Finding a Site for a Self-Build Project


Finding a Site for a Self-Build Project
Finding a site couldn’t be easier with… simply go to the residential search page of the site, select “Site” from the drop down menu under property types and the rest of your chosen criteria. You will be returned a full list of available sites for sale matching your search criteria. You will need to double check with the agent if the site already has planning permission or an existing dwelling that can be knocked down or rebuilt.

However before diving in and buying anything, knowing whether the site you have picked is the one for you and is what you need /suited for your future self-build project will take a lot of time and consideration – Below The Irish Association of Self-Builders are on hand and give us some top tips on what to look out for when choosing your site.

What to look for when choosing a site:

  1. You should visit the site as often as you can before you make an offer on it. Make sure you see the site a different times of the day and if possible during different weather conditions. If the weather is really bad and you think that you can’t be bothered to go to look at the site consider this, after you have built your house you will be living there and you might get a shock next time we have severe weather conditions. Better to know now that to regret it later.
  2. Visit you local planning office to find out what the local authority plans are for that area over the next few years, and if there are any plans that could effect the value of your property in the future, for example, a refuse site , ESB high power lines or railway lines.
  3. Talk to the local people and find out what they think of the site, do remember that most of them have lived there most or all of their lives and they know if the site is going to be flooded during the winter time or if there is something else about it that you should know. This would also give you the opportunity to meet the neighbours and the local people and get a feel of if you would like to live in this community.
  4. Take a look at the surrounding houses to see if there is any problems with ground settlement, if there are any major crack on the walls that might indicate a problem with the soil or something else that might effect your build.
  5. Look around the area and see if you can notice anything that might give you indication the past that might affect you, like was it a mining area and is there any tunnels underneath the area?. Has it ever been a land fill?. Ask all of these questions as it is better to find out now rather that later.
  6. Walk around the site and the surrounding lands, but make sure that you get permission from the owners first. Find out what type of soil you have there (Ground condition), if needs be take a small sample to someone who has the knowledge of what is a good soil for house foundation and landscaping. Is it clay or is it bog, these all make a difference to how your foundation is to be made up. Do remember that if it doesn’t affect your build it might make a difference to your landscaping plans after your house is in place.
  7. Check the vegetation on the site. Is it the type that only grow on or near wetlands? If it is you might have a problem with he water level which could mean drainage problems. Again take a sample or even a photograph and go to your local garden center to ask their advice for the type of vegetation .
  8. With the owners permission dig a number of trial pits on different locations on the site, maybe as much as 3 to 4 meters down and check what is on the layers and how far down is the level of the water table.
  9. If there are any tree’s on the site, find out what kind they are and get information on the severely of their roots and if it is going to effect your build. Do remember that the roots of a tree could cause a potential problem with the foundation and the drains of the house.

Source: Irish Association of Self Builders

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