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Temporary accommodation for self build: answering your siting questions

Posted by Static Trader on February 14, 2020

Deciding to put a static caravan on your building plot as temporary accommodation for self build projects is a great decision. It’s certainly one which could save you a considerable amount of time and money, when compared with paying for temporary accommodation elsewhere.

However, having made one wise decision, you then have to give careful consideration to where you place the static on your plot , to maximise how helpful it is to have it there. After all, positioning of the static caravan for living on your land while building needs to take all aspects into consideration – including whether it’s likely to become a long term fixture, or will need to be removed off the site afterwards.

Byron was asked lots of questions about this at Build It Live recently, so this post is all about sharing those discussions and answers to those questions in one easy place for you.

#1 Access all areas

Forget about the actual build for a moment and consider the ease of your access to and from the temporary home. In the course of your usual day to day routines, where will you be parking the car(s)?  Will it involve a long walk in the wet and dark? Will you need to come and go across the day for work and school runs?

Byron says, “the bottom line is, if you are working or going out frequently whilst there, you will not want to be crossing a muddy or dusty building site between the caravan and your car, so it pays to consider the logistics of your own day-to-day. Then, once you’ve thought about the location of the static in relation to your normal routines, re-consider it alongside the additional, new and exciting routine of living alongside your building or refurbishment project.”

This combination of factors should help you decide how close or far you will need to be, in terms of:

  • * Safety
  • * Accessibility
  • * Noise
  • * Convenience
#2 Entertain the idea of alternative entrance

Having thought about all of the above, Byron recommends “consider designating or creating a clear, separate entrance for your daily access to the static caravan. A separate entrance for the caravan is an ideal scenario and, if at all possible, can be a worthwhile investment which will make things easier in the long-term. 

In most cases (and an ideal world) the static caravan will be positioned in a quiet corner of the plot. Creating a separate access to and from this point means avoiding the vicinity of the actual building work, which can be much easier all round. Even if you don’t anticipate too much coming and going using your own vehicle(s), having a separate, easy access to the caravan is useful for dropping off the Calor gas canisters used for cooking and heating, loading and unloading shopping etc. So, even if you are not going to park alongside your static, vehicular access is a consideration you shouldn’t ignore.”

Check our latest listings to see what could be affordable – and comfortable – during your self-build project 

#3 Temporary accommodation for self build – for your convenience

Whether it ends up in a quiet corner or closer to the actual build footprint, Byron shared with many customers at Build It Live that the static will need to be:

* Out of the way of construction vehicles and machinery.

* Carefully positioned for connection to services. Whilst electricity could be cabled across from elsewhere on the site, you will need to plumb in the caravan for your toilet, shower, kitchen sink and washing machine. – you’ll regret it if you don’t plan this out first. If the plot has water and drainage already, it makes sense to put the caravan in easy proximity to these to minimise any extra work. If not, work out or find out where they will run from the house and site the caravan accordingly and this too will save on work and time. 

* Another thought, Byron suggests you consider a couple of these factors together – for example, access and electricity. Organising the electricity for your static to run via the main entrance or an alternative access point for your own coming and going means you can light up the entrance to increase safety and security on your site too. This is essential if your build is likely to progress through the darker seasons of Autumn and Winter.

One more thought – and particularly if your plot is limited and static is going to be quite close to the building works. Don’t forget to think both short and long-term when you choose your static’s likely position. Think carefully about the site of your static caravan as temporary accommodation in relation to both the initial building works (heavy plant, digging out of foundations etc) and beyond, to what’s involved in the actual actual construction: such as moving and sawing timbers; erecting scaffolding; running mixers, generators and machinery.

After all, your build will be a progressive thing and once your caravan’s connected to utilities, it’ll be in place long term, so remember to consider how the build is going to progress and how this may impact on your access to and use of your accommodation.

#4 On site to help, not hinder

Many Static Trader customers choose to stay in a static caravan as their temporary accommodation to make it more convenient to manage the construction project. If that’s the case for you, then Byron suggests you also consider how the siting of your static also impacts on the convenience of the building teams and contractors involved. For example, he advised customers to think about:

* Deliveries including by HGV, as these will need space to deliver and unload large consignments of large items.

* Parking as all trades you get in will need space to park, unload and work.

* Noise as the build will need to take place during daylight hours. If you work from home (so temporarily in your static) or are at home, with children, you may need to reconsider how you organise your routine around the fact you will be close to the action.

#5 A site survey will always be helpful

How to get a static onto a plot as temporary accommodation for a self build was one of the biggest questions asked at Build It Live. And although you’ve got any number of architects, planners and contractors at hand when you’re planning a self-build, what many of our customers come back to is the fact that a static caravan as temporary accommodation comes with its own set of needs and recommendations. It’s because of this that Byron always recommends a site survey.

“A site survey for our self-build customers is always carried out with your needs in mind, alongside our professional knowledge of what the successful transportation, unloading, siting and levelling of a static caravan needs. We’ll be able to look at the route, access point and proposed position for the static with decades of experience behind us, to help inform your plans and take the risk out of those big decisions.

We can also come out and take a look before you make your final decision, to help ascertain exactly what size of static caravan could be put onto your plot. We can also advise in relation to your long term plans. After all, even if you think you may keep the caravan to use as other accommodation, such as a garden office or guest annexe after you have moved into your luxury home: at some point it will have to be removed.  So as well as helping you out with your sizing options, a site survey can also help inform your access points and positioning choices so that you don’t block the caravan in and cause yourself a headache later. Hint: that additional entrance has benefits in the future too! “

Finally, Byron recommends:

* If you plan to come down to our sales yard to look at statics for temporary accommodation for your house build, please give us a call first and let us know you’re looking for specific advice on this. That way, we can make sure we have staff on hand to assist.
* If you have building plans which show your plot and proposed build, please bring them along with you when you visit – it’s very helpful to have this kind of visual on hand.
* To find out more about related topics, such as planning and site surveys, you might find it helpful to check out our blog and Ask Byron articles below.

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