Self Build Diary Part One Design And Planning Permission

"self-build diary part one"

We often get asked about Planning Permission for self-building and it can be a bit of a postcode lottery where some planning applications sail through and others get refused for many different reasons.

In general if you are looking to self-build finding a plot of land with planning permission already granted in principle or otherwise is always going to be your number one choice.

Finding the right plot of land in the right location is something else people struggle with (although we believe it will be easier in the future because of the number of new houses being built right now on all types of land that would never have been permitted before.)

So what exactly is self-building really like?

Well we have an opportunity over the next 7 months to be up close and on site with a self-build project in Shropshire so we thought we would “report” on the various stages of the project to form a self-build diary for future self-builders to gain insights and confidence from.

Like a lot of you who have struggled to get planning permission this part was not at all plain sailing.

Feature Article: Self Build Diary Part One Design And Planning Permission

"self-build diary part one"

Submitting A Pre-Planning Application

First and foremost the process of submitting the pre-planning application to the Local Planning Authority was a process that allowed our clients to be involved in full discussions with the Local Planning Authority from a very early stage about aspects of the original design they didn’t like.

The plot is in a wooded area and the original plan was for a Log Home (the KU227) pictured below.

"ku227""kuusamo""4 bedroom log home kit"

Whilst the Local Planning Officer felt that a wooden structure would be sympathetic to the surrounding area the final design was reached after many discussions between the architects and the client whilst incorporating as many of the preferences of the Local Planning Authority as possible.

When you are seeking planning permission for a self-build project you should be prepared for substantial design changes to take place and be flexible on building materials specified by your Local Planning Authority.

They are there to make sure the building is sympathetic to its surroundings and the environment.

One Year Can Go By Before You Even Submit Your Planning Application

We often see our clients for anything up to 2-3 years before their self-build projects get under-way.

This is because the process of finding a plot of land, purchasing it, applying for planning permission and financing the project can all take years to come together.

Preliminary discussions for this self-build project started a year ago and we anticipate the build part of the project will begin in May.

For this open plan design project we have chosen to use the UK SIPS construction method which will require steel supports for the open plan living area.

Self-Building Offers You A Purpose Built Building

"planning permission for mobile homes"

With all the processes involved in self-building many people simply decide it takes too long so they choose a different option such as building an extension or moving house.

What self-building offers anyone that may or may not be worth all the effort and waiting is the chance to build a purpose-built home that is designed exactly with your requirements in mind.

Nothing else can offer you the flexibility of design or choice of fittings and finishings that you have available to you with a turn-key self-build project.

*This was extremely important to this project’s clients and being able to match their needs was a task made easier by choosing to self-build as there was no option to renovate.

UK SIPS Manufacturing

As we revealed in December 2014 a larger part of our business in 2015 and beyond will be carried out using UK SIPS construction methods. Not only are there potentially huge savings to be made when compared to European imported SIPS homes, the benefits are becoming well-known, offering things such as :-

● Can achieve whole wall and roof U–values of 0.20 W/m2.K or better
● Can achieve air leakage levels as good as approximately 1 m3 /hour /m2 at 50 Pa
● Recognised by major building warranty providers such as Building Life Plans and NHBC
● BBA and NSAI Agrément certified
● Insulation core manufactured with a blowing agent that has zero ODP and low GWP
● Constructions available that correspond to BRE Global Green Guide generic elements which achieve a Summary Rating of A+
● Quick and safe to build
● Can provide up to 10% additional floor space
● Can create warm homes with very low fuel bills
● Internal works can start earlier
● Minimal on–site waste

*All the above statistics are from the Kingspan TEK Building System Literature, they operate through 

The current manufacturing times for this type of construction (where the structure of the house will be pre-manufactured and the shell erected on site) is around 15 weeks.

We fully expect (and are finding) that manufacturing times for homes and even mobile homes is now much longer than previously as you would expect from a buoyant construction industry in the UK right now.

Preparing The Next Phase

While the building is in the manufacturing process we can proceed to plan ahead for preparing the site for connection of services and laying the foundation which will be a Swift Foundation Post System due to the wooded area for least disruption to the surrounding area.

Having obtained quotations for completing the build and knowing the time scales we want to work to there is plenty of work to do in preparing for part two of the self-build diary later in the year.

As always we look forward to your thoughts and comments below or join in the conversation on our Facebook Page !

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About The Author

Diane Cossie

Why@dianecossie? Diane Cossie is a UK based interior design & self-build enthusiast and pioneer for self-building in the UK. We are on a mission to inspire others to dream BIG and self-build their next home and to offer a new choice to the UK consumer (like the rest of the developed Western world) when it comes to their next house move. You can rent, you can buy or you can self-build!

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