If you thought the most important part of constructing a new home was selecting a builder and choosing a floor plan, think again. The success of a building project actually starts with something a lot simpler: lot selection. Here’s why your lot is critical to building success.
Hidden Rock Can Cost a Bundle
Most people don’t realize underground rock can be a problem until it happens to them. What looks like a perfect lot with ideal soil and no major clearing to be done suddenly turns into a nightmare when the digging equipment reaches a foot below the surface and hits rock. Whether it’s bedrock, old concrete that’s been buried over time or smaller boulders, rock can slow the construction process to a crawl, and can require the use of massive machines, core drilling or other specialist trades, and all that costs a lot of money.
Water Tables Can Cause Havoc
If you choose a lot with a high water table, you’re likely to find construction becomes an expensive nightmare very quickly. From the best-case scenario where pumps are required to keep excavations free of water, to worst case where significant design changes are required to ensure your home is stable, there’s always a cost associated with lots that have high water tables.
Not to mention that if they’re in an area where the ground freezes, you’ll have to account for frost heave while building.
Slopes Cause Design Headaches
Have you ever noticed that in most parts of the world, the richest people tend to live on the hills and mountains? The view is part of the reason, but it also costs significantly more to build on steep inclines, so they might be the only people brave enough to tackle the project!
When you build on a slope, you have two options, depending on the gradient and other factors: excavate and fill until you have a level area to build, or design a one of a kind home that is adapted to the gradient. Neither is a cheap option. If you don’t have the budget to make those kinds of custom changes to the design and construction, rather opt for a lot that’s already level.
Lot Position Can Affect Price and Design
Corner lots tend to be larger, but there is typically less usable space on the lot, as traffic regulations and building setbacks will cut out a large portion of the area. Lots opposite T-junctions also present problems, as they will be directly in the path of any oncoming headlights. Your home may need to be designed so your sleeping and living rooms are not directly facing the road.
If you’re looking to build a new home, it’s often a good idea to choose planned communities. Earthworks and grading will have been done, there will be geotechnical and water table surveys on hand, and there are far less likely to be any lot-related surprises awaiting you.