Finding your perfect plot
Check out the local authority’s land-use development plan maps online, which will indicate the classification of potential plots. Planning Portal and your local council’s website will offer unitary development plans (UDP), which provide guidance on development, conservation, regeneration and improvement activity in your area.
When you think you’ve found the right plot, you need to check if there is any planning in place. Be wary of plots that have planning permission close to expiry (6 months can be too short, for example), as planning departments can take up to 12 weeks in considering applications. If preparatory work or investigations are needed this could substantially delay the process.
Start visualising your design
Before you begin conversations with your architect and builders, it’s important for you to have some visions for your self-build in order to make sure they have a brief to work to. Whether you begin by getting inspiration from other self-builders and projects or from visiting self-build exhibitions like Grand Designs Live – immersing yourself in the self-build world is a great way to be fully informed in the options available to you.
Consider materials you’d like to use, what features of a layout are important to make your self-build home work for you and your family, as well as any other must-haves for your design.
Scope out designers
Image: Daniel Mccullough
As with every time you hire a tradesperson, it’s always a good idea to look out for recommendations – whether from reviews, testimonials or just word of mouth. Scout out local architects and research their previous work for ideas that appeal and are on your wavelength. Social media is also a great way of getting in touch with your potential designer to ask them questions and to get their most recent updates.
Seek pre-application advice
Pre-application advice is available from planning officers employed by the council and is a really good idea if you’re serious about progressing with your self-build in the near future. The officers can give you sound advice and notify you of any changes that need to be made in order for your final planning application to be accepted – eliminating any unnecessary stress or worry.
Are you planning your dream self-build? Let us know by tweeting us @granddesigns or posting a comment on our Facebook page.