How to Prepare Your Land for a Build: A Groundwork Checklist

Building a house comes with many challenges, and land preparation is one of the first major steps in the process. The design of your HUT will depend on the environment around it, and our designers consider all external factors in the process. Let’s dive into six main points to check off your list when preparing your land to build a house.

1. Apply for a Driveway Permit

A permit application must be completed and approved by county officials. The permit fee is between $100 and $200 in most counties. You might also have to provide a refundable bond of up to $500 against possible damage done to utilities in the right of way. The county will want a certificate of property insurance, too. The planned driveway must be staked, so the inspector can evaluate its location. Your driveway installer will oftentimes handle this step.

2. Engage a Surveyor

Our team works with contractors to create the overall site plan, but you will also need a land survey, soil tests, and blueprints for construction. 

That’s where your surveyor comes in! The information you get from this process will also most likely lead you toward next steps in prepping your site for construction. For example, in many surveys, the surveyor will provide a detailed description of the property, information about the adjacent properties, and most helpful to builders, potential improvements for the land.

A surveyor will also help define some of the road building specifications, which may include drainage and camber requirements, and provide guidance to the excavator.

3. Work with an Excavator

Once the building plans are in place, the land will have to be cleared. The cost of this will depend on the site you’re building on. If you need to cut down trees, take out rocks, or level slopes and other extreme topography, the cost will be much higher than having to excavate a fairly unobstructed lot.

An excavator digs and moves earth. They’ll clear the lot, dig out and backfill the road or driveway, excavate the culverts (the drainage ditches that follow the driveway route!), and excavate the trenches for electrical lines.

Excavators also help with proper rough grading. This step includes drainage control and erosion prevention, not just for the future home but also for during the building process. At this step in the process, the work site is basically a pile of dirt, and when it rains, land erosion could be a problem. You’ll need to ensure any adjacent road spaces are kept safe, especially for trucks and heavy machinery coming to the building site. Waterways and surrounding vegetation must also be protected so no run-off contamination or pollution occurs from the job site.

4. Hire an Electrician

The electrician will run subterranean power lines through the trenches the excavator dug, and will also set up a transformer. The transformer will have a meter on a pole and will be located near the building site. 

On some lots, you may already have a pole that can be used for construction purposes if it does not need to be moved. The certified electrician may need to modify it to use for temporary construction purposes. 

5. Hook Up Power

The electrician (or you!) will contact the power company to let them know that you’ll need to tap off of the closest electrical pole. 

The electrician can help you obtain temporary power, meaning power that is only for the period of construction. Various workers will need this power to plug in their power tools as they build your house. Temporary power must be in place and accessible by the time the house is staked out for a smooth building process.

6. Get a Good Well and Septic Engineer

A well and septic engineer will be responsible for sizing, designing, and building the home’s well and septic system. This engineer will have background knowledge in your state’s septic system regulations and the local health department regulations to make sure your system is within code.

This checklist covers the groundwork for properly preparing your piece of land for a build. When it comes to tasks to be done and individuals to be hired, keep this guide in mind as you get your land ready for the building of your new home. Having a proper checklist and working with the right people will keep the building process stress-free. You won’t have to worry about accidental construction mistakes or laws and ordinance violations during the building process when you have a reliable team!