Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

Building In The Countryside?


Recommended Posts

What is the current situation with building in the countryside?

i am not too clued up on how the system currently works.

this used to be a common topic when building was banned and sites in the middle of nowhere were 200k

now that the market has collapsed, people cant finance sites and that its perhaps cheaper to buy than build i'm not surprised its not much of a topic of conversation!

i would be interested in 2012/13 at looking at buying a site in Fermanagh while prices are depressed, preferably one where I could build something to my own spec rather than predetermined design. Also I would not want to actually build the property for about 4/5 years.

any thoughts much appreciated

Edited by getdoon_weebobby
Link to post
Share on other sites

Weebobby - I don't know too much about this to be honest but I am replying because I had been thinking about posting a similar question myself.

I have heard various things about this in the past for example if you have a site with FPP you have X years to start the build process (3 years rings a bell). I have heard that as long as you get the foundations in the ground before the planning permission lapses, the planning permission is good for Y years (7 years rings another bell) as the foundations themselves are technically considered to be a 'build'. I would imagine it would be tricky to make changes to the plans after this stage though.

However I am not sure how true any of this is and it seems pretty tricky to find any accurate information about it. So I will be watching this thread with interest.

My wife and I would like to live in the countryside eventually but at the moment Belfast suits us well as we both work here and with fuel costs not likely to decrease any time soon (ever), added to the quality of life issues with a lengthy commute every day, any plans to move to or build in the countryside are a few years off for us too.

Hopefully some other members of the forum will be able to add some more info.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As an architect I can give you a wee bit of advice from that perspective - I obviously cant comment on whether sites are at their bottom value yet or not - can anyone?

First thing - dont just look at sites with Outline Planning permission for a house. There are plenty of sites out there with full planning permission with designs fully prepared - but you can always re-apply for PP for "Change of house type". This will let you have a house designed to your requirments AND will give you another 5 years (sometimes just 3) from approval until you have to start construction. This is what all the banks have been doing to keep the PP on repossessed sites - it's keeping alot of my colleagues in work!

So main considerations -

1.Land ownership -does the vendor own all the land required to comply with the PP - this particularly refers to the land required for visibility splays at the site entrance to a public road.(Though in alot of circumstances the splays will mostly lie in the public verge).

2. Access- in this buyers market you should be able to avoid buying a site with a shared access - an absolute priority.

3. Services -

Septic tank most likely reqiuired- how will it's outflow drain away? - into a river or sub strata soakaway - if so do you need an easement to reach the river or have enough land area for the soakaway.

Is there a water mains available - is it on the right side of the public road - if not it will cost more to get a connection and always apply for a builders connection when you first acquire the site as this will give you water to actually build the house.

Electricity - NI Power are a complete nightmare to deal with ( someone should end that monopoly!!) You will most likely require an new supply with transformer - so look to see where the nearest overhead mains are. Only good thing is NI Power will sort out all easements and walleaves to take cables over neighbours land.

BT - good to deal with. They will survey the site and supply you with cable and trunking at a cost.

4. Design issues

Site aspect - I see so many badly designed houses which ignore where South is, which direction the prevailing winds come from,etc etc.

Don't go nuts - I've had to rein in so many clients who want huge 5000sqFt houses which are expensive to heat, high rates and have never used 5th bedrooms etc. Smallish bedrooms, shared en-suites, single living/family room, etc ? Better to have a larger more impressive central living space.with smaller ancillary rooms - think before you leap.

Green stuff - IMHO - in N.I. it is still better to spend money on higher insulation standards and more effcient boilers than wood chip boilers/solar panels etc.

5. Insurance.

If you are going to self build - get public liability insurance!!! If a plumber trips and breaks an leg on your site he will sue you. If someone breaks into the site to nick power tools etc and injures themselves - they will sue you. I have had clients who this has happened to - one to the tune of £20G.

6. Certification.

If you have a builder as main contractor you can register the house through their NHBC / CRL accreditation or you can retain an architect to either manage the project or carry out interim inspections with certification issued againsyt his PI cover. If self build the bank will most likely insist on architects certification. I would say this but... in my experience NHBC are very good at avoiding liability should anything go wrong down the line. P.I. insurance companies tend to like to deal with matters swiftly.

I'm sure theres plenty more - but that should get you thinking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you do need free advice on building in the countryside please do not hesitate to contact us either through this forum, the farming life or at our office.

2020 Architects specialise in rural/sustainable architecture and as a result of this specialism we write a monthly column in the farming life called 'ask the architect' dealing with specific rural planning and sustainable issues.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 8 years later...
Posted (edited)

Bringing this post back after nearly a decade !!
 

We are still on the search for a site. Have observed from a distance what has come on the market for all these years. Very little seems to ever become available due to the planning laws and this includes constantly watching for not just sites but also old homes you could tear down and build on. 

Have viewed a site with architect which I’ve known about since 2018.

owner of land to keep the OOP planning got FPP on a generic house for the site last year. Owner will eventually build the house if the site doesn’t sell. 

Pros

Could resubmit plans and build the size we want , and can be two storey , eg 3000-3500 sq ft. No prob getting a garage as well. These are the views of architect.

south facing rear of house (ideal as looking to go passivehaus)

Pretty much the exact location we want 

6 acre site so plenty of room for all the patio area we need leading to large garden (grass) leading to field (for pony ? Sheep ?? Donkey ???!)

Site somewhat elevated (not in a dip)

Cons

it’s an infill site so houses on either side and fairly close. Architect does think could possibly try and push to build a little further back esp if house direction rotated slightly. I did think most of the activity in the house ( and the design we go for) would be at the rear of the house which would be further back than the neighbours. 

always envisaged the site would have distant Lough views etc. This doesn’t but property is prob within one to two mile proximity of Lough Erne. 

expensive (would prob cost 120k) though some of the cost is an acceptance your buying 6 acres in total.

perhaps paying for 5 acres we don’t need... (though always like the idea of owning a few acres as in inflation hedge!)

Be happy to hear any people’s thoughts and advice! 

Edited by getdoon_weebobby
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds expensive for not ticking all the boxes, I’d offer them less and see what they say, also sounds like it’s very close to the neighbors, I’m not a fan of infill.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks Satsuma

is there any good graphic to how the average cost of house building in NI has risen over time ??

im working off a guesstimate of it costing £100 per sq ft  for the build

suddenly a £100k site and £350,000 build for a 3,500 sq ft house sounds a lot ......

Edited by getdoon_weebobby
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, getdoon_weebobby said:

Thanks Satsuma

is there any good graphic to how the average cost of house building in NI has risen over time ??

im working off a guesstimate of it costing £100 per sq ft  for the build

suddenly a £100k site and £350,000 build for a 3,500 sq ft house sounds a lot ......

Dont have any graphs, 450k all in for 3500sq ft seems like alot, 100k is too expensive for a NI site, more like 60k to 80k.  Build costs should be more like £70 or £80 per square foot, it was more like £50 to £60 five years ago.  If you were doing it on the grip outside the bank there is money to be saved, problem is the bank wants one main contractor they can hold to account if things go wrong.  Honestly Id be thinking more like £360K.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

you’ll not build a passive house for £70-80psf. I don’t think you’ll build a standard house at £80psf anymore, the cost of certain building materials has sky rocketed in the last year or two. Also add in a healthy budget for professional fees, developer costs (utilities, etc), landscaping, costs of finance- all the things that aren’t covered by the build cost (or a fixed price jct contract).
 

You’ll save SDLT buying the site on a self build mortgage and then remortgaging when built. If you’re getting the current owner to build it and then buy it off him, you’ll be paying full SDLT.

 

in terms of passive haus- you’ll save a lot more going for ‘almost passive haus’, full passive house certification is beyond the point of diminishing returns in terms of build cost. Simple things like only triple glazing one side of the house (depending on which side gets the sun) can save cash and not impact the energy efficiency too much. Check into grants for your m&e, I know in England you can get grants to cover some renewable things like heat pumps etc.

To make general claims that £100k for a site is too much for NI is of no use to anyone. A site for a 3500sq ft house in Cultra is worth more than £100k. But even if the generalisation was correct, most sites don’t come with an additional 5 acres, so that explains the difference in the generalisation. 
 

Speak to a good QS before you start with a view to appointing them as employers agent- they’ll handle all the finer details (that most self builders overlook), handle the tendering, can project manage etc. The money you pay them should be a fraction of what they save you in build cost. Another route is getting them to do the project on a construction management package, where each stage is tendered individually (rather than appointing one contractor for the whole project). Essentially the sole contractor is pricing in a lot of risk money for the project, and he’ll go out and sub contract all the individual stages anyway- so the CM route saves you that risk premium with the QS handling it all for you.

Edited by nigooner
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, nigooner said:

you’ll not build a passive house for £70-80psf. I don’t think you’ll build a standard house at £80psf anymore, the cost of certain building materials has sky rocketed in the last year or two. Also add in a healthy budget for professional fees, developer costs (utilities, etc), landscaping, costs of finance- all the things that aren’t covered by the build cost (or a fixed price jct contract).
 

You’ll save SDLT buying the site on a self build mortgage and then remortgaging when built. If you’re getting the current owner to build it and then buy it off him, you’ll be paying full SDLT.

 

in terms of passive haus- you’ll save a lot more going for ‘almost passive haus’, full passive house certification is beyond the point of diminishing returns in terms of build cost. Simple things like only triple glazing one side of the house (depending on which side gets the sun) can save cash and not impact the energy efficiency too much. Check into grants for your m&e, I know in England you can get grants to cover some renewable things like heat pumps etc.

To make general claims that £100k for a site is too much for NI is of no use to anyone. A site for a 3500sq ft house in Cultra is worth more than £100k. But even if the generalisation was correct, most sites don’t come with an additional 5 acres, so that explains the difference in the generalisation. 
 

Speak to a good QS before you start with a view to appointing them as employers agent- they’ll handle all the finer details (that most self builders overlook), handle the tendering, can project manage etc. The money you pay them should be a fraction of what they save you in build cost. Another route is getting them to do the project on a construction management package, where each stage is tendered individually (rather than appointing one contractor for the whole project). Essentially the sole contractor is pricing in a lot of risk money for the project, and he’ll go out and sub contract all the individual stages anyway- so the CM route saves you that risk premium with the QS handling it all for you.

I would not be following much of this advice, but it’s up to you.  Clearly the site is in Fermanagh, not some enclave where prices are daft.  My advice is based on having built in NI, 100k for a Fermanagh site is more than I would pay.  Of course you will find someone to build and take 350k off you! Reality is that’s nuts for Fermanagh.  If your OS is any use they will tell you the same.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, nigooner said:

This was your own generalisation. Give me 6 acres in cultra for £100k any day thanks. 

Get your map out, Cultra is not in Fermanagh, pointless post.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

If the 'spare' 5 acres is decent agri condition then it could have a value of £25k to £40k which brings the cost of the actual site down to £60k to £75k for comparison sake. if it has good lake views then its up to you to value how much that is worth to you.

For build cost start at £100 per sq foot. the price goes down the bigger the house gets so a 3,500 sq foot house will be cheaper per sq foot than a 1,200 sq foot house. However, we are experiencing massive inflation at the moment 40% in timber for example.

Passive Housing is a lifestyle as much as a building standard and whilst your heating costs will be lower it is not an attempt to save money. it costs you extra but people do it as a way they want to live. 

Current Building Control standards go quite a way todwards that in insulation levels and air tightness. we are about to go to 'near zero' which will save you a little more in heating etc but will cost the typical house an extra £5k to £8k.

My view is to go for the best insulation you can and therefore reduce the heating load required. whether that heating supply is provided by oil, gas or air source (read coal fired electric supply) is less important.

Passive is largely around south facing glazing allowing the sun to heat up the concrete fabric of the house and this heat is released from the concrete walls and floors later in the night. there is also a lot of emphasis on heat recovery from the mechanical ventilation system. basically using electricity to harvest what would otherwise be waste heat. think of what heat your standard dryer pumps out through a hole in the wall or the heat from your shower waster running into the nearby river.

All possible but expensive. I would guess an extra £24k to £30k to comply to save about £300 pa.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the good advice. Too much to reference individually but plenty of parts from everyone that has kept me thinking.

I know the site sold in summer 2020 “at a knockdown” as that was last chance for an owner to shape the FPP. As it was OPP before then. In the end fell through and landowner quickly paid and submitted FPP for generic 2500 sq ft 2 storey house.

agree with BelfastVI I do view site if bought at 100k as say 25k for the 5k land and 75k for the 1k building plot

I’ve met onsite with the local architect who designed the house and asked many questions . I guess the key ones were

a) would you get something 3500 sq ft? YES shouldn’t be a problem

b) could the house be positioned further back? - PROBABLY , might need to rotate slightly angle of the house

c) any restrictions made design - NO, a two story 3500 sq ft should be fine , no major restrictions on design unless very whacky!

D) garage ? - would be fine 

houses on either side are two storey etc 

everything sounds fairly positive speaking to architect.

I guess before we MIGHT make offer and part with money on back of one opinion of what you can build on the site....I’m wondering where is best to get a second opinion on what could be done with the site and does that match our hopes / first opinion we got ?

thanks 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, getdoon_weebobby said:

Thanks for all the good advice. Too much to reference individually but plenty of parts from everyone that has kept me thinking.

I know the site sold in summer 2020 “at a knockdown” as that was last chance for an owner to shape the FPP. As it was OPP before then. In the end fell through and landowner quickly paid and submitted FPP for generic 2500 sq ft 2 storey house.

agree with BelfastVI I do view site if bought at 100k as say 25k for the 5k land and 75k for the 1k building plot

I’ve met onsite with the local architect who designed the house and asked many questions . I guess the key ones were

a) would you get something 3500 sq ft? YES shouldn’t be a problem

b) could the house be positioned further back? - PROBABLY , might need to rotate slightly angle of the house

c) any restrictions made design - NO, a two story 3500 sq ft should be fine , no major restrictions on design unless very whacky!

D) garage ? - would be fine 

houses on either side are two storey etc 

everything sounds fairly positive speaking to architect.

I guess before we MIGHT make offer and part with money on back of one opinion of what you can build on the site....I’m wondering where is best to get a second opinion on what could be done with the site and does that match our hopes / first opinion we got ?

thanks 

Talk to planning. If you can get through to them. They'll give you an idea of what's realistic. 

 

Edited by 2buyornot2buy
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Spoke with planning and also architect. Planning person I spoke with  say placing house behind neighbours probably wouldn’t be approved. However Architects opinion is to submit plans again for the generic house , but situated further back. His opinion is this is only way to know for sure and he can cite a local example of infill site that was just approved further back than the neighbours either side (I actually know the house in question). Would mean us paying £433 to resubmit , without us even owning the site ! Thoughts !?

Link to post
Share on other sites

So the house has planning approved for a very generic house. So I put in an offer of £x subject to planning being approved to re-site the house further back in the plot ? Sounds sensible.

I will still thereafter have to submit plans again for our own design assuming that it will also be approved on the further back footprint.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, getdoon_weebobby said:

So the house has planning approved for a very generic house. So I put in an offer of £x subject to planning being approved to re-site the house further back in the plot ? Sounds sensible.

I will still thereafter have to submit plans again for our own design assuming that it will also be approved on the further back footprint.  

Yes, you’ll probably have to explain your plans to the agent/vendor to let them understand that you’re not planning on submitting an unrealistic application. If the planning app is realistic and you can support it with reports and feedback from architects etc, then they might be happy to give you time to go for it. You can exchange contracts on that basis, so they have the sale secured, and you have the site secured knowing that nobody else can nip in ahead of you while you’re going through planning.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The architect who suggested I submit the same plans but re-sitted further back is the same architect who drew up the generic plans for a 4 bed house for the site owner to stop his OOP running out after three years. So he’s talking with me and the site owner so I think agreeing a price subject to planning could be feasible.

However I think there is no way the seller would wait around for us to decide from scratch what design we actually want as that’s bound to take us 6 months (want to go 80% passivehaus).

therefore there could still be a risk we agree sake basis getting the existing site moved but that subsequently our own design doesn’t actually get approval ?

Also if they left it the full three years on the OOP  does that mean there’s only 2 years left on the FPP on this generic design or on a different design we come up with to get foundations in the ground ?

Link to post
Share on other sites

You’d be better walking away than spending time and effort on the wrong house.  I built a few years ago and if I ever do it again I’d take my time and get every detail right.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Where I am is I like the site but would prefer if it stood further back than the current planning. Thinking do I make an offer of £x basis subject to approval of the current house design being approved further back and we pay for the re-siting (think it’s £433).

that way we know the site is approved for further back but we don’t know that we definitely get our own design approved in the position of the generic  house. However it’s an infill site and everything I’ve heard from planning / architect is shouldn’t be an issue getting plannng for 3500 sq fr house on the site of this already approved 2500 sq fr sire. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, getdoon_weebobby said:

Where I am is I like the site but would prefer if it stood further back than the current planning. Thinking do I make an offer of £x basis subject to approval of the current house design being approved further back and we pay for the re-siting (think it’s £433).

that way we know the site is approved for further back but we don’t know that we definitely get our own design approved in the position of the generic  house. However it’s an infill site and everything I’ve heard from planning / architect is shouldn’t be an issue getting plannng for 3500 sq fr house on the site of this already approved 2500 sq fr sire. 

 

Yes. Complete subject to the conditions you've set out. All obviously depends on how much interest there is. Planning could take a number of months. 

You could offer to pay the legals in the event of a failed sale as a sweetener but again depends on the interest. 

Edited by 2buyornot2buy
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, getdoon_weebobby said:

Where I am is I like the site but would prefer if it stood further back than the current planning. Thinking do I make an offer of £x basis subject to approval of the current house design being approved further back and we pay for the re-siting (think it’s £433).

that way we know the site is approved for further back but we don’t know that we definitely get our own design approved in the position of the generic  house. However it’s an infill site and everything I’ve heard from planning / architect is shouldn’t be an issue getting plannng for 3500 sq fr house on the site of this already approved 2500 sq fr sire. 

 

You would need to get on and apply for the changes, they will take months to do an approval.  The only way you can find out is to make the application.  If it was me I would shake on a price and get a contract to buy subject to planning and searches coming back in your favour.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 24/04/2021 at 20:02, satsuma said:

You’d be better walking away than spending time and effort on the wrong house.  I built a few years ago and if I ever do it again I’d take my time and get every detail right.

 

3 hours ago, satsuma said:

You would need to get on and apply for the changes, they will take months to do an approval.  The only way you can find out is to make the application.  If it was me I would shake on a price and get a contract to buy subject to planning and searches coming back in your favour.  

Quite the u-turn in advice from Saturday, from walking away to now entering into contract. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.