Check your site carefully.

  • Creation Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Choosing your site.

There are a number of factors that are often overlooked when choosing a site on which to build, and getting them wrong could influence a number of others and so limit your building options.

Consider the view.

A good view will certainly increase the value of your property, but it will also affect your budget. If you wish to maximize your view, then the compass direction you need to face in order to see the view will have a marked effect on the design of your home. This is of particular importance when considering energy efficiency regulations that deal with the orientation of your house. The decision to design a single or double story building could also be influenced by the view.

Investigate the ground.

This is of particular importance if you want to build a basement, wine cellar or underground parking garage. Sometimes the nature of the ground is quite easy to ascertain. Often a simple chat with local residents will tell you whether you are dealing with sand, clay or rock. Also, explore the level of the water table in the area at the height of the wet season. On occasion, you may need to engage the services of a geologist for an expert opinion.- particularly if you live in a known dolomite or heaving clay area.

Consider the dimensions and orientation of the plot relative to the elements.

Sunrise, sunset, wind and rain in summer and winter will influence the design of your house and will affect your lifestyle options. Will the property be in a wind tunnel in summer, or a spring in the rainy season. If it is situated against a mountain, will the sun be blocked out in the winter months?

A little investigation by an architect or a discussion with a neighbour could easily establish these challenges.

Investigating the availability of technology infrastructure.

Check whether land telephone lines, ADSL, DSTV, Fiber and all the other services that you may require are available in your area. If your nearest electricity supply point is 100m away, it could be an expensive exercise to get the supply to your plot. Likewise with water and sewer connections.

This should all be established before you make an offer to purchase. A servitude across your property would also have a big influence on the usage of the site. This is a registered portion of a property on which you may not build, that is earmarked for municipal services such as a sewer, water main, electricity supply or even future road widening. Although still part of your property, it can only be used for a garden or a paved driveway. The municipality has right of access to this area at all times.

Choosing your plot will have an effect on everything that you may be planning with regards to your future home so be aware of the issues mentioned and choose wisely.

This article is taken from the book “So, you want to build a HOUSE!?” by architect Les Abbott