The Self Build Self Help Site The Build Process

A one-stop shop of information for people interested in self build - whether self building a complete home or undertaking an extension, renovation or modification.

The Build Process

Building Control Permission

Your architect will also produce the detailed plans required in order to proceed with the build - and gain prior Building Control permission (unless you proceed under Building Notice). This is a separate matter to gaining planning permission, involving different people - and another fee. At this stage you can proceed in one of 2 ways:-
  1. Full Plans application
  2. The giving of a Building Notice
Radon gas

At an early stage, you will need to find out the level of Radon gas in the area. The architect will be able to make the necessary application for the search (requires a fee) and will then include the appropriate measure into the detailed building plans. For more information on Radon, and to view a Radon map of the UK, visit the Health Protection Agency. Note. The map should not replace the search, which will tell you what level of Radon protection you need - the levels of Radon protection are outlined at the British Geological Survey site .

For more information on planning, visit this very comprehensive site - The Planning Portal the UK Government's online planning and building regulations resource for England and Wales.

Building Regs. can be obtained from the Planning Portal Building Regulations Approved Documents site or 2007 Approved UK Building Regulations site.

A Full Plans application

For a Full Plans application, you should get the plans submitted well in advance of your planned start date - check with Building Control on their timescales, or your architect may know. These plans basically ensure that Building Regulations are met at the design stage and Building Control inspections (see below) are made to ensure that the build proceeds in accordance with design. Visit the Local Authority Building Control site for more very comprehensive information. The plans submitted generally consist of:
  1. block plan and site section
  2. typical cross sections
  3. foundation / drainage
  4. floor plans / setting out plans
  5. elevations
  6. floor joist plan
  7. roof plan
The plans will show all constructional details necessary to allow builders to complete the build and meet building regs. If there are to be any structural calculations then your architect will use the services of a structural engineer to produce them. Such calculations will be required for anything that cannot be read off tables - such as loadings for balconies, the use of steel joists, retaining walls.

Your architect will, as part of the design process, to meet Part L1A of the Building Regulations, calculate the insulation requirements by using information from the SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) calculation. See for more information on SAP.

The Local Authority will comprehensively check a Full Plans application before passing or rejecting it. If they are satisfied that the work detailed on the plans complies with the regulations, you will then be given a "Conditional Approval of Building Plans" which normally has a number of conditions - these are generally a few highlighted aspects of Building Regulations.

Building Notice

Less detailed plans are required for the Building Notice procedure. No approved notice is given under this procedure. The advantage of a Building Notice procedure is that it allows you to carry out works without the necessity to prepare full plans. The disadvantage of this approach is that, if you do not comply with the regulations, you may have to later correct any non-compliant work at the request of the Local Authority.

Building Control Approval for lesser works

If you are carrying out building modifications, extensions etc. you may or may not need to submit plans and gain Building Control approval - check out whether you need approval via the sites : Communities and Local Government - Planning, building and the environment and Planning Portal - Building Regulations .

Contacting the Utility Companies

Contact the appropriate service suppliers as soon as possible. Water and electricity will be your first requirement. You can get these services put in to temporary positions but getting this done will still take some time. Further information on provision of services is in the Advice section Services.

Identifying your Materials Suppliers

Unless you want to throw money at your build, you can make some good monetary savings by finding the right suppliers for the right goods. You will need to have an account with at least one general builders merchants, but you will be able to gain savings on certain types of materials by buying direct from the source suppliers. Further information on buying materials is in the Advice section Buying Materials. Make sure you know who your rep. is and always order your materials through him - he should get you the best discounts.

If you are building in the south of England, consider RGC Building Supplies for your building materials. RGC Building Supplies can supply you with everything, from kitchens and bathrooms, through to paint and wallpapers, with daily deliveries to your site. RGC building Supplies logo

Engagement of Contractors.

Contractors (or yourself) are needed immediately for starting the groundworks or, before that, for clearing the site and/or preparing for any required retaining walls. Further information on engaging contractors is in the Advice section Hiring Contractors.
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