New Home Planning

Planning to Build a New Home on an Empty Plot

Q - I am going to employ an architect to obtain planning permission for our new house but am worried about the consequences if she is unsuccessful. I will have paid her fees with nothing to show for it. Is there a way round this?

A - There are no hard and fast rules on this matter so you can make any arrangement that suits both parties. For example, you could offer to pay a reduced fee for making the application with a bonus if successful. But make sure you both have a clear understanding of the arrangement before starting the work.

Type of Home to Build

Q - We are undecided on whether to build a bungalow or a house. Which one gives the better value?

A - Assuming that the floor area is the same in both cases the main extra cost in a bungalow is that you need a larger roof. However, there are compensating savings as well. Overall, it is slightly dearer to build a bungalow but the extra costs involved are not significant enough to warrant making your decision on that basis alone. You should choose the type of house you want on what suits you best.

Architect Fees

Q - I am paying my architect a percentage fee of the value of the work in what I believe to be the normal way but I need the services of a structural engineer. This is for some calculations for load bearing items and I am wondering on the payments arrangements for him. Can you help?

A - In these circumstances it is usual to pay by the hour so allow a budget of £50 to £60 an hour. But before he starts work ask him for an approximation of the likely time he will spend on the work so that you can make your budget properly as accurate as possible.

Building Plot

Q - The plot we considering buying is perfect for our needs except that it has a telephone post in the middle of it. The plot is reasonably priced and has been on the market a long time and we suspect that the cost of moving the pole has put off previous prospective purchasers. How should we proceed with our offer?

A - You are probably right about other buyers. Ask the owner of the plot about the pole and he may give you the history. If not you should approach BT and ask them their views on relocating the pole and what it would cost. You should then deduct their quote from the asking price and make your offer. But don't buy the plot without a written quotation from BT in case their verbal quote escalates when the work is carried out.

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