Here, we answer some of the questions we are frequently asked about the opportunities at Graven Hill and what is involved with creating your dream home in this superb location.

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  • What is a Plot Passport?

    A Plot Passport is unique to each self-build plot. It tells you everything you need to know about that plot of land so you can see if it meets your needs.

    It will tell you the total size of the plot, the maximum gross internal area (GIA) and the maximum height of the building, as well as other vital information such as acceptable building material, how main services are provided and the likely ground conditions.

    Following the rules and guidelines within the Plot Passport will help to get your planning application fast-tracked. If there are elements of your build that you would like to change that do not fit within the Plot Passport guidelines, these will need to be approved by Graven Hill prior to submitting your plans through the reserved matters process.

    See a sample Plot Passport.

  • How much does it cost to build at Graven Hill?

    When you purchase a plot at Graven Hill, as well as the land you also purchase the ground floor slab, foundations and drainage system which are totally bespoke to your design. In addition, services are terminated at the plot boundary for future connections to be made by you.  The reason we have chosen this route is we are transferring to you a partially built home, rather than bare land.  In tax speak this means the sale constitutes “the grant of a first major interest in a residential dwelling”, which attracts a zero rating for VAT under current HMRC rules. In simple terms we do not have to include the VAT we have incurred in providing the roads, footways, drainage and landscaping which service the plot within your purchase price.

    Once you have decided on the design and construction method of your home, and obtained planning permission, we will take your technical drawings and design your substructure, foundations and drainage.  Once agreed, we will construct them using a contractor approved by Premier Guarantee, the provider of the structural guarantee for your property.  This takes the hassle out of things for you as we take away the headache of the riskiest part of any build – the ground conditions.  Once the scope of works is finalised and we have provided a cost to you, this price is fixed regardless of actual ground conditions encountered or the impact of our wonderful weather i.e. we bear the risk.  Not only can you trust that the works are being carried out by a quality, approved contractor but, by grouping the foundations together, the cost of supervision and equipment is shared between you and your neighbours’ plots, which also helps to keep the cost down.  We also provide you with a 10-year structural warranty from Premier Guarantee and will dispose of the excavated material from your plot; which means by the time we have finished the groundworks, you’ll be fully equipped to start building that dream home!

    So, now comes the question of cost.  Once the technical drawings, which are designed to accommodate the specific requirements of your home including things such as hard standings and topsoil, are agreed we will be able to give you a guaranteed price for your bespoke foundations.  This price includes the resources needed to lay the foundations including the construction workers, equipment, infrastructure, testing and work. It also includes the provision of points of connection for power, water, telecoms and gas which you will then extend to your home. You can use water and power from the points of connection during your building works but will need to arrange installation of a meter for electricity. As these supplies are yours, you will meet the cost of the electricity or water used. The final Golden Brick price reflects your individual design and the characteristics of your chosen plot, so once you tell us exactly what you need, and we have designed your foundations, we will be able to let you know how much it will cost.  Everyone’s dream home is different and so is their foundations. Remember a ‘golden rule’ for avoiding unnecessary costs before you have even got out of the ground is to minimise changes in direction and load-bearing walls or extra elements which require foundations to support them.

    Throughout this process, you will have a Customer Journey Project Manager who will be your main point of contact. They will provide a schedule of what information Graven Hill requires and when, so you know what is expected and who to talk to if you have any questions.

    Now you know more about the Golden Brick process, here’s the important question…how do you pick the perfect plot?  We have a few handy hints to help you along the way:

    • Consider the orientation of the plot. If a south facing garden is a must, make sure you check that out before you start.
    • Keep it simple! Just because you can build to a certain gross internal area doesn’t mean you have to. Remember, the bigger and more complex the design, the more expensive it is to deliver. Decide what is important to you and stick to it!
    • Consider the number of load bearing walls – the more you have, the higher the cost of the foundations.
    • Study your Plot Passport, it is an invaluable resource which will guide you to the most suitable plot.
    • Understand how the ground conditions influence your build. The deeper the foundations need to be, the deeper your pockets will need to be.
    • Look at the slope or gradient change; changing the levels may prove costly.
    • Everyone loves the idea of a basement, and we do allow them for up to 40 per cent of your gross internal area but remember they do entail significant cost and work so think carefully about whether it is on your list of ‘must-haves’.

    Come and chat to our Sales team at our Marketing Suite who can talk you through what is involved.

  • Do all plots come with a Plot Passport?

    Yes. All self-build plots come with a plot passport.

  • Do I have to pay for a Plot Passport?

    No. The Plot Passports are free to view for each available plot so you can see the guidance before you even reserve.

  • Can I see my neighbour’s Plot Passport?

    Yes. We know that some people may be a bit worried about what the houses around them will look like. A Plot Passport will give you reassurance that homes within your character area will accord to certain design criteria.

  • Will a Plot Passport stipulate how I have to design my home?

    No. A Plot Passport does not stipulate specifics. It offers a broad spectrum of choice that you can then interpret in your own way. For example, it will tell you what the maximum gross internal area is, but you don’t have to build to that size, you can have any size up to it.

    So if outdoor space is more important to you, give yourself a bigger garden!

  • A Plot Passport — doesn’t that take away the freedom to design my own home?

    No, Graven Hill is comprised of a series of character areas and depending on which area you choose, that will determine the freedom of design you have.

  • Do I need planning permission?

    For Self-Build plots you will need to get planning permission. However, to help you with this critical part of the process, all Self-Build plots at Graven Hill come with their own unique Plot Passport.

    Following the rules and guidelines in the Plot Passport will mean your planning application is fast-tracked and back with you within 28 days, around half the time it usually takes.

    See how you can secure fast-track planning permission.

  • What kind of house could I build?

    The possibilities are endless. For Self-Build plots there will be a range of plot shapes, sizes and (depending on their location within the development) varying levels of design freedom. This will all be specified in your plot’s unique Plot Passport and within the Graven Hill Design Code.

    One of the great things about building at Graven Hill is that you are in control and you can build a home that is totally configured to your lifestyle and your taste.

  • What are the rules on sustainability?

    We advocate the use of high energy-efficient materials which is why every home built at Graven Hill will be required to comply with Fabric Energy Standards, which surpass the Building Regulations requirements and are unique to the development.

    The technical requirements to meet these standards are set out in the Plot Passports. Following all the rules on the Plot Passport means your planning permission will be fast-tracked under the Local Development Order process as well as ensuring Graven Hill is as environmentally friendly as possible.

  • Are the Plot Passports restrictive to self or custom build homes?

    No. Provided the homes fall within the guidelines, it does not matter if they are purely self-build or constructed by a custom build supplier.

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