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i-build i-nterior i-scape

Issue 18

January 16



The perfect frame New build home uses structural oak to stunning effect




Architect Jack Woolley builds quirky and complex Spiral House

Self-build couple extend their living space into the garden using folding doors

Sharp, angular Belfast property stands tall and proud in its natural surroundings



Sustainable houses, stylish homes – turning dreams into reality.

Discover WeberHaus Exceptional Quality Built in a controlled factory environment in Germany

WeberHaus combine outstanding workmanship with innovative technology, fully project managed to create your dream home.

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i-build i-nterior i-scape

Cover story: This stunning, detached property, located in the beautiful mid-Wales countryside, has been designed by the expert team at Welsh Oak Frame. See page 46. Editor in Chief:

Hannah Frackiewicz Editorial Assistant:

Rebecca Kemp Print & Digital Advertising:

Sam Ball

Steve Gull

Michael Abrahams Studio Manager:

Welcome to the January issue of i-build


Welcome Note

i-build hen it comes to self-build design, it’s true what they say: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. While some self-builders wish for their properties to be bold and dramatic structures that stand confidently over their neighbours, others prefer to take a more subtle approach.

In this month’s issue, i-build profiles two recently-completed red brick homes, which are in total contrast to one another – a stark reminder that each self-build experience is unique, subjective and determined by a whole host of changeable factors. On page 30 you will find a sunken treasure – Spiral House. This nestled property, completed by architect Jack Woolley – is tucked away on a plot that was once a derelict garden of a Victoria terrace. The form of the property comprises an outer wall that wraps neatly into itself to provide habitable spaces. Unnoticeable to passersby, the unimposing property provides ample space and welcomes plenty of light – properties you wouldn’t expect given its location and complex configuration! At the other end of the spectrum, a recent Brick Awards finalist demonstrates a bold and fearless approach to self-build. Turn to page 36 to see how this unusual urban build stands proudly above the rolling hills to Belfast and beyond. I hope you enjoy this issue. Don’t forget, if you’re coming to the end of your self-build and would like to offer your home as inspiration for other budding home-builders, please contact me at

Chris Lilly Production:

Jack Witcomb Artworker/Sub-editor:

David Perry

Editor in Chief Accounts:

Simone Jones Managing Director:




Download the i-build app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Search 'i-build'.

Sam Ball

Editor’s picks Pear Platt, Woodfalls Farm, Gravelly Way Laddingford, Kent, ME18 6DA T: 01622 873229 F: 01622 320020 Terms and Conditions:

Contributions are invited and when not accepted will be returned only if accompanied by a fully stamped and return addressed envelope. No responsibility will be taken for drawings, photographs or literary contributions during transmission or in the editors hands. In the absence of an agreement the copyright of all contributions, literary, photographics or artistic belongs to Mixed Media Information Ltd. The Publisher accepts no responsibility in respect of advertisements appearing in the magazine and the opinions expressed in editorial material or otherwise do not necessarily represent the view of the publisher. The Publisher does not accept any liability of any loss arising from the late appearance or non publication of any advertisement.

Timber-framed, efficient homes Wood floor designs by by WeberHaus: See page 54 Kährs: See page 55

Windows and doors by Black Millwork: See page 55





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The i-build app

for iPhone, iPad & Android Free download available now! PROJECTS | PRODUCTS | INSPIRATION | INFORMATION The smarter way to plan, design, and decorate self-build homes. With its easy-to-navigate format, users can benefit from a variety of useful tools, such as the magazine’s latest issue, digital archive, suppliers and newsbank. The App is also synced with SBP Library ( providing an essential specification portal.

| Bespoke, reader-friendly features tailored to professionals on the move | | Timely industry news delivered at the touch of a button | | Manage print & digital subscriptions | Search ‘ibuildmagazine’


National Self Build & Renovation Show

A look at the latest innovative products and on-trend styles for your home.

Upcoming highlights of this must-attend event taking place from 29th – 31st January.

i-build i-nterior i-scape

Desired Designs






Build It Live Kent


Time Will Tell




Contracts & Legalities


Sustainable Living


Urban Sanctuary

Discover why Built It Live Kent will help you make your dream home happen. i-build continues to follow Will Anderson as his self-build journey unfolds. What can listed property owners expect to face when carrying out repairs? How protected is your building site? ProAktive offers some top tips on security. A quaint country cottage certified to passivhaus standards provides an idyllic home. Jack Woolley’s Spiral House nestles sympathetically between residential streets.

& Blocks 36 Bricks i-build reflects on the properties of red brick and demonstrates how it can be used to stunning effect.

& Windows 38 Doors Architect Paul Davis and his wife Fiona can

now bring the outdoors in with folding doors.

Walls & Ceilings 40 Floors, Create a spectacular ceiling feature with


structural oak frames or cosmetic beams.

36 52

Technology 42 Renewable Air source heat pumps are increasingly seen as an option for self-build projects. Find out why here.

44 Finance Saffron Walden Building Society outlines the financing options for self-building.

46 i-build The expert team at Welsh Oak Frame

creates a show-stopping home in Wales.

50 i-nterior PC Henderson explains how sliding door 52

hardware can help to create versatile spaces.

i-scape Enjoy your garden or courtyard all year round with some well-considered illumination.

s: Secret Traduet for our ‘Tradheout

g Look o otted throu the re s’ d Secret ue. These a h can s this is sights whic ing in d insider luable to bud be inva lf-builders! se


Desired Designs



4 3



Time to reflect Brighten up your home with these unique statement pieces.


he New Year is here! Time to start reflecting on the goals for the year ahead – one of which will hopefully be completing the build of your dream home. At this point you might find yourself indulging in the selection of decorative accessories and furnishings. Adorning your home is a great way to inject your personality into your new home and a perfect opportunity to show off your signature style. Reflective furnishings can open up any room, be it large or small. Whether you are considering brightening up your home or adding small signature pieces to a country cottage, this is the style for you. Here i-build has collated some outstanding and unusual statement pieces to motivate your design inspiration, from fine crystal chandeliers to delicate handmade glass candlesticks. These simple, yet compelling designs are sure to inject a sense of luxury and opulence into your new home.


1. Baroque Crystal chandelier, £390.00, John Lewis

2. Jo Sampson London table light, £2000.00, Waterford


3. Vera Wang Duchesse

champagne flutes, £70.00, Wedgwood

4. Platanoides mirror, £315.00,

The Chandelier & Mirror Company


5. Reflections by Hugau/ Larsson Superstar mirror, £800.00, Amara

6. Eternity sconce, £1020.00, Koket

7. Kartell stone stool, £142.00, Design 55

8. Arcisi Murano vases, £620.00, Natuzzi

9. Noa side table, £99,

10. Bobby pair of candlesticks,

£260.00, William Yeoward Crystals



1 1. Armadillo Sphere,

£1150.00, Anna Torfs

2. Penumbra, £3250.00, Enemark and Thompson

3. Morning Glory in Neodynium, POA, Amanda Brisbane

Desired Designs


4. Tall Bird Collection, £750.00, Bruce Marks

4 3

Vessel Gallery Since 1999 the Vessel Gallery has aimed to be a major destination for all those who appreciate contemporary art-glass sculpture and decorative lighting. From the stunning simplicity of Scandinavian crystal, to the best of British and International creative talents, all pieces are unique and have been carefully edited. Collections span from lighting, wall panels, hanging sculptures and interior objects. The majority of the collections are handcrafted by the artists and designers in their studios but also handmade in collaboration with skilled craftsmen from all over the world.

1. Denton swing arm

bathroom light, £659.00, Besselink & Jones


2. Chrome shower wipe, £29.95, LuxDeco

3. Caldo radiator, from £961.99, Reina

4. Block Basin Monobloc, £1495.00, Crosswater

1 Classic chrome choice

Chrome accessories are a great way to achieve that clean and fresh element for a transcendent bathroom. These accessories can enhance your room and transform any style of bathroom into an impressive, welcoming and practical space. Appointing chrome to your bathroom can really bring a room to life and can add a sense of refinement to any new build.




Desired Designs

Technology speaks volumes Make a statement this year with elegant speakers and ultimate power. 1


Stylish and powerful

Compact streaming

The A70 is Orbitsound’s flagship airSOUND Bar. Compact, stylish and extremely powerful; it is perfect for clear dialogue on TV, music streaming, or a thrilling movie experience.

From one-piece music systems to outdoor speakers, you can start with one and add more Bose SoundTouch systems. They all work together to play the same music in every room, or different music in different rooms.






The Sonos smart speaker

Ground-shaking wireless sound

The Sonos PLAY:5 uses six state-of-the-art digital amplifiers, individually coupled with six speakers to deliver great sound to any room. Expect remarkably distinct clarity and zero audible distortion.

The Air 200 from Cambridge Audio offers ultimate power, volume and performance; it will pour rich sound into your lounge, kitchen or bedroom effortlessly. The rigid exterior is essential for a portable product.




The future of sound

The essence of music

The BeoLab 90 is a celebration of Bang & Olufsen’s innovative heritage and timeless design philosophy in the year of the company’s 90th anniversary. This highly intelligent loudspeaker provides you with clarity, range and a sound staging that is second-to-none.

The backbone of the EPICON 6 is DALI’s new driver technology. The imposing high-gloss finish cabinet makes music look good in any home environment. The EPICON 6 is rigid, curved and dressed in high-gloss finish wood veneer.




design | construct | perform 08-10 MARCH 2016


Evolving with the building industry

Here’s what’s NEW for 2016

• New show layout • 1,000s of innovations from over 800 exhibitors • The latest thinking at the conference, covering hot topics – Homes, Architecture & Next Generation

• CPD accredited learning hubs Building Performance, Design, Energy, Infrastructure Revolution, Digital Building and #BuildCircular • Ground breaking interactive features and product showcases

Register for your FREE ticket: Co-located with GOVERNMENT PA R T N E R :





O R G A N I S E D B Y:

E C O B U I L D I S I S O 2 0 1 2 1 S U S TA I N A B L E E V E N T M A N A G E M E N T S Y S T E M C E R T I F I E D

Desired Designs

Wings of desire Aviary prints and furnishings are currently on-trend from mallard ducks to peacocks. Decorate your home with these quirky prints and accessories to create a stunning and animated scheme. 1


Picturesque print


Wrendale Designs’ Crash Landing is the perfect quirky addition to any country-style home. This delicate illustration comes in a variety of medias including ceramics and kitchen accessories. (

Create your very own home of modernvintage with this garden birds printed wallpaper and cotton fabric from Cath Kidston – also available in oilcloth. This stunning print will bring life and colour into any room. (



Make a statement

Camilia cabinet

Blendworth’s Fabled Crane print fabric is from its Wedgwood collection. Blendworth has worked alongside Wedgwood to create a collection of fabrics and wallcoverings inspired by its impressive design archive. The bold designs are available in a range of printed, woven and handembroidered fabrics.

The Camilia cabinet designed by Koket is perfect as a main attraction to any room. Its gold embossed peacock design differs from your generic cabinet as a unique practical storage solution. (



Exquisite lamps

Minimal timekeeping

This distinct ostrich leg bronze lamp is an individually handcrafted lamp from Temple and Ivy. The unique design provides a way to animate spaces and inject personality into interior schemes.

Let the flight of ivory fowl guide your timekeeping with this 'Circling Swallows' innovative design from Anthropologie. Its minimal design will complement cool neutral colours and stand out as a great piece of wall art.





Delivering British architecture with German technology Hanse Haus is a leading German turnkey supplier of bespoke, pre-fabricated, timber framed homes, currently building ultra-high efficiency and Passivhaus standard homes across the UK. Contact us today to learn about the latest build site or open day. Hanse Haus Email Telephone 0845 658 9780 (Local rate)


National Self Build & Renovation Show

Left: The NSBRC team provide the knowledge and support you need to make informed decisions during every step of your project

an existing home, be that injecting new life into a room with a splash of colour, creating more space or converting your loft or garage into warm usable rooms. The show offers an unrivalled line-up of experts that include architects, project managers, designers, planners and eco consultants – all of whom are on hand to offer free guidance and advice. If you’re planning a major project, or are simply after a second opinion before making a key purchase, bring your plans and sketches along to the show and take advantage of these free one-to-one sessions.

Your questions answered

The key to creating your dream home A unique and inspiring resource at the heart of the UK’s homebuilding community, The National Self Build & Renovation Centre is the only permanent venue for self-builders, renovators and home improvers.


f you are embarking on the journey of designing and building your own bespoke home, you are not alone. Around 13,000 people will take on a self-build project this year, benefiting from a huge degree of choice; from where the house is located, how it is constructed, the energy efficiency of the building fabric through to the level of finish you will enjoy once moved in – all of which buying a house ‘off the shelf’ simply can’t offer. The National Self Build & Renovation Centre (NSBRC) opened its doors in January 2007. The


team provide the knowledge and support you need to make informed decisions during every step of your project and to celebrate entering its 10th year it is kick starting 2016 with the ever popular National Self Build & Renovation Show held on Friday 29th to Sunday 31st January. The new year is the perfect opportunity to breathe life into a project, with most new builds starting in the early months of the year. The National Self Build & Renovation Show is perfectly timed for those kick starting a new build or simply considering improvements to

The NSBRC’s own expert team will be on hand to take you on guided tours of its fantastic life size renovation house and self-build journeys – answering your questions along the way. Each day three theatres will feature seminars exploring everything from budgeting, plot finding, the latest building regulations and planning news. The NSBRC’s own team of experts will also share their top tips for sourcing tradespeople and buying materials. The NSBRC features over 200 exhibitors who each have permanent displays of their latest products and technologies. Many of these displays will be staffed by experienced representatives who will be able to showcase and demonstrate their systems and advise on design and pricing. You can see the latest products and technologies being put through their paces in the Live Demonstration Zone. The National Self Build & Renovation Show is held at the NSBRC and is easy to get to – located on Junction 16 of the M4 and parking is free. Tickets for the show are £12 per adult but i-build magazine readers can claim free tickets by booking online and selecting booking code: ibuild16.

Baufritz is passionate about creating a luxurious living environment that’s designed just for you. All our homes use an abundance of high quality, natural materials that are completely free of toxins, creating a harmonious atmosphere that looks beautiful, protects the environment and makes you feel good.

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CMYK / .ai

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CMYK / .ai Find out more about Baufritz and contac t our UK office: | 01223 235632

Sub-brow Build It Live Eyebrow Kent

Left: Receive one-to-one free advice from independent experts on how to turn a project into reality Below: Now in its fourth year the exhibition aims to provide a stress-free route to creating a truly individual home

Build It Live returns to Kent Build It Live will take place at Bluewater in Kent at the Glow exhibition centre. In this preview, discover how this event will help you create a truly individual home.


ow in its fourth year the exhibition aims to provide a stress-free route to creating a truly individual home with the opportunity to meet self-build experts who can provide invaluable advice and top tips for your project. Receive one-to-one free advice from independent experts on how to turn a project into reality including how to find land, what is possible with and without planning permission and how to ensure you have the right design. Whether it’s your own personal self-build development or one for a client, Build It Live is sure to provide the ideas, inspiration and information to drive the project forward. At this year’s show you can discover thousands of cutting-edge and traditional products and meet over 100 of the UK’s most innovative suppliers. There are around 30 information-packed, free seminars and workshops developed to address specific problems and inspire confidence when taking on a renovation or building project. Companies exhibiting at Bluewater include Potton which offers stylish self-build homes,


Oakwrights with its bespoke oak framed houses and Northcot Brick which is an award-winning master brickmaker. Kitchens by George Rose will be tempting visitors with its incredibly stylish kitchen solutions, Kloeber which has the latest glazing solutions including bi-fold doors and Byng Joinery, with its quality timber sash and casement windows and custom made bespoke staircases in pine and oak. Exciting exhibits to expect from this year’s show include The Naked House. Here, visitors can see a section of a new build as it comes together after first fix – a fascinating insight into how things are installed, from ICF blockwork and underfloor heating to the roof trusses and floor joists. Find a Builder is new this year – talk to the Federation of Master Builders who can guide you through the process of finding the right builder for your project and access their database of trusted builders in your area. At the Real Life Projects exhibit, visitors can gain inspiration and confidence from Build It readers who have realised their self-build dreams; hear their stories in the live theatre on the show floor.

Learn more about eco-friendly building techniques by taking part in taster sessions and see demos covering a range of sustainability issues – including renewable energy and environmentally friendly building techniques. At the Plotsearch zone, receive tips on searching for plots, access to PlotSearch – the UK’s premier live online database – plus view a gallery of current available plots of land across the UK. At the Self Build Academy visitors can attend free taster sessions from the Self Build Academy delivered by Potton – providing essential knowledge for all self-builders. Lastly, Tool Zone will enable you to identify the right tools to buy for your project, featuring all major tool brands and demos.


Time Will Tell

from sycamore boards that came from a tree that once grew at the front of the site. The sycamore tree was dead before we started building so I felled it and saved some of the logs. I then got these milled and stacked the planks up to dry. The time it has taken to build the house – eighteen months so far – is just about what you want to dry one inch planks. So they are now dry, oiled and in place in the birch ply carcasses that I made to fit the space precisely (a bit too precisely as I had to get my electric planer out to get them to fit). As you can see, I have retained the wany edges of the sycamore planks and installed them in such a way that the shape of the original logs is retained in each bay of shelves. It’s a great way not just to use the wood but also to retain the memory of the tree and give it new life. All this room needs is a balustrade for the gallery and a decent ladder and it will be complete. The parquet floor – reclaimed Lebombo with a beech border from Parquet Parquet – is looking particularly lovely. Other rooms, however, are not so advanced. Right now I’m really rather glad we decided to build a relatively modest house. Every room equates to a hundred jobs, all of which need to be done by me – regardless of how many boxes of belongings I have to work around. It’s going to be a dusty new year.

The end is nigh i-build follows Will Anderson as his self-build journey unfolds. This month, he reflects on the moving in process and reveals how spending time on the finer details has made the world of difference.


oving house is always a stressful business. When you are still building the house, however, the complications inevitably multiply. It’s tempting to wait until everything is finished so that you don’t have to live with dust and noise and the general mess of building. But if, like us, you are paying through the nose for rented accommodation and your money is running low, you soon begin to reflect on what the minimum requirements for domestic life actually are. We have begun to move in to The Orchard but we’re not living there yet. We have decided to move over a series of weekends so that we


can manage the disruption and not end up living in an incomplete house stacked high with boxes. We have hot water and a flushing toilet but not yet an operational kitchen, which we really want to have in place before we make the final move. Tiling around the bath and shower might also be a good idea. We began with our books, which we have rather a lot of. Our first floor library has a double height bookcase, so we have lots of room for them. Nonetheless, it was a big job shifting them and getting them on the shelves. I made the shelves myself, about six months ago, before I plastered the room. They are a bit special because the actual shelves are made

Above left: The shelves are made from sycamore boards that came from a tree that once grew at the front of the site Below: The shelves are now dry, oiled and in place in the birch ply carcasses

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your self-build project in our next issue? Get involved: Know any budding self-builders? The i-build website and magazine have already become an invaluable resource, and subscriptions are absolutely free! Visit /subscriptions

Whether you're halfway through your build, or sitting back and enjoying the finished article, we'd love to hear from you! Tell us about your renovation, conversion, extension or new build:


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Unique buildings, unique challenges Peter Bell, Conservation Advisor for The Listed Property Owners Club, offers some guiding principles to owners of listed properties who are looking to undertake repairs or alterations to their home.


ngland and Wales boast half a million listed buildings and each one is unique. The Listed Property Owners Club is an expert in dealing with the challenges that owning a listed building presents and has put together some guiding principles to help those owners who are looking to undertake repairs or alterations to their home.


William Morris said ‘these old buildings do not belong to us only: ‌ They are not our property to do as we like with. We are only trustees for those that come after us'. Morris was founder of the conservation movement as it is known today. It is in this spirit that a philosophy of conservation and a legislative framework has developed aimed at preserving the nation’s historic buildings.

Altering a listed building without consent is an offence. The legal consequence of not applying can be serious so we always recommend that when embarking on a building project, large or small, the first steps are to take professional advice and to seek to engage with the local authority conservation officer at the earliest opportunity. Here are the conservation principles which apply to most repairs, alterations and extensions to listed buildings. It is always best to rely on tried and tested technology. Experience has shown that using modern technologies alongside traditional building technologies frequently create tensions which are harmful to historic buildings and have caused irreversible damage. One of the most vivid and widespread examples is the use of cement mortars for pointing, rendering in solid wall buildings and infill panels in timber-framed buildings.


moisture when the weather is wet or humid and give it out by evaporation when it is dry. This is referred to as ‘breathable’ construction. Methods used in modern building constructions such as damp proof membranes, vapour barriers and any impervious layers should be avoided. Make sure that all the alterations to a listed building are totally reversible. In practice this means fitting the new around the old rather than altering the old to accommodate the new; avoid the loss of historic fabric of whatever age; avoid physically or visually invasive alterations; leave historic wall, floor or ceiling finishes unaltered, they tell an important part of the buildings story and the patina of age is valuable and cannot be replaced once lost. If you are simply carrying out repairs, such as repointing or window repairs, try to keep as much of the historic fabric as possible and the repair to the minimum required. Only repair when it is necessary to do so as ‘over-restoration’ can result in a new looking building and a loss of historic fabric and character. Left: Make sure that all the alterations to a listed building are totally reversible Above: If you are simply carrying out repairs, try to keep as much of the historic fabric as possible Below: Altering a listed building without consent is an offence

Historic buildings tend to be constructed of soft permeable materials such as lime mortar soft bricks and stone. The introduction of hard impervious mortars encourages moisture to dwell in the brick or stonework or in the timber frame all of which will suffer from accelerated deterioration and decay. Waterproof membranes can be harmful to the building as well as its occupants. Inserting a waterproof membrane of any description in any traditional wall, floor or roof will prevent the building from breathing and result in concentrations of moisture. Traditional solid wall buildings were constructed of permeable materials which absorb

Finally, before embarking on any project learn about what makes your building significant: try to understand its story and why it was listed in the first place. Read around the subject and speak to the experts. Remember that Listed Buildings are irreplaceable so we need to make sure that we look after them properly for future generations. The Listed Property Owners’ Club is Britain’s only advice service dedicated to helping members get the most from their homes by providing detailed advice, information and support for just about every conceivable issue associated with ownership. Members benefit from a dedicated telephone helpline where you can speak to a panel of experts on conservation, VAT, law, and listed building matters. The LPOC Suppliers Directory of professionals, builders and tradesmen is the first port of call for many listed building owners across the country.

Dates for your diary: † 20th-21st February 2016 – Listed Property Show: Olympia, London † 12-13th March 2016 – Listed Property Show: Harrogate International Centre For more show information, lecture timetables and free tickets, visit www.lpoc.


Sub-brow Contracts & Legalities Eyebrow

Keep items out of site in a well secured location

Is your self-build site protected? Andrew Reardon, Senior Selfbuild Account Handler at self-build insurance policy expert ProAktive Selfbuild, highlights the risks of site thefts and offers some handy advice on how to reduce them.


uring the winter months we see an increase in theft claims. Hand tools, power tools, generators, pumps, etc. are easily removed and quickly sold on and are therefore major targets, as are metals such as lead, copper and zinc. The onset of dark nights leaves an unoccupied property more vulnerable to theft for longer periods of time and inevitably individual building sites have a tendency to attract thieves as they lack the security of a larger development. Although theft is a peril covered within the self build policy there is still an excess to pay, and the inconvenience of having to replace the tiles you have specially ordered from Italy is inevitably going to delay your build, which can result in further cost implications. While this may be an extreme circumstance it is important that onsite security isn’t taken lightly and there are steps you can take to lessen that risk. 1 Erect security fencing Clearly this isn’t always possible depending on where your plot is situated, however the advantages are two fold. Whilst it won’t stop a determined thief it will certainly deter them, and in addition will cut down the potential of a member of the public walking on to your land and having an accident.


In addition, should you accept a policy with ProAktive you can hire fencing through Jewson at a discounted rate.

2 Frequent visits Most break-ins occur in the evening, within an hour of the last person leaving the site. Try to make irregular visits to the site and inform the local police of its locality. There are steps you can take to lessen the risk of theft

3 Protecting assets Keep items out of site in a well secured location. Often our customers will build an outbuilding first and use it for storage purposes. It helps to keep attractive items away from sight and this is an ideal way of protecting your build, although additional dead bolts should be added as the security on domestic garages is generally poor. If possible add an alarm to the outbuilding or if you don’t want to go to that expense park a vehicle in front of the door each night when leaving the site. If you are not having an outbuilding as part of your build it maybe worth thinking of hiring a security container should your site have the space to do so.

4 Home security When the doors and windows are about to go in it is worth taking the time to get the right security fitted. It’s a sobering fact that two thirds of burglars gain access through a door, so you must ensure that your entrances are fitted with dependable products. If practical fit an alarm. 'Bells only' alarms are often ignored so it may be worth investing in a feebased system connected to a security company.


Sustainable Living 22

Meeting the conditions

When Phil Newbold and his wife, Joy, decided to embark on building their own low-energy house in County Durham, obtaining planning consent in a Conservation Area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty proved to be the biggest hurdle.

Sustainable Living


he couple sold their house in 2008 and started looking for a building plot to build their own low-energy house in County Durham. They found a plot in Upper Weardale in 2011 with what they thought was detailed planning consent. It turned out the planning consent had expired in 2009 so the vendor had to re-apply and was refused due to changes in the Council’s Environmental Policies. Even though the foundations for the house were already cast on site, the vendor had to employ a Planning Consultant to renew the planning consent (with 15 conditions). Phil and Joy finally secured ownership of the plot in January 2012 for £70,000 and work started on site in March 2012. The plot is 345m2 and is the former walled garden of an adjacent property in a small hamlet of 18 houses near St John’s Chapel in Upper Weardale. The village is in a Conservation Area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the River Wear.

Against the odds When Phil opened discussions with Planning on the 15 planning conditions, he found the planners were fairly inflexible and not really interested in his aspirations to build a low-energy passive house. The Conservation Planning Officer in particular was not interested in the Government’s energy conservation agenda at all, just conservation of the local vernacular building style. Planning insisted on retaining the L-shaped floor plan of


Above: The village is in a Conservation Area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the River Wear Left: The house is a two-storey, detached house of 116m2


Sub-brow Eyebrow Sustainable Living

Above: The stonemason built a stone fireplace in the lounge using old stone during periods of bad weather Left: The Woodfire F12, room-sealed woodburning stove in the lounge has a back boiler that provides up to 8.5kw Above left: The couple sourced local stone for the external facade


Sustainable Living †

the original planning consent with random stone walls, natural slate roof and sliding sash windows. Thanks to draconian planning restrictions, out went any hope of being able to build a Certified PassivHaus. Another planning application was required to retain and rebuild some existing outbuildings on the site and for the contentious addition of solar thermal and PV panels on the roof. The house is a two-storey, detached house of 116m2 (over two floors) with an additional non-habitable attic plant room and store (with limited headroom) of 46m2. The L-shaped plan has maximum external dimensions of 10.8 x

8.2m. There is a small yard with outbuildings at the rear and a south-facing cottage garden and patio at the front. There is an existing stone double garage, outbuilding and a forecourt providing parking for two cars.

Ample space The ground floor comprises an open-plan dining hall and kitchen incorporating the stairs to the first floor, a separate lounge, a WC/ cloakroom, a utility room and store cupboard. The first floor comprises a master bedroom, a study bedroom, a bathroom and WC, a guest bedroom with en-suite shower and WC and a

linen cupboard. There is staircase access to the attic plant room and store which houses the 250L hot water tank, expansion vessels and the MVHR unit/air ducts. The study houses Phil’s office from which he runs his Architectural Design & Project Management Company. Not only does the office enjoy very low-energy accommodation but the elimination of commuting makes his business sustainable in spite of the relatively isolated location. The U-value of the timber-framed building fabric is 0.1, the windows are 0.9 and the air-tightness is 0.59 at 50 Pa. The couple have


Sustainable Living

no central heating system apart from the woodburning boiler stove and the house is being maintained at 20°C. The Paul Novus 300 MVHR system is 94% efficient. Work started on installing electricity and water service connections into the existing stone garage on the site in March 2012 plus a drainage connection to the main sewer. The couple moved to a small, rented cottage next door to the plot in April 2012. They had one sunny week in May during substructure blockwork and then it started raining. It never stopped raining (or snowing) for about 10 months and 2012 turned out to be the wettest summer for 100 years. They cast the concrete floor slab over 450mm of EPS insulation in June. July was wet and was spent installing drains and services while waiting for the timber frame to be fabricated by a local company, Swift Timber Homes. The double stud walls, Posi-joist floors and I-beam roof were erected relatively quickly during August, in spite of the continuing wet weather and restricted site access. Swift Timber Homes also provided all the internal partition walls and staircases. As the timber frame was erected, Phil inserted continuous Intello membrane with taped joints around the perimeter of the upper floors and roof in order to ensure good levels of air-tightness. Phil also installed any long, lateral MVHR ducts through the Posi-joist floors while the floors were being constructed. All the drain pipes and services penetrations through the floor slab and external walls were fitted with air-tight grommets including external lighting cables.

By September 2012 the roof structure was watertight but they just had holes where the doors and windows should be. Just as the October rains turned to snow in November, the Green Building Store (GBS) mock-sash, tilt & turn, triple-glazed windows and doors arrived from Lithuania, some weighing up to 70kg each. Phil applied special air-tightness tapes internally and weathertightness tapes externally to all the frames before getting a local joiner to help him install the doors and windows in the prepared openings. They finally had a water-tight shell. The same joiner helped Phil line the internal face of the timber frame with 90 8’ x 4’ sheets of Smartply 18mm OSB 3. Joy then taped the OSB joints with about 60 rolls of Tescon air-tightness tape using a heat-gun to dry the joints. Phil also taped the joint between the OSB and the ground floor slab and fitted grommets on any pipe or cable penetrations.

Airtight build Phil then drilled nearly 300 100mm dia holes in the internal OSB lining for the Warmcel insulation to be injected into external wall and roof voids. The Warmcel insulation is a cellulose fibre made from recycled newspaper and was injected under pressure over three days. The holes were re-sealed with air-tight patches. This now resulted in a water-tight, insulated shell. The Paul Novus 300 MVHR unit arrived from Germany (via GBS) in early December and was located in the attic plant room. The solar thermal panels and HW tank arrived

Above: Phil helped the joiner to install an Ikea kitchen Left: In May 2014 the house won Best New Home at the Northern LABC Building Excellence Awards


Sub-brow Eyebrow Sustainable Living on site and it took five men with long ropes to haul them up a long ladder onto the roof. The plumber was then able to install all the first fix plumbing, connecting up the woodburning boiler stove, hot water tank and solar panels. Using local stone, the stonemason managed to get the external stonework up to the ground floor window cills before the first serious snow arrived in November. As the coldest and longest winter for 50 years followed the wettest summer, progress on the stonework almost ground to a halt, mainly due to low temperatures. Phil continued to install the MVHR ductwork through the Posi-joist floors, leaving space for drainage, plumbing and electrics. When all the air-tightness measures were complete, the blower door air-test gave a result of 0.59 (PassivHaus requires a reading below 0.6).

The internal OSB on the external walls and attic ceiling was lined with 50 x 38mm battens to create a 50mm services zone for pipes and wiring. After all the services had been installed, the void was filled with 50mm PUR insulation board before a final lining of 12.5mm plasterboard & skim was added.

A stone's throw away The external stonework struggled to get up to first floor level by Christmas 2012 thanks to the continuing horrendous weather. Despite laying over 60 tons of type 1 stone over the area around the site, the house was surrounded by perma-mud, which paddled into the house. Rainwater harvesting is an eco-feature that is not necessary in this part of the world.

In the new year, the weather initially went from bad to worse but the stonemason managed to make some slow progress on the stonework in early January 2013 when a couple of weeks of mild weather arrived. They also managed to get the limestone flagstones ground floor finish laid and the walls and ceilings boarded and skimmed on the ground and first floors. The second fix joinery work filled the house with sawdust and nails again while plastered walls and ceilings were being painted by Joy. Meanwhile Phil helped the joiner to install the Ikea kitchen units and the plumber and electrician to install sanitary ware, socket outlets and light fittings. Phil also started building the twinwall stove flue system through the floors up to the roof. The stonemason built a stone fireplace in the lounge using old stone during periods of bad weather.

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Sub-brow Eyebrow Sustainable Living

The Woodfire F12, room-sealed woodburning stove in the lounge has a back boiler that provides up to 8.5kw to heat water in the winter and also heats towel rails in the bathrooms and a heat-leak radiator in the linen cupboard. Solar thermal panels provide most of the hot water in the summer, topped up with the immersion heater, assisted by the output from the solar PV panels.

Obtaining certification The solar PV panels had been installed and working since December 2012 but Phil discovered that they could not get the FiT until they had an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). They could not get an EPC until they had a completion certificate from the Building Control Officer. They could not get the BCO completion certificate until the stove flue, stonework, roof slates, electrics and rainwater goods were finished. This was finally achieved in October 2013 and the EPC confirms the primary energy use as 16 kWh/m2/year. The threshold for a certified PassivHaus is 15 kWh/m2/year.


Phil and Joy have managed to self-build the first Band A (SAP Energy Rating of 97) passive house in County Durham and have a warm, comfortable home in which to live and work without any significant heating bills. More importantly, they have proved that it is possible to build a real low-energy home/office in a Conservation Area and AONB which fits in with the local architecture while addressing fuel poverty issues head-on. In May 2014 the house won Best New Home at the Northern LABC Building Excellence Awards and was a finalist at the National Awards in London in November 2014.

Above: Green Building Store (GBS) supplied mock-sash, tilt & turn, triple-glazed windows and doors Left: The woodburning stove heats water in the winter and towel rails in the bathrooms



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Sub-browSanctuary Urban Eyebrow

The house that Jack built Spiral House, self built by architect Jack Woolley, has been completed, turning the derelict garden of a Victorian terrace in Balham into a unique single-storey house.


Urban Sanctuary Above: Spiral House is conceived as one continuous wall, which wraps the boundary before spiralling into the centre Left: An 11m-long rooflight along the northern edge of the building frames an uninterrupted sky view


he building is partially sunken to preserve and emphasise a long view from the street across the back gardens of neighbouring buildings, an ambition that meshed neatly with the need to remove an extensive infestation Japanese Knotweed which had established itself on the site. Despite being overrun with this troublesome perennial plant, Jack was not deterred as he explains: “I had been looking for plots for a while and this came up at auction. I very much liked the street when I visited the site. The site was undervalued due to blight caused by a number of failed, inappropriate applications by previous owners and the Japanese Knotweed which put potential buyers off.” After six months waiting for planning permission, consent was received and work could commence. The first hurdle came in the form of removing the Japanese Knotweed. “This made the excavation process more complex than it otherwise would’ve been,” says Jack. “I had planned for the

project to take 12 months, but in the end it took 14 months from breaking ground to practical completion.” Spiral House is conceived as one continuous wall, which wraps the boundary before spiralling into the centre of the site to form habitable spaces. The 90m2 gross internal floor area has three distinct zones: living, dining and sleeping, with a moveable internal wall allowing flexibility with the way the spaces are divided. Jack comments: “I wanted the building to work as a one bedroom house most of the time, with the ability to create a second bedroom at short notice when grown kids and other guests came to stay.” The roof of Spiral House is planted to give neighbours – with an elevated view of the house – a horticultural outlook appropriate to the site’s historic use as a garden, whilst revealing the continuity of the spiral wall. The 94m2 of external space includes shallow concrete steps, graduating from street level to the house

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Sub-brow Eyebrow Urban Sanctuary entrance, and a sheltered, central courtyard garden. A folding glazed wall in-fills the brick spiral, bisecting the continuous concrete floor that connects the internal and external space, and disrupting the boundary between inside and out. This is further emphasised by an 11m-long rooflight along the northern edge of the building, which frames an uninterrupted sky view. Helping to create the impression of more space, glazing became integral to the design. The high specification of this material, however, meant to project’s


budget was forfeited. Jack comments: “The budget went slightly over because the glazing became a crucial part of the architecture and I ended up choosing systems that were more expensive than originally intended – particularly the bi-fold doors which have a reduced frame thickness.” Although relating to the surrounding Victorian neighbourhood with its red brick and white palette, Spiral House suggests uniqueness through its Roman style of brickwork. The Spiral House wall is built from distinctive, long,

Top: Glazing became integral to the design Above: The bi-fold doors have a reduced frame thickness Right: The low energy house has a highly insulated building envelope, and excellent daylighting Top right: Frameless windows sit flush with the outer face of the walls

Sub-browSanctuary Eyebrow Urban thin Linea 3016 bricks, sourced in Belgium from prestigious family manufacturer Vande Moortel. Frameless windows sit flush with the outer face of the walls, their crisp outline and smooth surface contrasting with the rough texture of the brick. The low energy house has a highly insulated building envelope, and excellent daylighting. Sunlight heats the concrete floors and exposed brick walls, allowing their thermal mass to store heat and regulate internal temperatures.

Positive response The building is naturally ventilated: a temperature differential is created across the north wall by its partial exposure to sunlight through the rooflight, drawing fresh, cooling air through the space in hot weather. Low energy LED light fittings are used throughout. The architecture unlocks the latent potential of this previously overlooked plot, exemplifying an astute sensitivity to context and an innovative and exploratory approach to

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Urban Sanctuary

materials. “It gives such a sense of calm in a crowded city,” enthuses Jack. The local community are impressed too. “They seem pleased, especially the neighbours immediately opposite. The building was open for the Open House weekend – many local people came and were very positive.” Even after complex excavation work at the beginning and pressures on budget, Jack regards the project as being an exciting and rewarding experience – a feeling many self-builders call into question when in the thick of their own build. Offering some helpful advice to fellow self-builders, Jack comments: “Don’t lose sight of what you are trying to achieve. There are moments during the build when things can seem overwhelming and it is tempting to take decisions that offer an easier ride. It is worth thinking twice before taking them, as they could result in compromises you might later regret.”

Right: The 94m2 of external space includes shallow concrete steps, graduating from street level Below: The building is partially sunken to preserve and emphasise a long view from the street


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Bricks & Blocks

Standing strong Following Church Road being crowned winner of 'Best Housing Development 1-5 Units' at the recent Brick Awards, i-build reflects on the use of red brick on this stunning Belfast property.


ccupying a steeply sloping site, this house benefits from open, elevated views across an adjacent golf course, and the city beyond, to distant hills that surround Belfast. This unusual urban aspect is the driver for the design approach with the main rooms orientated towards this view. Envisaged as three distinct mono-roofed forms which relate in an interesting but informal relationship to each other, the main entrance is approached over a wide bridge, which, due to the steeply sloping site, provides entry to the middle floor, with views from the entrance hall over a courtyard to the landscape beyond. The connections between these forms are designed as expressed recesses so that each piece is distinct and legible; the detailing is carefully considered to support a


strong elemental quality to these forms. The bricklaying has been very well executed with special care taken with recess junctions and the brick soffits to recessed windows.

Dramatically modern Flush glass–to–brick window–details were developed with a specialist contractor who also worked on The Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) where such details were originally used. Two projecting glazed bays in the main living spaces allow a more focussed and deliberate connection between the interior and the elevated views over the mature environment of the golf course. The steep slope has been exploited by the architect to inspire the design of the house as strikingly handsome and dramatically modern,

Left: The house is envisaged as three distinct mono-roofed forms Below left: The bricklaying has been very well executed Right: The use of brick softens the sharp lines and gives the building a pleasing general atmosphere Below: The steep slope has been exploited by the architect to inspire the design of the house

Bricks & Blocks

but the use of brick softens the sharp lines and gives the building a pleasing general atmosphere with the combination of sharp modernity and warm familiarity. The architect contacted Wienerberger after previous experience on The MAC project where it used the same brick – Mellowed Red Sovereign Stock. The client wanted to build a property that had a rural feel to it and the Mellowed Red Sovereign Stock matched their requirement. The house perfectly complements the surrounding street scene and landscape. Some properties feature similar red bricks also specified from Wienerberger while others feature handmade bricks, stone and render. While there are many options available on the market, clay bricks are a firm favourite among housebuilders due to their inherent properties. Clay bricks are strong and durable and are the most efficient, cost-effective and sustainable solution for modern buildings. Thanks to their characteristics, bricks are able to provide complete long-term sustainability giving a building life of up to 150 years. Advantages over reclaimed bricks include more colour choice, they’re versatile, guaranteed supply and traceability. They also have technical performance guarantees, which reclaimed bricks don’t have.


Doors & Windows

A conscious inside -outside connection As an architect, Paul Davis appreciates how small details can combine to create a greater overall impression of a property. So when it came to choosing folding doors for his own home, he was delighted to discover Centor Integrated Doors.


aul and his wife Fiona bought a 1950s bungalow in Leatherhead, Surrey, six years ago, purely for its location. The fantastic site offered plenty of potential for them to create a stunning home that combines his architectural expertise with her ability to transform the outside space. “Fiona is a garden designer, and we were looking for a site we could really do something with,” he explains. “We’ve got a beautiful westfacing view here. The key thing for us was maximising the outlook over the garden and the landscape beyond. “Given what we both do for a living, the whole point of making the connection between inside and outside – and blending the two – was really important to us.”


The downstairs zone, where the couple spend most of their time, was a particular focus. This open plan space has a natural flow between the kitchen/diner and breakfast snug, which connect through into the living room and out into the garden. Paul explains: “We wanted to create a series of spaces that seamlessly enable that insideoutside connection, yet are flexible enough to accommodate just the two of us when we’re on our own or 12 people if we have the family over at the weekend.” Specifying Centor Integrated Doors for the large opening into the garden was one of the easiest decisions they had to make, as Paul explains: “The quality of the fabrication was clear to see. With other doors, the movement

is awkward – they’re either too heavy or too light. “As soon as we tested the Centor doors, we both said it was like closing the door of a highquality motor car. When you close the door on an Aston Martin it feels good. When you open and close these doors, they feel good. They’re robust, but they slide really easily. And they close solidly, with certainty. “As an architect, I always advise my clients that it’s those things you’re going to touch and use every day – the door handles, the locking mechanisms – that are the most important design considerations. It’s a tactile experience and I still enjoy opening and closing these doors now!

Added extras “The other thing that’s really special about these doors is the insect screen and the blackout shade. They’re neatly concealed in the end reveals, they span the whole 4.7m in one piece, and when they’re not being used

Doors & Windows you don’t know they are there. It’s very clever design.” With Centor Integrated Doors framing the view, Paul and Fiona can now enjoy the outside environment in the way they always wanted. “I believe that the more we’re an urban population, the more that we’re wrapped up in our high-tech wifi world, the more important the connection between our man-made world and the natural world becomes,” explains Paul. “Being able to see elements of nature is really good for us, as individuals – and incredibly

Above left: The fantastic site offered plenty of potential for them to create a stunning home Above right: The downstairs zone, where the couple spend most of their time, was a particular focus Above: Paul and Fiona can now enjoy the outside environment in the way they always wanted

important for our sense of wellbeing.” He adds: “We’re both inside-outside all day long. It’s so lovely to just have the doors open and have that complete connectivity between inside and out. We’re now always conscious of the garden, the view, the weather, the sunlight. To be honest, it’s only when it’s absolutely pouring with rain that the doors are ever shut!”



Open up to oak Thanks to its strength, sustainability and natural beauty, oak has once again become the material of choice when creating spectacular ceiling features. Here Oakmasters, a specialist in oak structures, discusses what you need to consider when deciding on your ceiling solution.


reating a ceiling feature with oak can add a wow factor but can also increase the value of your property. The choice is vast, but the first thing to consider is whether the ceiling is part of an existing structure or whether you are looking to extend your home. There are many factors to consider before embarking on the project: Do I want to get involved in structural work? If you are extending your home or remodelling an existing dwelling, you are likely to be doing some structural work, so your options are quite wide and you should really make the most of this opportunity. If on the other hand you are planning to work with your existing space, fear not, there are plenty of ways to add a beautiful oak ceiling feature.


Do I need planning permission to carry out the work I want? Whilst planning law is applied nationwide, each council has its own guidelines that take into consideration local circumstances. As a rule, adding cosmetic features to your home does not require planning consent unless it is a listed building. Any structural alterations then depend on whether they are within or outside the scope of permitted development. As with any alteration plans, first check the planning information on your local council’s website. Next step would then be to consult the planning office with your plans directly, before applying for planning permission, take on the services of an architectural designer, or work with a local planning consultant.

Above: Exposing just the main truss structure makes for a truly spectacular contemporary vaulted ceiling


How do I work my oak ceiling into the architect’s design? If oak is an important feature you want, make sure you discuss the options with your architect and possibly get an oak framing company involved at this stage. Sharing knowledge right at the beginning of the project can often result in saving money and getting exactly what you want further down the line. Oak framing companies often have their own designers who can work independently or alongside architects and advise on specific issues associated with oak structures. Some will in fact do the design for you as part of the process.

Structural oak ceilings The use of oak structurally is not reserved purely to new builds, extensions or garden rooms. There are many opportunities to use oak to create an amazing space, such as an open double height vaulted entrance hall with exposed roof trusses, a spectacular vaulted kitchen diner, or indeed you could increase the value of your property by adding a loft style bedroom or snug. If you are restricted to a flat ceiling by planning, or simply by the fact you are creating a two-storey extension, you still have the opportunity to expose the structural oakwork. It may be just the odd beam for a cool, contemporary look, or indeed the complete beam layout supporting the upper floor for a more traditional look. Our clients often ask us if oak is structurally sound. Many come to us with drawings incorporating steel structures specified by structural engineers, asking us to suggest a solution to mask them with oak. In fact, whilst in stress tests it becomes obvious that steel is over three times stronger than green oak, steel is 10 times heavier and as such the strength to weight ratio of oak is superior to steel. It is quite possible to build a vaulted oak ceiling spanning over ten metres without using steel.

Above: Oak beam casings – the ideal solution to cover unsightly steel structures and add warmth

Below: Flat roof with exposed structural beams is perfect when building within the constraints of permitted development

Lighting and heating requirements also come into play when deciding on your ceiling project. Flat roof solutions are less demanding in terms of heating purely because you are heating up a smaller space. Nowadays, modern encapsulation systems many framing companies use ensure excellent thermal performance regardless of whether it is a vaulted or flat ceiling. If you are looking to maximise daylight, glass lanterns or roof lights represent an excellent option for flat roofs, while skylights or Velux windows will allow daylight to flood through an open vaulted ceiling.

Cosmetic oak ceilings Budget can be major consideration when choosing oak. However, there are ways of reducing the cost and still have a feature you want. If this is the case then why not maximise the value added by your oak structure by only using oak in wow factor situations. Alternatively if the budget is limited, then oak cladding – thinner pieces of cosmetic oak can be used to create the look of exposed rafters or ceiling beams, without the price tag you would be paying for structural oakwork. Cladding is also a good option for situations, where you want the feature, but can’t or don’t want to get involved in structural alterations. A feature ceiling beam or beam layout can be easily installed in an existing room, without major alterations to its structure. If you already have steel, concrete or softwood structures you don’t like the look of, don’t assume you either have to accept what you have or rip it all out. Oak beam casings are made from kiln dried oak, crafted to create essentially a ‘hollow beam’, which will fit over any unsightly structure. The trick is then to make sure you choose a supplier with a good reputation for craftsmanship.


Renewable Technology

Left: The arrival of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive has undoubtedly seen the attraction of air source heat pumps Below: Selecting an air to water heat pump will see the owner of a domestic heat pump receiving payments quarterly for seven years

Sourcing your renewable technology Well-built modern homes are far more energy efficient than their older counterparts and self-build projects usually see their owners keen to make as easy to heat, as inexpensively as possible.


ir source heat pumps are increasingly seen as an option for self-build projects, they are still relatively new additions to the heating system portfolio of options in the UK, although they have been available for many years – with models installed in the 1970s and 1980s in the USA still operating. As with many things in life, here in the UK we were less willing to embrace new technologies than other countries. So here we are in 2015, and air to water air source heat pumps are now a serious mainstream heating option, with a wide range of models available and most major manufacturers of heating equipment recognising the requirement to have an air source heat pump range up their sleeves, even if they are support equipment for the products they are perhaps best known for.


The arrival of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has undoubtedly seen the attraction of air source heat pumps and other renewable technologies grow virtually overnight. MCS (Microgeneration Certificate Scheme) approved equipment, sees the energy produced qualify for the domestic RHI – currently 7.42 pence per kilowatt hour of renewable heat produced. So selecting an air to water heat pump will see the owner of a domestic heat pump receiving payments quarterly for seven years, which is an attractive bonus.

Ultimate performance The key benefit of an air to water heat pump is the energy efficiency that comes with the product. A typical, traditional wet heating

system offers a Coefficient of Performance (COP) of around or slightly lower than 1.0. ASHPs provide users with a maximum COP of around 4.5. Put simply, for every 1 kW of power it takes to run the pump it delivers up to around 4.50kW of output – which is impressive by any standards. Selecting the right sized unit is key to performance. You should ask for professional reports with as much information as is required providing end users with estimates of cost and energy savings from each model available. The selection programme will also include MCS sizing rules for air to water heat pumps with design criteria.

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Left: Self-build mortgages are actually very straightforward: money is released in several stages as the build progresses Below: A local valuer will be instructed to inspect the project to ensure that everything is on target

Take control of costs

Self-building not only enables you to have a home designed exactly to your specifications, it can also allow you to acquire a house for a fraction of the cost of buying an equivalent property on the open market.


pproximately 12,000 people in the UK build their own homes every year and it is easy to understand why. The one issue which causes concern for most self-builders is finance, particularly if the project is being funded via a mortgage. Unlike a traditional mortgage, money for a self-build project is not provided in a single lump sum up-front; it is drawn-down in stages as the project progresses. It is therefore

very important to have a detailed budget prepared so that you know precisely how much is required at each stage of the project. If your budget is not realistic, there is a possibility you could run out of money, so time spent planning before you start is time well spent. Self-build mortgages are actually very straightforward: money is released in several stages as the build progresses. Most stage payments are based on a typical five phase build schedule: purchasing the land and laying foundations, construction to eaves level – and erecting timber frame, if appropriate – building made wind and watertight, first fix and plastering, and then second fix to completion.

Budget planning It is important for self-builders to ensure they understand how much different lenders are willing to lend, as it may differ from lender to lender. For example, Saffron Building Society will provide self-build mortgages up to 65% of the purchase price of the land; 100% of the build costs (subject to the LTV not exceeding 75% at any stage); and a gross development value (final build value) of 75%. In addition, it also enables payments to be made on an


interest-only basis during the build phase, which helps with cashflow. As stage payments are requested, a local valuer will be instructed to inspect the project to ensure that everything is on target. You will also need funds of your own, not only to make up the difference between your mortgage and the total cost of the project, but to also ensure that you do not hit any cashflow problems if materials need to be purchased and contractors paid before stage payments are made. All other aspects of the mortgage, such as affordability requirements and proof of income, are exactly the same as a traditional mortgage. Do bear in mind, however, that as you progressively draw-down your mortgage funds, your monthly mortgage payments will increase. Your budget planning should therefore include an analysis of not only the costs of the project, but also the impact it will have on your own personal finances. You will also need to provide proof of planning permission and also building consent; you will be asked for the building’s warranty insurance to be put in place as well. Do not be put-off self-building because of concerns about the apparent complexity of planning your finances and arranging a mortgage. It’s not really that difficult and, to help, you can also find self-build mortgage guides that will explain the funding issues in detail and give you a typical example of a self-build project to help clarify precisley how self-build funding works.


Karndean Designflooring answer your questions‌


We are close to completing our self build project and need a floor that will work with underfloor heating in our kitchen diner. What would you recommend?

Karndean LooseLay

With an innovative friction grip backing, Karndean LooseLay is quick and easy to install. Perfect for fitting over most existing hard floors.


For a floor that can be laid quickly and is compatible with underfloor heating, we'd recommend Karndean LooseLay. Designed to work with underfloor heating systems, Karndean LooseLay can withstand temperatures up to 27°C.

Stamford LLP109

As an added bonus, it's also quick and easy to install. So if you're running out of time on your project, this could really help buy you some time back. All you need is a dry, smooth, sound and dust-free subfloor and you're ready to go. As with any flooring, we recommend checking with your retailer and/or heating system's manufacturer to ensure your chosen system is compatible with Karndean. Colorado LLT201


We've just invested in a flat which we intend to rent out. I'm cautious about laying a carpet, but we need something that can be laid quickly as the tenants are moving in at the end of the month. What would you suggest?

Do you have a question for Karndean? Email us at


The rental market is a great place to be investing at the minute. Installing a floor which is both hardwearing and easy to repair makes complete sense. We would recommend looking at Karndean LooseLay. With wood planks and stone and textile tiles to choose from this latest range from Karndean offers a 15 year residential guarantee. What's even better is that if a tenant does damage a section of floor, that area can easily be lifted out and replacement pieces dropped in. No mess, no fuss. Good luck in your new venture!

Like us on Facebook /karndeandesignflooring See Karndean LooseLay for yourself at


Mix and match This stunning, detached, three-bedroom property, located in the beautiful mid-Wales countryside, has been designed by the expert team at Welsh Oak Frame to create a show-stopping home that makes the most of the surrounding scenery. 46


fter purchasing a run-down barn with planning permission in place, the new owners quickly realised that renovating the existing frame wasn’t going to be possible and they would have to start from scratch. Keen to replicate the look and feel of the original barn, the couple turned to Welsh Oak Frame, which has a wealth of experience designing traditional, post and beam style oak-frames for self-build homes.


i-build Above: Keen to replicate the look and feel of the original barn, the couple turned to Welsh Oak Frame Right: The oak really does provide the perfect frame from which to enjoy the breath-taking views


Eyebrow i-build Sub-brow

As well as wanting their new home to have an open-plan feel, the couple wanted the oak frame to be prominent throughout the property and for other materials, such as glass and slate, to be used in abundance to soften the effect. Planning permission had to be obtained for the new structure, which stipulated that the height of the new house must not exceed that of the original barn. As a result, Welsh Oak Frame built into the roof to make the most of the available space. Outside, the team also designed and provided the oak frame for a traditional, two-bay garage with accommodation above, which includes a sitting room with space to sleep, a small kitchen area and a bathroom. Rebecca Pritchard, Welsh Oak Frame’s Marketing Manager, says: “At Welsh Oak Frame, we pride ourselves on ensuring our designs blend beautifully with their surroundings and this stunning home is a great example of just that. The oak really does provide the perfect frame from which to enjoy the breath-taking views from the front of the house.”

Top tips Welsh Oak Frame’s General Manager Mark Jones, who is currently in the process of building his own dream, oakframe home with his wife, shares his advice on some of the things self-builders should consider:


i-build Find and purchase the plot of land you intend to build on before designing your home. While you may have a set idea of the style you’d like, the individual site will often dictate certain elements as will the local planning department. Make sure you’ve done your sums and know how you will fund your project, especially if things go over budget, which they can have a tendency to do. If you are selling your existing home to help finance your self-build, know where you are going to live while your project progresses. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder so if you intend to sell your property some time in the future, it is worth being mindful of anything that might put off potential buyers. However, if (like us) you’re planning for this to be your home for life, then it makes sense to make it as personal as you like and really ensure it has everything you want. While it’s not a good idea to make major alterations to your original plans mid build, don’t be afraid to make small changes and modify them along the way to make sure your home works exactly as you’d like it to. As well as the aesthetic design of your house, make sure you also take into account how you want it to function. For many people, myself included, making

Top left: Welsh Oak Frame has more than 20 years' experience designing and building luxury, bespoke, oak frames Left: Planning permission had to be obtained for the new structure Centre: Welsh Oak Frame built into the roof to make the most of the available space Above: The couple wanted the oak frame to be prominent throughout the property

sure the property is as low maintenance as possible is very important. The thermal efficiency and air tightness of the house played a big part in our design and we were also keen to incorporate large, open spaces rather than small, awkwardly shaped areas that would be more difficult to clean. The self-build journey can at times make you feel as though you’re on an emotional rollercoaster as you experience various highs and lows – this is entirely normal and something most people will experience!


Eyebrow i-nterior Sub-brow

Trade S

Adaptable living

ecrets: Sliding d can inc oor systems rea floor sp se a home’s a elimina ce as they te require the space d fo door to r a swing functio n

Sliding door hardware can help to create versatile spaces in a home, offering both privacy and open plan areas to suit requirements. Fergus Pickard, Product Development Director, P C Henderson looks at what to consider when specifying folding or sliding door systems to create adaptable homes.


liding door systems can transform internal living areas when used as room dividers to increase and decrease space to meet demand. When open, these systems allow more light in and add flexibility to room configurations. When closed, room dividers can help reduce heating costs as only the space in use needs to be heated. Sliding door systems can also increase a home’s floor space as they eliminate the space required for a swing door to function. This is an ideal solution for en-suite bathrooms and wardrobe doors, as well as for creating additional storage areas.


Above: The whole frontage was replaced with glazed folding doors to create a desired indoor/ outdoor living experience Top right: Sliding door hardware can also increase a home's floor space as they eliminate the space required for a swing door to function Right: Sliding door hardware is an ideal solution for en-suite bathrooms and wardrobe doors

For external applications, sliding door hardware is ideal for creating a transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. When specified with framed glass doors, these systems provide the ideal solution for exterior applications and extensions satisfying the growing trend for the interior – exterior experience. In winter, the main system benefits when specified with double or triple glazing are that the doors offer enhanced thermal efficiency levels, keeping occupants warm. On warmer days, the doors can be opened up to allow light, air and access to the outdoors. There are two types of door systems to consider when

i-nterior specifying sliding door hardware: folding doors and sliding doors. Folding doors allow for an uninterrupted flow between indoor and outdoor spaces when fully open as they take up a small fraction of room. However, due to the opening size they can achieve and the multiple points to secure, the gear system used has to be high performing and secure enough to meet everyday demands. Sliding doors offer the option of significantly larger individual door panels than folding door panels, which when closed provide excellent sight lines due to more glass and less frame being used. A popular security feature for folding and sliding door systems is Secured by Design. SBD is owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (APCO) and supports the principles of ‘designing out crime’. Secured by Design focuses on crime prevention and promotes the use of security standards for a wide range of applications and

products. The principles of SBD have been proven to achieve a reduction of crime risk by up to 75%. Their objective is to reduce burglary and crime in the UK through physical security and processes. To further ensure security and robustness, folding and sliding door systems should also undergo performance testing. Currently, there are two main standards to look out for which test for burglar resistance. The European standard EN 1627 and the UK specific standard PAS 24. Both standards look to confirm that hardware systems have passed the prescribed tests, offering an enhanced security performance from attack. In addition to security, systems should also be corrosion resistant and made from 316 marine grade stainless steel to meet the extremes of British weather. They should undergo tests for air tightness, water tightness and wind resistance, seals should also be used to ensure that the door is sealed from external elements. With all elements taken into account, homes can benefit from highly functional doors that are safe, secure, energy efficient and weather-tight such as this unique house extension in Kelso, Scotland. The brief was to create a bright living space which opened into the garden. Two internal rooms were opened up with P C Henderson’s sliding gear system installed between the dining room and the lounge area. The whole frontage was replaced with glazed folding doors to create a desired indoor/outdoor living experience, taking advantage of the garden views. For the interior, Securefold was installed, while Securefold Ultra was selected for the exterior. The systems operate with effortless ease and combine the benefits of folding doors with uncompromising security, weather resistance and the durability of stainless steel. Where the new structure joins the existing house, glazed angled panels complement the existing style whilst offering a contemporary, modern feel.


Eyebrow i-scape Sub-brow

Shedding light on gardens


Secrets Go for : or galva 316l stainless ste n steel; a ised when sele el lt c is incre ernatively cop ting dibly per tones d resilient and Bronze own well. is p indestru ractically ctible!

In most cases, the completion of the exterior landscape will mark the end of the self build journey. Claire Pendarves, Design Director of Luxplan Lighting Design, offers some essential guidance on illumination that will enable you to enjoy your garden all year round.


t may sound perverse, when discussing garden lighting, but be aware that it is best to hold back and not over-light landscapes. Clever, restrained lighting can be really quite magical whilst accentuating certain features and detracting from any negative points. On the flip side cranking up the lumens can make a garden seem flat and dazzling, rather akin to a football pitch. Relations with neighbours can sometimes be tense, especially following an extensive building project so be wary of invasive lighting tipping the scales. Consider the placement of lighting in areas close to neighbours’ boundaries and where possible keep it low and angled down so there is no light spill into adjoining gardens. As well as the visual and neighbourly aspect one needs to consider light pollution and


if you’re a lover of wildlife you will find that nocturnal creatures, such as owls prefer a more restrained lighting scheme.

Light the outside for inside Lighting a Mediterranean garden is altogether a different task to that of lighting a landscape in the Northern hemisphere. Sadly, the majority of the year is not spent enjoying evening barbeques in our gardens and although such wonderful events should be planned for we should also light out gardens for the colder months. With so many new-build designs featuring large expanses of glass and the trend being to connect the design of the interior and exterior spaces it makes sense to consider how the garden lighting will look from the inside. Accent

garden lighting placed near the house can visually extend the living space and relieve the cold appearance of black glass panes at night making occupants feel less vulnerable.

Architectural emphasis Take a critical look at your building and planting to see what existing features you can highlight. Rough stone walls take on a magical warmth when lit upwards with low glare inground fittings and a sleek white facade can look sharply architectural with a sequence of simple wall lights. Reflections on water can be positively alluring as can picking out sculptural trees and shrubs such as palms, silver birch and olive trees. Up-lighting and back-lighting trees and foliage can be dramatic and effective although positioning of the light source should be

i-scape Image courtesy of Deltalight Image courtesy of Deltalight Above: It is particularly important to select low glare fittings for all paths and steps Above right: Fixed in-ground lights with adjustable lamps can work well for larger trees Below: Take a critical look at your building and planting to see what existing features you can highlight

carefully considered to create impact with minimal glare. Fixed in-ground lights with adjustable lamps within the fitting can work well for larger trees but for shrubbery that will grow and alter throughout the seasons, the ubiquitous spike spot is a wonderful tool offering flexibility and effect at a relatively low cost.

Durability There is no doubt that exterior lighting can bump up the cost of a project but it is a lamentable mistake to buy cheaper fittings with the aim of stretching the budget further. If the bottom line is looking too inflated it is better to choose fewer fittings and still stick with quality. Beware of believing that the term stainless steel denotes quality as there is a vast range on the market and cheap fittings have been known to corrode within six months near the coast. Go for 316l stainless steel or galvanised when selecting steel; alternatively copper is incredibly resilient and tones down well and bronze is practically indestructible.

Alternatively hard anodised aluminium can work well or a good quality powder coated finish can be more economical.

Energy efficiency It is true to say that with modern technology it is now possible to illuminate an entire garden with the equivalent of a 60 watt incandescent bulb. Whether the decision is made to light the exterior entirely by dedicated LEDs or a mixture of light sources will rather depend on budget and logistical factors such as the placement of drivers and transformers. Mains fittings offer more flexibility and combine well with retro fit LED lamps although for smaller punchier lights LEDs are general the best choice; the cooler colour temperature 4000°K gives a greater output than warmer tones and works well in exteriors being more akin to moonlight.

Controls Ideally there should never be less than two control circuits, three being the optimum and a fourth giving prime flexibility. The first will be atmospheric lighting close to the house, the second will be security and facility lighting (this will often be on a PIR with a timer and over-ride facility), and the third will generally be for landscaping beyond the immediate vicinity of the house, such as driveways and additional features. The luxury of the fourth can allow for an entertaining circuit such as illuminating a barbeque and dining area, swimming pool or hot tub if such indulgences exist. Lighting a garden can be a functional exercise or an exciting adventure which will add a totally new dimension to a property. There’s no quick fix solution to creating it but with careful consideration and measured planning the effect can be a work of art. It’s a matter of choice.


Offsite Manufacture

Homes built to precision

Above: WeberHaus achieves excellent levels of airtightness and thermal efficiency Below: Each WeberHaus building is custom designed to suit individuals' specific requirements

When you walk around your new family house with the stairs in, roof tiles on and walls with plumbing already installed - and it only took a few days, it seems incredible. But that's how it works with WeberHaus.


ith 55 years of experience and over 34,000 homes built, WeberHaus provides timber-framed, sustainable and energy efficient homes; combining German precision engineering and innovative technology with quality materials and traditional craftsmanship. All houses in the UK are individually designed according to your plot

and specification and they offer a shell format or a fully project managed turnkey solution. Produced in the company's state-of-the-art factory, these houses are precision engineered down to the last millimetre, an accuracy that can only consistently be achieved using the off-site manufacturing process and latest hi tech machinery.

With the house manufactured, it is brought to site by truck and the whole construction process is dramatically faster and smoother than other construction methods. The result; fewer tradesmen needed on site and less disruption to all concerned. Additionally, the building has not been exposed to months of poor English weather and snagging is virtually eliminated. With such precision, WeberHaus achieves excellent levels of airtightness and thermal efficiency, far exceeding current building regulations and to complement this, each property comes with a whole house HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation) system to provide fresh filtered air. As well as this, WeberHaus uses sustainable materials and all of its houses incorporate a breathable wall system (foil and Styrofoam free) to maintain a healthy living environment, which is particularly good for allergy sufferers. Each WeberHaus building is custom designed to suit individuals’ specific requirements and the company offers architectural services from the design brief, through the full planning and building process. To help customers in their selection process, the company opens up its show park in Germany, where visitors can view eight show homes for inspiration and visit the extensive fit out centre to choose different finishings. Design flexibility is a key element and WeberHaus can produce highly contemporary houses to classic traditional styles. It also offers full project management, taking customers through the entire process, from demolition of an existing house to garden landscaping, if required. A recent customer was keen to find an experienced and skilled team offering high quality, energy efficient homes and that is what he got. “This has to be the easiest way to build your own home. We have been very impressed by the flexible and ‘can do’ approach of the UK and German team and the quality of the whole WeberHaus construction,” says Jim. Julian, who is one of the company’s delighted customers hasn’t looked back and has noticed a huge difference between living in a traditional house and his new draught-free, warm and comfortable living environment. He comments: “We chose WeberHaus after extensive research and factory visits. It was clear WeberHaus had the best technical solution and engineering. Not only was that the right judgement, but the entire process has been superbly executed. Great engineering, great people, great process, great house.” 01727 867900


JB Kind’s packed 84-page 2016 Door Collection is an excellent combination of new doors, firm favourites and trademark expert advice. The brochure continues to offer more than 200 traditional, contemporary and innovative door designs across the budgetary spectrum, as well as the exciting new textured Ripple door design that is seriously affordable and at the forefront of interior design. JB Kind’s easy to install, preassembled pocket door systems now offer all the accessories needed to fit this stylish space saving sensation, along with a helpful step by step guide. Download or request your copy today.

01283 554197

New England style with Black Millwork An impressive self-build property with a unique American style has used highly efficient Andersen windows and a bespoke front door supplied by Black Millwork to create an eye-catching feature. Installed were 49 Andersen casement windows finished in white Perma-Shield on the exterior and a white electrostatically applied paint on the interior. The premium finish of the windows is matched by their impressive energy performance – achieving a U-value of 1.4 W/m2K along with 3 sets of French doors. Also installed was a unique design entrance door with half and quarter circle glazing to match the feature windows. The door achieves a U-value of 1.44 W/m2K. 01283 511122

Increased demand for Emergency Roof Seal Following the wettest summer on record, Thompson’s has reported that demand for one of its products rose significantly during the season. The leading weatherproofing brand saw sales of its iconic Emergency Roof Seal rise by 64%, as homes around the country experienced a washout summer and the need for a quick-fix solution became paramount for many. Thompson’s Emergency Roof Seal is one of the brand’s most popular products given its reputation for fast and effective results. Used for small holes or cracks in flat roofs, Emergency Roof Seal will immediately fill or bridge gaps, even in heavy rain or under water. It flexes with the natural movement of the roof for a tough, long-lasting repair. 0114 240 9469

Kährs’ oak designs provide ultimate luxury Wood floor designs, from Kährs’ award-winning range, have been installed at Admirals Quay – Southampton’s tallest development situated on the city’s waterfront. The landmark marina project comprises three mixed-use glass-clad towers designed by HGP Architects, for Allied Developments. Kährs’ one-strip oak flooring was installed by Chelmer Flooring, throughout apartments and duplex penthouses, for main contractor, Bouygues UK. Kährs’ specification totalled over 8500m2 and included the one-strip design, Oak Brighton. Part of Kährs’ Sand Collection, Oak Brighton is a rustic wood floor crafted in Sweden from sustainable European timber. A white-toned matt lacquer prefinish gives the lively surface an on-trend pale toned hue, whilst providing additional performance and maintenance benefits.

Product Guide

JB Kind unveils Door Collection 2016 023 9245 3045

High cost no longer a barrier to installing renewables Homeowners put off by the high cost of installing renewable energy systems have new options, thanks to a deal from Begetube UK. Scotland-based Begetube has teamed up with suppliers to offer renewable energy solutions which won’t break the bank. With new renewables options available at up to 40% cheaper than their predecessors, consumers are urged to act now before the next Renewable Heat Incentive tariff reduction. Begetube supplies both solar thermal panels and biomass boilers which cost a fraction of its competitors’ offerings. Both systems are RHI-eligible, meaning that homeowners who opt to install these items will be eligible for the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, which offers an annual income for up to seven years. 01463 246600

Innovative new heat pump from Mitsubishi Electric Mitsubishi Electric has launched a new 4kW Ecodan air source heat pump designed specifically to tackle the needs of new-build homes, with a system that matches the hot water requirements, whilst still meeting the lower heating demand of today’s well insulated properties. The Ecodan QUHZ unit is MCS-Approved and straightforward to install, delivering water at 70ºC to a packaged 200 litre thermal store. From this thermal store, mains water is heated directly up to 65ºC via Mitsubishi Electric’s unique plate heat exchanger, meaning the homeowner receives hot water on demand. 01707 282880


Glass & Stainless Limited offer a range of architectural glazing solutions to enhance the aesthetics of any building. Our systems include:

G-GLAS BESPOKE GLASS Available in a variety of different thicknesses and finishes from screen printed to curved.

G-CUVA CANOPY SYSTEMS & POINT FIXINGS High quality 316 grade components are used in either connecting rod or universal wall mounted system.

G-LINE SLIDING GLASS DOOR & PARTITIONING SYSTEMS To suit a wide range of applications from fixed and non-fixed panels and have the ability to mount to a wall, ceiling or glass.

G-RAIL ALUMINIUM AND STAINLESS STEEL RAILING SYSTEMS Premium quality modular balustrade systems designed to offer flexible solutions to everyday challenges.

G-CUBE GLASS SHOWER CUBICLE SYSTEMS Hinges, handles, knobs, channels and clamps.

G-FLOR BESPOKE GLASS FLOORS Made to measure bespoke glass floor individually tailored to suit your home, manufactured on a either a supply and install or supply only basis.

Request a copy of our 2015 brochure at

Get in 56 touch:

0843 504 4545

Glass & Stainless Limited | Martins Court | West Street | Congleton | Cheshire | CW12 1LB

i-build January 2016  

In this month’s issue, i-build profiles two recently-completed red brick homes, which are in total contrast to one another – a stark reminde...

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