Many builders report that they started the project of building a house as absolute laymen and in retrospect would do many things differently. Since very few people have the opportunity in their lifetime to apply the knowledge they have learned to a second house, we will give you some essential tips to guide you before and during construction. For this, we accompany the Heinemann family on the way to their first own house.
In this article, you will learn which services are usually not taken over by the construction company or the planning commissioner and which must therefore be borne by the construction family – the so-called builder’s services.
Before the purchase of land
Since 2008, it has been mandatory in Germany to obtain a soil expertise before building. Theoretically, it would also be possible to have the soil survey carried out during the construction planning phase.
However, in order not to run the risk of buying a plot that would be difficult or impossible to build on, the Heinemann family contacted an expert in geotechnical engineering during the purchase of the plot in order to have a soil expertise issued.
For the soil survey, soil samples are taken from the area on which the house will later stand. The bearing capacity of the soil and the groundwater conditions are tested.
It will also be checked whether there are still toxic contaminants in the soil if the property was previously used for industrial purposes. A soil survey is so important because it reveals possible complications before construction, which can be taken into account in later planning.
In addition, the Heinemann family obtained an extract from the land register at the relevant land registry office prior to the purchase. As a potential buyer, the family is entitled to inquire about any potential contaminated sites or neighborhood covenants associated with the property.
All builders are strongly advised to view as up-to-date an extract from the land register as possible before the purchase date in order to avoid taking over existing residential rights or land charges with the purchase.
To the building application
After the Heinmann family had received confirmation from the soil survey and the extract from the land register that they would be able to build their dream house on the plot they had in mind, there were still a few bureaucratic hurdles to overcome before the groundbreaking ceremony.
In order to be able to submit a building application, builders require an excerpt from the real estate or cadastral map, which is requested from the responsible surveyor’s office.
The family had an official site plan drawn up by a surveyor for their property and commissioned a structural engineer to provide proof of stability.
The price of an official site plan depends on many different factors and can vary greatly depending on the state and size of the property, among other things.
Since there were still trees on the property, the Heinemann family also submitted a felling request.
What costs should you expect before starting construction? Keep track of ancillary construction costs before building a home .
In order not to lose any time, the construction family already took care of the house connections for water and waste water, electricity, gas and telephone while they were still applying for the building permit.
In addition to other documents, Ms. Heinemann also had to provide evidence of parking spaces for motor vehicles and bicycles. However, this is not required for every building project and is based on the information provided by the building code authority.
Read again what documents builders need for the building application.
Before start of construction
Before things can finally get underway, the land to be built on must be cleared, for which the developers are responsible. For this purpose, the Heinemann family applied for construction electricity and construction water as well as road closures and sidewalk crossings for the construction company’s vehicles and machinery. Building owners can submit an application for power supply for the construction site to a local energy supplier, a local grid operator or to the municipal utilities. Ms. Heinemann decided to apply to a local grid operator, since in this case it is possible to have only the electricity connection established and otherwise to contract a desired electricity provider. He had to apply for the construction water from the responsible water supplier.
In addition, the family once again surveyed the property with the construction company before construction. This procedure is recommended to all builders, because, if necessary, before the construction will first have to carry out other earthworks.
During construction, the Heinemann family contacted the district chimney sweep to approve heating systems and fireplaces before first use.
They also coordinated with the contracted utilities to have the lines laid for electric, gas, water, sewer and telecommunications.
After some consideration, the family also decided to have an independent appraiser perform the acceptance of each phase of construction.
Although this meant that they had to accept the additional costs for the surveyor – compared with the costs for errors in construction that they themselves, as laymen, would probably overlook – it was money well spent.
With all the other bureaucratic hurdles on the way to owning their own home, the family almost forgot to give notice in time to vacate the rented apartment they had previously occupied. It is annoying additional costs for all future homeowners who have to pay twice for the home construction loan and rent after moving into the house.
After the construction phase
Almost there! But in order for the Heinemann family to move happily and with peace of mind into their own home, a few final points had to be taken care of. In the case of the construction family, the particularly important final acceptance was already included in the scope of services provided by the surveyor they had commissioned.
Builders who decide not to have the individual construction stages inspected by an independent expert must expect to pay at least €500 for the one-off final inspection. Building owners should invest this money in any case in order to protect themselves legally in the event of construction botches.
In addition, the Heinemann family has had all the specialist contractor certificates issued. Through this, the construction company confirms that all construction work and all installed components comply with the regulations.
In order to prevent accidents, all fireplaces, chimneys and exhaust pipes must be inspected by the district chimney sweep before moving in. As a final bureaucratic task before moving in, the Hinze family filed a notice of occupancy with the building department about two weeks before moving in.
What services are provided by the construction company, the construction manager or an architect?
Most of the tasks listed in the example of our construction family, a construction company usually does not do. The control function of external appraisals in particular would otherwise also be eliminated. For the acceptance of the individual construction phases and the final acceptance, builders can call in an external architect. This person can also be instructed to submit the building application. If the construction company works with its own architect anyway, the architect submits the building application together with the builders.
|Soil expertise |
(with additional info
to water permeability
and construction chemical water analysis)
|Extract from real estate|
or cadastral map
|Official site plan (using the example of a plot of 850m2 in Brandenburg)||Proof of stability||independent|