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Checking Whether Land is Ready to Build on

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 22 Aug 2020 | comments*Discuss
Shed Ground Plot Self-build Access

After purchasing a plot for your self build there could be a lot of work to do before you even begin to consider building the house.


Has the planning department of your local council passed the plans for your home? If this is being handled by your architect check that he has written evidence of this before proceeding. Never take verbal confirmation of this, you will be the one to suffer if an enforcement order is placed on your home for building without approval.


You may have to arrange for gas, water, electricity and sewage service for you house. Arrange these in plenty of time, as trenches will have to be dug. The service providers will often arrange to share the same trench but this will need to be negotiated between them. If services have to bee brought in from across a road you or the service provider will have to apply for a road opening approval from the highways department. This could involve hiring traffic lights and having staff to control traffic during the time the road is dug up.


Water will be needed for the build for mixing cement, washing and drinking. Because of new regulations all newly built homes have to be metered. Check to see if there is a special rate for water prices during the build.

Electric and Gas

An entry point into the house needs to be planned for both gas and electricity services. Remember that these metres will need to be read quite often so arrange to site the metres in a place where they can be viewed without laying flat on the ground or using a ladder. Metres are sited on a wall and cannot be moved after fitting.


While the trench is open contact the telephone or cable provider in our areas and book a connection. With the wide use of mobile telephones it is not always essential to have a telephone fitted at the beginning of the build.


You may not have access to a mains sewer system and a septic tank will have to be sited. Discuss this point with your architect and local planning department, as a lorry will need access to empty the tank. Septic tanks are easily available and many of the companies selling them will also fit and connect the system.

Hidden Pipes

Check that there are no pipes and services already hidden under the plot. Contact your council and speak to neighbours to find out as much about the history of the plot as possible. It is possible to use equipment to search for buried pipe work and cables.

Rear Access

If there is no access to the rear of the property now is the time to move any materials needed for landscaping etc before the house is built as you will not want to bring them through a furnished and carpeted house.


Site a strong shed or garage where you can store tools and materials safely during the build. Choose a shed that can stay on the site afterwards and become part of the garden.

Getting your plot ready for the build is an important part of the self-build process. With a little thought and careful planning this will smooth the way to a stress free build.

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Hi! My brother plans to buy land above the lake, the track down to the land from the Lane, and the woodland above. He also plans to buy the main farmhouse and the pasture leading down to the lake. I think it would be a lovely site, in Herefordshire, to build an earth sheltered dwelling, or maybe a few. Perhaps for holiday let’s, even. Is he likely, do you think, to get planning permission? This is all new to me, sorry.... Kind regards, Gaynor
Mitz - 22-Aug-20 @ 8:05 AM
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