The Building Site


Assuming that you intend to build your new home in a rural setting and that you have a choice of site, then there are many considerations. Firstly make sure that the orientation is reasonably favourable and compatible with your chosen design and that the new house will sit well into the existing environment. The dimensions of the site must be adequate to contain the dwelling, entrance and all the services. Check with your local Planning Department, in some areas, the size of your site is directly related to the floor area of the proposed dwelling.
In all probability a public sewer will not be available and you will need to construct a waste water treatment facility to service the house. The suitability of the receiving ground will need to be determined by a qualified Environmental Scientist and the system designed on a site specific basis. The current standard to be achieved is known as the EPA Code of Practice: Wastewater Treatment and Disposal systems serving single houses (P.E. less than or equal to 10) 2009.
The era of the old septic tank has long since passed and there are many forms of sustainable systems available to process domestic waste. The general contours of your site should be observed and in all cases where you are purchasing a site, the contract should be completed subject to Planning Permission and allowing you access to conduct percolation and bearing capacity tests as necessary.
Surface water from your new house site and roof water will have to be disposed of within the site boundary. Rainwater may be disposed of to soakaways or local drains. Blueprint Home Plans recommends that you take a sustainable view and use a rainwater harvesting system. This involves an underground storage tank and a basic treatment system. The treated water may be used for toilets, laundry machines, gardening and vehicle washing.
A call to the local Planning Department will determine if the proposed site is a high pressure development area, if there are any restrictions in relation to road development, and if any previous applications have been granted or refused on the land. If you feel that this type of investigative work would be difficult, engage your local Architect to undertake this work on your behalf. The fee should be reasonable and you will have a written report. The purchase of your site will require the assistance of your legal advisor who will play a vital role at this stage of the proceedings.
You can easily conduct a detailed assessment of your site at an early stage. See if there are any utility cables or poles crossing or adjacent to your site. If that is the case make enquiries from the utility provider in relation to relocating cables or poles that affect your house location. Walk the site and take note of the ground conditions. Is the site level below the general local contours, was the site filled and are there any water bearing plants in existence? Is the ground marshy or soft underfoot? Read over the Ordnance Survey maps for the area and take note of the Townland. This may give you an indication of ground conditions. Marshtown, Railway Glebe, Stonefield, fictional of course, but you can appreciate the suggestions! In the case of suspect ground conditions, your budget could be seriously affected. If in doubt consult your local Structural or Civil Engineer. A small fee could save considerable time and money.


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