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Coronavirus - Help us to help you

We are working hard to maintain the best service we can for you. As you can imagine our telephone lines are exceptionally busy at the moment. So we are asking for your help too.

In the interests of the health of both our customers and our staff, please avoid visiting our branches unless necessary. Please telephone your local branch direct during our business opening hours if you have any queries or to register to use our online services.

From Tuesday 1 December our branch opening hours will temporarily be: Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm.  We will be open on Saturday 5, 12 and 19 December 9am to 12pm.  Branch telephones will be open 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Our telephone opening hours at Principal Office will be 9am – 4pm Monday to Friday.

Please note visitors to our branches and Principal Office will be required to wear a face covering.

Thank you for your cooperation

EMAIL SCAM EXPLOITING JOB RETENTION SCHEME

Please beware of the following phishing email scam – National Trading Standards have passed on an alert about a phishing scam based on impersonating correspondence from the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.

  • The scam involves phishing emails to companies about the scheme
  • The emails pretend to be from Jim Harra, First Permanent Secretary and Chief Executive of HMRC
  • The sender email address used is  no-reply@ncryptedprojects.com
  • the emails use Official HMRC branding, and the message asks for the bank details of the recipient.

An example message is provided below – the typos are the fraudsters’ own work:

“Dear customer, We wrote to you last week to help you prepare to make a claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We are now writing to tell you how to access the Covid-19 relief. You will need to tell your us which UK bank account you want the grant to be paid into, in order to ensure funds are paid as quickly as possible to you.”

NO EXCUSE FOR DOMESTIC ABUSE

According to data from the Home Office and charities supporting victims, the pressures of living under COVID lock-down have caused a rapid increase in cases of domestic abuse. Abuse can take the form of coercive control, deliberate neglect and verbal or physical aggression. It often involves economic abuse (coercive control of the victim’s finances to steal their money and / or deny them the right to spend it).  We’re supporting the Government’s campaign to raise awareness about help for victims of domestic abuse.  You can find further guidance on how to get help here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help

COVID-19 – ZOOM SCAM

Scammers are sending emails posing as the Zoom download manager asking the recipient to complete their download by clicking “next”, which releases malware when clicked. The only safe way to set up Zoom for personal use is to go on the Zoom official website and download it yourself.

COVID-19 – TEXT SCAM

Please beware of a new text scam purporting to be from the Government which informs the recipient via a text that they have been issued a £250 fine for leaving the house during the lock-down as the Government have been tracking their movements using their phone. The recipient is told that if they don’t pay immediately they will incur a heavier fine and encouraged to click on a link to make the payment which may deliver malware as well as taking the payment and their account details.

COVID-19 – FRAUDULENT EMAILS

During the coronavirus outbreak, many companies and organisations have sent emails containing COVID19 updates to their customers to make them aware of their current response and status. As these types of emails have now become increasingly frequent, criminals have started to use this familiarity to their advantage. These fraudulent emails, framed as a corporate COVID-19 response, contain malicious attachments and are targeting individual consumers and companies alike…

Emails may also be disguised as coming from a hospital that inform the recipient they may have come in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. The email instructs the recipient to download an attached Excel file, complete a form, and bring it to the nearest hospital. Once the attachment is downloaded, the malware has been activated and the attackers may be able to access your data.

Please keep in mind that typically, legitimate COVID-19 response emails have a message only in the body of the email and do not contain attachments.

COVID-19 – PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FRAUD

There is some evidence that criminals are attempting to use the current COVID-19 situation as an exploitation opportunity, so please be extra vigilant before clicking on an email about the coronavirus outbreak. If a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Criminals use exceptional circumstances like the current situation as a chance to pose as employees of a genuine organisation such as building society, bank or police and target you for fraud scams. They may claim they are dealing with coronavirus-related issues that require you to respond by paying money or providing personal information that will allow them to access your account. They often use pressure tactics to stop you thinking about want they want you do for them.

To help you stay protected, here are some things that we will never do:

  • Ask you to disclose your PIN number or other passwords for your accounts
  • Encourage you to move funds from your own account into a different “safe” account
  • Charge up-front fees for repayment holidays
  • Make home visits to collect mortgage arrears on your doorstep
  • Demand an immediate payment of mortgage arrears over the phone
  • Demand payment of mortgage arrears via email providing you with a link through which to make payments.

Please remain vigilant.

Stop – Take a moment to think.
Challenge – Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to say “No” and end the conversation.
Protect – Contact the building society or the bank from which you have made a payment immediately if you think that you have been the victim of fraud.

Coronavirus Update

We understand that some customers may be worried about the effect that contracting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) could have on their finances, for example due to a drop in income as a result of contracting the virus or because of the measures imposed to stop it spreading. If you have any concerns about how this could affect you and your mortgage, please click here to read the leaflet produced by the Building Societies Association and National Debtline or please get in touch on 01664 414141.

Please click here to see a list of Frequently Asked Questions for our members.

The Melton Building Society

Guide to Self Build

Steps to Self Build Success

1. Project planning

A clear vision of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, who is going to do it and what it is going to cost is essential. You should always include a contingency – at least 10% of your overall budget is prudent.

This money should only be used for unexpected costs during the project, such as additional foundation requirements or unavoidable delays. If you still have the contingency at the end of the build, you can consider upgrading interior finishes or landscaping schemes

2. Finding a building plot or property for renovation/conversion

Finding a suitable building plot can take time and patience, however, online resources such as Plotsearch are a good place to start. Estate agents can also be helpful, but you will need to contact them regularly to keep your name front of mind.

In areas of high house prices, it may be worthwhile purchasing a poor quality house and then demolishing it to create a building plot. For example, some areas have poorly built bungalows on fairly large plots surrounded by larger houses. However it’s always worth speaking to the local planning office to gauge their attitude to this type of development.

It’s advisable to obtain a survey of the land. Your solicitor will be able to report on any issues concerning the suitability of the land for purchase including:

  • Checking what is likely to happen to land that is in the vicinity of the plot
  • Finding out if utilities (gas, water, electricity and phone) are connected or in existence nearby
  • Ensuring that the plot is not on a flood plain or other potentially damaging watercourse
  • Ensuring that brownfield sites do not present unforeseen problems that are connected to its previous use eg chemical contamination arising from a historic industrial use
  • Checking that the land is not legally subject to any restrictive land covenants or ransom strips (where somebody retains ownership of a section of the plot that materially affects its use or access).
  • Many development plots are sold via auction where a 10 per cent deposit will be required on the day of sale with the balance due within 28 days. Therefore, finance must be in place before the auction. Not all lenders will lend to buy the land so it’s important to check.
  • If the cost of the building plot does not exceed £125,000 Stamp Duty is not applicable.

3. Design your home

One of the most exciting stages of building your own home is the opportunity to have some input in the design. We all have our own ideas of how we would like our home to look and feel, but only a few of us will enjoy the chance to actually participate in the design.

Design is one of the most crucial elements in building your home and time should be taken to learn the various options that you have in terms of style, materials, heating, insulation etc. in order that you can incorporate as many of your own ideas into the plans as possible, bearing in mind your budget, the feasibility of your ideas and the wishes of the local planning authority.

Most self builders will want to appoint a qualified and experienced architect to follow their brief and design the house. An architect can support the whole project, handling statutory requirements such as planning permission and building regulations.

The costs of architectural services will vary according to the level of involvement, and you should negotiate a fee at the very beginning and have the fee and what it covers confirmed in writing.

Some Architects are members of the Royal Institute of British Architects (R.I.B.A.), but all working in the UK must be registered with the Architects’ Registration Board (www.arb. org.uk). Qualified Architectural Technologists also provide services in helping with house design, contact the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (www.ciat.org.uk) for further details.

4. Choose a building approach

Many first time self builders choose to use a package company to guide them through the design and build process. These companies usually offer customisable standard houses as well as a bespoke design option.

Other self builders prefer to use an architect and main contractor or professional project manager. Many like to project manage the build themselves, with a view to saving money by keeping a close eye on labour and materials.

The main self build construction options in the UK
Some lenders may only consider certain construction types, so it’s important to check with your lender.

Timber Frame
Timber frame buildings are very popular with self builders and growing in market share among commercial developers in England and Wales. Oakwrights is one of the leading providers of oak frame buildings visit www.oakwrights.co.uk for further information.

Brick and Block
The most conventional commercial building method in the UK, with an inner skin of concrete blocks, an outer skin of facing bricks and a layer of insulation between the two.

Steel Frame
This self-build construction option is popular in the US but rare in the UK. This option will almost certainly require you to purchase a kit on a supply and fit basis and your choice of design will be limited to those offered from the kit manufacturer.

Alternative Building Methods
These include Beco, Styrostone, Structured Insulated Panels (SIPs) and timber clad.

Environmentally Friendly
Incorporating energy efficient features is often a priority for self builders. Some mortgage providers offer a self build mortgage with a special discounted rate which recognises investment in energy efficiency.

5. Planning Permission

Early contact with the planners is the best way to establish whether your project is viable. Most local authority planning departments offer ‘pre-application advice’ (some will charge for this service). This can help you get a strong idea of what your planning officer will and won’t accept in terms of general style, size and any materials stipulations. It’s a great way to make sure you stand the best chance of getting planning permission when you come to submit your application.

When you locate a suitable plot of land make sure you have obtained Outline Planning Permission (OPP) before committing to the purchase. OPP is simply permission for the principle of development on a site. This means that the details of the size, dimensions, materials and access can be decided at a later date. If a plot is granted OPP, you will still need to make a supplementary application for full planning permission at a later date and no building work can be undertaken on OPP alone. OPP status is usually valid for three years at which point re-application will need to be made.

Next you will need to lodge the plans with your local authority planning department to obtain detailed planning permission and building regulation approvals. Your local authority will charge for these services as they will need to send out an inspector to view the plot to assess the suitability as well as release details of your application so that objections can be lodged.

The details of the planning charges and the separate building inspection charges can be obtained from your local council. A fee calculator is available on the Government’s online planning and building regulation resource www.planningportal.gov.uk.  The council should decide on your application within 8 weeks.

Detailed Planning Permission/Full Planning Permission (FPP) outlines exactly what is going to be built including dimensions, room layouts and building materials. As soon as FPP is granted building work may commence. Sometimes conditions of approval will be attached and these must be complied with during the project. Detailed planning permission is valid for three years.

In most instances a simple planning application never goes to a planning committee and instead is decided at officer level. This is followed by a period of public consultation about the application. The extent of this will depend on the impact of the development and the type of area but it will always include local neighbours. This process normally lasts 3 weeks.

Once the local authority has received all the necessary responses, the planning officer will assess the proposal against the local authority planning policies. The planning officer will then make a decision regarding the application or a recommendation for the planning committee.

If there is a problem with your application, the Planning Officer may contact you to try and resolve it. If it is refused, you will need to re-submit an amended proposal or appeal against the decision.

6. Building Regulations

Most building projects have to comply with building regulations. For example, you will need to comply if you put up a new building, extend or significantly alter an existing one (eg converting a loft space into a living space).

You may also need to comply if you want to install services or fittings in a building, such as replacement windows, toilets, sinks, or hot water cylinders, or if you change the use of a building, since the new use may mean it does not comply with the appropriate regulations.

If you are unsure whether the work you want to do needs to comply, contact the building regulations department of your local council. They will also be able to advise you about the requirements that apply to the work you want to carry out and what procedures you need to follow.

The primary responsibility for complying with the regulations belongs to the person carrying out the building work. So if you are carrying out the work personally the responsibility will be yours.

If you are employing a builder the responsibility will usually be that firm’s, but make sure you confirm this position at the very beginning. If you are the owner of the building, it is ultimately you who may be served with an enforcement notice if the work does not comply with the regulations.

Complying with building regulations is a separate matter from getting planning permission for your work. In the same way, receiving any planning permission is not the same as taking action to ensure that it complies with building regulations.

Useful information about planning and building regulations can be found on the Government Planning Portal website www.planningportal.gov.uk

7. Arrange finance

Self build projects require funds to be made available in stages as the house is being built – these can either be made in arrears or in advance depending on the lender.  Some lenders will also lend to purchase the land with outline planning permission.  An advisor from Mortgage Advice Bureau will be able to search over 90 lenders to find the right self build mortgage for you.

Most build projects can be broken down into 6 key stages:

  • Purchasing the land
  • Initial project costs and laying foundations
  • Construction to wall plate levels (and timber frame erected if appropriate)
  • Building made wind and watertight
  • First fix and plastering
  • Second fix through to completion.

Typical Budget Example

A typical example of a cashflow budget (for illustrative purposes only):

Purchase of land £130,000
Initial site clearance costs and laying foundations £35,000
Construction to wall plate (& timber frame) £40,000
Wind & watertight £20,000
First fix and plastering £15,000
Second fix to completion £48,000
Sub total £288,000

In addition, there are also the following costs to take into consideration:

Architect & project management fees £25,000
Survey, planning, finance and other associated fees £5,000
Buildings warranty insurance £1,250
Contingency fund £33,000
Total budget (including plot) £352,250

Many self builders use their own savings to help finance their project, so in this example if the self-builder is using £75,000 of their own money and the estimated value of the final project once completed is £500,000, the funding requirement in this example will be £352,250 – £75,000 = £277,250, representing 55.45% loan to value (LTV against the final value).

What do you need to make a mortgage application?
When submitting a mortgage application for a self build mortgage borrowers will normally be required to provide:

  • Copy of planning permission and building regulations approval for the project
  • Copies of architectural drawings.
  • Breakdown of the work to be undertaken and details of who will be doing the work
  • Details of the projects costings and cashflow projections.
  • An NHBC certificate or equivalent warranty and this should be applied for before building work commences as the warranty provider will need to undertake their own inspections at key stages throughout the build process.
  • Together with documentation to support the application in the same way as any regular mortgage eg payslips, bank statements, ID, proof of rent/mortgage payments, proof of deposit etc.

How does the mortgage drawdown process work?
Once a mortgage application has been approved, the lender will agree a schedule of payment drawdowns with the borrower.

The lender will instruct a local valuer to inspect the building work at each build and payment release stage until the building is complete.

8. How can you qualify for a self build mortgage?

To qualify for a self build mortgage, your project must usually meet the following criteria:

Outline Planning Permission must have been obtained before your application can be considered and before any initial funds can be released. Detailed Planning Permission must have been granted and approved by the lender before any stage releases can be made.

Building Regulation Approval must have been issued and approved by the lender before building work starts and before any stage releases can be made.

Site insurance must be in place.

9. Other Costs to Consider

As the buyer of the property, you are responsible for completing the land transaction return and paying the Stamp Duty Land Tax. Your solicitor or licensed conveyancer will usually handle this for you and send it to HMRC on your behalf.

Valuation Fees
Your mortgage lender will conduct a survey and valuation of your land for their own records and, even though they charge you for this, you will normally find that this valuation is not passed on to you. You may therefore also wish to have an independent valuation carried out by a professional surveyor for your own use and purposes. Mortgage lenders will normally also charge you for each re-inspection and valuation as the different stage payment points are reached.

As there can be quite large variations between different lender’s charges, you should seek information about these before deciding which mortgage may be most suitable.

Planning Fees
You should expect to pay fees for drawings and plans prepared by architects or other professionals. You will also have to pay the normal council charges for planning permission, and for building regulations approval and inspections. These costs can be obtained on request from the local council.

Mains Services
If you have purchased a plot of land that is not already connected for mains services like electricity, gas and water, you will need to budget for these to be provided. Depending on the distance to the nearest services these charges can be considerable, and we recommend you establish these early in your project planning by contacting the electricity, water and gas companies. They will have plans of where the nearest infrastructures exist and should be able to provide estimates of costs and the length of time to establish a connection (this can be considerable in some areas).

Insurances
It is important to ensure you are adequately insured. Self build insurance policies are available and can provide cover for:

Public Liability Insurance
This covers legal liability for claims made by any other person or body in respect of death, injury or loss arising from your building operations.

Employer’s Liability Insurance
This is a legal requirement if you are employing anyone. This can also be a factor if any sub-contractor working for you has an accident on site where your duty to provide a safe working site could be called into question.

Contracts Works Insurance
Protects against losses through theft, vandalism, structural damage, fire, flood, storm damage, damage by delivery vehicles, etc.

Other insurance
You may also require special additional cover on occasions when any specialist services are being provided on site by third parties.

10. Value Added Tax

Self build homes are exempt from VAT, as are non-domestic buildings with Planning Permission for conversion into homes and certain listed properties. You should be able to reclaim your VAT if you are doing a self build project or converting a non-residential property eg a barn or a windmill. Make sure you keep receipts for all your purchases as you will need these to make your claim.

11. And finally…

With building work complete and the interiors finished, you’ll be ready to move in to your dream home. There are a few important practicalities to consider – such as obtaining the Completion certificate from building control, ensuring any small issues are dealt with as part of the ‘snagging’ process and making that all-important VAT reclaim.

Search for your next mortgage with Mortgage Advice Bureau

To book an appointment please call 01664 494100 or take a look at our Mortgage Advice Bureau website where you can also see the latest deals, access mortgage calculators, meet the team, get expert advice and much more.