Be sure that the plot is right for you
Is this plot suitable?
If you've found a site which you think is ideal for your needs, it's worth having a second look. Even if it has outline planning consent, it may not be as suitable as first thought.
How easy is the access?
A long access road to the house position can be very costly. A level access of a short distance saves money. The story of the family, who built a mile-long road to the site of their dream home only to be able to afford a caravan, is not apocryphal.
What are the ground conditions like?
Building on a bog is not impossible, just inadvisable due to the expense in making the ground structurally secure. Likewise, hard rock may have to be blasted or broken which again can have a financial impact.
Can the house be easily serviced?
Lack of a water main may mean that you look at a borehole solution or taking water from a spring. But will this water meet safety standards? A distant electrical supply can mean incurring more unforeseen expense.
What will the sewerage arrangements be?
Can you connect to a mains sewerage system or will a private septic tank or treatment plant be required?
Do your research and/or commission a professional to do a feasibility study, before you take the plunge.
Siting your home:
Many planning departments are concerned that new housing fits well into settlement pattern and surrounding landscape. The longhouse can be sited easily due to its narrow plan, meaning a reduction in the amount of site clearance required. However there are some points which must be considered.
It is always worthwhile getting a topographical survey done of your site. Your agent or architect should arrange this. A survey will allow you to take account of falls in level on the site, better design the house position and access, and will minimise the amount of earth removal and rock breaking required. Often the Planning Department will ask for levels and sections through the site. A topographical survey will greatly help the process.
If you have neighbours, be respectful. Fitting your building in to the surrounding context can help develop the built environment and gain the approval of the local planners. Design is not just about internal spaces bit also those that are created outside. There is an obligation on house builders to help create a beautiful built environment for all of us to enjoy. For example, if you are building on a site where there is an existing old byre, don't demolish it. Use it to help bed your new house in to its setting and create a balanced relationship between new and old.
Materials and landscaping:
Often the most overlooked part of the building process is the landscaping. Building stane dykes, decks and timber outbuildings can help tie your house into the surroundings. Larch, stone and metal are the common building materials of the countryside and by using them around your house you will develop a continuity of design. A successful solution often used by HebHomes clients is to use larch cladding on the house which fades to silver. Drystane walls are then used to define the entrance and garden areas, tying the building into the landscape.
While every homeowner will want to exploit the views from their site, also consider the prevailing wind and sun. How do you give shelter from the South Westerlies? Can you use the sun so as to benefit from passive solar gain? Can planting or an outbuilding act as a sun shield, a windbreak or a sound barrier from a road?
If you are employing a consultant, he or she will assist you with all these parts of the process. Our houses have the benefit of being developed from historical forms which mean that they should be able to fit beautifully in to a town, village, farmyard or remote setting.