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To build new is to dream of all the ways your home can be designed and built just for you. But before that process can begin, it’s important to ensure all the groundwork is taken care of - quite literally.
Sections come in all shapes and sizes, and whether you’ve found one you like the look of, you’re going to subdivide where you currently live, or you have had one waiting in the wings for awhile, understanding how your site will impact on the design of your new home is a crucial first step.
So what is a site evaluation, and what are the elements that need to be considered? Let us break it down for you.
Building on a flat site is relatively straight forward, but if there is a slope or significant contour of the land, then there are extra factors to consider.
That’s not to say it can’t be done! It just means earthworks may be required, as well as structural adjustments to the design and the foundations of the house itself. For example, if there is 2 metres of slope over the build platform, you will need to have retaining walls to get the site flat.
Naturally, these things will cost money, so it is always critical to understand how pre-works on the site could potentially affect your budget.
Working out how easy it is for the required tradies to get onsite is important too, as well as all the materials for building your home. If there isn’t a natural entry point to the site, one may have to be constructed, and depending on the slope - it could be another cost to add to the budget.
Don’t forget to check out things that could be an obstacle on the site too, like trees or gulleys. Some things can be worked around, but others could potentially impact on the design of your home.
Depending on what you want to build, and where, you may need resource consent. This is asking formal permission from your local council for works that require things like subdividing land, taking water, discharge of contaminants in water, soil or air, or the use or occupation of coastal space.
While building consents are for the house itself, resource consents are more about the impact you’re having on the environment and community around you - like whether your neighbours will be adversely affected by any of the work you’re looking to undertake.
Not every site has power, water, gas and internet waiting on its doorstep, particularly if it is a lifestyle block or rural piece of land. So you’ll need to find out whether there is ‘service to the gate’ or if they need to be connected to the boundary, and make sure you understand the process for this before going any further with plans.
From an uninterrupted view of the water, to an elevation with a panoramic vista - choosing a site with a special outlook is often what dreams are made of. But don’t forget to look into what this means when it comes to building your home, as there are a number of things that could add to the overall cost. For example, in a high wind zone your house will be subject to criteria that ensures it is able to withstand wind of a certain speed, and if it is in a sea zone, it needs to be built with consideration of coastal erosion and corrosion from sea salt spray.
While some environmental factors may require a few work arounds, some features of your site could very much benefit the final result of your home. From looking at things like sun orientation, to where you’ll get the most privacy for outdoor entertaining spaces, looking at all the benefits of the section will help to determine a number of aspects for your final floor plan.
Attention should also be given to what is going on around the potential site of your new home, because there could be any number of developments that directly or indirectly affect the way you live in your home. For example, could sites adjacent to yours be built on and block your view or sun? Is there permission for industrial use of nearby land, or will changes to the local resource plan mean that a major roadway is being built in the area over the next 10 years.
It’s always worth checking with the local council so you have a greater understanding of the wider environment of your new home’s location.
While it’s important to understand how all the above points will affect the overall design and build process for your new home, knowing how to carry out a site evaluation is a different story altogether - especially if you have never built a house before!
Which is where an experienced and reputable builder can help. And in fact, it is one of the first steps they should take before giving you a price to build your home - however the most frustrating thing though is that many don’t.
But never fear, we do! And it’s free.
We want you to have assurance that what you’re wanting to build is actually possible on the section you’re looking at purchasing. Otherwise, it could end up costing you in the long run.
Choosing the right section for your new build doesn’t just affect the pricing structure of your home, but the design and layout of it too. And by getting our boots on the ground right from the get-go, we can pick up on any challenges a site may pose (the kind that could blow out the budget), and let you know if what you want to achieve is actually possible.
It’s about having those honest and open conversations from day one to ensure you’re starting your house building journey the right way. And it's our experience that really sets us apart from the rest.