When considering the construction of a building near a river, there's a lot of preparation you need to do. Surveying the land for proper boundaries and soil structure is just the first step. You should also refer to the laws of your municipality to determine any specific regulations for building next to a water body.
Before getting excited about the breathtaking views you'll be enjoying from your windows, consider the following factors that affect construction near water bodies.
1. Riparian development laws
Most buildings near a water body are subject to riparian development laws. These are laws that stipulate how structures near water bodies should be built. They may provide for a certain minimum distance from the riverbanks or what you should do to protect the water body from pollution.
There are also ownership laws that stipulate whether you actually own a certain stretch of the river and its banks. These ownership laws can affect your ability to fish or take your boat out on the river. You may also be responsible for any contamination of the river water that arises from your premises.
2. The risk of flooding
The next important factor to consider is the risk of flooding. Riparian laws may stipulate that you build at a safe distance from flood levels in order to protect your property. However, unprecedented flooding may still put your property at risk.
You should consider obtaining flood insurance to protect your premises from water damage. A flooding risk assessment can also help you waterproof your home. These efforts may include installing waterproof doors, stronger windows and well-anchored appliances.
The type of river may also affect flooding risk. For example, tidal rivers (those which drain into the sea) are more prone to flooding during hurricanes and other inclement weather. During a land survey, have your land surveyor assess the ability of the land and soil to handle storm surges.
3. Future development projects
Consider if the land is likely to be used for other development projects by your local municipality. For example, the surrounding land may be used to build a bridge across the river or to establish a commercial fishery.
By anticipating such projects in advance, you can avoid the inconvenience of having to relocate a few years down the line (if you won't feel comfortable with your surroundings anymore). Indeed, after having invested to build near a riverbank, the last thing you want is to have to move after you've gotten comfortable.