How to Approach a Self-Build Home in London

27th September 2021

Constructing a new build home in London from the ground up will prove challenging for most homeowners, who have little experience in the construction industry. TV shows make this clear, with the highs and lows of project management and the inevitable tears when unexpected issues mean that that they are not going to be ‘in the house for Christmas.’ The challenge begins before the foundations are even excavated: with the question of how should you decide the type of house you want? And, find an architect who can make that vision a reality.

In terms of the scale and design of your future home, you are going to need to decide what you will use as your main driver. Are you open to having a non-standard floor plan? In which case you can utilise awkwardly shaped plots and backland sites. Or are you looking for a more traditional home with the benefit of things like off-street parking and a large garden? If that is the case, then more of your budget will need to be allocated for the site purchase as these types of sites are hotly contested when they become available.

Most homeowners who decide to self-build in London end up opting for smaller sites, but this doesn’t mean that the final home has to feel low-quality. A good design team will be able to think creatively to make the best use of space and create a home with bespoke features that fit your way of life. RIBAJ, The Architects’ Journal and Don’t Move, Improve! all run competitions which celebrate the best compact, contemporary designs being created today. These awards can be a prime resource to find inspiration images and begin assembling a mood board and outline brief that you can take to your design team

Though tight sights are hard to develop, they can push designers to create truly unique designs; for example, a timber-clad house perched on blue stilts! The size of the site presents challenges for several reasons and one of those is amenity space. Though your home can be as compact as you want, there are legal, minimum standards set out within the London Space Standards documentation.

For your proposal to secure planning permission, it will need to satisfy the basic criteria; are the bedrooms large enough, is there sufficient storage space, are the main living spaces large enough is there sufficient room in the kitchen for food prep and eating. If you are considering building a family home, it is worth bearing in mind that the larger the home is, the more amenity space the home will need to have. Increasingly local authorities are trying to nudge homeowners towards sustainable modes of transport like cycling: all those bicycles have to go somewhere!

As the architect sketches through options for the home’s massing and form, and its scale grows up and outward, partly to fit in the space requirements, but also to capture good levels of daylight, the new home must not negatively impair the views light levels of existing properties. If the amenity of neighbouring properties is significantly affected then your planning application may face a lot of local opposition. Just as important as amenity is privacy, as with domestic extensions, no one wants neighbours peering into their garden or their bathroom.

If you’re lucky enough to find an empty plot or a rundown home that you can demolish and rebuild then your home could end up looking fairly traditional. We’ve recently secured planning and constructed a home in Brookham’s Park. You can check out the final result here. If there are many constraints though, contemporary infill homes sometimes have external envelopes that are cut, tapered and filleted creating interesting shapes and angles.

Despite the general complexity of securing planning permission in an urban area like London, we’ve built up years of expertise that means we have a good sense of whether the principle of the development seems likely to be approved based on the brief, location and potential constraints. Our goal is for you to enjoy a smooth process that results in you having a home that you love – therefore, we never take on a project where we feel that planning permission is unlikely to be approved. During the design stages, our team use their experience and up-to-date knowledge of planning policies to give your application the best chance of success.

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jemsmith1
jemsmith1
10:44 23 Dec 20
We have used Detailed Planning a couple of times now for planning issues related to our nursery business and they have... always been efficient and communicative and got the result we needed.read more
Francesca Malone
Francesca Malone
19:02 28 Oct 20
We have used Detailed Planning to help design and obtain planning for our single story extension converting our one... bedroom flat to a two bed. We have found them to be extremely helpful, communicating the process and how things work throughout. We were particularly happy with their ability to negotiate our extension depth with the planning office, resulting in 3.5 metres instead of the permitted 3m, which was crucial for our space to work. We look forward to working with them for the rest of the project.read more
Sharon Marsh
Sharon Marsh
15:51 21 Oct 20
We used Detailed planning for a loft conversion and side extension. Very helpful guidance with respect to what would be... allowed by the Planning department. Very efficient service. Would highly recommendread more
Christian Constantinides
Christian Constantinides
19:07 10 Oct 20
I used Detailed Planning for a new build home in the London Borough of Enfield. They managed initial feasibility and... concept design, the planning application process, building regulation drawings and support throughout the build. All in all the entire service was fantastic and I would certainly use Detailed Planning for future projects.read more
Claire M
Claire M
12:52 15 Jun 20
I hired Detailed Planning for the design of my loft extension along with the corresponding planning permission... application. Absolutely brilliant service.They know exactly what they're doing. They were open to my design changes whilst keeping a sharp eye on local council requirements. I'm so pleased - planning permission was granted sooner than expected with no changes. Thanks so much!read more
Komal Lulle
Komal Lulle
08:35 28 May 20
Excellent team and superb service. They are best a there job and they provide guidance, support, work and plan... according to your requirement. And do not hesitate in making changes until you are satisfied. Truly recommend themread more
Emma cheevers
Emma cheevers
15:00 20 May 20
Paul and his team were absolutely excellent to work with. I couldn't recommend them more. So professional, quick and... always ready with advice. Really enjoyed the experienceread more
Mel D
Mel D
21:03 13 May 20
Paul & Emily are fantastic, they have done everything from start to finish for our planning permission and technical... drawings and the quality of their work is very high (I guess it is in the name - detailed!) They have been patient with all our design changes, provided lots of advice, walked us through the process of who to engage with, when etc. and were always responsive and helpful when we have questions both via email and phone. This is our first major project and we are doing a loft conversion and remodelling the entire house so to have this support has been invaluable and well worth the money. We actually found them on trust a trader and obtained a few other quotes, DP was the most reasonable price wise, had the right qualifications, good reviews and a big plus was their well evidenced portfolio of work & experience in the area. It was a no brainier and they really have delivered beyond our expectations, most things have also been done via emails and zoom calls so the flexibility was there which really worked for us, would recommend them to anyone!read more
Gopinath V
Gopinath V
16:14 24 Jan 20
Detailed Planning were recommended to me by a friend. Right from their initial visit and all the way through to the... finished plans, they were very good and we could not have asked for better service. Paul and Emily were always very good in their work they answered every query we had and solved every issue that we encountered during the planning They work extremely well with their recommended engineer, surveyor and building control company to deliver a very good package. Thank you Paul, Emily for your excellent work, We can't wait for our extension to be completed.read more
Ornela Haxhia
Ornela Haxhia
11:48 09 Jan 20
We found Paul and Emily very professional, insightful and helpful during the planning approval stages of a rear... extension to our property. They provided us with regular timely updates. We highly recommend. We have already passed on their details to friends who are looking to make changes to their property in the summar.read more
Nicky Freedman
Nicky Freedman
19:51 23 Dec 19
Nothing a problem for the team at Detailed Planning, helpful, always at the end of phone, attentive and reliable and a... fast efficient service. Would definitely recommend and use again.read more
Stephanie Coward
Stephanie Coward
11:09 18 Dec 19
The service provided by Detailed Planning was exceptional, with fast response times and excellent communication... throughout the project. We would definitely recommend Detailed Planning and look forward to working with Paul and the team again in the future.read more
Oliver Jenkinson
Oliver Jenkinson
19:30 21 Nov 19
Pro active and efficient and got the job done.
Vinay Rughani
Vinay Rughani
18:55 20 Jun 19
Detailed Planning were recommended to me by a friend. We found their prices very reasonable so instructed them to draw... up plans for our extension. Right from their initial visit and all the way through to the finished plans we could not have asked for better service. Paul and Emily were always very easy to get hold of, which I'm told is not the case for all architects. They answered every query we had and solved every issue that we encountered during the planning and party wall agreements with minimal fuss and in good time. They even sorted our build over agreement for our manhole to be moved. They work extremely well with their recommended engineer, surveyor and building control company to deliver a very good package. Thank you Paul, Emily and everyone at Detailed Planning. We can't wait for our extension to be completed.read more
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