Building on a Plot of Land
Q - The plot we are considering buying has a slope of about 20 degrees from the back to the front. Will this affect the cost of construction and by how much?
A - The items that will cost more because of the slope will be steps in the foundations, extra muck shifting, filling under floors, extra brickwork, steps in the paths and possibly retaining walls for a split level garden. For a standard four bedroom house the extra cost should be between £12,000 and £16,000 for the extra work caused by the slope.
Q - We have been told that we need to contact the Health and Safety Executive about our self-build scheme that will be starting shortly but surely our project is too small for them to become involved. What is the position on this?
A - Building projects that will take longer than 30 days or 500 man/hours to complete come under the jurisdiction of the HSE so you should get in touch with them and let them know what you doing.
Flooded Plot of Land
Q - We bought a plot of land two years ago and were intending to start building next year but the recent heavy rain has turned the land into a quagmire and we are having second thoughts on whether to proceed. We are told that installing land drainage would probably cure the problem but we would like some idea of the costs involved before contacting a land drainage firm. The plot is about half an acre in size Can you advise?
A - There are various methods of draining land ranging from digging trenches and installing perforated pipes to sand slitting and mole digging and backfilling with gravel. You need the advice of a specialist contractor who will decide which method is best depending upon the severity of the problem.
Rebuilding on a Plot of Land
Q - We have been reading about people buying houses to knock down and building new ones on the site. What are the economics of this method of finding land and building?
A - The most likely targets for this manoeuvre are houses (not always run down) in highly desirable locations where there are no plots available. It seems to happen frequently in Poole in Dorset. If the plot value is say £600,000 and the house is up for sale for £800,000, demolition costs £20,000 and new build costs are £300,000, it would mean that the purchaser would have spent £1,120,000 to build a new house.
But the resale value could be as much as £1,000,000 so the real extra cost is only £120,000 so the economics of the deal begin to make sense. Every case is different but a simple calculation like the one above should let a prospective purchaser whether it is worthwhile or not.
Sewerage on Plot of Land
Q - We have found the ideal plot except that it is 150 metres away the local authority sewer so we have the choice of paying for the cost of the connection or installing a septic tank. What are the cost implications of these two options?
There are many different types of septic tanks on the market and I would get a quotation from a specialist firm. Assuming that it is in the region of £5,000. Laying a 100mm drain including excavation, bedding and surrounding should cost about for £45 per linear metre so that means a total cost of £6,750 in your case. But you should obtain firm quotations before making your decision and remember that your house will be easier to sell on if it has a main sewer connection rather than a septic tank.
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