Building your own house

This topic is for you if you have the vision to try and buy some land and build a house to your own design.

Acquiring a site

Local knowledge is a considerable asset in finding and purchasing suitable sites on which to build. These will be advertised in local newspapers, the ESPC, estate agents, solicitors and occasionally by the Council itself. Some will have outline planning consent for housing, some will be serviced with water, electricity and gas, and some will have neither planning consent nor services. Do not purchase until, at the very least, outline planning consent for housing has been obtained.

Taking the next steps and getting good professional advice

Anyone wanting to build a house has to overcome a number of official hurdles before they are allowed to proceed to the bricks and mortar building stage. Even before a potential house site has been identified, but if not as soon as possible afterwards, professional advice should be sought about the following essentials:

Planning regulations and procedures

Planning officials are more than happy to help anyone who is thinking of building a house with specific advice on the requirements of the planning system and more general advice on other aspects of the building process. They have much useful experience and would far rather share it as early as possible to help the potential house-builder to avoid some of the pitfalls and delays that can arise from ignorance of what is needed to get planning consent.

Locally the planning officials are situated at John Muir House, Haddington, call 01620 827827.

The planning officials will explain our policies on the siting and design and location of any new house to be built in its area. They will advise on the requirements for drainage from the house site, road access and water supplies and they will provide assistance with, as well as advice on, preparing applications for outline and/or full planning permission and for a building warrant.

Legal advice

Good legal advice from a qualified solicitor should also be sought at an early stage, particularly by those who have not yet acquired legal title to the house site.

Designing and building the house

Both the planning office and local solicitors can provide names and addresses of architects and building contractors.

The Yellow Pages Directory also gives names of the manufacturers and suppliers of kit houses.

Some building contractors and all kit suppliers also provide a choice of house designs which, if suitable, may avoid or reduce the requirement to employ an architect. On the other hand an experienced architect will also greatly reduce the amount of time and effort that would otherwise be spent by the client on overcoming some or all of the hurdles involved in building a new house.