Soil Surveys for Self Build
Undertaking a soil survey before starting on site could save you thousands in the long run, says Project Manager for Potton’s Elsworth show home build, Brent Ackerman.
Before buying a plot, a soil investigation and survey is a good idea to assess the type of foundation likely to be necessary for your new build. A soil survey can provide you with detailed insight into the characteristics of the ground on your plot, and determine the quality of the earth and highlight any anomalies in the ground conditions which you may need to consider before progressing to groundworks stage.
When I talk to self builders about budgeting, one of the biggest ‘grey areas’ is the foundations. I usually advise that a ground investigation should be carried out which includes a soil survey. From the results of this survey a foundation can be engineer-designed that is the most economical for the site.
Is a survey really necessary?
Is it necessary to carry out a soil survey — ‘why don’t you just start digging?’ you may ask. While it isn’t absolutely necessary, when you are planning your budget the last thing you want is nasty surprises, and there can be many lurking beneath the soil. For an outlay of £1,000-£2,000 it can be money well spent to avoid the unforeseen when on site.
If there are problems with the site these may come to light when a survey is conducted. Technical issues such as poor soil composition or poor drainage are all things that would add costs to your build budget and you should be aware of these upfront.
Ideally this sort of information should be available before you purchase the plot, but sadly this isn’t often the case. So, unless you want to allow a lot more in your contingency you should get a survey done as soon as possible. It may just save you a lot of money in the long run.