10 Things to Consider When Getting Self Build Planning Permission

Getting self-build planning permission has become increasingly popular in recent years, as people are forging their own way in the property market, buying land and imprinting their creativity in to their homes.

There are some amazing self-build properties in the UK, and although in recent years it’s been acknowledged that this country lags behind the rest of Europe when it comes to self-build, there have been some enormous gains in both cultural attitude and legal policy. As pointed out by our infographic on Planning & Housing Applications in the UK, there is chronic shortage of new houses being built, and applying for self-build planning permission many see as good way of helping circumvent the issue.

Self Build Planning Permission

In this blog post, we will look at 10 things you will need to consider if you are thinking about planning permission for a self-build project. Of course there a number of important aspects to consider in your self-build, but with the right advice and direction it’s likely to be a fantastic experience and one you’ll remember for a long time!

Visit Self Build Events

One of the first steps is to take stock of the market. Talk to people and fully appreciate what it is you’re going to be getting yourself in to. Events and exhibitions like the Home Building Show and the National Self Build and Renovation Show are great places to go – you’ll soon get an idea of the direction you’re going to take and how ambitious you’re going to be visiting one of these  alongside other self-builders


Of course you’ll need to know what kind of money is available for your self-build project. Set a realistic budget, but always allow a contingency of about 10% to 15% and consult the appropriate independent financial advisor to ensure you are making the most of any deals, funds or rates that are available to you. Try not to deviate from original plans  

Source of Finance

There are generally three ways of funding a self-build project.

  • Using savings
  • Selling your existing home
  • Borrowing the money. You will still generally need a sizeable deposit, but this is a popular option as you may be able to borrow up to 75% of the land cost, and 60% of the build cost.


Deciding what sort of space you are looking for depends on your priorities and requirements. Is outdoor space important? Do you need extra space for outbuildings, sheds and garages? Do you have an ideal view in mind? Setting these parameters early on in the process will determine what kind of land you look for.

Sourcing Land

There are a number of ways to go about finding land, even before you apply for any sort of self-build planning permission. There are online search databases such as Plot Finder, Plot Browser and Plot Search, and the usual online sources also list self-build plots. Local auctions are a good place to go, as are high quality maps of areas in which land may be neglected or untended. Local knowledge is a massive advantage in this area – the Self Build Portal has an excellent article on finding a plot with links to useful sites and resources.

Self-Build Planning Permission?

It goes without saying that land with existing planning permission sells for a higher value, so if you have bought a bargain piece of land it’s likely self-build planning permission will need to be sought. Initially, check if the land has outline planning permission – in which permission has initially been granted for a new structure without knowing the specifics of size, design and layout. It is vital a planning application is drafted correctly and the requirements involved are fully appreciated and understood. The experience of solicitors such as Kingsley Smith makes a big difference when it comes to applying for planning permission.

Where will you live?

While you’re building your property you will of course need somewhere to live if you have already sold your previous house. In an ideal world you could stay in your existing property, but depending on the nature of your self –build and the state of your finances this may not be possible. One of the most usual, and flexible, options is to rent – but many people opt for static caravans or cabins on site to enable them to progress with the build as often as possible.


Especially if it’s the first time you’ve completed such a project, it’s likely that any self-build you carry out will have to be assisted by friends and family, and if possible, people who have done and completed their dream home themselves. The more hands on deck the possible – although it’s a good idea to have a timeframe in mind it can’t be underestimated how much these projects take.

Cables, Communications, Drainage & Access

The land you buy and apply for self-build planning permission on needs to adhere to certain criteria in order for it to be suitable to build on. There are a number of options and creative solutions available, but fundamentally for a piece of land to become a building plot, it must have vehicular access. Hard standing for offloading is also generally required. You will also need to think about water, drainage and how easy it’s going to be to get electricity, communications and other cables to the site.

Dealing with Nature

If building on a previously undeveloped piece of land, it’s often the most appealing aspects of the area that can cause the most issues. Adverse conditions such as sandy soils or rocky ground can affect building suitability, and if there are a number of trees on the land you may have to deal with Tree Preservation Orders. More information about Nature and Tree Preservation orders can be found on the Homebuilding and Renovating website.

Committing to a self-build on a fresh piece of land will inevitably at first feel like a daunting prospect. With the right planning, approach and frame of mind however it’s a completely achievable prospect for most people. You will need to seek the right advice and guidance – solicitors like Kingsley Smith can guide you through the self-build planning permission process and ensure you are receiving the very best advice possible – contact us today for more information.

T: 01634 811118
E: mail@kslaw.co.uk