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Choosing the Perfect Location When Building A Home Near A River Or On Loose Soil

If you're building a house near a river region, especially on loose soil, this advice is your best bet. We'll explore the many approaches, supplies, and methods that are necessary to construct a safe foundation in this particular geographic setting of building a riverside house


Constructing a house near a river or on loose, unstable soil poses unique structural challenges. The potential for flooding or uneven settling demands careful planning and execution to create a sturdy, long-lasting home. Proper site analysis, budgeting, contractor selection, architectural design, timeline allowance, and resilient building techniques are all critical for success. We will examine vital steps like researching the site, choosing an expert builder, optimising the layout, using flood/shift-resistant materials, and more that you need to take into consideration when building a house near a river.

If you're considering building a home near a riverside or on loose soil, there are some important factors to keep in mind. Riverside properties can be beautiful, but building on or near loose soil comes with unique challenges that require careful planning and preparation.


Things To Consider While Building A House Near A River

When building a home near a river, it's crucial to assess and prepare for potential flooding risks. Rivers naturally experience water level fluctuations, and many are prone to occasional flooding during heavy rainfall. But all of this can be avoided when building a house near a river with careful structural planning. Here are some tips for building on loose soil.

1) Decide On The Budget

The costs involved in properly preparing a riverside or loose soil site for home building will likely be much higher than a typical build on stable ground. Be sure to allocate an extra budget for expenses like site assessment, grading, excavation, specialised foundations, and flood-proofing measures. Since costs can vary widely depending on the unique conditions of your site, get quotes from multiple contractors to compare. Also, while building a home near a river, you need to factor in potential unforeseen costs when building on problem soils. Setting an adequate budget upfront will help ensure you can fully prepare the site and use appropriate construction methods without cutting corners. 


2) Select An Expert Builder

It is highly advisable to work with a builder who has extensive experience successfully completing projects on riverside properties or loose, shifting soil. They will have the knowledge to recommend the best approaches for your specific site challenges, coordinate any needed special engineering requirements, and prevent expensive construction mistakes that a general contractor may make. When building a house near rivers, ask prospective builders for multiple examples of previous builds they have done on similar sites to yours and speak with those references on their satisfaction. Builders seasoned in problem site construction may charge more but can save you money and headaches in the long run.

3) Create A Home Layout

Optimising the home's floor plan placement on the lot is crucial when building near a river or on loose soil. For riverside sites, the layout should position the home as far from the river banks as feasible to minimise flooding risk. Building a house near a river, consider fixing the floor plan to use the home itself as a flood shield as well. For loose soil, compact home layouts help reduce foundation size and weight demands on the subsoil. An elevated foundation design with a small footprint provides maximum flexibility for dealing with shifting earth. When building a home near a river, consult your builder on the best home shape and orientation before finalising plans.


4) Set A Timeline To Follow

It's important to account for the likelihood of an extended project timeline when building on problem soils. The extra site preparation work, excavation, specialised foundations, and potential weather delays could easily double or triple the timeline of a typical home build. Have your builder clearly outline the expected additional time needed in your contract documents so there are no surprises. Building in a buffer of an extra 20-30% beyond initial estimates is wise when planning your schedule. Stay in close communication with your contractor on timeline impacts as the project progresses.


5) Build Resilient Home

Employing resilient construction techniques and materials suitable for shifting soils and flood risks is key to creating a home that can stand up to the challenges of your site over the long term. Some examples include reinforced deep pile foundations, elevated foundation walls with extra deep footings, steel reinforced concrete slabs, full waterproofing treatments around the basement and foundations, termite treatments, buried utility lines, and French drains. Using the right solutions tailored to your specific site will help safeguard your riverside home's structural integrity for decades.

Building a home near a river or on loose, shifting soil requires special planning, assessment, budgeting, and construction techniques to create a resilient structure. Partnering with experienced contractors and engineers, allowing for preparation time, using flood and shift-resistant materials, and implementing protective design elements can help minimise the risks and prevent extensive home damage. With proper diligence and site preparation, you can safely build and enjoy your dream home near the water or on problem soils.

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