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Architect Opinder Liddar gives his expert tips on how to identify whether a site offers a viable opportunity for your self build project
The two-storey facade of this replacement dwelling features faceted windows that open up views of Epping Forest from the first floor bedrooms, whilst minimising overlooking.

When I join the expert team at the Build It Live shows, people always have enquiries about their plots. Some of the sites I’m shown look too good to be true initially – and after a bit of delving, it usually becomes clear why. But plenty prove to be viable opportunities that will enable their lucky buyers to build their dream home.

Set on a sloping site, the rear of the property has been designed to unfurl over three lightfilled storeys to offer maximum living space

A good question to ask yourself when looking at a plot is why it hasn’t been developed before. This approach can give you clarity of mind when undertaking your preliminary checks. It could be that the owner just isn’t interested in doing anything or has missed an opportunity. Perhaps they’ve only had planning refusals in the past, but changes in policy and good timing on your part could shift the balance. Or maybe the site simply doesn’t have the potential it immediately appears to have. Here’s what you can do to sort the wheat from the chaff.

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June 2017
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About Build It

The June edition of Build It magazine is packed full of inspiration and advice for your self build, renovation or extension project - including: • An amazing oak frame self build (page 20) • Total makeover of a 1960s house (page 39) • How to self build on a budget (page 64) • Can solar hot water panels save you money? (page 71) • Design details: exposed beams (page 74) • Guide to designing the perfect barn conversion (page 90) • Assessing a building plot's potential (page 100) … and more!