Planning the Project

The whole process of planning for the construction of a house is necessarily a complex and detailed task. The better the planning, the more likely you are to bring your project through to a successful completion and to complete in line with your budgeting.

The points and guidelines given below summarise some of the more common items for planning consideration - you will need to add in additional elements to suit you own individual project and circumstances.

The Basics

PlansFinance - Work out how the project is to be paid for. If you need to raise mortgage finance make sure this is in place with agreed terms for interim payments based on defined progress stages. Remember you will need to fund the purchases of materials and services between the payment stages, so you will need to cost and plan carefully. Then set your budgets for each part of the project.

Locate a suitable plot of land and, if not already available, obtain outline planning permission before committing to the purchase of the land.

Decide on the type of building you wish to construct - this will need to be based upon many factors such as your needs, personal requirements and ideals, the type of plot and other construction in the area, any local building covenants or design restrictions, etc. At all times remember to keep your budget very much in mind.

Find a suitable draughtman or architect to turn your sketches and rough plans into proper working drawings. Do remember to tell them what your budgets are so that they can work within your guidelines.

Lodge the plans with your local authority planning department to obtain detailed planning permission and building regulations approvals. Your local authority will make charges for these services as they will initially need to send out an inspector to view the plot, in order to assess the suitability, and to publicise details of your application so that objections can be lodged if anyone has cause to complain. The details of the planning charges, and the separate building inspection charges, can be obtained from your local council.

Select a builders merchant who will offer you the support and expertise you will require, from quantity estimating, to local deliveries, to personal care, and arrange to open an account.

Get yourself registered for V.A.T. if you are not already registered - you will be able to reclaim most of the V.A.T. paid on your building materials at the end of the project.

Decide what parts of the project you will handle yourself and what parts you will sub-contract to others - find appropriate sub-contractors and obtain cost quotations and estimates for everything - remember that budget!

Arrange suitable insurance for public liability and for your building materials, etc. Also your mortgage provider may require buildings cover. Consult an insurance broker, or contact a specialist insurance company. Consider registering with an organisation like the NHBC as they can offer much practical help with your project - see for details.

Advise your planning office when you are ready to commence the building work

Check List for the Building Stages

The list below is a typical example of the stages needed for a project planner - it is very useful to have something of this type where you can mark off progress on each stage showing what needs to happen, the date when it should be done, and when it was actually done. It is useful too to make a list of the different materials that will be needed for each stage, and to plan the buying of these on a 'just in time' basis to help your cash flow management.

  • Site Clearance
  • Site Preparation, measuring and pegging out
  • Strip and Lay Foundations
  • Pour Foundations
  • Build up to Damp Proof Course
  • Pour Oversite Slab
  • Build up to First Floor Structure
  • Joists for First Floor
  • Build up to Wall Plate
  • Build Gables and Chimneys
  • Complete Roof Structure
  • Batten and Felt Roof
  • Tile Roof
  • Rainwater and Glazing
  • First Fix Joinery
  • First Fix Plumbing
  • First Fix Electrical
  • Connect Drains
  • Back Fill Drains and Complete Access
  • Tack Ceilings and Lay Floors
  • Plaster Out
  • Screed Floors
  • Second Fix Joinery
  • Second Fix Plumbing
  • Second Fix Electrical
  • Commission Boiler
  • Decorate and Tile
  • Snagging
  • Landscaping
  • Arrange Party

*Items like electrics, plumbing, and carpentry will need to be handled in stages, thus initial fix will normally cover the basic provisions of piping, cabling, woodwork, etc., in the correct locations. At the second fix stage these items will be finalised and connected as appropriate.




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