parts you would like but aren't essential perhaps things like a balcony it would be nice in the summer but you may receive objections to that when it comes to planning depending on where it is.

Allow approximately 3 months to get your plans approved longer if there are more conditions applied this can sometimes seem an eternal length of time when you want to get on but don't be tempted to jump the gun and start without planning permission as this can be a costly exercise.

(Image courtesy of bygraphics/wordpress)  not a plan of any of our buildings.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The House building journey begins.

If you have thought about building your own home but thought it would be too complicated and time consuming and that you would be expected to know the names and uses of thousands of products you had never heard of before then you wouldn't be alone.  We are in the process of building a home for a local family and thought a blog of how, what and where would not only be useful to them but may inspire others to give it a go too.  So follow our progress it will be a warts and all blog from the side of the builder but with reference to the decisions that the family will have to make too.

Plot choice

When choosing your location it is really worth investing some time into the choice. Think about what life style you are looking for eg dont move 20 miles away if your social life, family friends etc are all where you are now.  If you are looking for a slower pace of life then consider how rural you want to be its generally true that plots in more remote villages and locations will be cheaper but if you cant drive or think that as you get older you will have mobility problems then it could be an expensive saving.    
(random image from Clip Art)

View your plot at different times of day and different weather conditions, look to see what way the sun rises and sets so you know where you cold spots and sun traps are.

Look at access to the site who will be responsible for road maintenance, will the road be adopted by the council?.  Will there be street lighting, pavements and the like and when do they expect to finish the whole site if there is more than your plot?

None of the above are a deal breaker if you like the plot you just need to be aware of them.  On our site we are building all the remaining 6 plots but that is not always the case so look at what has planning permission if you are looking at a multi plot sites and while you can resubmit planning for your own style choice it will give you some idea of what the planners are looking for and if someone else has already put in changes then again that will help you.

If you are looking at a single plot site its worth having a friendly chat with the neighbours as they can be your best friends or your biggest headache as far as the planning process goes.

Probably the  last thing on your mind is resale after all you haven't even got any plans but it is essential to put this into the equation even if it is to be your forever home as you will be investing not only your heart and soul in the property but cold hard cash too and you need to know it is money well spent and will increase in value as the years go on and while this can never be guaranteed research now will give you the best chance.

It is worth spending time on this part of the process as you can alter your house if you get something wrong, change the kitchen in a few years time if it didn't work out but you cant change the location.