What surveys to consider if you are building your own home

Surveys to consider before building your own property

If you’re planning to build your own property: congratulations! You’re about to start an exciting journey towards moving into your dream home. However, keep in mind that there’s a lot involved with building a property, from purchasing the land and drawing up plans to obtaining planning permission and actually starting the building work.

Somewhere on the huge ‘to do’ list you’re creating, you need to make sure to arrange all the necessary surveys. Many of these will be required to satisfy planning requirements and you will need to factor the costs into your development budget.

Surveys to consider for a self-build

There are various surveys you might need to consider when carrying out a self-build project, including:

  • Ground investigation
  • Tree survey
  • Ecological survey
  • Structural surveys

Also, don’t forget to talk to your neighbours. By presenting your proposals to them before submitting a formal planning application, you will get the opportunity to consult on issues such as overlooking, rights of light etc. which may reduce the possibility of neighbour objections.

Ground Investigation

A ground investigation looks at the land upon which you hope to build. It will check what the soil is like and what is likely to happen to it in the future e.g. is it a flood plain? This survey will involve sampling/testing to establish how deep the foundations must be and if any special measures need to be taken. It can also check soil that may be contaminated e.g. former industrial land.

Not only is a ground investigation an extremely good idea (after all, you want to know what you’re building on!) but your local authority may insist upon it. So, make sure you include a ground investigation when you’re setting a budget.

Tree survey

Generally, we like trees. They’re good for the environment and lovely to look at! However, when they’re on a building plot, they’re not always good news.

Certain trees can cause problems to buildings or underground services. A tree survey will identify any potentially problematic trees and advise on the next steps. If it’s decided that a tree needs felling or might be otherwise impacted by your project, you’ll need a tree report/arboricultural impact assessment. Remember that certain trees may be protected in your area, and you’ll need to check with your local authority before arranging for their removal.

The survey will also advise on the impact that your development may have on existing trees to be retained and will identify tree protection measures that will need to be put in place while work is carried out on site.

Ecological survey

An ecological survey looks at the local habitat and assesses if there are any protected species in the vicinity e.g. bats, badgers and owls. If you have these animals on your site then you must ensure your self-build does not harm them.

Some ecological surveys can only be carried out at certain times of the year e.g. May-September during bats’ active season. It’s worth knowing when the surveys need to happen to avoid lengthy delays to your building works. 

Structural surveys

If you’re converting or renovating a property, a structural survey will tell you about its condition and whether it’s suitable for your plans. It will assess key issues such as structural movement, the integrity of foundations, the condition of structural timbers and dampness that may need to be factored into your development budget. 

Get in touch

There’s so much to think about when planning a self-build, it can feel a little overwhelming! At Trinity Rose, our Chartered Surveyors have years of experience carrying out and coordinating a range of surveys for clients, many of which have been building properties of their own.

If you’re ready to arrange a survey or have got any questions at all, please get in touch. Our friendly, knowledgeable team will be happy to help.