You can reasonably expect that any building plot advertised for sale will already have planning in principle. This was formerly known as ‘outline planning permission.’ This establishes whether a development of the site is acceptable to the local authority ‘in principle.’ If planning in principle (PIP) is approved, a further application must be made for the details and design of the scheme. An application for detailed permission after receipt of PIP is sometimes known as an "application for approval of reserved matters specified in conditions."
How are your models named?
The names of our kit house designs follow a simple system. First, we use a prefix to indicate the design range:
The subsequent numbers indicate the design and how many storeys it has: so, LH102 is the first design from our Longhouse range, and has two floors.
We also use suffixes to indicate if a porch extension (P) or dormer window (D) has been added to the core design.
What is included in the package price?
The package price depends on which type of package you choose. For example, you may wish to choose a supply and install package rather than supply and deliver only. The base prices shown on our website are for supply and delivery only, without any added options such as internal joinery pack.
The VAT rate payable also depends on which package you choose. Our base package (supply and deliver only) is normally standard-rated (20%) for VAT. The VAT element can be reclaimed from Customs and Excise upon project completion. Where there is an installation element (I.e. where we both supply and install) the package will normally be zero-rated for VAT.
The rest of the build will be handled by the contractor of your choice. Alternatively, you may wish to 'self-build', where you arrange the rest of the build yourself. This involves arranging the various trades and materials required, possibly even with an element of your own labour.
Where can I find information about potential building plots?
Try getting to know the locals in the area where you want to build, often the best plots are not advertised. Remember to contact the local estate agents and get them to put you on their lists.
Check the internet. A dedicated website such as Buildstore Plotsearch can help. It's the UK’s largest and most accurate database for land, conversion and renovation opportunities with details of approximately 6,000 self build opportunities across the country.
How can I see plans for the houses?
To view the indicative floorplans of our houses you need to register with us. Use the 'register' link on the left hand menu bar. Once you have registered with us you will be able to log in at any time to view floorplans and other information about the designs.
What do I need to bear in mind when looking for a plot?
Obviously your choice of building plot is largely down to your own requirements but there are some basics to think about:
Is the location right for you - does it have the views you want, access to local shops etc?
Does the plot have at least Outline Planning Permission (or Planning in Principle) and if not, how likely is it to get permission?
Are there any onerous planning conditions which may unsettle you or your mortgage company? This is one for your solicitor to look into.
Is the plot the right size and shape for your needs?
Are services such as electricity and water nearby? Will you be able to get these services if not? Will you need to organise a borehole if you can't get mains water?
Will it be expensive to prepare the plot for building because of difficult ground conditions and/or the requirement for a long access road? This can be difficult to ascertain and it may be advisable to consult with a qualified surveyor before purchasing
What will the sewerage arrangements be? Mains? Septic tank and soakaway, or some other arrangement?
Will the plot be easy for builders to access when it comes to building and is there an area for setting down materials?
Cost is often an important factor - can you afford the site without eating into your building budget?
It's a good idea to listen closely to the advice of local estate agents who know the area. Speak to the local Planning officer to see if he can provide any further information. You may wish to speak to a surveyor. Always take legal advice before making any definite decisions.
A planning application must be lodged with your local authority as part of the normal process of receiving permission to build a house. Contact your local authority for guidance and confirmation of the level of fee required.
Scale drawings of the proposed house/development must be submitted as part of the application. These must show the exterior elevations of the house as well as sections and floor plans. If you proceed with Hebridean Contemporary Homes Ltd. these drawings will be provided for your submission. You will also require a site and location plan which HCH does not provide. Your agent - or a local architect, surveyor, draftsman or technician - can draw these up. The planning authority also occasionally request sections through the site and landscape proposals. Again these should be organised locally.
If your house cannot connect to a mains sewer, your local authority may ask for details of your sewerage arrangement as part of your planning application. Again, seek advice from your agent or local planning officer.
Once your application has been approved and you have received Detailed Planning Permission you are ready to proceed to the Building Warrant stage.
Do you offer a complete build package?
Yes. HebHomes works with affiliated contractors, and through them we can organise a complete build package for you.
We also erect SIP kit packages to "wind and watertight" (Stage 1), working alongside the appointed main contractor at this stage of the build. There are also partial Turnkey options, where we complete the house externally (including the foundations) leaving yourself to finish off the inside.
Alternatively, if you tell a local builder about us and about which design you want, you can ask them to arrange the build for you.
The builder can buy the kit from us directly, and quote you a price for the complete build. However, we would always advise that you seek professional advice when appointing a contractor.
What does "wind and watertight" mean?
These are industry standard terms denoting a particular stage of the build process. This would usually mean that the kit shell has been erected on the foundation, the windows and doors have been fitted and the roofing and wall membranes have been applied.
Your house will still let in water at this stage. No house is truly weathertight until the roofcovering (e.g. slates) and external cladding (e.g. blockwork) have been applied, and all gaps sealed up. It is perfectly normal for windblown rain to drive into the kit at this stage and your own building contractor should take measures to begin sealing up the house as soon as possible after the kit is up.
What does the internal floor area measurement mean?
The internal floor area is the approximate total floor area (ground and upper) of the house measured in square metres.
Where can I find plot and build finance?
A modern mortgage such as the Buildstore Accelerator mortgage could be the solution. This award-winning self build mortgage is very flexible and can provide up-front funding for the purchase of land in advance of the build.
What are site and location plans?
A location plan shows the area in which your plot/proposed plot is located. It allows a Planning officer to pinpoint where your site is. It is also used for purposes of informing neighbours of the location of your proposed development.
A site plan (sometimes called a block plan) shows the site in more detail with your proposed house positioned upon it. It also shows other information such as the position of the access road and the drainage arrangements.
These plans obviously vary greatly from site to site, hence they are not provided by us as standard. They are, however, required for Planning and Building Warrant applications. We can drawn these up for you for an additional fee or may wish to get a local architect or technician to draw them up instead.
Can the designs be altered?
Our range of homes has been carefully architect-designed to make excellent use of space and light. We stand by the integrity of our designs.
We understand that clients will sometimes require alterations to their chosen design. For example, your site may require the house plan to be mirrored, or you may require a larger window to the gable or an extra velux window. Simple design amendments can be undertaken for a nominal charge, although changes will also affect the kit price.
Bear in mind that there are several steps in the pricing, design, engineering, ordering and production phases which will need to be re-evaluated if you request modifications. So the extra cost of modifications can quickly add up. The financial savings of building a kit house over a bespoke architect-designed house spring from the fact that they are pre-designed and engineered. So modifying something pre-designed will always cost more and take more time to achieve.
Beyond simple alterations, a full bespoke architectural design service can be provided by Dualchas Building Design.
Do you sell plans?
No. We do not sell the plans for our designs separately. The plans are provided as part of the package when you purchase one of our kits.
Any use of our designs without our express permission will be considered breach of copyright and we will take immediate action to recover costs.
What is a percolation test?
If you are not able to connect to a mains sewerage system, you will be required to install a private septic tank or treatment plant. The run-off "grey water" from the system is often discharged in to a specially constructed percolation pit, known as a soakaway. A more eco-friendly alternative to this is to construct a reed bed.
In order to obtain consent for the above, you will be required to carry out a percolation test. This is a test to examine what the ground conditions of the site are like in terms of drainage. It is important to know this so that the correct arrangements can be made for dealing with surface water, soakaways from septic tanks etc.
Local authorities require evidence to be submitted along with Planning applications showing that this test has been undertaken. The test must be undertaken by a consultant approved to perform such tests. The approved consultant will charge a fee for this service. Check the internet or Yellow Pages for Drainage Consultants in your local area.
What is a Building Warrant application?
After obtaining full Planning Permission, but usually before proceeding to build your house, you require a Building Warrant. You will have to apply to the building control officer at your local authority for this.
As with planning applications a fee will have to be submitted when you apply otherwise your application will not be processed. The level of this fee is usually based on a sliding scale and depends on the size of the proposed house in square metres and the likely construction cost.
Detailed drawings must be submitted along with this application. This large set of drawings shows the detail of the house construction, allowing the building control officer to decide whether the proposed development meets all building regulations.
The construction drawings provided by HebHomes will form the majority of the Building Warrant application drawings. However, your agent will have to arrange other drawings such as block plans showing the sewerage, parking arrangements and any further information requested by Building Control. We can liase with your agent and provide electronic versions of the drawings to them if necessay.
How much will it cost me to build my house?
We understand that people like to get a feel for the total build cost of their house at the start of the process. We will discuss notional costings with you so that you are sure that your budget matches your ambitions. You can aslo access an Order of Costs spreadsheet by clicking the 'turnkey' button on our house pages.
HebHomes can also organise for a Quantity Surveyor (QS) to price your chosen design and update your Order of Costs. There is a fee of £500 for this (an additional £300 for an optional site visit from the QS). As much information about your site, and your choice of finishes and heating system will allow the costing to be fairly accurate. This will enable you to progress with your project with confidence.
There are a great many factors which govern the total build cost of a house. These include the quality of materials (bathrooms, kitchens, flooring etc) you choose, site conditions, ease of getting services to the site, length of access road and local construction market conditions generally.
HebHomes is experienced in dealing with all sorts of builds in a variety of locations, so please discuss through your ideas, and your budget with us. You could also get an idea of your costs by using our budget planner and inputting your own estimated figures.
Our Price your House calculator will also give an accurate estimate. Please note exclusions and specification when using this tool.
Do I need my own architect?
You will need an architect or other qualified building professional to provide advice throughout your project on matters such as siting of the house within your plot and a whole host of other queries which will arise during the process. HebHomes can provide this service up until Building Warrant through our Planning and Warrant service. If you do not use or Planning and Warrant service we advise that you engage a suitable professional such as an architect or Quantity Surveyor.
This qualified person will also be able to act as your agent in the submission of Planning and Building Warrant applications. They can provide (or arrange to provide) other site-specific drawings which you will require, such as those for detailed drainage arrangements.
We can communicate directly with your professional to provide them with the information they may require from us.
This professional can also tender your project and arange the contract between you and the main contractor as well as advise on CDM regulations. When your house goes on site you will need this qualified professional to adminster the terms of the contract and ensure that your contractor is undertaking the work satisfactorily, and perhaps to provide the stage valuations for your mortgage company.
Why use an NHBC registered builder?
It is important that the construction of your house complies with all relevant building standards. The easiest way to ensure this is to employ a contractor who is registered with the National House-Building Council (NHBC). This will mean that the contractor is obliged to comply with all NHBC standards when building the house. It will also mean that your build is covered under the terms of the NHBC warranty.
If you are not intending to use an NHBC builder you will have to arrange another form of build-quality certification. An architect or surveyor may be able to perform this service for you. You could also consider a self-build warranty such as the NHBC Solo scheme.
Where do I find a builder?
HebHomes works with affiliated contractors, and in many locations, we can organise for you a quality build with a contractor who will work efficiently and to a high standard. The benefit of this is that our contractors know how to build our houses - and what standard is expected of them. It also means you can get a clearer idea of total costs at an earlier stage.
If you do not use the HebHomes contractor, it is something which your agent can help you with. Fortunately, now is a good time to find a builder, as there a plenty of good builders looking for work. Use word of mouth, as well as internet search engines and the Yellow Pages.
There is usually a formal tender process for deciding which builder will get the job. Often three to five different firms get the opportunity to put in their tenders and there is a cut-off date when they must be in by, to make sure all is fair and above board. This happens after the Warrant stage and a builder cannot start on site until he gets the go-ahead from Building Control.
It's worth trying to ascertain which firms to send tenders to at an early stage. See if you can find out more about them, how busy their schedules might be, and how good their reputation is. But don't expect too much from builders too early on. They can't give you an accurate price until they have Warrant drawings and a specification. Remember - the cheapest tender is not always the best value for money.
What drawings and information do I get?
Once we have received your signed contract and engagement fee the process can get underway. We will provide the following drawings and info to you or your agent:
Detailed Planning Application Stage:
Plans, elevations and a cross-section of the house design
Building Warrant application stage:
Detailed Building Warrant plans, elevations and cross sections of the house design
TRADA book of timber detailing (for timber-clad projects only)
Kingspan standard details (SIP only)
We do not provide:
A structural certificate for the full build (often referred to as SER certificate)
Certification of foundations, or foundation drawings specific to your site
Site specific drawings such as block, drainage and location plans
Certification of monitoring or valuations
What is the joinery pack?
This is an optional package of internal joinery materials, such as plasterboard and doors, for your builder to fit. It is only optional on our SIP packages. The quantities of internal joinery materials required depends on the house design, hence the price of the pack is specific to the design you choose.
We can supply this pack at a very competitive price. It may also save you and/or your contractor a considerable amount of time in sourcing and arranging delivery of these materials.
Why do we not fit the rooflights during erection?
Our installation team do not fit the rooflights as part of our erection service for two reasons. Firstly, the exact height of the rooflights above the SIP roof must be known so it can be fitted accurately. This height can vary depending on slate and batten thickness. If we were to fit invariably the rooflight would have to be lifted out and adjusted.
The primary reason we do not fit however is to prevent water ingress. If we fitted the rooflights they could be left exposed for a considerable period while the main contractor organises his roofers. This can mean water pouring into the building and damaging the chipboard flooring.
For these two reasons we do not fit the Fakro rooflights.
Hebhomes has implemented changes to our working practices during this unprecedented public health challenge. Using cloud technology we have introduced remote working with our servers to be accessed from home. This is to protect our staff and the wider public.
These changes will have no impact on the progress of jobs with most of our existing clients. Planning departments are still operational and meetings can be held using video conferencing. Those in the construction phase will unfortunately face delays until the lockdown is eased. For those who are just starting their journey to building their dream home, please get in touch.