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Obtaining Your Plot


2A sloping plot can give rise to some very interesting house designs. Upside down houses can provide a large, airy lounge, but beware that bedrooms are not too dark. Try also to work with the natural features of the plot. If it is possible to retain a mature tree or original hedge in the garden, the house will look established much quicker than if you start from a completely bare plot. Every site has a number of views, although one or two may be better than the others. Consider where you will be spending most of your time in the house, and which rooms you would like to have the best views. If the site looks flat, this does not necessarily mean it will offer easy building.

Check carefully for underground streams, high water tables or even previous refuse dumps. The river running along the back of the garden may look terrific in the summer, but if it floods every winter, you may live to regret it. Most plots will also have neighbouring properties. Make sure that your proposed property is designed sympathetically. Safety and security are often considered only after the property has been built. By considering these at the planning stage, you may be able to prevent dark entrances, narrow alleys and slippery paths in the winter.


By selecting a simple shape, you can make sure that your building costs are not too high. Elaborate angles and elevations may look impressive, but the roof construction required may result in a construction cost disproportionate to the rest of the building. Simple shapes need not be dull. An L shape property is as simple as a box shape, but can provide much more character and interest.


Once you have determined the type of property and style of building you require, you can begin to look for a suitable plot.There are many ways to find your dream plot. Consider using some or all of the following:


  • Place an advertisement in the local paper
  • Read the adverts in the local paper
  • Many larger Estate Agencies will have a selection of building plots available for sale
  • Plot finding agencies
  • Planning Register (held by planning authority). Contact plot owners who have been granted outline or even detailed planning permission
  • Local authorities sometimes put land up for sale
  • Drive about and look for a plot
  • Self-Build magazines
  • Many websites specialise in selling plots for the Self-Builder

To find out ownership details for any plot of land, contact:

Land Registers of Northern Ireland, Lincoln Building 27-45 Great Victoria Street, Belfast, BT2 7SL. Land Registers of Northern Ireland is part of Land & Property Services, the Agency responsible for Mapping, Land Registration, Rating and Valuation (

When considering a plot, it is important to bear the following factors in mind.

  • Is the plot accessible to large lorries? (delivering bulk loads of bricks etc.)
  • Are all relevant services reasonably nearby?
  • Have you double checked the planning permission?
  • Have you double checked the legal boundaries?

The most important thing to determine is whether the plot has outline planning permission. This indicates that permission has been granted for the erection of a building on the site, but that no drawings or details regarding the type of building have been considered. If the plot does not have outline planning permission, do not purchase it until this has been obtained. You can obtain an outline planning permission application form from your local Council.