The Self Build Self Help Site Before Starting at Your Site
Sub header photo of a datum point
Just a few things regarding some very first tasks before building commences.

Check your boundaries

If your site is on its own then this piece of advice may not be appropriate. But if your plot is one of a number then, as soon as you can, check the boundaries (they should be marked out) - and set some pegs (2" by 2" timbers), in the ground, preferably set in some concrete. It is not uncommon for there to be boundary disputes - neighbours have nicked a few inches from their neighbouring plots, either by accident of design. You can also use one of the pegs as a height datum point when setting out.

These days, where there are adjoining plots, each plot owns one boundary, shown on the plans with a "T" character - make sure you know which is yours!

If you are considering work in an established dwelling, which may impact a boundary with a neighbour, make sure that you enter into a party wall agreement. If you do not follow this process and a dispute arises, a court will very likely determine that you should have pursued an agreement in order to protect your neighbour and find against you. Information can be found at the Communities and Local Government - The Party Wall etc Act 1996: explanatory booklet

Site Storage

Safe site storage is a must and the main options are a shipping container (many companies rent these out) or a wooden shed. Bear in mind that you may be storing valuable tools and materials and, if the likelihood of theft in the area is possible, then go for a shipping container.

If you are going for site storage, decide on the best location for the shed/container. It may be difficult to move once sited so decide on the best location at the start. Make sure that when the building is completed, the container can be accessed and removed. This should be done in conjunction with deciding where you will be accepting deliveries, especially of heavy/bulky items, sand (e.g. 10 ton loads) and other deliveries of aggregates. Bear in mind the stage when the building is at an advanced stage and scaffolding is up. How will the delivery lorries be able to get onto and exit the site?

Portable Toilet

If you decide on a portable toilet, ensure that it isn't sited in the way of deliveries, and that the weekly maintenance lorry can get to it (the hire company will advise when they deliver it). If you do find its not in the right place then they are not hard to move.

Is your site on a route to a pub? If so, be prepared for it to get pushed over - regularly! So take this into account when siting it, and consider whether it can be chained to anything.

It is a good idea to get one with a sink, its not much more expensive. You can even get get them a hot water supply but that's pampering the workers a bit too much!

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