There are many aspects of building one’s dream home to be taken into account before any work can commence. Firstly there has to be a plot of land in pocession. This could perhaps be the side or end of a generous existing plot. But wait, we can’t just erect another building. In this country we have extremely robust planning and building regulations that stop the nightmare of unregulated and unsuitable developments. If you’re not lucky enough to own such a plot, then buying one is the only altnerative. They sometimes come onto the market but are generally as rare as hens’ teeth. So what next . . . buying an existing house or bungalow with a view to flattening and rebuilding . . . . and this should not be bought until at least the minimum of a nod from planning officers has been secured to say they don’t entirely disapprove of the scheme. As it’s usually bulders and property developers who have the ear of the local planning department, it can very often be seriously cost effective to ask them to draw up basic plans to be passed by the department to get a feel for whether your project would receive a green light. No good going ahead with formal plans to any depth only to find there’s a big no-no waiting round the corner. Utilising an experienced and totally professional developer from the start will save much time and wasted funds – they have a feel for projects that involve knocking down and rebuilding existing ‘brown’ field sites.