LAST UPDATED: 3rd January 2023 by The Editorial Team
Summary: Evaluating a building plot for self build with planning permission, plot for a self build project.
Evaluating a self-build plot
Once you have found your prospective building plot you must evaluate it in order to judge whether it is suitable for you or not. Some of these issues should be highlighted by your solicitor but others won’t be – its down to you. The following is just a selection of the issues you should consider.
Consider the location of the plot, including the surrounding neighbourhood, the proximity to schools, shopping, and other amenities, and the overall accessibility of the area.
Size and shape
Evaluate the size and shape of the plot to ensure that it is suitable for the type of building you want to construct. Consider factors such as slope, elevation, natural light and the presence of trees or other surrounding features. These factors could impact the design and construction of the building.
The soil quality of the plot can affect the stability and long-term durability of the foundation of your building. You may want to have the soil tested to ensure that it is suitable for construction.
Evaluate the access to the plot, including the availability of roads and other transportation infrastructure. Consider the potential impact of these factors on the feasibility and cost of building on the site.
Determine if the plot has access to electricity, internet, water, and other utilities, and consider the costs and feasibility of bringing these services to the site. Enquire as to how much it will cost to connect your new house to the utilities and whether there will be any difficulties in doing so.
Status of Planning Permission
Ensure that the plot you are buying has planning permission and confirm what type of planning it has (outline or detailed) and how long is remaining. Unless the planning is for exactly what you want enquire with the local planning office as to their attitude to any changes you intend to propose.
Consider the potential impact of environmental factors, such as flood zones, wetlands, and other natural hazards, on the suitability of the plot for building. Otherwise, you may find your property difficult or impossible to insure, and potentially uninhabitable. Be particularly careful with brownfield sites that you check the historic use, in case there is any chemical contamination from, for example, a previous industrial use.
Compare the price of the plot with other similar plots in the area to determine if it is a good value. look at the potential for future growth in the area, as this could impact the demand for and value of your building.
Consider the potential for future development in the area, as this could impact the value of the plot over time.
Consider the overall aesthetic appeal of the plot and how it fits with your vision for the building. By carefully evaluating these and other factors, you can make an informed decision about whether a particular building plot is suitable for your needs. Make sure you appoint a good solicitor, preferably one with experience in conveyancing land. Difficulties you may encounter are restrictive land covenants (legal restrictions on the land use) and ransom strips (where someone retains ownership of a vital piece of land which may for example prevent you from accessing your property).
By carefully evaluating these and other factors, you can make an informed decision about whether a particular building plot is suitable for your needs. Remember that a building plot with permission to build a house does not guarantee that you will be able to build a house or that you won’t face some very expensive constraints.