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Self Build By The Sea: Short Guide

The idea of living by the coast with a view of the ocean and the sound of waves crashing onto the beach nearby is something of a dream for many. With shows such as Channel 4's Place by The Sea selling the coastal lifestyle it's easy to see why more and more Brits are buying into the dream.

However, with the idyllic surroundings often comes a high price tag to match - for instance a Halifax survey in 2014 showed that one third of the houses in Salcombe, a picturesque Devon resort, cost over £1m.

The average property price in Salcombe has reached £615,344 and this figure tops the list of average UK house prices in coastal areas.

The Halifax survey also showed that the average property price of UK's the top ten coastal towns was over £320,000 in 2014.

Perhaps the answer for those who want to live by the sea for a more modest price is to go the self build route which can typically save 20 – 40% when compared to buying a like for like ready completed home. But is it as easy at it seems, and what exactly is involved in a self build by the coast?

Island Nation

As an island nation we have plenty of coastline to work with in Britain, but that doesn't mean finding a plot at an affordable price is easy. With high demand and the UK's relatively strict planning laws it would appear at first glance that finding a dream beach-side plot is a challenge.

In spite of the perception a quick scan on popular property portal Right Move shows that finding plots available with planning permission and sea views is not all that difficult. Plots on the Cornish Coast were plentiful and ranged between £135,000 and £850,000.

Many of the plots come with detailed plans and architect drawings of the interior and exterior of the proposed buildings, which could help give self builders the advantage of starting a ready approved project more quickly.


Specialists in Construction Insurance

Revising the existing plans to fit the self builders own vision would also be a viable option and with the help of an architect new plans could be submitted to the local planning authority. This approach would cost more time and money – and ultimately there is always a chance the new plans would be rejected.

Practicalities & Building Regs

Once a self build plot has been acquired there are some considerations specific to a coastal home. For example the exterior materials chosen must take the climate into consideration. If a timber cladding is used on the building or outdoor decking it will be battered by salt, sand and sun and will therefore need regular maintenance and resealing treatments.

A common occurrence for building plots on clifftops is difficult access which can cause issues when getting materials, works vehicles and deliveries on site - potentially adding extra costs and time delays which should be factored into the build budget.


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