Beginners guide to a self build please!(16 Posts)
Can anyone advise a really basic step by step guide to building your own house (well, getting a contractor to do it for you!) And a rough price guide.
Our situation is that we can't afford to buy what we want and have always wanted to build our own house.
PIL have LOTS of land, and are willing to give us a corner to build on (we think, very early discussion days), if feasible.
They have self built a house on the land, but were denied planning permission for a new house and converted an existing building. Land was previously used as a garden centre, it now has various buildings which are let as commercial buildings. We would be looking to build an entirely new building and not converting an existing one as there is not another suitable one.
Where do we start? Do we need to employ an architect to draw up plans to then apply for planning permission? How much would all of that cost? We don't want to pay out thousands if planning permission is then denied.
Any advice for a complete beginner would be appreciated. I have been busy googling but haven't found any useful basic step by step guides. Or much guidance on pricing of architects/planning permission.
I would definitely employ an Architect. To start with, as you say, just employ the architect to prepare a set of drawings for planning. If you are successful, you can increase the scope of his appointment to include a set of working drawings for building regulations approval.
If you are purchasing land without planning consent. Ensure your completion is subject to obtaining satisfactory planning. I say satisfactory because the planners could impose a condition that makes the site economically unviable to develop. Good luck.
In terms of your land purchase. You may request a lock-out agreement with the land owner whilst you negotiate and call option agreement and carry out site constraints due diligence checks (local searches, restrictive covenants, checks to ensure you can get water, gas, comms, drainage, etc to the site). Your option agreement should be subject to obtaining satisfactory planning permission. Your solicitor should be able to advise you more about the legal process.
Thanks for your reply
Do you know how much roughly an architect costs just to prepare drawings for planning permission?
Thanks for your advice about land purchase, I hadn't really thought that far ahead yet but as land is owned by PIL it should make it fairly straight forward. I understand you can apply for planning permission before you own the land and as it isn't for sale it's not going to go anywhere and if we don't get permission we won't 'buy' it.
I would speak to local architects but also think about whether it would be useful to speak to either the planning department directly or a local planning consultant to assess your likelihood of getting permission. Our planning department charges quite alot for advice so it made more sense to go straight to the consultant. Also it is worth going through the planning department website and reading all the policies so you have an idea what restrictions they place on different areas of the borough, e.g. is it green belt, aonb, designated town etc.
For costs and lots of useful information see the homebuilding and renovation website. Use the search function to find lots of articles on self build and they do a average cost calculator too.
I'd engage with the planning department first just to see the lie of the land. If your PIL had to build on the space of an existing building you might too? I have friends who took 5 years and several planning appeals to build in a village, in between existing houses, where you would think it wouldn't be an issue. Yes you need plans to get permission but it will be easier for your architect if you know what they might accept as that can dictate what they will grant ( eg bungalow, low eco impact, distance from road, access to road etc)
Check the deeds of the land as well. Are parts of it special amenity or arable? Basically convenants that you would not be allowed to build on at all. Also register with your local councils self build register (they all have one from april 2016). What is your budget for complete finished product?. There are different types of houses kit, timber/oak frqmed, traditional build. What internals would you be looking at ie SIPs etc. The Selfbuild magazine is a godsend. Speak to planning for a pre applicqtion meeting re the viability of getting permission on the plot you want. After that your architect or builder can submit plans BUT you need a budget!
This is the magazine: www.self-build.co.uk/affordable-self-builds gives you a guide perhaps on costs. Sorry the otherone is the Selfbuild Portal
Thanks for all your replies.
We definitely need more discussion with PIL about the land and their process, but they aren't very forthcoming... will ask them about deeds etc.
Since starting the thread I have read our local councils planning policy and I think the land is green belt so think it is unlikely that we will get permission, but we will definitely enquire! A pretty house and garden will be much less of an eye sore than the current state of it!
Our budget is something else to look into. We have £100k equity in our house, and would hope to get a self build mortgage for up to £200k. Which wouldn't include land cost, architect initial fees or planning fees.
Not sure how much we would need but looking at average cost things online I hope that would be enough.
We want to build an eco friendly house, open plan kitchen, living and dining room, further smallish reception room, utility, downstairs toilet, 4 bedrooms, one en suite, and family bathroom.
Will definitely look at that magazine too!
Generally speaking Architects fees should not cost you more than, say 4% of the total build cost; somewhere between 2-4% for full RIBA services. For a set of planning drawings I wouldn't expect to pay more then £3-4K. Build cost wise, you probably should budget c.£100/sq.ft for a reasonable spec finish. If you want stone/slate finishes and a bit of IT you probably need to be budgeting more towards c.£150/sq.ft.
In terms of planning policy. Check the site sits within the local authorities development limits for residential development. If not, there should be a sites and policies document called SHLAA - Strategic Housing Land Allocation Assessment. If the is allocated for residential development it will be in here. If there is an emerging SHLAA policy, check in this too because there might be more weight being placed on this document in terms of the planners decision making. Your Architect will be able to advise you, rather that paying out a delegate fee to a planning consultant. If the sit looks complicated in terms of planning policy, you might benefit from a planning consultant managing the application process. This will cost c.£1500. BW
You can informally discuss with the local planning office your ideas, which may be a good start given they may just out right refuse any change of use, but can also discuss the general ideas you have. Eco builds are much more likely to be built on agricultural type land, so have a discussion to make sure it's plausible before you start laying down money.
Also, probably not what you want at all, but given you're build budget is quite small have you looked at pre fab options? Even if your not interested it might help give you options, there are lots of options. Your budget is massive for that sort of thing and helps with any scary extra costs, which is what scares me about self builds.
Building on green belt will be very difficult. Only in exceptional circumstances will planners permit development in green belt. Good luck.
Hi OP, I would suggest that your first port of call would be to ask an architect to perform a feasibility study for you. As part of this they will assess the planning situation, any issues with regards to access/ highways and be able to offer you a realistic opinion on what you may be able to achieve given all of your constraints.
Unfortunately I would have to disagree with tatey and say that if you were to ask an architect to perform the full RIBA scope of works from a feasibility through to site management, you would be looking at fees more in the region of 8% of build cost. However you may not need them to be involved in all stages. I was until recently an architect for private clients and would charge approx 1.25-1.5% for planning drawings and a similar price for a sketch scheme/feasibility. I'm currently in house architect for a housing developer and our build costs are approx £150sqft and that is what I would consider a mid range spec. Bearing in mind you would like eco friendly house I would suggest that this is a more realistic budget.
You can find qualified local architects on the RIBA or ARB websites and they will be able to give you a lot more localised advice.
That's ok Boomkapow, I'm not offended. I guess there are regional variations with build costs. Some of my recent schemes in the North of England have come in less than £100 sq.ft. However, this is highly dependent on specification/finishes. If you want sustainability elements adding, this will considerably bump up the price, again depending on whether your looking for zero carbon or just a notional improvement on building regulations, which would be more like £10-15k/plot uplift depending on technology. In terms of fees, I employ architects for various developments and I have never paid more than 8% for all in for professional fees, which inc. Arch, C&S. highways, ecology, planning & QS services.
Join the discussion
Please login first.