Is there such a thing as the new normal?

Jun 24, 2020

Excavator in action on site

We have been busy with new enquiries at Copperleaf including affordable homes and new build bespoke homes. One project in particular stood out this week which had some important considerations for all those who are considering purchasing a site for their own bespoke build.

The site in question was on the open market with the opportunity for a single storey home which had been granted planning permission on appeal. The site had been initially refused planning permission which whilst not ideal. Now the opportunity existed for two plots being marketed as a self-build opportunity.

Site engineer on a construction site

The site visit

Our client was in the process of purchasing one of these plots and had agreed a price to purchase and had instructed solicitors. All seemed in order and our site visit with the client was to view the site and work up some proposals accordingly to deliver.

We always try to establish the driver for the project as early as possible. Clearly our client was firmly into the process and in conversation gave us a timescale for delivery, asked the usual questions of cost and programme and advised that they would be sending over the drawings later that day in order for us to put a response together. The client was looking for this house to be a home for them and the programme was clearly important shall we say.

The process

Part of our process of putting a proposal together is often to look at any value engineering options that the client may wish to consider both from a specification and engineering point of view. This approach has often led to us being able to achieve the same outcome but with significant savings which ultimately make projects viable. However in this instance the project, which had been granted permission at appeal, had detailed a significant number of high cost specification materials.

Before all the designers, specifiers and architects scream at me that I shouldn’t be asking to water down the design, I am not. I think that we can all agree on is that when a sensitive sight gains planning for a bespoke property there is a certain disconnect between the custom build client and the landowner. Market forces take care of the price but the option to then take the site and design it to the clients specific needs is somewhat curtailed and therefore your client has embarked on a railroad path.

excavator in action

This is where the process of finding a specific site, albeit often with some compromise, needs to involve the whole team from architects to contractors, funders, surveyors and planners. The ability to explain to a land owner as to your intention also allows them to be realistic as to what they can achieve by backing you as the custom build client. Of course the landowner can always leave it to market forces to sell the site. They need to remember that they are assuming that the plot will suit somebody’s needs when they haven’t even met them yet!

Launch event

On 2nd July the Copperleaf group will be launching their new eight part guide, helping people who dream of building their perfect home.

Released weekly over eight weeks, each section will contain vital information which will form a step by step instruction manual for building a custom property. This guide is not only relevant to those wanting to build their dream home but equally relevant to those industries and associated businesses.

If you are a business dealing with this type of enquiry you will benefit from the guides. To deliver your clients dream home a number of collaborations will take place. The guides act as a conduit to ensure the whole team knows its roles and can complement each other. This applies to architects, surveyors, land agents and many others within the property sector. There will also be opportunity to freely contribute to the guides in the future as we develop this as a platform for custom build.

The guides are free and people interested in attending the virtual launch event on 2nd July at 10:30am can register their interest and find out more via the link