Choosing a Building Site for Your Custom Home Design

Once someone has come to the decision to build a new home the next step is often choosing a building site. There are many factors in choosing a building site. Consider asking yourself a question regarding the location of your new home: is it in good proximity to work, shopping and schools, or does recreation, a scenic view or an ideal setting outweigh the demands of a daily routine? This is where your selection process should start, and it’s important. Our homes are the place that we come back to at the end of each and every day. They need to be a place that we want to come back to at the end of our daily activities and a place to be proud to call our own.

Contacting a professional at this stage of the home design process can be key to the fulfillment of your dreams. The advice of an architect or a residential designer can also help you avoid unforeseen difficulties with a potential site. A good designer knows where to go to investigate property easements, riparian setbacks, soils reports and zoning bylaw information. Can you even build the intended home on the subject property? Are there going to be unforeseen development costs? Residential designers can provide the answers to many of these questions.

Years of wisdom also help designers work with you as you consider sight-lines, seasonal weather patterns, wind direction, sun angles and site grading to develop a schematic site analysis. Other distinct site attributes will also be noticed by your designer including existing vegetation, either to be retained or removed. Some municipalities even have tree bylaws that impose heavy fines for the removal of certain trees. Looking at these and other factors lays the proper groundwork for a home that will have every room in it’s proper place with it’s intended function.

Recently a potential client contacted me and asked to interview me. I suggested meeting at the site and they agreed that it would be a good idea to do so. While on site I asked if they were aware of the current zoning restrictions and that the front triangle of the property belonged to the city. Though they had contacted other designers about the planning of the home, no-one had mentioned these issues to them. Further, they were due to close on the property the very next day! I accompanied them to city hall to have the issues clarified. In the end they backed out of the purchase of the lot and are looking for another building site, avoiding an additional $120,000 in land acquisition and development permit costs plus 8 months of legal process. Surely, there is value in the advice of a multitude of councilors!