All the legal help your building project needs


You’ve bought the land and you’ve got the big ideas, but are you sure you’re ready to start your building project? Solicitor Iain Grimes, Head of the Residential Conveyancing Department at Fraser Dawbarns, explains why it’s essential to get a property lawyer on your side…

Although you probably can’t wait to get started on your grand building project, building plots are full of perils for the unwary – and the legal ramifications of making the wrong decision (or forgetting to make one!) can leave your home on a decidedly shaky foundation.

Self-build projects have never been more popular, and it’s easy to understand why – choosing a plot, sitting down with an architect to design your home and then watching your dreams become a reality can be an extremely exciting and rewarding process. Why would you want to spoil all that by involving lawyers?

Well, there are several extremely good reasons why calling on specialist conveyancing expertise is a vital first step to take before you put pen to paper – or brick to mortar!

You need to ensure the plot actually belongs to you and that the boundaries are where you think they are. You must establish you have the rights to build there and you have full access to the plot. You’ll need to know whether you can connect to drains and sewers, and lead water and other services over adjoining land.

You’ll also need to identify any potential problems with nearby developments, identify any unusual mineral rights – and your mortgage lender may well need reassurance that your lawyer has checked all of this (and more) out.

At Fraser Dawbarns we have a local team of specialist qualified lawyers with a combined experience in residential property of over 120 years. We’ve been involved in a huge range of projects across East Anglia involving everything from self-build schemes to buy-to-let investments and plot development for local builders – and we can help you at every stage of your journey from concept to completion.

Before the start of any building project, Fraser Dawbarns can review your rights of way for services and access, any covenants which may affect the property and prepare draft Party Wall Act notices.

We can identify your planning obligations and unilateral agreements (commonly known as S106 agreements), review building contractors’ agreements, and advise you on build standards guarantees – including NHBC and architects’ certificates.

We can ensure no covenants have been (or likely to be) breached by the development and we can thoroughly check any existing conservation orders and listed building requirements.

Whether you plan to live in the property or hope to sell it once complete, enlisting the help of Fraser Dawbarns now can help you avoid serious problems further down the line – and the more we can accomplish prior to the commencement of works the less likely (and less severe) any problems will be.

Moreover, Fraser Dawbarns will hold all the original certificates and legal documents relating to your project in our secure storage facility completely free of charge – so you’ll never have to worry about finding them when the need arises.

I think it’s clear by now that the question you should be asking is – why would you spoil your grand design by not involving lawyers? Contact Fraser Dawbarns now for all the expert, professional and friendly legal help your building project needs.

This article appeared in the KL Magazine Special Home Design and Build Edition which can be read here.