The first step when you decide to build your own house is to choose a land for it. In this brief review, we will not discuss the obvious characteristics of the site as amazing landscape, the existence of water/gas/electricity supply, the presence of the infrastructure elements, kind neighbours etc. Of course, all these are really important, however, you are already able to decide what features are the main for you and what suits your budget.
Here we will talk about some hidden aspects which everyone will face once the construction is started, but which are not so well-known. The real-estate market is mostly about the profit and only your knowledge could protect you from wasting tons of money for nothing.
First of all, don’t be afraid to ask for the geological and topographical survey. The type of the soil and its characteristics are super important. Soil-related problems might cost millions of dollars to the house owner in future, thus you need to know what is the “hidden” price of the land.
If the current owner does not have it, consider the variant to order the survey before the deal, its price is nothing comparing to the complications which could reveal after.
If there are some neighbours, do not hesitate to ask them. Probably they have the same type of soils and can tell you if there are some problems in general, for example, a low level of ground water etc.
Depending on the composition of the ground you will have a variety of constructive possibilities for the basement of the house. Precise calculation of the cost could be done only when the structural drawings of the house are made, however, from the beginning you can understand the approximate expenses.
a. Piled wall + Capping beam. This type of scheme is used when the top part of the soil cannot carry the load, so we insert piles deeply in the ground to reach the soil with good co-efficient of permeability value. The method is universal, could be applied in a lot of cases, however, it is quite expensive.
b. Stripe concrete basement is the classical one for the private houses. Under each structural wall, there is a basement part. You can find prefabricated blocks in the market, which can save time and money during the construction.
c. Concrete slab. The house is put on a thick concrete plate and can literally float in the ground. Of course, the amplitude is very small, so you should not be afraid of this movement. In fact, concrete slab basement is very simple and secure scheme which protects your house from cracks in future. The cost is more or less comparable with stripe basement.
d. Screwpiles. Quite modern technology which has a big potential for use. It is very convenient when we build in the forest and don’t want to damage the roots of trees.
Try also to think about future landscape design. What is the average relief do you want to see? Maybe you would like to separate functional zones on the site activating different ground levels? Depending on the geological report you might need a barrier, such as retaining wall to support the ground and they gonna be very expensive. In our practice, we met cases when the price for the constructive elements to reinforce the soil on the site costs 50% of house construction. Such contribution is significant, keep it mind when real estate broker tries to convince you to buy a land with the best view in the world without making a survey of the soils.
In our next articles, we will describe next steps to choose a right land for the house of your dream.
Read our blog and stay tuned!