New Build FAQ's

If you’re looking to buy a land/plot to build a house then you should plan you budget and start to look for an available/suitable land for yourself. You can do so by consulting an estate agent to find out what options you have to get you started; you may check for land auctions, also check out property websites or visit an estate agent around the area you’re looking to buy a land. You may also sign up for ‘Right to Build Registers’, the council will help you find a suitable land within 3 years of signing up for this scheme. You may also look into land loan if you want to buy a piece of land but aren’t ready to build a house yet because you need to save up enough or if you need enough time to do your research.

If you already own a land and want to put up a house on your land you should: Hire a lawyer or consult the one you already have about your limitations moving forward. There are many things that you should consider before finding out whether or not your land is buildable; there are regulations regarding the environment, safety and subdivision. Think about the different types of legal ownerships; freehold and leasehold. A freeholder is someone who owns the property (house) and the land the property stands on; your name is on the registry and you are in charge of maintaining the property. A leaseholder gets a lease for the property from the freeholder in agreement to pay the annual ground rent, maintenance fees, service charges and the building insurance. They will have to obtain permission from the freeholder in order to get any work done in the property whether it’s minor or major (this information can be found on the ‘property law section of CMQ website).

a. What permits will I need?

– Building regulations is a vital part of the process for a new build because it is a set guideline for design and construction of a building to make sure that the health and safety of the people is under control. Whoever’s is carrying the building work must take the responsibility to meet the criteria. Building regulations are overviewed and controlled by the local authority building control department.

– ‘Permitted development rights’ refers to the authority that you have been given as a home owner to perform certain types of work without needing planning permission. It is beneficial because you will be saving time, money and a lot less paper work to handle.

– Tap fees are the cost of connecting a home/building to a public sewer and water systems; this should be included in your ‘Planning Permission Application’ along with the other information. You will need ‘Tapping permits’ before you start the work.

– All the local councils have a planning department and you should ask for ‘Planning Permission’ to your local planning authority, planning permission refers to requesting for approval for any building work or construction work. if the work you are about to carry out is covered by ‘Permitted Development’ then you won’t need a planning permission. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/when-is-permission-required

– There are selected trees and woodlands that are protected by ‘Tree Preservation Orders’ (TPO) in the UK the reason behind this is; if the removal is likely to make a big impact on the local environment then it should be forbidden to do so. Selecting the trees depends on factors like; its historical importance, individual impact, potential threats and rarity. You will need to request for a permit in order to successfully have the trees removed from its location.

Not only you need these permits for new build but other work or extensions such as; external walls, roofing, solar panels, garages, sheds, paving over the front garden, fences, gates, windows and doors etc.

b. Who will make the applications on my behalf?

– Once you have decided to either buy or build a new house you will have to hire a ‘Property solicitor’ to help you with legal aspects of the transaction on your behalf, this includes managing the contract and all other communications. A solicitor will be needed to act on your behalf making sure everything is on board. When it comes to submitting paper works/ applications for permits and approval regarding the house, you can ask your architects, builder or solicitor to work together and take care of it. They can help you with all the application stages before submitting them or even on your behalf.

c. Do I need an Architect?

An architect focuses on the design and overall the aesthetic side of the project, they are also the ones who make sure that there isn’t any error in the design process as well as give you the best advice with floor plans tailored to your lifestyle. There are many advantages of hiring an architect when you’re in the process of planning a new home such as;

a) They are highly trained to spot out any flaws in the design and visualising the end result while designing it.

b) An architect will make sure that you are following the steps correctly and in order.

c) Because an architect is familiar within the work sector, they will help you find the best professionals like; builder and structural engineer for your home.

d) An architect will also guide you with building control and planning permission application.

e) They can help you with choosing the right materials explaining all the benefits and downfall of it.

f) An architect will track the progress of the builder and ensure the work quality is up to your expectation.

d. Do I need a structural engineer?

A structural engineer focuses on the technical and structural side of the project; they are responsible for the foundation of a building/house. Through drawings and calculations they work out the stability and safety of the structure to avoid collapsing in the future, while doing this, a structural engineer has to also analyse the possibilities of the building being exposed to dangers for e.g.: weather condition. Benefits of having a structural engineer to help you are:

a) They will carry an inspection to see if there are any risks in the structure of an already built house.

b) They can help you with deciding the valuation of a house depending on the quality of it.

c) Structural engineers can assure you that your home is structurally sound after completion.

d) You can get a fully detailed report from a structural engineer with all the things that you need to know about your house with advice and solutions.

e) They can analyse and evaluate the security of the materials that should be used for construction of the building/house.

e. Who will do my drainage plans?

You should hire a drainage consultant to carry out a drainage survey for your property and draw up a drainage plan for you; they can also update your existing plan if you need to. You may also contact your local water supplier for the public water drainage plan, you will be charged for this information. Having a drainage plan is important because that will let you know where all the drains lead to and you will need one for planning permit.

f. Who will do my electrical Plans?

An architect or an engineer will be able to help you draw up your electrical plans.

g. How much does it cost to hire the above professionals?

Property solicitor: £2,000-3,000 for a project (or £200-300 per hour)

Architect: £4,000-6,000 for extensions depending on the size, £70-90 an hour for new builds or between 7-12% of the final construction cost for their service.

Structural engineer: £60-90 an hour or £2,000-£6,000 depending on the size of the project.

A home inspection: it can start from £300 plus, again depending on the size of the property.

Drainage survey: £50-170.

h. How do I get a good builder?

You should ask your architect since they have high level of knowledge in that area and also because they will have worked with several ones already. Personal recommendation is also another great way to find a reliable builder for your home project; this will give you the opportunity to hear/see an honest review. You need to check if they have a valid insurance that covers you and them when required. Do your research over the internet and view the work and their prices; if you like any of the builders that you researched about, go in for a chat.

Just like how the other individuals will have responsibilities to take, you as the buyer/homeowner will have the some level of responsibilities to handle such as;

  1. You are responsible for making sure you pay all the professionals you hired to carry out the work such as; contactors, builders, solicitor and architect.
  2. Submitting the applications for planning permission and building regulations on time; making sure you do not start the work before you are authorised to do so. Basically, all the written permission needed.
  3. You are responsible for providing all the right information (documents) to your solicitor when he/she handles your legal work.
  4. Be respectful of the neighbours and not cause any dispute.
  5. Make sure you do not cause any trouble with the people providing you with their service.

An architect or an architectural consultant can help you do this, but may also do it yourself however we would recommend getting someone professional to help you with it.

Custom house gives you the opportunity to add all the wishes to the list that you want for your dream home, it is known for the flexibility that it offers to anyone look to build a new home. The final value of the property is known to be greater than the costs invested to build the property which is why custom houses are becoming more and more popular now a days. You will also have a floor plan that fits your lifestyle; it is your home so it is important that you are comfortable moving around the house with full confidence in where everything is located and not wishing that you could have it your way because a custom house will make it your way. Another reason why it’s is worth it is because you have the creative control over how you want the house to look visually and if there is any changes you want to make, it is your say.

There are any myths about custom houses that aren’t true such as;

a) There aren’t enough choices for my floor plan and I will have to end up chosing the one that already exists. This isn’t true because if you really got a custom builder, the possibilities of changing the floor plan by size or position is above and beyond. This is where choosing the right people for your home custom design is very important.

b) The lot smaller than the house I have thought of building so I might not be able to build on it. This isn’t always true because you can always make adjustments to the floor plan accordingly to be able to build the house you want without changing the size of it.

c) People think what custom design houses will cost you a lot more because it is tailored to you want and needs; this is not true because choosing an existing floor plan can end up in making changes to a lot of minor things which will add up costing you about the same or more. Also, if you’re going to build your dream house ‘don’t compromise on quality’ because it will cost you less in the long run.

d) Adding more windows to save the cost of other material because glasses tend to be cheaper but this is false because depending on the structure of the house and the complexity of fitting the windows; it can add up to the cost. Having too many windows (glass) in your home can be expensive to keep warm and cool.

e) I must purchase a lot before hiring a builder isn’t true because to be sure about the location in terms of deciding about the fundamental aspects such as; soil stability, pipe line and slope, a builder will be able to consult you about the suitability of the lot to your new house.

Everyone have different definition to ‘perfect or great location’, this varies on who you are and what lifestyle you prefer. When you have a house of your own you need to be sure about everything in it and it starts with the right location for you. Is the location close by the shops and station if you have to commute to work or if your kids have to travel to school via transportation? Some locations are cheaper and some are very highly priced; will these factors affect your home? This will also determine how your neighbourhood is like as well or if your lifestyle will fit in; whether you prefer quieter area to live in

– People think that building a new house is more expensive but this is not true. The house you’re living in is likely to be 20 years or much older and once things get old it needs modifying and fixing. The cost of renovation and changes in appliances will add up more than you know.

– My house will look like everyone else because of lack in choices of designs. This is not true because there are so many advance builders who will alter their work according to your needs.

– A new home will take a long time to build and has a lot of risks, it is not entirely true and in many cases it isn’t true at all. The main time consuming part is the research time that you will have to put in first stages of planning to build because this is the stage you have to find the right team who you can rely on. You have to make sure the paper works are done and contracts are completed along with strong communication across your team. Remember that building a new home means getting rid of the worry about the lifespan of your home with a lot less changes.

– Building a new house doesn’t mean perfect but it does mean you will have less things to fix in the upcoming years. Many people believe that new homes won’t have issues or you will never change your mind about it but this isn’t true because overtime choices change so does the effectiveness of the material. The best thing about new homme is that it won’t require as much maintenance as the old ones and in most cases maintenance costs are high.

This is the first step to planning whether or not you have enough funds to cover up all the costs involved in the new build. The asking price isn’t always what you will end up paying because negotiation is the new when it comes to a new house, it will depend on number of factors such as; the level of demand, where is it located and so on. Get advice from a mortgage adviser because they will know how to work your way around your budget. This is a long-term financial commitment so don’t make decisions based on assumptions but facts and the fact is how much do you have to spend. There are funding options that you can seek; the government is offering buyers an equity loan for new homes which you can look into.

The demand for building new houses is increasing in the UK and to do that you will need a plot. Unless you already own a plot, you need to have an extra savings kept aside to buy a plot. There are many costs involved such as: materials, foundation costs, service connections costs, claddings, renders, finishes, floor structure costs, wall ceiling, roof costs, kitchen & bathroom, fixtures, utility, landscaping, electrical costs, services, paper works and more. A general range to go by for a self-build is anywhere from £300 per m2 to £3,000 per m2: this is from the lowest to highest.

a) Showcase all your memories: this is the most popular way to turn your house into a home, adding personal photos of your loved ones including friends, family and pets.

b) You should make use of the wall spaces: if you want to add some atmosphere you can easily do that by adding little décor to the wall or attaching floating shelves to the wall because this is a great way to make use of small spaces; it can also be very useful.

c) Consider floor finishes: whether you are using vinyl, carpet, tile or timber make sure that it is to your taste. The texture of the material used for the finishing can reflect on your personality too so choose it wisely.

d) Keep it clean with fresh odour: this will keep you comfortable and the main element about a home is being comfortable while you’re in it.

e) Spend enough time: if you want to be used to your new home then you will have to spend enough time to blend in the environment/atmosphere of your home. You can do this by spending your days off at home and inviting families and friends so that you don’t get bored on your own.

When deciding the size of your new house there are many things you should take in consideration out of those there are few things that you need to definitely take actions on such as:

a) How many bedrooms are interested in?

b) How many bathrooms are you looking to have?

c) How many floors do you want, this will also depend on how many bedroom house do you want to live in?

d) What direction do you want the house to be facing?

e) What kind of layout will be ideal for you and your family?

f) How much extra space will you need to store your belongings?

g) Are you looking to start a family in the future or do you already have one?

h) And mainly the costs you are willing to put down for the house

Choosing the right floor plan will have a big impact on the overall finishing of your home. You should think about things that will affect you floor plan such as:

  1. Decide on your floor plan depending on home flows and you/your family’s daily activities.
  2. Do consult with an estate agent or a designer (professional) for advice and guidance, it will cost you some fees but it is going to be worth it.
  3. Start to decide on what type of furniture you wish to put and where in your house; its shape, texture and suitability to the layout of the house.
  4. While looking into the floor plan, do consider the size of your house.
  5. Think about how you’re going to utilise the space in the house because there is always a way to make use of the extra spaces. It better to have extra space than to have lack of room for you to store your things in the future.

When you are designing a new house it can be very overwhelming so there are so many chances that you might just miss out on the important aspects such as;

a) To be realistic about the outdoor space that you will use in the future, it is very expensive to have a big outdoor space and to maintain it so if you’re not a person or a family who will make use of the entire space then don’t spend extra cost doing so.

b) Make sure that you invest good amount on products such as electrical appliances, roofing, windows and insulation because this will lead to more repairs and maintenance in the future and the cost will add up every time.

c) sure you don’t only think about short-term (present) necessity but also think about how those decisions can influence you the long-run plans.

d) Hiring the wrong architect or builder for your project: building your dream home is a big step and you want to make sure that you get the best out of the money and effort you put in.

e) Don’t only think about the aesthetic but also the comfortability of your home, you move into a new home with the intention of long-term stay.

a) Work out your finances first to see what locations you can aim for

b) After that, think about how big of a lot you will need to build your house on.

c) Hire an expert or builder to check the suitability of the location and the state of the soil; you do not want to buy a lot which won’t be a good investment for the future.

d) After deciding all of that make sure you look for types of financial resources that might be available to you and make sure you explore enough choices to land the best one.

– If you want something quick because you don’t have enough time to spare on the construction and planning process then old home is more suitable, old houses are also more negotiable in price because of the condition it is in as well as the demand of it. People believe that the main reason why they should choose an old home if because of it’s in the market for lower price but it isn’t always the case.

– If you’re a person who can invest the time and money at once, also if you want to make sure everything in the house is tailored to your needs then you should think about building a new home.

– There more things to look into when it comes to deciding if you should get a new/old house for yourself, it highly depend on every individual’s necessity, lifestyle and budget.

Unfortunately an event like natural disaster occurs in life and it is something you won’t be able to avoid. There are different types of natural disasters and you have to act on your decision on rebuilding according; it also depends on how bad it had an impact on foundation of your property. It is very hard to leave all the memories behind and move on when incidents like this take place and people will choose to rebuild their home on the same place again. You have to measure the risks of it happening again because you don’t want to spend a fortune to only find out it going is happening again, not only that but it’s life threatening. So the answer is; you can rebuild it but the risks are high are it isn’t recommended.

You will know when you have to find a new home when you start to notice certain things in your current home such as:

a) Your home will start to feel too big or too small

b) You will be sick and tired of all the repairs that you’ve been doing in the house

c) You don’t have enough storage space

d) Your family is growing for e.g.: new family member (new born baby), family and friends moving in to live with you.

e) You are financially stable to look for a bigger place in a nicer location

f) You don’t like the neighbourhood anymore

Market factor is very important which will affect the interest rate. Seasonal supply and demand is another thing to consider while looking buying a new home; the spring and summer seasons have longer days, warmer weather, and often more homes listed in the market.

Finding property you can afford is the first thing on the list, you will have to think about the costs involved while doing so too. Choosing the right mortgage will be next, you can choose to get this from a lender, mortgage broker, independent financial adviser or the bank. After you can confirm that you are eligible for the mortgage, do more research and start negotiating and comparing the price.

If you are planning a new build then consult an expert and a builder at this point. Look into the legal work after this and don’t hesitate to look for help as much as you can, you can hire an architect and a structural engineer at this stage to design your new home. After the design is completed with review, you can move on with the construction process.

A floor plan is drawn from a perspective view so it is like ‘you’re looking from top of the roof (bird’s eye view).’ Walk through the plan and check if there is suitable separations between areas, check where the door are located ensure the traffic flow runs smooths all across the design (house). Check the dimensions of areas that you would like to focus on; see where you might also need extra room for activity or storage.

You should visualize the entrance and as if you’re moving around the house just by the bird’s eye view; the more you do it the more you will get used to it.

For smaller and less complex design it takes about 4-5 months but for more complex designs it can take up to 6 to over 6 months excluding the design process and applications. The main thing is its complexity and who the builders are.

A building warranty is crucial to new builds; the builder has to make sure you are provided with the warranty for the work they carry out for you (the buyer). There are 3 main warranties out there:

a) the National House-Building Council (NHBC)

b) Local Authority Building Control Warranty (LABC)

c) Premier Guarantee

You can find more information on our ‘Legislation & Regulations’ section of our website.

Most builders will have their own suppliers for the materials they use for the construction and they will mention that beforehand to you but if they don’t, you can ask them and see if purchasing you own materials is possible. Your builder should tell you the terms and conditions about your input on materials for the new build. There are builders who will allow you to get your own appliances and materials.

Cost escalation is known as ‘the changes in the price of service provided or material provided by your builder’. Chances are that the prices may go up or down according to the situation during the construction period. The costs of the materials can change due to shortage of supplies and excessive demand, or if the hours are extended for labour work; you (the buyer) will have to pay extra. To avoid escalation cost, you should discuss this in advance with you builder and see if that is included. This will have a huge impact on your budget and if you overlook this issue you may end up not having enough to cover up the entire costs.

When you and your family are looking to buy or build a new house, you will have criteria for it such as;

a) How important is the location

b) A good return of investment

c) How big do you need the bedrooms to be

d) Do you need a large landscaping area?

e) Does having a good commutation with the builder matter or you can neglect that for lower cost?

f) Do you want the design of the house to be one of a kind where people can easily differentiate?

g) Short distance from public transport?

h) Do you need more than 2 parking spaces?

You need a builder who shares the same vision as yours because they are following your instructions to build your dream home and it should be easy for them to understand your desires. If you have a particular material that you want to use for the building then your builder should be able to provide you with it without hesitation, or you should also be satisfied with their recommendations. Also, one of the most important reasons is that; to prevent dispute in the process because you will already be under so much stress and you don’t need anything to top it off.

This is something you should think about before buying a lot or building the house because people change their minds all the time when situations change, you should be able to make modifications to your home when it comes down to it. Firstly, you will need enough room to expand in the future for reasons like: extension, basement creations or conversions. Also think about how those modifications will make a difference to the overall layout of your house and situation of your property.

If you change your mind during the building process it depends on what kind of changes you’re making, if it is simple/small changes such as changing the placing of the cabinets then you can but if the changes involve structural design then this isn’t possible because this should be done during the design process with the architect and with the advice of structural engineers.

Building a new home is a going to be highly time consuming and you will end up restless most times before and during the construction process. If you are someone who has a large sum of responsibilities or are mentally not ready to take on so much stress; you shouldn’t get involved yet. You will be spending time and money therefore; you want to be fully ready to take on this responsibility. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get involved at all because this gives you the chance to compare, negotiate and look around for good deals. You got to start somewhere at least so, for the time being; take this chance to plan your budget and view potential properties/land for the future.

Think about the pros and cons and weigh them. No matter what part of the house you’re thinking about you have to make the best possible decision, this will be time consuming but think about the money and effort you’re already putting into your new home. It can be as simple as; how many bathrooms will the house have and what are the pros and cons for having that many.

Consider all your options and back it up with your market research when you do make a choice. During this process you want to draw up a fine line between the pros and cons; see whether you are happy with the pros and are willing to overlook the disadvantages it may bring along. This will help your planning of the new build hugely.

The main reason for energy efficient home is that it saves you money. You may have cool roofs so that the roof of your home doesn’t over heat; this also lowers peak electricity demand and reduces power plant emissions. Window treatment is another energy efficient factor that you can use for your new home; it will keep the windows cool, avoid too much light from getting into the room because the UV rays can affect the furniture leading it to fade and ruin the floors too. There are many types of window treatments out there for home owners to choose from. When it comes to electrical appliances, buying high energy star ratings will save you cost for long-term. Having insulation in your home is another great way to have an energy efficient home.

Yes, always estimate the costs slightly higher than what you have calculated because new home equals to surprises in the prices and hidden expenses. You also don’t want to worry about anything after the home is completed, you can relax after that.

Yes, to be completely sure about your new home you should hire your own independent inspector for checks and there are reasons for this:

a) New construction homes can have minor to major problems once. Just because it is newly built doesn’t always guarantee quality. It can be the case that you will find tears or minor defects on the wall, you might also find that parts can be missing such as; insulation.

b) There might be deck defects somewhere in the property such as improper nails used on construction of cupboard doors.

c) There can be a problem with the roofs, sometimes it can be overdriven which can create holes or leave nails in the gaps created during the construction process.

d) You might find leakage in certain parts of the house when builders might have rushed while finishing off such as; leaking shower door, leaking bathtub overflow and dishwasher leakage.

There are many similar issues that can occur but A private inspector will be on your side and make sure that everything you expected will be given to you for the price you put in, it is an extra cost added to your expenses but it is definitely worth it if you care about you home for the long run.

Got questions about housing defects?