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Placing a house

Few things in Britannia are more satisfying than staking your claim to a plot of land, and building your very own house upon it! The recently-added ability to build over small rocks and plants, mean that your chances of finding a place to build your home are pretty good.
All house types are build with the same House Placement Tool,  Toolavailable from the Architects in the carpenter shops in town, for about 600 gold. The tool is blessed, and draws directly upon funds in your bank box, so if you are looking for a house, carry one around with you at all times… you might just come across a place where you can build your house!
You have a choice of various pre-built houses to suit your needs, and empty plots of different sizes on which you can build a house of your own design. See the Master Building Table for all available house and plot types, and their storage capacity. Note that if you plan on placing a customizable plot, your account needs Age of Shadows access. You can check whether or not you’re able to place customizable plots, by using the House Placing Tool and trying to access the menus for empty plots.
CheckBefore you set off to stake your claim; check that you have the House Placement Tool with you, and that you have sufficient funds in your bank box to cover the expense of the house or plot you plan to place. Incidentally, those funds must be in the form of a check; the Britanian building contractors apparently refuse to deal with coinage. A tip: you can check your available funds while ‘out in the field’, by using the house placement tool and clicking any of the three options for plot sizes. The bottom of the window shows the available funds in your bank.


Now you are ready to go out into the world and stake your claim! You can find detailed information on using the House Placement Tool in the Official Playguide, but you’ll find using the tool to be quite intuitive.
Note that when you place a house, the 7-day rule applies, and you cannot place or acquire another house for a week, unless you drop your house, if you want to resize your home you can find easy instructions on how to here. Also, any houses that you own will become condemned.

See the Important rules in the Homeowner’s Guide.

Using a house placement tool to place, you will have only so many attempts to place before the housing tool locks you out. The amount of times is random. Once locked out there is a cool down time that is also random before you will be allowed to place again. Using a new tool will not circumvent the cool down timer. This was instituted to stop scripter’s from placing.


Recap of the most important placement rules:

  • The area under your house must be reasonably flat. You can have a slight hill or bump under the center of your house, but the ground around the edge of the house should be more or less level.
  • The area under your house should be free of obstacles, trees, other houses. (yellow area)
  • The area around your house should be free of obstacles. There should be a clear corridor of one tile wide around your house, so that you can freely walk around it. (blue area)
  • The area extending 5 tiles in front of your house (on the South end, counting from the stairs) should be free of other houses. (red area)
  • Your house should respect the obstacle-free areas around other houses. You cannot build within 5 tiles south of an existing house, as this would violate the requirement for that house to have this area obstacle-free. (orange area)


Placing Houses over obstacles
As of Publish 19, most of the smaller object such as rocks, flowers and brambles no longer block house placement. As a rule, anything you can walk through will not block houses. Anything that you cannot walk through, will.
Non-blocking objects:
The flowers, mushrooms, rocks, logs and brambles shown below do not block house placement. You can build your house on top of them.



Blocking objects

Solid objects will block house placement. These objects include the large trees, large rocks such as those found around moongates, and crystals.

Unlike other loose objects dropped by players, some bugged house addons, old static items like stretched hides and statues that where locked in boxes and corpses will block houseplacment.


These nasty little trees will block placement… most of the time. In some cases, houses can be placed over them, though it is not clear under what conditions. It seems that sometimes these trees are allowed under the middle of the foundation.

There are a few areas where you cannot build houses, such as inside the city limits or on a server line. You’ll receive the message ‘Housing cannot be created in this area’ if you try to build a house there.

When you place a customisable plot, the outline will not show the steps leading up to the plot! When you position the plot, you should reserve room for the steps as well. (pink area)

Walking around the area and playing around with the house tool should give you a good idea about the maximum plot size that will fit into the area. When you manage to find a valid location for a plot, do not immediately confirm that you wish to definitely place it. Look around the edges of the plot: perhaps there is room to place a slightly bigger one… while you are doing this, other players will not be able to place in the spot you found, until you cancel or confirm that you wish to build your house there, or until 30 seconds have passed. They will be able to see the house you’re attempting to place, so be aware that everyone else in the area will now know that a house will fit the location.

custom house

Even Terrain
To get a good understanding of what a foundation is, you can do this experiment, go to any house West or East side, and turn up your circle of transparency option to 200. then take a look at the house, you’ll notice the tiles of the house directly next to you are visible but beyond that you can see the terrain the house is on. If you walk completely around the outside of the house you will see the entire foundation. This foundation has to be placed on even terrain, no part of the foundation can be elevated higher/lower than another. However the inside foundation can be uneven to an extent.
Log cabins may have the advantage when placing over tough terrain with hills, maybe OSI intended this to be so, think on this, you have to walk up 2 or 3 tiles to get to the door, so the floor is a whole 2-3 tiles above ground.

Finding a Spot

You guessed it: this is the hard part. Finding a place to build a house is partly luck, but with a few tips and tricks, you can improve your chances of finding one.
A good place to find house spots is… another shard! If you suspect that a house should fit a particular spot but you cannot seem fit one in, visit the same spot on another, preferably crowded shard. Chances are that if the spot is a viable location for a house, someone will already have build one there on one of the crowded shards.

There used to be a good way to find overlooked house spots or spots where a house has decayed unnoticed: by walking around other shards, and letting UO Automap and UOAssist map out the houses. You could simply compare the house maps of different shards to find empty house spots on your shard. UO Automap is as yet unable to record the location of customizable house plots (at the time this essay was written), so this method will of limited value. It may be that the ability to record all plot sizes will be added to UO Automap at some future date.

Be on the lookout for empty areas that look like they might fit a house. Again, check on other shards if you cannot place in what seems to be a viable location. In some cases placing is tricky: you may have to stand under a particular tree when you try to place the house, because otherwise you will be targeting the tree’s foliage rather than the area obscured by the tree, even though the house outline appears to sit in the correct location.

Many people only try out placement using the customizable plots, because the outline leaves a clear view of the surroundings. However, there are places where an outline will not fit but a pre-fabricated building will, because the stairs in front of prefav houses generally do not span the entire width of the plot. If you try to place a custom plot and find yourself blocked by a tree or other house at one of the corners of the south end of the plot, consider one of the pre-fabricated houses. You may find that one of them will fit:

Obstacle free outer perimeter of the house

Plots Plots

In the left hand image, you see an attempt to place a 7×7 customizable plot. The pink area shows where the stairs will go; the red area shows the 5 tile wide area in front of the stairs that has to remain clear. The green tiles show where there the 5 tile area overlaps with another plot that is already placed. The 7×7 plot will not fit here!

The right-hand image shows an attempt to place a classic small tower, in the same location. The stairs on this house span only 3 tiles, and as a result, the 5 tile area in front of the house and stairs fits nicely around the existing plot. The small tower will fit here! Note that you are allowed to turn the small tower into a customisable plot, even though the resulting plot would suffer from the same problem as the 7×7 plot in the picture.

Note that in this case, turning the small tower into an empty plot will make both plots ‘improperly placed’ because of this.

Small Marble

If you look at the image above, the outer perimeter is in red, you must be able to walk this perimeter without being stopped by some object.
This perimeter has been known to be the beginning of a drop in a hill.

Tiles free on the North and South side of the house.

Also from looking at the above image, you have the 5 tile rule being shown in yellow. This area can have really anything in it, except for other houses, and some in game objects.

The blue is where some house combination allow placement. It is not a guarantee, but it may be a possibility. Below is an example of what I mean.

Small Marble

Here I am using a Villa and a Small Marble. The most important thing to remember is not to invade the 5 tiles directly to the South of the house or to the north with your house, nor should you invade the 1 tile directly East or directly West of the house. The Blue/Red tiles represent the mixture of the 1 tile to the EAST for the Marble and the 5 tiles to the North for the Villa, both houses are using the area to supplement their requirements.

West and East side spacing

Take a look at Figure 1.1 and Figure 1.2

In figure 1.1 you can see the problem people are having, they think the gap in front of ghost Flippy is wide enough to walk through, while in fact it is not. They are not the only ones, the land survey tool used to say this is a valid spot, as long as all the other requirements were met.

Small Marble
Figure 1.1

Small Marbles
Figure 1.2

Figure 1.2 is the correct spacing gap and it is a must to have. The only time you will see houses close like Figure 1.1 is in Felucca.


Updated June 2009
Lady Aalia

Last modified: June 10, 2014

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