Preparations To Consider Before You Build Your New Home
Article By: Dustin Jonhson (Guest Post) | Last Update: February 2023
Table of Contents
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A realistic budget is essential to any construction project. You’ll already have an idea of what you want your total costs to be. Now you just need to budget within that amount.
There will be some guesswork involved because you won’t know the exact costs at this stage. For example, you may decide to handle some of the construction yourself to reduce costs. Now you do some research. Look at rental company websites for heavy equipment comparisons, or talk to your builder. They will advise you on the appropriate heavy machinery for your project.
Then you roughly calculate a budget from there.
When budgeting for building a home, it’s a good idea to set up a contingency fund. Usually 15-20% of your initial budget. This is a safety net to cover unplanned costs. Tools break, bad weather stalls construction, the materials you originally planned for aren’t available… Despite our best efforts, there will always be unforeseen expenses.
Should this sound overwhelming, it’s because budgeting is a big job and there are a lot of expenses to budget for.
Getting a chartered surveyor (or quantity surveyor) to assist you with creating a budget is highly recommended. These industry professionals are adept at planning budgets for construction projects and will accurately estimate the costs involved.
Once your budget is prepared, you’ll be able to secure the funding to build your own house.
Purchase the Land
First, decide on the type of home you’re building. The type of home you intend to build will affect the size and location of the land you need.
A family home will need room for kids and be close to schools. Holiday getaways might need to be secluded or in proximity to a beach and attractions. A home for a professional might need to be near the city or have space for an office or workshop.
Your budget will also influence the plot of land you’re looking to buy.
When purchasing land, it can be bought from landowners directly or through a real estate agent.
It’s best to use a trustworthy real estate agent who can guide you through the process if it’s your first time. A real estate agent will make the process easier, as the agent will find the land and negotiate the sale.
The sale needs to be finalized, and all necessary paperwork completed before construction begins.
Hire an Architect
An architect will listen to your ideas and translate them into formal plans that your builder can easily follow.
While it’s not essential, it’s highly advisable to hire an architect.
Architects understand the regulations and requirements for new home construction in the area you want to build. They can anticipate a problem before it’s too late and help you with some of your paperwork for submission to your local authorities.
They can also suggest cost-saving measures like which materials to use for your home.
During construction, the architects can consult on the work being carried out. Visiting the building site to ensure their plans are being followed. They can also monitor for discrepancies between the plans and actual site work.
Building a new home will require planning permissions that need to be granted by your local authorities. It’s illegal to start house building without this.
Before submitting your application, consult your local planning department. Or your architect can usually assist with this.
Allow plenty of lead time for your application to be approved. It can take a few months, more if your plans are complex.
Your construction project will also need to follow specific building regulations that need approval from your local building control department or a qualified inspector after your home is built.
Survey the Land
Getting a land survey done isn’t a legal requirement, but is incredibly beneficial and can save you a lot of money down the road. They provide highly detailed information about your land that is instrumental in building a home.
You can’t correct any layout mistakes after the construction has begun.
Typographic surveys can provide your architect with accurate drawings of the land. This gives them a map of everything that is on your land from its boundary line, to different surfaces like gravel and grass, as well as the position of natural elements like trees and ponds.
Utility surveys can show the location of your underground pipes or cables. Making sure they’re not damaged during excavation or ground works.
Your surveyor can also set the groundwork for your builder. A land surveyor can position site elements such piles and holding down bolts to make sure your new home construction runs smoothly and on solid foundations.
Hire a Builder
Look for a qualified builder who can build your home within your budget and timeline.
Ensure they’re licensed and have a good reputation. Try to find reviews about them or talk to other homeowners they’ve worked with before making a decision. It’s worth doing the due diligence prior to awarding them the contract.
A reputable builder should also have proper insurance. Liability and indemnity insurance policies will cover you if the builder or someone else gets injured on site as well as protect you from company liquidation. Ideally, find a builder with all-risk cover — this will shield you from financial losses if the builder’s work is accidentally destroyed.
To avoid contract disputes, clearly lay out terms beforehand. State the construction duration, delivery dates, and everyone’s responsibilities within the contract.
Depending on the project, you might want to consider getting a structural engineer as well. They analyse the safety of a building and provide specifications for design and materials.
Plan Grading and Excavation
Building a home requires a foundation. To create a level surface for your foundation, the land needs to be graded. Having a levelled surface is the first step to preparing for construction.
Your land may have an existing structure that needs to be cleared before grading can begin. In that case, contact a demolition contractor to remove it. After completing the demolition work, you can begin excavating the foundation system.
Ensure that the weather is clear when you are planning excavation. Always consult an experienced earthwork person before starting the excavation or grading. They can also help you choose the equipment needed for excavation and grading, which depends on the amount of work and available space.
There are many preparations to consider when building your own house. With all the complexity and legal requirements it can feel a little overwhelming. However, there are many professionals who can guide you through the process and make it easier for you.
Just be realistic in your budgeting and remember to add a little extra for expenses that may come up along the way. With patience and careful planning your vision will soon come to life.
Dustin Johnson is the marketing manager of FortisHD and an enthusiast in construction and heavy equipment. Construction has been an integral part of his life, and he is proud to be able to continue to build his future in such an exciting industry. Throughout his career, he has been fortunate enough to be involved with many engaging projects and is appreciated and valued for his work with the contracting team.