What Surveys Do I Need To Do Before Building A House?

New House Construction

It’s no secret that building a house is a major undertaking that requires careful planning and preparation. You’ll no doubt have asked yourself if you’re really feeling ready to take on something as enormous as this already. However, given how the property market has been behaving over the last couple of years, there’s more reason to commit than ever before. Building your own home means that you can create something that is tailor-made for you. You have the final say over everything from the rooms’ placement to the front door’s colour. But you’re also going to be the one who can prove that you’re going to be able to be able to turn these dreams into reality.

Several surveys need to be carried out to ensure that the site is suitable for the building before any construction work can begin. Professionals need to check that any potential risks are identified and mitigated. In this article, we’ll explore the surveys you need to do before building a house.

Topographical Surveys

A topographical survey is essential. This survey is going to provide detailed information about the site’s terrain. That will include the location of any natural or man-made features like trees, rocks, and structures that are already there. This information is then used to develop a site plan and make sure that the building is going to be fit for purpose. The last thing you want is to turn up with a team of builders ready to go only to discover that there’s simply no way that a building can work there.

Ground Investigations

Ground investigations are carried out to assess the quality and stability of the soil. They’ll also identify any potential issues that may impact the construction of the house. These investigations may include boreholes, soil testing, and geophysical surveys.

The results of the ground investigations will inform the design of the house’s foundation and may also affect the choice of the construction method. One of the reasons why these kinds of surveys are so important is climate change’s impact on water levels and flooding. It doesn’t seem like there’s been a winter in recent memory where there weren’t reports of major flooding, does it? Well, constant flooding means that the ground may be less secure than it once was. A ground investigation can help you to not only check that you can build where you want to, but that it’s going to be sturdy enough to support your home in the years to come. We’ll come back to flood risks in just a moment.

House construction

Ecological Surveys

Ecological surveys are required to assess the impact of the construction on the local wildlife and their habitats. These surveys may include surveys for bats, reptiles, birds, and other protected species. They will identify any protected species that may be affected by the construction and provide recommendations on how to avoid or mitigate any potential impacts.

If protected species are identified, the developer may need to apply for a license to disturb or harm them or modify the design of the house to avoid affecting their habitat. Ecological surveys can seem like a daunting proposition precisely because there are so many different species that you’ll need to factor in. But a good ecological consultancy firm will take all of this off your hands and they’ll be able to tell you what you’re looking at quickly. Arbtech has expert ecological consultants based around the UK with experience in a broad range of different surveys. They also offer a full money-back guarantee if your plan is subsequently rejected by the council.

Archaeological Surveys

You might be forgiven for thinking this one might not be necessary, but you’d be surprised. They’re conducted to look for historical or archaeological features on the site that may be of cultural or historical significance. You might be looking at desk-based assessments, geophysical surveys, or trial excavations.

The developer may need to modify the design of the house to avoid affecting them or work with the relevant authorities to ensure their preservation if these surveys turn anything up.

Utility Surveys

From Indiana Jones to something a little more day-to-day! Utility surveys will simply check what utilities are already on site or nearby, such as gas, water, and electricity. This information is used to ensure that the design of the house does not interfere with existing utilities and to plan for the installation of new utilities as needed. This is particularly important if you’re building a new property anywhere near existing houses because you don’t want to be messing with pipes or wiring that is there for someone else.

Flood Risk Assessments

Back to flooding! Yes, you’ll need to have a separate flood risk assessment done when you’re building a house. These surveys assess the potential for flooding on the site and to identify any measures that you might need to take to reduce the risk of any damage. This may include measures such as raising the level of the house above the flood level, installing flood barriers, or creating additional drainage channels.

Flood risk assessments are particularly important for sites located near rivers, streams, or other bodies of water. The fact is that extreme weather events are only going to become more frequent. You don’t want to miss this one if you want to make sure your house stays above water level.

Planning Permission

Finally, you absolutely must get planning permission before beginning construction on a house. The people reviewing these surveys are going to be checking that your design is appropriate for the site and meets local planning regulations.

You’ll need to make a detailed application that includes a site plan, drawings of the proposed house, and details of any proposed landscaping or other site improvements. It’s a good idea to do this as early as you can. It’s true that you’ll need to get fairly far along the process in order to have a detailed proposal, but failure to get planning permission will stop you in your tracks.

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