How to select the building site for your new log home
Selecting the building site for your future log or timber home is your first and most critical design decision. Choosing the appropriate site for your dream home is a lengthy complex process not to be taken lightly. A/Before you buy a property…you need to ask many questions.
- Is the site buildable? Are you allowed to build a log or timber home? Check with local building department for the right zoning for your project (contact planning commission in Europe) and contact subdivision home association if applicable to make sure what you wish to build is allowed.
- Is the allowable building envelope large enough for the size home you are planning including garages, outbuildings, access driveways, leach fields and landscaping?
- Is the building site accessible by large trucks to deliver long logs and timber and all other building materials? Will you be able to drive safely to your home any time of the year, under all weather conditions?
- What are the covenants, set backs, easements and right of ways attached to the property? Getting variances to change any of the above is costly, time consuming and at times unrealistic to achieve.
- What services are available (electricity, gas, sewer, phone, cable…)?
- If sewer connection is not available, can you install a septic system? Contact health authorities to learn about feasibility, costs, past percolation tests… Hire a septic engineer to ensure a proper septic system can indeed be installed and at what cost.
- What type of soil is present at the chosen building site? Expansive, unstable soils can be a problem. If solid rock is present under proposed site be aware that blasting and anchoring foundation to rock can increase cost significantly. What is the soil bearing capacity? Has any geotechnical analysis been done in the past?
- Earth quake faults and sink holes are important issues that if suspected must be addressed by a professional geotechnical engineer to assess extra cost of development.
- If building by a lake for example, ask about the high water mark. How much will it cost to design and build a proper drainage of storm water around the building? Is the site located in a flood plain?
- If you are in a rural area and are not connected to a municipal water system, what is the cost of drilling a well and most important what is the water quality and quantity available in your area. Ask neighbors and local well drillers. To obtain a building permit you will likely need to prove a year round minimum gallon per minute flow.
- Avoid building close to high voltage power lines, cellular phone and microwave relay station. Electromagnetic fields are dangerous; however we do not see them, they will hurt you, your children and pets. If requested public utility companies should provide you with site measurements for background fields at your site. Wind power is becoming more popular since the energy crisis. Wind turbines should be built far away from your home as we are now learning of wind turbine syndrome which may increase stress, headache and sleep disorders.
- Do not build close to industrial areas and upwind from agricultural land where fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides are used. Get your well water analyzed for contaminants and level of purity.
- Assess level of noise and light pollution at the site before deciding to build. If in doubt seek the help of a professional.
- Know the history of the site. Industrial and agricultural toxins may be in the soil. If in doubt hire a licensed environmental inspector. That up front cost is minimal compared to clean up costs later down the road…