Things to know when building on an acreage
Acreage living is becoming a popular choice for many people. The privacy, freedom and space to build the size and style of home you want. Room for shops, hobbies, and animals. With the rise in cost of city lots, acreages look more appealing than ever.
Building on an acreage adds a level of complication to the building process. There are many things to take into consideration that you don't normally need to worry about in a city or town.
DSI has been building in rural Saskatchewan for over 40 years. We have had the privilege of completing many acreage builds in that time. These are some of the things we recommend considering when buying a piece of property or a lot in a rural subdivision.
The obvious additional cost to acreage living is that utility connection costs are not normally included. Availability of services is another thing that needs to be taken into consideration.
If the subdivision is serviced with power there are still costs involved to get the power connected to your new home. You will be responsible for the cost to have sask power trench the cable to you home and install a transformer. This cost varies depending on how far your house is from the main line. Another thing to take into consideration is the placement of your transformer in the yard.
Some areas of the province don`t have easy access to natural gas. If there isn`t gas nearby it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to be connected. Most rural subdivisions will have easy access to natural gas as the subdivision will be serviced. Similar to power it will be your responsibility to cover the cost to connect from the mainline to your home. This cost varies on distance from your house to the main line.
One of the most important things is a good source of water. Some residential sub divisions have the option to hook onto city water supply. This is the most reliable source of good quality water, however it is usually one of the most expensive. Another options would be a well and or cistern. The con`s of this being no guarantee on constant water supply or water quality. Another thing to think about is the added cost of an R.O. system or water softener if necessary. Weather you are on city water or well water you will need you own pressure system.
Septic or sewer
Options for septic and sewer depend on the size of your acreage, government regulations, proximity of neighbours, creeks or water ways. Septic holding, Pump out system and Septic field or mound all have varying costs and their pros and cons.
Internet and phone
With high speed interned being a basic necessity these days you will want to research your available options. Some rural sub divisions may have access to the same high speed providers as the city, but many rural areas don`t have that option. A common solution to high speed in rural areas is wireless internet. This usually requires some equipment on the outside of you house with possible rental and installation fees . If high speed is a must on your acreage make sure to look into what options and speeds are available for what cost.
Zoning and bylaws
Many Rural municipalities have different rules or bylaws on what you can and can`t do on an acreage. Research these bylaws to make sure they don't limit your plans, but also make sure there are bylaws in place that limit things that you may not want allowed near your acreage.
Building set backs from property lines?
Shops or out buildings permitted and at what size and how many?
Can you operate a small business from your acreage?
Are you allowed animals, how many, what kind?
Are there any architectural requirements for your house? (size, height, colour, and exterior finish)
Can you install a solar farm or windmill?
Vehicle or equipment parking limitations?
Unsightly premises bylaws?
When selecting a lot or property there are some key things to consider.
Is your property easily accessible by good, quality maintained roads or highways?
If you are in a sub division, are the internal subdivision roads looked after by the RM?
Where will your kids go to school and what are the school bus routes?
Flood Level or flood plain
Most rural sub divisions should have a topography report showing the lay of the land with elevations. Sask water shed has regulations in place stating the elevation above sea level for the 1:500 year floor level. In order to qualify for insurance and possibly a mortgage you home will need to be built 1 meter above this minimum elevation requirement to ensure your property will not flood. Things can get costly If your lot is low and you are required to bring in large amounts of fill to bring your lot up to the required elevation.
Approach and lane way
Does your property have an existing approach or will you need to build one?
Does the approach have a proper culvert?
If you need to build an approach will you be able to get approval from the RM or ministry of highways?
How long of lane way will you need and what will it cost?
Much of south east Saskatchewan has good soil conditions, suitable for standard construction practices. However the type of foundation needed under a new home depends on the soil conditions of your property. Ideally If you are building in a rural sub division there has been a geotechnical report done identifying the soil conditions and recommending the type of foundation required. If no report is available do some research on what other homes in the surrounding area have for foundations.
Some properties contain easements for things like underground power, water, gas mains or many other things. These easements usually have minimum distance setbacks stating how you close can build to them. Make sure these requirements work with the plans you have for your acreage and any future plans you may have.
What is required for a building permit and what are the building permit fees?
Do you need engineered blueprints?
Are inspections required throughout the build and what are the costs associated with this?
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Acreages add another element of planning to the building process. DSI is happy to share our knowledge and experience on acreage building with our customers. We offer full service general contracting and can take over much of the responsibilities, pricing and planning involved in rural building. Leaving you reassured that things are being done properly and efficiently.
Give us a call to start planning the acreage of your dreams!