Every homeowner’s dream is taking advantage of that gorgeous mountain view or the sights of a sparkling city skyline. Often times capturing these spectacular views means building on sloped land. Depending on your plans, the hillside might be ideal for your daylight basement or terraced landscaping. It may be breathtaking to the owner, but it could be trouble to your builder.
Things to consider while building on sloped land:
What is a moderate slope? A slope of 0%-10% would be considered by most to be a moderate slope (one foot rise across 10 feet). These would be typical slopes for a builder and shouldn’t require any additional costs as they are relatively easy to build on. Building on sloped land between 10%-20% would most likely require a deeper dig out or added fill, along with added foundation costs.
Most builders would consider anything over 20% to be a steep slope. Such slopes would require extensive earth moving along with stabilization. With a steep slope comes the risk of land slides. Verify the type of soil on the site; some soils are more prone to slides than others. The type of soil can also add to your excavation cost if it is difficult to dig and remove. These steep buildings sites have complexly-engineered foundations installed by specialists in hillside work, which can be dangerous and are always very expensive.
Water and Erosion Control
While water can be an added benefit to your landscape plans, it can also be very difficult to predict. Surface water from a heavy rain or snow can wreak havoc on your project. These could range from flooded basements or failed septic systems to washed out roads. All of these can be avoided with the proper grading and drainage techniques. Seeking the advice from a civil engineer familiar with the area is advised. Another tip would be to view the property during the wettest season. A small little stream during the summer months could turn into a raging river during winter.
From difficult access with heavy equipment to added retaining walls, building on sloped land is definitely going to be more expensive. With that gorgeous view comes the added cost, so plan for it. Seek the proper advice from experienced builders and decide what is best for you and your budget.