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The House Block and Home Construction

Choosing your Block of Land.

Picking land for the construction of a new house involves the consideration of several factors. Even the home’s design might be dependent upon physical characteristics of the lot. Utilities and their locations need to be determined. There are environmental concerns. And, legal deliberations will be in the future before land is purchased.

The Building Lot:

The purchase of a lot "to build" is a determining stage during any construction project, and is one which requires all your attention. A hasty decision can result in heavy consequences and the cause of many disappointments. Whereas a construction can be modified, its completion improved, the block of land is immutable. Moreover it is necessary to keep in mind that the value of a home depends to some extent on its situation.

If the cost of acquisition is a determining factor, one should not limit your attention to this aspect, but to other choices as well:
- the repurchase of a house already inhabited (to be renovated or simply to refresh)
- the purchase of a finished new home ("turn-key") or by plans
- construction with or without supply of the plans

The Locality:

The available plots sometimes become rare near the city hearts, and prices there gradually increase by the square meter. It is necessary to take into account the costs and the travelling time to work, along with schooling of your children, with the trade off. Badly evaluated transportation charges will be able to severely cut down a budget. Before stopping the decision process, one should not hesitate to repeat the routes, including (especially) at the peak hours. Think that your children will grow and that if the primary school is very close, the college can be distant from several kilometers and badly served by public transport.

Environmental Considerations:

The proximity of the home, to the school, work, and means of transport is a major element, but it is not only one to consider. The immediate and more distant environment of the building lot appears quite as important as the other to consider.

The vicinity of industrial plant or transportation routes (motorways, railway, air lane), or commercial zones, can prove to be an unbearable source of harmful effects (noises, odors, fume). To think that these harmful effects can vary in the course of the day or the week, that they can depend on the winds (which "carry" noises, odors and dust). For example, a place will appear calm one Friday afternoon because a closed establishment will have stopped its activity, and appear noisy the remainder of the week. Not to forget that the noise appears more tolerable during the day than the night. Moreover this environment is likely to evolve/move in time.

Projects can come to disturb a very provisional peace, and it is essential to get information near the vicinity, of the tradesmen, and the town hall or the D.D.E. Not to sign a contract of sale without having to consulting each of the mentioned. Too many owners, are found near a highway with great circulation, making their house unsaleable. To know that a unspoilable view or simply pleasant is never guaranteed in time. Finally in certain zones, do not forget the risks of flood or more rarely of soil crumbling.More on Eco House Design

Surface, Form, Slope, Positioning:

A too reduced surface can prohibit the set up of certain types of construction (according to the constraints of roadway system and vicinity), to limit constructible surfaces (C.O.S. and S.H.O.N.) and more delicate the building of the house will become. To think that promiscuity will appear heavier, and that it will be perhaps impossible to carry out certain installations later on (swimming pool, veranda, enlarging...). At equal surface, the shape and the slope of the ground can also prove to be a factor forcing and obstructing the building of the house, or increase its cost of construction (collection and, drainage earthworks of waters surface, etc...).

A ground must present a good flow with the selected type of house (to think of the access to the garage or the basement) The orientation of the ground often dictates what type of house and consequently the expenditure of energy and views from the building (luminosity of the parts, quality of the sight). Not to forget that to a southern frontage full corresponds a northern frontage full. Not to neglect the role of the dominant winds.

Nature of the Ground and the Basement:

It is necessary to know that there are several categories of ground, some requiring an expertise with knowledge of surveys in order to define the type of foundations to be used.
Three large categories thus are distinguished:
- the rock grounds and the granulous grounds (sandy, stony or composed of gravels) are good grounds, "working" little....
- cohesive soils (argillaceous or muddy), prone to sinkings and landslides.

Other characteristics of the basement can represent more or less serious threats:ground water, careers, galleries, mines, network of drains...

Lastly, the embankments present a risk of compressing and are to be avoided if possible. It is useful to get information from the township, of the engineering departments of the or even of the Office of Geological and Mining Research (B.R.G.P.). The visit they make to the ground will be able to provide certain indicationssuch as the type of vegetation (for example the poplars push on wet grounds), the existence of sources, or lakes or ponds.


The constuctibility is validated by the certificate of town planning delivered free by the town hall (in the two months following its request) and valid one year. Beyond this period, the constructibility could be reduced (modification of the constraints).


Before construction the ground must be connected to the roadway system, with the drinkable water supply, the network of cleansing if there is one, to the electrical grid, possibly to the natural gas network. Generally these various networks are available near the ground (viability in edge). For certain isolated pieces and consequently badly served areas, the cost of connections can be largely dissuasive. In certain cases, in particular when it forms part of an allotment, the ground will be developed, i.e. already connected.


A Determining factor in home construction is the foundation and its ability to support the weight of said building. The buildings weights must be calculated and architecture layed out carefully to support the design weight, and method in relevance to the nature of the ground and basement design. Badly studied foundations can be an enormous trouble once the home has begun to settle.

Various grounds:

The grounds are characterized by their acceptable stress which translates their resistance to the load. This rate is expressed in MégaPascal (MPa) or bar (1bar = 0,1 MPa). The rock and granulous grounds are stable and pose few problems apart from the risks of undermining, whereas the cohesive soils (argillaceous or muddy) are more unstable and moreso if they are wet

Various types of foundations:

- surface footings type strip out of reinforced concrete, with flagstone on quay level or under the floor space. It is the most usual technique (nearly 90% of constructions) and most economicical.

- surface by main floor with peripheral spade. This technique distributes the load on a surface much more important and adapts to materials unstable (old fill for example).

-deep on piles, or studs, and peripheral longitudinal beam. This type of foundations, is much more expensive and is made necessary when the bearing layer is in-depth in the basement.

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