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Welcome Welcome to the May issue of Self Build Homes. The Budget in March showed how housebuilding is central to our long-term economic plan. To get Britain building and to help self-builders realise their dream of home ownership, the Government is now pledging half a billion pounds worth of finance for small house builders. It’s also great to hear that housebuilding is now up by 23% and that more and more of us are being seduced by the idea of designing a dwelling specific to our requirements. Finance should potentially be easier to obtain, so things are looking up for the self-build market! This month we have an abundance of ideas and solutions for conserving energy, and helping you save money on your energy bills. As well as lots of expert advice from planning a self-build project, to ideas and tips for making your home more eco-friendly. Home technology has advanced rapidly over the last few years, and has beome an important consideration when planning your home. We talk to CEDIA, the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association, about integrating technologogy into a self-build project, from TV and audio to lighting and blinds. From all of us here at Self Build Homes, we hope you enjoy the issue. Roz Ware Editor, Self Build Homes Magazine

Publisher: Colin Woolley Publishing email: Production Manager: David Cady Production email: PUBLISHED BY Success Publishing Limited, Crown House, John Roberts Business Park, Pean Hill, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3BJ Tel: 01227 378390 Website:

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Although every effort is made to ensure that the content of features in Self Build Homes is accurate and correct, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for the veracity of claims made by contributors, manufacturers or advertisers. No guarantees can be made upon the safe return of any unsolicited copy or photographic images. The publisher reserves the right to alter or amend any submitted material that is printed in Self Build Homes. All material in Self Build Homes is the copyright of the publisher and any reproduction of said material would require written permission from the publisher. © Success Publishing Limited

May 2014 I Self Build Homes



May 2014

12 88




12 Living Independently

68 Renewable Heat Incentive

22 Style & Sustainability

Sometimes self-build projects need to be meticulously planned ahead, but this ecohome revealed itself organically

We discuss how the RHI scheme could benefit you and help save you money

When the Hurd’s moved to a 1930s property they originally planned to adapt the dwelling…

26 Grand Designers

72 Insulation: The Most Effective Way to Save Energy

We interview expert self-builders for their top tips on starting your project

We explore the most effective way to save money on your energy bills

We talk to CEDIA about integrating technology into a self-build home

60 Sustainable Living

88 Energy Saving Guide

76 Financing Your Self-Build

We delve into the benefits of eco-living with a property that is designed to thrive off the surrounding environment

We interview the Energy Saving Trust, for their insights into saving money on your energy bills

We talk to Aston Mortgages to explain the in’s and out’s of a Self-Build Mortgage and what to do when on a tight budget


30 Home Entertainment







5 Welcome Welcome to the latest Edition of Self Build Homes where the topic of conversation this month is money. We take a look at the potential ways in which you can save money around the home

8 News All the latest industry news on issues affecting self-builders and their projects, plus information on George Osbourne’s ‘Budget’ and how this affects self-builders

May 2014 I Self Build Homes



May 2014

Green Deal update: DOUBLE ALLOWANCE ON DOUBLE GLAZING FOR UK HOMEOWNERS The recent changes to the government’s Green Deal cash-back scheme have been welcomed by the UK’s leading home improvements company as a boost for homeowners wanting to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes. The Green Deal scheme helps people to install energy efficiency measures by providing them with money back on the contributions they make towards improvements. The latest changes

include increases to the amount of money consumers get back on some Green Deal measures such as double glazing, where the allowance has been more than doubled from £320 to £650. Melanie McDonald, Head of Marketing and Communications at Anglian Home Improvements, said, “We’re delighted that the recent changes to the Green Deal scheme recognise the importance of installing modern double

glazed windows and that the government is making it easier for people to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes. “Energy efficiency has become a fundamental issue for today’s homeowners, especially in light of the on-going fuel price rises. However, in an Anglian Home Improvements survey of UK homeowners towards the end of last year, almost half said their windows were over ten years old or that they had no

UP TO £4,000 GOVERNMENT CASH-BACK NOW AVAIL The National Insulation Association (NIA) is advising householders that following a recent Government announcement a number of changes have been made to its Green Deal cash-back scheme. These include an increase in the amount of money consumers can get back on some energy efficiency measures and an


extension for applying for the cash-back from 31st March to 30th June 2014. As a result consumers can now obtain a cash-back of up to £4,000 (previously £650) on Solid Wall Insulation (SWI), £250 on Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI), £150 on Loft Insulation and £50 on Draught-proofing. Neil Marshall, Chief Executive

of the NIA commented: “The NIA welcomes these changes to the cash-back scheme which will enable many more households to reduce their energy bills through installing insulation measures. “By installing SWI savings of up to £460* per year can be made and £250* per year from CWI. Loft Insulation can also save up to £250* per year and

Draught-proofing windows and doors can save between £35 and £50* per year and when installed with other measures will greatly increase the comfort in a home. Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Inefficient homes use a lot more energy than they need to, which consumers pay a high price for. The extension and increase



Labour’s ‘Help to Build’ would complement ‘Help to Buy’, says FMB

idea how old they were, meaning that up to 30% of their home’s energy could be going straight out of the window. Double glazing is an essential part of improving the efficiency of the home and we very much welcome the fact that this has been recognised through these latest changes to the GreenDeal scheme.” Anglian Home Improvements was one of the first companies to support the Green Deal scheme and is also an Energy

Saving Trust Recommended supplier. It offers a broad selection of energy saving products, including A-rated, B-rated and EcoGain windows, as well as energy efficient doors. Established in 1966, Anglian Home Improvements is the UK’s biggest double glazing window, door and conservatory specialist. For more information and to view the full product range, visit

ABLE FOR SOLID WALL INSULATION to Green Deal cash-back means more families will be helped to have warmer, more energy efficient homes and lower energy bills by next winter. These changes also create more opportunities for the growing number of authorised green deal companies.” The NIA is urging

householders to contact an NIA member to find out if their home requires additional insulation and for details of the Green Deal cash-back scheme and any other support that might be available to help with paying for insulation measures. Householders can be safe in the knowledge that an NIA

installer will have signed up to a strict Code of Professional Practice, meaning peace of mind comes as standard with an NIA member. To find a local NIA member and details on the Green Deal cash-back scheme, householders and landlords should visit the NIA website

The Labour Party’s proposal for a ‘Help to Build guarantee scheme to improve access to finance for small and mediumsized (SME) house builders would be a welcome boost to help increase the supply of new housing , says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “To provide the number of new homes we need in this country both builders and buyers need access to finance. Labour’s ‘Help to Build’ would complement the Government’s ‘Help to Buy’ initiative because current restrictions on access to finance for SME house builders still remain very severe. The Government’s Help to Buy scheme has been a major factor in the upturn we have seen in house building over the past 12 months, and the Chancellor’s announcement that Help to Buy: Equity Loan will be extended up until 2020 provides some welcome long term reassurance, but more help is needed to tackle access to finance.” Berry continued: “When it comes to loans for smaller residential developments the default answer from many banks is ‘no’. When finance is available, it is too often being offered on steep terms; at high rates of interest, low loan to value ratios and often with exorbitant fees attached. What is concerning is that there has been very little sign of improvement in this situation over the past year.” Berry concluded: “The SME house building sector used to deliver around two thirds of all new homes. It now delivers less than one third and the number of firms in the market has plummeted over the past five years, further reducing the industry’s capacity. Without access to finance on reasonable terms, SME house builders will remain hamstrung in their ability to increase the supply of new homes.” May 2014 I Self Build Homes



May 2014

British Company reduces household Utility Bills by £1.75 million in 48 hours Water efficiency experts Save Water Save Money, working with 14 Water Companies, has received orders for over 60,000 water and energy saving products from homeowners in just 48 hours, thanks to an online campaign with Money Saving Expert. This will save customers an estimated 500 million litres of water and £1.75 million GBP this year on utility bills if on a water meter, or around £380,000 GBP if not. The free devices, ranging from showerheads worth £17 GBP to children’s teeth brushing timers, can reduce individual household bills by more than £100 GBP if customers have a water meter. And with hot water accounting for around 23% of a household’s energy bills, householders can save around £35 GBP each year in energy alone. Save Water Save Money Managing Director, Tim Robertson, said, “This promotion has been a phenomenal success. It just goes to show that while there’s so much emphasis on high value energy saving measures, householders understand it’s the small devices that can make a big impact on their bills, without affecting their water use or experience, and regardless of whether they are on a water meter or not.” For more information on reducing your energy bills and to see which free products are available from your water company provider, please visit Save Water Save Money.

HOMEBUILDING RESPOND TO THE BUDGET Michael Holmes and Jason Orme, spokespeople for The Homebuilding, Renovating and Home Improvement Shows and editors of Homebuilding and Renovating magazine, comments on today’s budget announcement that the Government is considering a Right to Build and will be providing £150m of finance to support this: Michael says: “The allocation of a £150m fund in today’s budget to develop a scheme to give custom builders a right to a plot from councils, will be welcomed by those who want to build an individually designed home but cannot find a building plot,” says Michael Holmes of Homebuilding & Renovating magazine.


Government intervention Government backtracks on domestic RHI to finance small house A last-minute change to the Domestic and, on the government’s advice, has been builders welcomed by FMB Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) could ‘cut certified under separate industry standards The Chancellor’s Budget announcement of a £500 million Builders Finance Fund for small house builders will provide a major boost for housing supply and has been welcomed by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Access to finance is a major stumbling block for viable SME house builders so this government intervention is much needed as many major banks are still reluctant to lend for small residential developments. This additional support will provide the necessary finance to small house builders and help increase the overall supply of new housing through a well-functioning SME sector.” Berry added: “Unfortunately today’s Budget overlooks the need to make our existing homes an infrastructure investment priority. A reduction in VAT to 5% on housing renovation and repair is the simplest and most effective way to empower home owners to refurbish their properties to make them more energy efficient and cheaper to run. This cut in VAT would provide a £15bn economic stimulus over five years and up to 95,000 jobs which re much needed while our economy is still in recovery.”

British businesses off at the knees’ leave homeowners’ renewable energy installations worthless and threaten job security in the sustainable energy sector. An amendment to the draft legislation – if passed – would leave homeowners eligible for money if their installation generates only heat from a renewable source. If the installation also generates renewable electricity, it won’t qualify.

Renewable electricity generation is already encouraged under the Feed-in tariff (FIT) and the RHI is an equivalent incentive for heat. But in order to cash in on both schemes and reap the real benefits of your home’s renewable potential, you’d have to install a separate unit for each incentive. This at a time when industry experts are placing more attention than ever on ‘hybrid’ approaches to carbon reduction and sustainable energy generation.

Technology already exists –

The Big Six gas and electricity firms are to face a radical overhaul after the energy watchdog has referred them for a fullscale competition investigation. Ofgem, which believes the companies might be making excess profits and ripping off their customers, has referred them to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The Big Six energy suppliers – British Gas, SSE, Npower, EDF, Scottish Power and E.ON – control around 95 per cent of Britain’s energy supply market. Their energy retail profits have soared from

£233m in 2009 to £1.1bn in 2012 “with no clear evidence of suppliers becoming more efficient in reducing their own costs”, said Ofgem. The CMA investigation, which is likely to begin in June and could last up to two years, could see the major players forced to break up.

“However, failing to provide funding for a ‘Help to Build’ scheme to boost the availability of self-build mortgages, in a programme akin to ‘Help to Buy’, is a missed opportunity. The concept – proposed by MP members of the All-party Parliamentary Group for Self-build, Custom Build and Independent Housebuilding – could provide a significant boost to housebuilding. Self-build completions are 7-8,000 below their levels at the peak of the housing market and could quickly return to this level if more were done to provide self-build mortgages with a higher loan to value ratio. There are lots of people who want to build their

own home but don’t have a large enough deposit. Extending the Help to Buy scheme to boost housebuilding through Help to Build would also assuage the widely voiced criticism that the current scheme will only serve to inflate house prices without improving housing supply.” Jason says:“The announcement that the Government is considering a Right to Build is exciting news for people who want to build their own homes. For years the Government has made positive noises about self-build and enshrined many good things in planning legislation but when it comes to the reality on the ground, nothing much

seems to be changing. Forcing councils to provide land to people who want to build is one great way to overcome this blockage – and it rather puts an end to the Government’s Localism agenda. The £150m revolving fund for businesses to develop custom build sites is welcomed. There are huge start-up costs in servicing building plots on a large scale and regular financing is still not easy. Around 1 in 8 people in the UK wish to build their own home, according to surveys, and largescale self-build developments, while not to every self-builder’s taste, are a great way to get there.”

– that generates both electricity and heat from the sun. In fact, the government has reportedly awarded grants to the tune of £2m to companies developing this ‘Photovoltaic Thermal’ (PV-T) technology, and hundreds have already been installed in UK homes.

 The efficiency gains of PV-T are widely celebrated as the installations do two jobs at once. British Gas has recently completed a successful 12-month assessment, with clearly demonstrable benefits of PV-T in domestic applications.

The Big 6 face interrogation from the CMA over high prices May 2014 I Self Build Homes



A Hidden Habitat


here is something quite enchanting about searching through the trees and stumbling across a space quite unpredictable and yet remarkable. Designed to recreate an air of suspense as you enter the unfolding landscape, a contemporary dwelling exists to compliment its surrounding landscape. This theme of searching for a hidden beauty was taken from the original wooden cottage that was submerged by magnificent ancient beech trees laying scattered amongst heather. Once a clearing was made it revealed a distant view of the landscape to the south


of the house that rolled from woodland into an open heath, dropping dramatically into a valley before rising into a distant pine forest. Idyllic. It would be a crime to not take advantage of this rare find and embrace everything the environment had to offer. Designed by renowned architect firm PAD studio, the modern space is located in the heart of the scenic New Forest National Park within a designated Conversation Area and Site of Special Scientific Interest. The entire design of the house relies on the nature friendly and sustainable technologies and materials, ensuring the surroundings

are maintained well. The brief from the client was to create a very contemporary sustainable home that would sit comfortably within the landscape. Comprised of 18 acres of stunning ancient woodland with far reaching views towards the Isle of Wight, the aim was to minimise the impact on the site and its sensitive surroundings.

Design & Context

The main house and guest annexe are orientated to maximise solar gain and utilise renewable technologies for heating and hot




Sometimes self-build projects need to be meticulously planned ahead, but this eco-home revealed itself organically water requirements. The materials used throughout are sustainable, durable and locally sourced where possible - in harmony with the site and its surroundings. The architectural objective has been to create a simple building whose form, scale materials and detail reinforce the character, distinctiveness and history of the site locally and within the wider context of the New Forest. As a result of the building’s sensitive location the planning restrictions placed upon the building were considerable. The newly formed National Park Authority

approached the proposals hesitantly due to the contemporary nature of the scheme. However, the sustainability credentials of the proposals helped enormously and Natural England were very supportive. After extensive dialogue the plans were passed via delegated powers. The footprint of the new house was restricted to 120 sq.m. - 30% bigger than the original 2 bedroom cottage. In negotiation with the planners it was agreed that a basement would not add to the bulk of the building and a guest annexe was also permitted as the old building had previously had separate guest accommodation.

The massing, form and orientation of the new buildings were carefully conceived in order that the proposals had minimal impact on the site and its surroundings. The form of the main house and guest annexe were designed as very simple timber clad boxes that echo each other and are linked in by a concrete spine wall which also vertically links the ground and basement. Both forms are low rise volumes with green roofs planted with sedum native to the UK. The buildings were orientated to maximise solar gain, open to the south and closed to the north. They utilize ground source heat May 2014 I Self Build Homes



A Hidden Habitat pump technology, solar thermal panels and log burners for heating and hot water requirements. Provision for the future addition of photovoltaics was included at strategic points. Water is sourced from a refurbished well within the grounds. The earth that was excavated to form the basement below the main dwelling and natural swimming pond area was re-used in the earth berm to the north of the spine wall, limiting the need to remove material from site. This helps to insulate the building, provide a visual screen to the north and acts as an acoustic baffle from nearby traffic noise. New Forest Douglas Fir was sourced from within 2 miles of the site and was used to form the shuttering panels for the board marked concrete spine wall. To minimize wastage the formwork was reused throughout. After the spine walls were complete the formwork was cleaned up and used to clad the interior of the workshop. The main contract for the project was negotiated with one local contractor selected both for his track record and his commitment to create something special on the site. Construction commenced in September 2008 and was completed just less than one year later in September 2009. A standard JCT 2005 contract was used. Although the budget is generous, the nature of the site and the planning constraints


consumed a considerable amount. The house is located 1 mile down an unmade track which substantially increased the preliminary and site set-up costs. The previous building had to be demolished by hand as a bat survey revealed the presence of 1 bat in the chimney area which was re-housed by a specialist. Reptiles within the garden were translocated over a 2 month period and reptile fencing remained in place throughout construction. One month after construction was complete the natural swimming pond was already teaming with lizards and an array of colourful dragonflies. As far as possible materials are locally sourced and local craftspeople have been employed. The clients are very special and private people who have become and good friends with us and many of the people involved in creating their home. Regardless of the architectural merit we believe this house possesses, our clients love their new home and they have fully engaged with the process of making. We believe that this house has the potential to be truly sustainable because it will be cared for and enjoyed for many decades.

Designed around Lifestyle

The ‘New Forest House’ was commissioned by a couple in their early fifties who hope to spend their retirement years in their new home. It is sited on a steeply sloping forest site. Previously

it would have been impossible to enter the old cottage due to the terrain of the path to the front door and the stepped entrance. Access is now possible to all ground floor areas of the house. A level drop off point provides access to a ramp which wraps around the concrete spine wall and negotiates the substantial level difference across the site. Level thresholds to the large sliding glass doors give access into the main living / dining for wheelchair users. A removable internal ramp enables access to the ground floor bedrooms and bathrooms which are located 2 steps above the main living area. A separate contained guest annexe currently provides accommodation for the couple’s elderly parents who frequently visit. It is planned that in future years this will allow a carer to live on site should necessity dictate. The materials used throughout are natural, nontoxic and breathable. Surfaces are tactile enabling sensory placement for the visually impaired and the organic paint used throughout will not emit harmful toxins. Particular attention has been paid to ensuring that materials and environmental systems are low maintenance enabling the clients to easily manage their home. This home is intended to cater not just for the changing physical needs of its occupants but to provide nourishment and stimulus to the soul through close contact with nature.


EDP Consulting Engineers were appointed to design the mechanical & electrical engineering services for the project and to assist with the realization of a sustainable approach. The Practice is locally based in Romsey, Hampshire and offers a service in three key areas – energy & sustainability, project engineering and compliance; the former including passive thermal design and the application of renewable & low to zero carbon technologies. The property is designed to have a low impact on its environment and minimise its energy requirements by the incorporation of passive measures. This has been achieved by firstly considering the form, configuration and construction of the dwelling. The dwelling is ‘open’ to the south and west to capture the heat from the sun via relatively large areas of glazing. This energy is stored within the ‘thermal mass’ of the building. The thermal mass has been increased by constructing the lower level of the dwelling as a basement. The north elevation of the building on the upper level is sheltered by an earth berm and building elements are formed by a relatively heavy concrete construction. Each of these measures increase the thermal mass of the dwelling. The high thermal mass helps to regulate

internal temperatures. In the summer energy from the sun can be stored in the structure to reduce peaks in internal temperature. During colder periods the thermal energy in the structure radiates into the internal spaces to reduce heating requirements. A good standard of thermal insulation has also been provided in the walls, roof and floor elements as well as the windows, to reduce heat losses. Natural ventilation has been provided via ground floor openings and high level opening roof lights. Shutters are provided on the outside of the glazing to permit further reduction of heat gains from the sun. These measures enable occupants to further control the internal temperatures via passive measures. Additional rooflights provide the basement with an element of natural (day) lighting which reduces the energy requirement for artificial lighting and enhances the quality of the internal environment. Having minimised the energy demands by use of passive measures, the remaining energy requirements are met by utilizing renewable energy sources and low carbon technologies where practical. As the dwelling sits in the New Forest, local supplies of woodfuel are plentiful and the use of woodfuel heating was considered as the main heat source in order

May 2014 I Self Build Homes



A Hidden Habitat


Architect: PAD Studio Design team: Wendy Perring, Darren Bray Structural Engineer: Andrew Warring associates Services Engineer: EDP Main contractor: HA and DB Kitchin Concrete consultant: David Bennett Quantity surveyor: David Poynton

SUPPLIERS: Ground works and fair faced concrete: Farncombe construction Mechanical installation: Ashwell Electrical installation: Designer Electrical Concrete Repairs: White and Reid Windows: Velfac Aluminum doors: Fine line Roof lights: Glazing Vision Ipe cladding: Wood trend Flat roof: Bauder Joinery: SB Joinery Ironmongery: Harbrine Under floor heating: Warma floor Foul water treatment plant: Bio Bubble Heating and GSHP: Parker Heating


to minimise carbon emissions. However, an important part of the client brief was the initial requirement to cater for intermittent occupation and to have the facility to remotely switch on the heating and hot water services prior to occupation. This requirement led to the adoption of a ground source heat pump (GSHP) system as the primary heat source. The system consists of an array of boreholes and header pipes which transfer energy from the ground via a brine circuit to a high efficiency electric heat pump. The heat pump raises the temperature of the water which is used to serve an underfloor heating system. In the summer the system can be used to provide ‘free cooling’ by transferring the ‘coolth’ from the ground to the underfloor pipework system in the dwelling. The direct energy of the sun is also collected in a solar thermal panel located on top of the house. This combines with the GSHP system to generate hot water for domestic consumption. Energy demands are also met by using

the woodfuel resource on the site. Woodfuel fires are located in the house and the annexe. The stove in the annexe has a back-boiler which transfers heat to a thermal store. The energy collected in the thermal store is used to heat domestic hot water for use in the Annexe. There is an outdoor Japanese bath located next to the annexe. A woodburner is located adjacent to the bath and is capable of heating the water for the bath by thermosyphon. As well as minimising energy demands, the design minimises reliance on the mains water system by utilising local ground water collected via a well. This well water is treated to a potable standard and is supplied to outlets around the site.

The Outcome

The result of this self-built venture is a home, created organically, that respects and does not disturb the surrounding environment and embraces what it has to offer. But above all, to realise a sustainable dwelling that encourages independent living.


Finishing A Timber Built Home

Building in Timber Can Save You Money… In the final part of his three part feature, Andrew Carpenter, chief executive of the Structural Timber Association, explains how to go about finishing a timber frame home.


ver the last two issues, we have looked at the processes involved in planning and constructing a timber-based house. At the planning stage, timber can really help selfbuilders save time and money; both key factors when thinking about building your own home. During the actual build process, the material offers further savings, in terms of reduced site preparations, prefabrication of the structural elements and timber’s speed of build. It is therefore no wonder that, 75% of the self-build market is currently using the natural material as their primary build method. In this final part, we will look at how to finish your timber-based home, looking at the ease with which the structure can be


completed, as well as the material’s flexibility and the variety of finishes available.

Ease of completion

Once your basic structure is wind and water tight, the off-site prefabrication which is inherent in the production of timberbased structural materials should ensure the process of finishing your house is quick and simple. Many timber systems will have pre-cut service channels built-in, allowing for the easy installation of water, electricity and other utilities. Using these channels also has the benefit of not disturbing the thermal envelope of the building, thereby improving the environmental performance of the final structure. However, be sure to inform the trades you are hiring before they arrive on

site that they will be working with these advanced systems. An increasing number of timber manufacturers are also starting to offer structural timber systems which have the windows and doors fitted in the factory, which helps to remove another task from a build’s to-do list. The doors and windows can be protected with a plastic coating until the end of the project, when the coating can be removed to reveal the brand new openings. By working closely with your architect, timber manufacturer and builder, you can ensure that all of these aspects are locked in and accounted for from the outset, thereby giving the build greater predictability, which should in turn reduce costs.

Flexibility of the material

In recent years, many timber manufacturers have spent time researching and developing products in response to consumer demand, evolving how and what they produce. As a result, this means that the timber industry is no-longer simply producing basic timber kits but can offer a range of solutions, such as cross laminated timber, glulam and SIPS, which can work in tandem with the timber frame elements. The introduction of these new build systems means the material can now be used in more applications than ever before. The structural strength provided by many of these materials, and their ability to carry heavy loads, means they are now being used in place of steel in many instances. This

allows for the creation of large, open internal spaces, such as combined kitchen, dining and living areas on the ground floor. The finishes which these elements provide are also more aesthetically pleasing than more industrial materials such as steel or concrete and will give your design a really natural finish.

Variety of finishes

Although the structure of your building may be constructed from timber, you still have a variety of options available when it comes to roofing and cladding. Timber structures are able to support a range of roofing options, from clay and slate tiles, to concrete, stone and even turf. However, the type of roofing which you opt for will have an impact on the structure

of the building, so this will have to be taken into account in the design process. It is also important to remember that some local authorities can put restrictions on the type of roofing which can be used in certain areas. In terms of cladding, there are three finishes available – brick, wood or render. The majority of houses built in timber are clad in bricks, meaning from the outside, they have the appearance of a traditional masonry house. A variety of bricks can be used, from reclaimed blocks to brick-slips, but it must be remembered that cladding isn’t just there to make your house look appealing – it must also offer sufficient protection from the elements. Another option available is render, which May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Finishing A Timber Built Home

is applied in layers and can be given a textured or patterned finish, before being painted. Or you could go for the increasingly popular natural option and clad you home in timber weatherboarding. There are a number of different options available and the wood can be chemically preserved to maintain its colour, although it should be remembered that wood reacts to the elements more than brick or render, often producing an attractive natural finish. Simon Orrells, managing director of Frame Wise Ltd and chairman of the Structural Timber Association’s self-build committee, commented on the fact that many self-builders are turning to timber cladding as an option. He said, “Over the last few months, we have seen a marked increase in the number of self-builders asking about finishing their homes in timber, due to the


long lead times currently being quoted by some brick manufacturers. Not only is the material readily available, it can also be installed in a fraction of the time, without the need to hire costly bricklayers.”

Timber: the natural choice

Over the last three issues, we have looked at how much timber has to offer the selfbuild market, especially in terms of saving both time and money during your project. However, once your build is complete, the benefits of timber continue through the lifetime of the structure, due to the material’s superb environmental credentials, ensuring timber is undeniably an attractive way forward when it comes to saving energy and reducing household bills. The STA represents the vast majority of the structural timber industry, and as a

condition of membership, there are strict criteria about who can join the Association. Members are audited on ensure they are delivering industry best practice, as well as having access to industry learning, research and development. This activity ensures that the STA logo is not just a badge, but a tangible reassurance to the construction industry and consumers that members are delivering the highest standards of technical excellence and site safety. There has never been a better time to turn to timber and the Structural Timber Association looks forward to helping selfbuilders fulfil their dreams and build the future together.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: Structural Timber Association

Wising up to Energy Efficiency With a flexible approach to their customer’s requirements, Frame Wise offer a range of award winning timber frame systems and packages - from full supply and construction to supply only services. These packages include specified engineered timber products, roof trusses and can even incorporate windows, doors and stairs. Receiving a quote is a simple process, just post or email your drawings and supporting information direct to the Frame Wise Head Office. If you are at the very early stage of looking at budgets and deciding on a construction solution, they can provide a budget estimate based on pre-planning drawings. If you are further advanced in the build process, they will provide a full quotation based on approved planning drawings. From the early design stages and gaining a quote, to helping you achieve building code requirements and U-value calculations - Frame Wise can assist at every stage of the process. They can also help with the creation of Energy Statements and offer guidance on building fabric performance and the sourcing of materials to achieve high Code for Sustainable Homes. Every self build home is unique and getting the right partners on board from an early stage can help you avoid costly mistakes and for those embarking on their first project, give you the confidence to make your first big step to creating your own energy efficient home.


Quality | Innovation | Evolution Here at Frame Wise we understand that every project is unique, so have a flexible approach and offer a range of award winning timber frame systems and packages - from supply only services to full supply and construction. Packages include award winning specified engineered timber frame and panel solutions, as well as roof trusses and we can even incorporate windows, doors and stairs. Your new home deserves nothing less than the quality and excellence we deliver on every energy efficient project.

Contact us to learn more about our services and solutions. t 01544 260125



Frame Wise - Case Study

Highfields – High on Style and Sustainability

When Richard and Paula Hurd moved to a 1930s property, they originally planned to adapt the dwelling.


heir idea was to live in the bungalow for a year and then build an extension, keeping certain elements and remodelling the rest. But after spending time living there, the family found there wasn’t anything they really wanted to retain and their thoughts turned to self build instead. The couple’s new next door neighbour is David Strong, former director of the Building Research Establishment, and it wasn’t long before Richard was discussing potential plans to demolish the bungalow to make way for a new energy efficient home. The Hurds had to select a building system that would be airtight and thermally efficient. “I was debating between timber frame


or structural insulated panels because of the thermal performance and the construction speed both methods provide. I wanted the build to be done within 12 months,” says Richard Hurd. “I went through magazines and looked at advertisements for suppliers. I contacted a few and let them know that one of the things I was keen to do was see the manufacturing process so I could understand how the products were made.” After a conversation with Frame Wise, the Hurds went to visit their facility in Powys, and were very impressed with both the products and the level of workmanship that went into constructing the timber frame panels. “We were originally talking to them about their standard system. They took us to

see some houses they had built in the local village using the Twin Wall system, which recently won the Timber Trade Journal’s Innovation of the Year Award. The Wise Wall T system contains even more insulation, and substantially reduces thermal bridging,” says Richard. “They had really thick walls, which gave lovely old fashioned recessed windows. We came away thinking the thermal performance was not much more expensive than standard panels and was perfect for us.” After gaining planning which presented a few challenges, the family moved into a static caravan. Richard took an organised approach to the programme of works breaking the build process down into four chunks – the demolition and site clearance, the basement

build and groundworks package, the timber frame erection, and the external/internal works – Frame Wise were there to offer support at every stage of the self build journey. The finished house now benefits from a large open plan kitchen, dining and living room, which opens up through large folding doors into the garden. The basement houses the home’s plant room, a kids’ zone and a gym area. Upstairs are four bedrooms all with their own built in storage, two with ensuites and a family bathroom.

Testing times

Due to the home’s expected sustainability, with Frame Wise’s support, the Hurds got involved with a project run by Coventry

University, funded by the TSB (Technology Strategy Board) – a government organisation that helps develop innovation in industry. With the construction industry trying to close the gap between the designed and ‘as built’ performance of buildings and as the house was pretty unique in terms of performance, the TSB selected Highfields for a two year project monitoring energy efficiency. The data gathered will be presented by the university as a report at the end of the project, detailing how the house performs against its design characteristics. The project is running until September 2014. In addition to the monitoring, a detailed two week co-heating test was undertaken by the university in February 2013 to

evaluate the insulation and heat retention performance of their house. The family had to move out of their home to ensure the testing could be done properly. “I am really pleased with the results so far,” said Richard. “The design of the walls, for example, was forecast to produce a U-value of 0.11 W/m2K, but they have come out even better at 0.101. An investment in an old fashioned bungalow signalled the start of an exciting project and with Frame Wise’s help, we have created one of the UK’s most energy efficient homes.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: Frame Wise May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Scotframe Timber Engineering Ltd.

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fter considering quite a few sites, I finally decided to go with the one at Wester Waterlair. I had looked at a lot before I found this, but they were either too close to neighbouring properties, or literally a “green field site”, with no trees or natural cover. This was the best of the bunch, it was originally a croft, with a cottage, bothy and a steading. The house and steading had been extensively “remodelled” by the previous owner; the house had a spiral staircase made from scaffold poles and elm planks, topped off with a flat roof made from concrete, old carpets and plastic sheeting, and the steading had a 30’ x 20’ pool with a grape vine and a peach tree. Believe me, it sounds a lot better than it looked . or performed-when it rained, it would continue to rain for two hours inside the house after the rain had stopped.! I contacted Vic Peterkin at Peterkin Homes to assess the site, and then broke the news to him that I would really like to build an art deco house there. It is not often that the opportunity arises to build and design a new home! I was inspired by the Midland Hotel in Morecambe, having been dragged on a caravan holiday by my parents at a tender age, I was fascinated by the faded beauty of this great building, and even though it was showing it’s age, with rotting windows and peeling paint, I could recognise an inspiring piece of architecture. Vic recommended Ashleigh Wilson of AB Roger & Young from Brechin, with whom he had a good working relationship . Once the initial design had been agreed, we looked at the build options. I have a plumbing and heating company, and have oft been amazed at the complex (expensive),elegant (very expensive) and convoluted methods that are used in new builds! It was decided that the best form of heating would be a quality, high performance closed panel timber frame system ( insulation is the most important component of a heating system: the insulation is a fixed price at the point of construction, but fuel costs rise every year!) with underfloor heating, heat recovery system, and conventional oil boiler (very easy to repair!), and thermal efficient windows. Vic Peterkin suggested Scotframe for the house kit. This was less than straightforward, as the house was art deco, had a round tower 9m high, a graded staircase on a long curve with stepped windows, parapet walls concealing a hidden monopitch steel roof. The design was passed to Scotframe to produce the specification, and they suggested

that we use the JJL floor joists supplied as flooring cassettes, which reduces on site construction time, and was a real bonus for installing the heat recovery system, as it was a real headache working out how to run the 100mm insulated ducting to every roomwith JJl joists , it was possible to cut 150mm dia hole through the joists, which would have been impossible with standard joists. Another time saver with the closed panel system from Scotframe was the fact that very large panels were made in the factory, and then craned in to position on site, the whole of the lower floor was erected in 3 1/2 hours, fixed, secured and no need to insulate! As the house design was art deco, the windows were an important featuretrying to achieve the look and the finish was difficult-I had tried several suppliers to no avail: I needed small astragals with minimal frames , preferably timber, totally draught proof , painted finish on the outside, natural finish on the inside. After a bit of head scratching, Scotframe found a manufacturer whose windows matched the criteria. Once the kit was erected and the windows were in, the roof panels were fitted , it was wind and watertight, which was a good job , as the winter was horrendous-it snowed for two weeks non stop and the steading roof collapsed! Even with a hard winter, work continued inside, the first fix was completed within three weeks, the underfloor heating was fitted, gypsum screed poured downstairs,render then chipboard flooring upstairs. Once spring appeared(late!) the outside works could be started.The whole of the external blockwork was smooth rendered and then painted arctic white. It was an amazing sight the day the scaffolding came down! The house is unusual in that it has five corners and appears to have no roofand each corner is different, viewed from the front corner, it looks like a tower with a curved extension, viewed from the upper garden it looks like the Odeon cinema I used to frequent on a Saturday morning! It is a good house to live in-it is so solid and draught proof I have to look out of a window to see what the weather is up to,and it is inexpensive to heat, due to the gain from the large windows heating the gypsum slab, it usually uses around 1000 lt kerosene a year, which is not a lot for a 220 sq m house. Wait until you see the next one… Tony Allen

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: Scotframe May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Grand Designers

The Beginner’s Guide to Self-Building… from the Experts

We interview expert self-builders David and Anjana Devoy, regulars on the hit TV show Grand Designs, for their top tips on starting your project


ne of the most exciting and rewarding experiences you will ever encounter is building your own home. But, it goes without saying that is a very daunting challenge and the desire to call in hired help increases as stress levels rise. While around 11,000 selfbuild projects happen every year around the UK, only 10% of homeowners take on the challenge themselves. We speak to experts David and Anjana Devoy from Curved House who specialise in building and restoring remote properties as luxury lets. They have provided personal insights into their experiences with self-building and tips for ensuring projects go as smoothly as possible.


How do you ensure a plot of land is suitable for building on? Our current project, Chalet F’net (a former shepherd’s hut) in the French Alps, which will be added to our wilderness  rental portfolio, has involved us in the full French committee process; several meetings at the town hall with the municipal architect and guardians of the local patrimony. This was necessary in order to get the locals to buy into the idea of a modest extension to the heavily-protected mountain property. Obviously, speaking good French was a major advantage on this project. There was an agreement in principle to allow us to extend 20 percent according to

local regulations as long as we met the ‘Patrimoine’ (local heritage criteria). Fingers crossed we do! In the UK, you can be relatively sure that if there is already an existing building, you will get permission to build a similarsized new house in its place. This was what happened at Ladderstile House, Richmond Park, where we demolished the existing house and stable block and replaced it with a ground-breaking eco courtyard house. But with a greater footprint allowed by the planners on the basis that we included certain key sensitivities like hydroponic garden walls and sedum grass roofs because of its proximity to the royal parks.

Bear in mind, you can do all the checks you like and sometimes estate agents, surveyors and even your solicitor get it wrong and you end up with a dud plot. That also happened to us and it took years of legals to sort out! Take a tape measure and make sure the plot matches the land registry map.

How much does the plot influence the design stage?

It is vitally important. At Curved House we built a new family home in our, admittedly large, back garden, and two particular site specifics dictated much of the unusual design. First, there was a magisterial horse chestnut tree along the boundary with

our next door neighbour. Secondly, the garden projected into a mixed use social and private estate and was therefore quite prone to being overlooked from three sides. The response of the architect (Peter Romanuik) was to curve the entire building around the tree canopy/tree roots of the tree, which was brilliantly simple. To deal with the overlooking issue, the house was designed to face entirely inwards, like a courtyard house, effectively shielding itself from unwanted glances over its shoulder. In addition, the subterranean circular basement created a “secret” and discrete cinema and library space in which to retreat from life in a glass house.

Do you have any tips on appling for planning permission?

Play it by the book, keep it safe, go for things that fit the UDP (unitary development plan) - the planners can’t officially say no. Give the planners what they want as far as you feel you can. There is an argument however for introducing a “smokescreen” point, something you anticipate the planners will object to and which you will be prepared to concede with a view to getting the substantive application through. This was a tactic much-used by a previous architect of ours! May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Grand Designers

How do you begin to design a home that compliments your style of living?

First of all, be very clear as to what your style of living/family dynamic is. For example, are you the sort of person for whom the kitchen is the social hub? If so, it may need to play a very prominent part in the design process and it will perhaps want to be one of the first rooms your guests come into and generously-sized. Do you like to get out of bed in the morning and put your feet onto a warm floor? An underfloor heating system may well be for you, so plan to incorporate that and bear in mind that it is likely to increase your finished floor level, potentially 28

reducing head height. In designing and building, as in life, every action has a consequence! What do you want to see from your home? More specifically which view from which window, and do you prefer to have morning light flood into your bedroom or your living area? Know how your building is oriented in terms of East and West, sunrise and sunset. It may sound blindingly obvious, but it is not always adequately considered and incorporated into the design process.

What jobs would you always get a contractor in to complete?

Anything involving water, gas or electrics (at

least after the first fix stage) or final finishes where a professional look is required. I am a great believer in setting aside the funds to pay a really good joiner later on in the project. Having to live with a finish that should look prefect but is actually anything but is frustrating and depressing.

What eco-products are of real benefit for ecological living?

Sheep wool insulation, it is so close to nature and as a result a joy to work with, quite apart from its great insulation qualities and resistance to fire. And lime plaster, pointing and floor slabs – it is wonderful to create a breathing building.

What are your five top tips for saving money when managing a self-build project? • Use a good architect (both creative and experienced). • Measure twice, cut once! • Shop around and use the internet as a significant pricing/sourcing tool. • The luxury of time on a project gives a much better opportunity for bargains or deals to be found. • Don’t forget to keep all your receipts and make a VAT claim, it all adds up!

GRAND DESIGNERS David and Anjana, have now taken their hand to holiday rentals. Shortlisted for the prestigious 2013 RIBA Award for Architecture in Wales, you can now rent the glorious Red Kite Barn from Sheepskin Life and Chalet F’net in the French Alps from Autumn 2014. The Welsh barn was rescued from nature and restored using traditional techniques. Veiled by the green rolling hills and 80 acres of private countryside, the contemporary interior of the barn draws colour & materials from its natural surroundings.  If you have a property you are considering turning into a great holiday home or even if you are looking to expand your customer base, then contact the wonderful staff at Sheepskin.


May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Home Technology Integration



E RTAINMENT A ROUND YOU Technology and you, working in perfect harmony

May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Home Technology Integration


ntegrating technology into a self-build project is fast becoming the norm. In the April issue, CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design & Installation) discussed why self-builders should consider technology at the planning stage of the project and why it is important to get a CEDIA member on board to discuss and plan the home automation. Every project is different. The amount of technology installed depends on the homeowner and what their requirements are. The technology CEDIA members work with can include anything that’s electronically operated in the home: from high-end TV’s, media servers and multi-room audio and video systems, to home networks which intelligently control all aspects of the home, including heating, lighting, blinds and security. These systems can be installed in any room in the property, but in slightly different ways to enhance the space and provide the features you require in these areas.


Home Automation allows bedrooms to benefit from integrated audio and visual gadgets and 32

comfortable multi-functional furniture. Comfort and style play key roles in the design of the latest technologies for the bedroom, which include ‘hidden’ TVs, mood enhancing alarm clocks and lighting, and space-saving furniture with integrated audio equipment to help you unwind. Remote controls and smart panels fitted nearby mean that you can have full control of the technology in your room, and around your house for that matter, from the convenience of your bed. As well as controlling entertainment devices such as TVs and sound systems, you can gain full control of the security and lighting in your home too. Using a clever control panel, which can even be linked to your Apple or Android phone and devices, you can keep checks on your smart lighting system and security around your home from your bedroom – you could light the downstairs and outside, while keeping the bedroom lighting to a minimum, for example. The bedroom is commonly perceived as a place reserved for relaxation, so the audio and visual technology chosen must afford a discreet and sympathetic balance to provide a relaxing atmosphere.


Many people enjoy the luxury of TV in the bedroom, but find it hard to make it blend with the interiors. One option is to hide it when not in use. This can be done through enclosing the TV in a cabinet with fold away doors or through a motorised mechanism to hide the TV completely out of sight when it is not being watched. These mechanisms are most popular in chests at the foot of the bed, which can be hidden at the click of a button or you can design it so that the TV drops down out of the ceiling. Careful planning of where to locate source equipment and cable routes will ensure you get the best possible results.


Audio in the bedroom is most commonly used for listening to music and the radio, however if a TV has been installed then surround sound should be considered to compliment this. In-ceiling speakers are the most commonly used as they provide a discrete solution which fills the room with sound. Alternatively, if you if sound quality is important to you, then wall speakers are

Cedia-A4-FP.indd 2

24/02/2014 17:16


Award Winning Design


Award winning home entertainment designers, The Big Picture, tell us about their recent awards for a particularly jaw-dropping project


he Big Picture, a Midlands-based integration company, achieved a highly commended accolade in the Best Home Cinema over £100,000 category for a client in Sutton Coldfield. The CEDIA Awards celebrate excellence in home technology design, installation and integration across Europe, Russia and the CIS States, the Middle East, Africa, India and Pakistan represent the very best of smart home installations. This ‘Wave Cinema’ project caused quite a stir as it was described by the CEDIA Awards judges as being ‘equivalent in standard and style to a London film preview room’ and also picked up an award in the Best Dressed Rack category. Ciaran Wilkins, MD at The Big Picture, said: “We are delighted to receive recognition at such a prodigious level; it proves our standards of excellence and attention to detail are literally world-class.”


The client was building a new ‘home for life’ in Sutton Coldfield, complete with 21st century mod-cons, and wanted to include a cutting-edge home cinema. However, as a novice in this area, the homeowner entrusted The Big Picture with responsibility for the end to end design of the installation, including the interior decor of the space. The AV and lighting in the space is integrated and controlled by a Control 4 system. A portable touch-screen with built in camera and intercom allows cinema occupants to see and talk to visitors at the gate, front door or other occupants around the house from around six or so other locations. As the house is vast, this ensures movie viewers can relax in front of a movie and simply talk to other occupants in the home when necessary. The judges said: “The installer has created an exceptional home cinema. The system is technically impressive and the minimalist

interior even has its own design signature. In summary, The Big Picture has delivered a highly successful project, with a high quality room that provides the perfect environment for the family to enjoy their own very special movie nights.”

Other prestigious international accolades for this particular job also included CEDIA 2013: Best Home Cinema Highly Commended CEDIA 2013: Best Dressed Rack Highly Commended Control 4 ISE 2014: Best Cinema Control 4 ISE 2014: Most Professional AV Rack

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: The Big Picture website

inspiration inspiration

is a choice of lifestyle...

is a choice of lifestyle...

Call 01922 623000 for a demonstration or be inspired at

Call 01922 623000 for a demonstration or be inspired at



Kaleidescape Specialist installer

Acoustics Alliance Certified

Science Foundation Certified

ISE Winner of Best Cinema Install 2014

ISE Winner of Most Professional AV Rack 2014


Certified Electronic Systems Professionals

Certified Kaleidescape Specialist installer

Home Acoustics Alliance Certified

Imaging Science Foundation Certified

28/03/2014 11:50 ISE Winner of Best Cinema Install 2014

ISE Winner of Most Professional AV Rack 2014


Home Technology Integration

an option. For the ultimate in unobtrusive sound, invisible speakers that you can plaster or wallpaper over are available.

Lighting and blinds

As well as audio visual, there is a huge range of technology available for the control of the lighting, blinds and the curtains in the bedroom. There are some very versatile single room solutions on the market which allow you to control combinations of lighting circuits and blinds. These units can be set up with several ‘scenes’ which will depend on how you use the room and use a combination of ceiling, wall and bedside lamps to create mood. 36


As technology evolves, AV opportunities have become more common, and the bathroom is no exception. The desire to integrate AV into the home means many bathrooms now sport at least one TV or audio device. There’s a definite trend in adding built in TVs in the bathroom. They can be seamlessly integrated into a bathroom wall and the range available ensures it compliments any décor, including “mirror” screens that disappear from view when switched off. Obviously TV screens in a damp space or where there’s risk of water damage should be waterproof. For audio, in-wall docks are perfect as a

subtle and tasteful home for your iPod. They can be easily installed with minimum wires and fuss and connects through almost any local or home audio system. A bathroom’s interior can also be combined with lighting systems to create beautiful effects; colour-changing LEDs provide a beautiful and innovative setting. The scope of colours available means you can cater to any mood, and enjoy a contemporary energy-saving solution to illuminating your bathroom. All in all, technology allows the bathroom to transformed into a relaxing environment where you can watch your favourite TV show or listen to your playlist.


With so many new innovations available to enhance the space, the kitchen really is the hub of the home when it comes to the latest technologies. As more and more kitchens are being transformed into open-plan entertaining areas, the demand for calm and clutter-free work surfaces that are sleek and streamlined has risen. As a result, there is a trend in recent years for smart hidden technologies that are space-saving and useful. Worktops, for example, are cleverly integrated with useful items such as scales, plug stations for computers and countertop appliances and fan extractors, while even the humble kettle is

rapidly being replaced by the cutting-edge and highly convenient instant hot water tap. The desire for larger tech pieces, such as flip-down or integrated TVs, which you can watch while you’re in the kitchen so you don’t miss your favourite show, or touchscreen family computers that work well on kitchen tables, so you can keep an eye on children doing their homework while you’re preparing meals have also become popular additions. A smart kitchen also has the ability to hold professionally integrated audio. This can be installed so that users can play music through their existing iPod without any need for wiring or docking stations. Music can be heard

instantly through invisible speakers which can be discreetly installed in ceilings and walls, built into units or plastered in completely so they become totally invisible. As we increasingly spend more of our time in the kitchen, it is also becoming important as a control centre for the rest of the home. Control systems allow homeowners to have control over and monitor the entire house through an iPad, iPhone or built-in custom design touch panel. A 3D representation of the whole house can be displayed in the kitchen and show where music is playing, lights and heating are on, doors and windows are left open and even if there is a fire breaking out. May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Home Technology Integration

Living Space / MediaRooms

For many, the living space is important as it is the entertainment area. It is often a multifunctional space – used to watch TV, read a book or entertain a group of people. While some homeowners are interested in having a dedicated home cinema, others enjoy being able to achieve this in the living space which is much more social. This is usually referred to as a media room. Typically, the room centres around a TV and/or projector screen. The TV’s are often fitted to a motorised bracket which allows it to be moved to achieve optimum viewing. For example, if you are cooking in the kitchen but still want to see the TV, the screen can be positioned accordingly. Alternatively, the screen is recessed into the wall, hiding it from view. A projector screen can be installed above the TV and controlled to drop down once the TV has disappeared into the wall. This allows the homeowner to enjoy a film in cinema quality. Surround sound audio is the preferred option for when watching a film. The placement of speakers in rooms is a science and when carried out correctly the sound improvements are immense. Generally the set


up includes speakers situated above or to the side of the screen. This allows the sound to be directed to the ear of the listener. As a multi-functional room, lighting scenes can be set to reflect the current activity. Bright lights when reading a book, dimmed lighted when watching a film. By integrating the lights, curtains, video and audio entertainment into a control system, the perfect ambience can be achieved.

Home Cinema

For film enthusiasts, a home cinema is the way forward. There are a number of things to consider to get this right - starting from acoustic treatment of the room (walls, ceiling and floor), through to the audio-visual equipment and ambient light control to optimal positioning of screen, speakers and seating – all of these need to be done right in order to deliver a satisfying user experience. Although the specification for cinema rooms vary depending on the environment they are installed in and the budget available, it is fair to say that certain features are a musthave and installations without them, can’t really be classified as proper cinema rooms. The dedicated space lends itself to a system

designed to deliver ultimate performance.

Projector and a projection screen

Although some people opt for a large flat screen instead of a projector and screen set, rooms with TVs aren’t usually what professionals would classify as home cinema. If you want the ultimate cinema experience, a good projector and screen are a must.

Surround sound audio

5.1 or better set-up is necessity. This means that as a minimum you need to have five speakers (three in the front: left, centre, right and two in the rear: left and right) as well as one subwoofer. In many cases, audio systems are more sophisticated than that and can offer many more audio channels and multiple subwoofers. Speakers have to be powered by an AV Receiver, or, in higher-end installations, separate amplifiers and sound processor(s).

Lighting Control

Proper lighting in the room has a huge effect on the overall experience when watching movies. If the budget allows, intelligent lighting control systems are the best option as they will allow you to change the mood of

the room with one button press. Importantly, however, it is not just about turning off or dimming the lights – it is also about the ability to control natural light coming through doors, windows or skylights. There are plenty of motorised window treatment solutions that you can integrate with the lighting control system, eg; roller and roman blinds, curtains or skylight solutions.

Acoustic Treatment

Professional acoustic design of cinema environment will always make a huge difference to the overall experience. In cases where the budget is limited there is one ground rule that you should always follow, no exceptions. The rule is to ensure that there are as little hard, flat surfaces as possible so that there is no echo effect in the room. If you have hard-wood flooring, cover it with a nice, thick carpet. Introduce window dressing and ideally fabric sofas or chairs. Self-builders should discuss all of the above with the CEDIA member to ensure that the end result is as you expect.


WHO ARE CEDIA AND WHY USE A CEDIA MEMBER? Designing and installing this sort of integrated electronic home demands expert product, systems and applications knowledge, project management and installation skills. CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) is an international trade organisation spanning three continents with a global membership of over 4,000 companies. CEDIA members are specialists in the integration of technology into home environments. They partner directly with self-builders to maximise the lifestyle, function, aesthetic and entertainment benefits of the integrated home. All CEDIA members agree to adhere to a strict set of principles and ethics when they join the Association. Their commitment to service and professionalism in all elements of design and installation ensures that projects are completed to the highest standards. CEDIA MEMBERS OFFER: •P  rofessional assistance and guidance in the

design of a personalised system •A  certified and trained staff of technicians, designers and support personnel to deliver a product of the highest quality • T he most current technology at all levels to provide a broad selection for your requirements and wishes •C  omplete support from the on-going service perspective • Information on the latest technology, and how to use it, as it becomes available CEDIA members understand that technology in the home is a significant investment. By hiring a qualified home technology professional to properly design, install and maintain your home electronic system, you can take comfort in knowing that you’ll be in good hands now, and in the future. CEDIA offers a Finder Service on its website, which allows self-builders to locate their nearest home technology professional. Users can search CEDIA member companies by postcode, services, and certification.

Award-winning home automation At Cyberhomes we design and install SMART home automation and entertainment systems that allow you to control your house from your tablet or smartphone...even keep an eye on it when you’re not at home.

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May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Home Entertainment


Mastering home technology can be a daunting process for any self-builder. Phillip Pini from Crestron, the world leader in lifestyle technology, discusses what you should consider when planning your smart home. Early involvement

Although there are retrofit options available, it is much easier to incorporate home technology in the early stages of a project. Liaising with both a specialist technology installer and your building trades at the design stage will ensure all parties communicate with each other and are working to the same plan for your dream property. Advances in technology move fast but, if you fit cabling designed to cope with future developments you can adapt your final solution and your home won’t become dated, or worse, obsolete. As anyone who has worked on their own home will testify, running cables and fitting sockets can be an invasive process when applied retrospectively. However, addressing technology-specific cabling at the beginning of the project is much better for your home and avoids the disruption of having to chase out walls or lift floors at a later date.

Star-wired networking

Star–wiring a home network means that all cabling originates from a central hub, sending messages to all other connected 40

technology in the home. Smart homes are increasingly integrating elements such as lighting control, CCTV and more. Starwiring is a must to properly integrate each component and to make greater savings to energy consumption.

If you simply want a cinema room for now, but choose to add lighting control at a later time then this future-proof starnetwork approach will cater for that. This is also a great selling point if you come to sell your project, as the future homeowners will be able to adapt the system to their needs.

Energy efficiency

Since the introduction of the recent changes to Part L legislation, new build homes must achieve 6% improvement in carbon

emissions compared to previous revisions. One way to ensure compliancy is by using lighting control to manage the energy being used by your lights. By pre-setting lamp levels your home can be set to the level you actually need to avoid everything running at 100% all of the time. Adding occupancy sensors will ensure that lights are not left on when nobody is in the room. These are a great addition to kids’ bedrooms or playrooms and are really effective in minimising waste. With the right planning, smart homes can grow with your requirements, and when incorporated in a self-build project, will certainly help transform your house into a home. Whether you want a traditional AV system or a fully integrated home with heating, lighting, CCTV and more, the key guidelines remain the same – early consultation with integrators and futureproofing are paramount. Coming up in next month’s issue, Phillip shows you how to extend your smart home technology to the garden.


Crestron presents


Crestron offers lifestyle technology, providing greater comfort, convenience and security. Manage and control audiovisual equipment, energy, lighting, shades, security and HVAC from anywhere, any time using touchscreens, remotes and smart devices. To experience the lifestyle that Crestron technology can offer you, visit the Design Showroom at the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour.

To book your personal tour, visit: Crestron Design Showroom | South Dome, 2nd Floor | Design Centre Chelsea Harbour | London SW10 0XE | | 020 7352 0028


CEDIA Members Explain‌

HOME ENTERTAINMENT: YOUR QUERIES ANSWERED We speak to award winning home entertainment experts about advice for self-builders


Q: How much of a role does energy efficiency play with self-builders?

Ciaran Wilkins, The Big Picture Energy efficiency is becoming a high priority for many of our clientele. There is a worry that all of the technology introduced into their new dwelling will not only increase energy costs, but be harmful to the environment. We now offer energy monitoring to allow our clients to see how much energy they are using. Sophisticated lighting dimming systems offer some of the greatest savings. Gary Mills, Decorum Technology I would suggest that for the majority of selfbuilders, energy efficiency is at the front of their mind. Rob Sutherland, Inspired Dwellings Energy efficiency should be a key factor in any self-build project. Partly through the media, partly through the increasing legislation on new builds and materials, there’s no doubt energy efficiency is seeping into the general subconscious. Here in the UK, new builds are aiming to be ‘zero carbon’ by 2016. Is it as important as entertainment and comfort? It depends on the user. But whilst entertainment and comfort are driving factors, when designing a home, one of the largest priorities, at least for the majority of our clients, is convenience. A correctly wired (and designed) smart home will adapt itself to your family’s needs. Part of which includes monitoring your home’s output and using that same technology to cut down on the biggest offenders – leaving a light on all day, whole house heating, empty sockets. May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Home Entertainment System


A modern home entertainment system meets a 17th Century barn conversion


ncorporating technology into your home need not be a daunting task. Whether you are starting from the very beginning with a bespoke architectural plan, or are already living in the property and require the latest technology to be seamlessly integrated; choosing a Cedia member like Just Add Popcorn is the ideal place to start. Take one astute client in Tonbridge, Kent, who came to Just Add Popcorn with a brief for a media room that could be incorporated into their 17th century converted barn, integrating the latest advances in on-demand content, without spoiling the look and aesthetics of the property. The client previously had a 32’ TV sitting on top of a small unit in the corner of the room. This worked fine but ideally they wanted a bigger more up-to-date television without detracting from the main feature of


the room - the fireplace. By calling in the professionals, the clients where able to have an in-depth conversation with the team from Just Add Popcorn allowing the designers to get a feel for the client’s requirements. The solution was to mount a 46” TV upon the wall next to the fireplace in the ideal viewing position for the furniture. To keep the lounge looking as minimal as possible the design team decided to build a false wall around the TV giving the impression that the unit is sunk back within the structure of the home. The TV is mounted on an electronic articulating bracket allowing the client to angle the TV from their control system. With the position for the TV approved, the focus turned to the connected devices and the ease of operation. The team at Just Add Popcorn suggested installing a selection

of equipment allowing the client to: access a wide range of on-demand content over the internet; benefit from the latest subscription based programming; as well as having a system that digitally stores all the client’s movies. A 2.1 simple audio system was also installed alongside the television greatly enhancing the client’s audio experience. To keep things simple the team also installed a URC Total Control system allowing the clients to control all the equipment via one dedicated handheld controller. The installation won accolade by being named as one of the best #liveinstall’s of 2013.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: To book a free consultation please call: 01424 870763 or visit

We don’t just install technology... We understand technology... Finding the perfect solution for you and your home.

‘Seamlessly integrating technology into your home’

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Bespoke Cinema Rooms | Media Rooms | Gaming Rooms | Garage Conversions | Loft Conversions | Multi Room Audio & Video | Control Systems | Lighting & Heating Solutions


CEDIA Members Explain…

Guy Singleton, Imagine This In my experience, the very nature of self-builders tends to lead toward cost effective build methods, value engineering and sustainable long term energy efficient solutions. So, lighting and heating control tend to feature highly in their requests. As qualified electrical engineers, we are in a position to advise on lighting and HVAC solutions that often go well beyond that of a conventional AV company. Stuart Burgess, Just Add Popcorn I think self-builders are very conscious about making their homes as energy efficient as possible. However, people are constantly barraged with the necessity to incorporate building products that can help their property stay nice and warm and I don’t think people realise how incorporating technology into your home can help them monitor and save money.

Q: What misconceptions are there with self-builders around technology in the home? Ciaran Wilkins A common misconception is that home automation or a high quality home cinema is only for the mega rich. With fully integrated home automation systems starting around £15,000 and high-performing dedicated cinemas around £7,000, these ‘luxuries’ are very much within the reach of the average self-builder.

Gary Mills The main misconception is cost. The installation of technology will often suffer due the demands of a kitchen budget. What self-builders aren’t aware of is that a well thought out cable installation will allow them to add in systems and components for years to come, often when the money allows or circumstances change. Rob Sutherland Many self-builders are worried about the design issues. They think having a lot of technology in a home will ruin the lines and spaces of the property. They are concerned 46

about the sheer visibility of technology & AV and the amount of wiring needed. However, once we go through the drawings, they are often surprised (and pleased) about how far technology has moved on, and how closely our priorities match in terms of design. Speakers which can be plastered over, mirrored screens, drop down projectors - the list is endless. There is also the idea, which I think has grown from the increased visibility of ‘Smart Home Technology’ apps and one-off solutions, that your home can be completely integrated with a retrofit system. Whilst it can be done and there are a few one off solutions which we can recommend, it’s not a stable solution for whole-house automation. Infrastructure is still key and crucial for any future devices which may need networking/connectivity with the rest of the home (everything from televisions to laptops and tablets and lighting control systems). We haven’t quite advanced to the Star Trek stage yet, where we can rely on a completely Wi-Fi world! Guy Singleton The most common barrier is cost. But that isn’t just for self-builders. I think everyone wants value for money. The other comment that we have heard is that home technology is difficult to use. I reply that if it’s done right, it should be intuitive and simple. So maybe their experience hasn’t been a true reflection of a well-designed and expertly engineered solution. We reiterate that the most important part of any project is the design, and that goes for home technology. Stuart Burgess Home technology is still seen as a luxury. Generally it’s the last thing to be installed so it’s always the item that gets cut. This is not a problem as long as people understand the importance of getting the wiring in place whilst the first fix is happening. The glitz and the glamour can be added later, but only if the correct infrastructure has been installed at the beginning. Clients need to see how technology can enhance the enjoyment of their homes and not just be an added expense. Technology is not only the 65” TV

May 2014 I Self Build Homes



CEDIA Members Explain…

on the wall, but the advanced wired network which makes working from home easier or the intelligent heating and lighting system that help you run your home more efficiently.

Q: What is your most FAQ from a self-builder?

Ciaran Wilkins We often get asked about Wi-Fi coverage and how to enhance it or ensure that there will be no dead-spots. As long as an intelligent structured cabling design is implemented, one can ensure rock solid coverage throughout the home and garden. This is all part of the service that CEDIA members can offer at the design stage of any project. Gary Mills We always get asked about price. Our response is frequently the same, the cabling is inexpensive but it is incredibly vital. While the budget denies an all singing all dancing install at the build stage, it might do further down the line, and if the correct cabling is in place, the capabilities of the home technology system can expand.


Rob Sutherland Perhaps the biggest consideration is ‘where do all these wires go?’ Ensuring the home has a safe, properly ventilated place for all the cabling to go back to, should be a primary consideration. Basements are the natural and popular choice, but they must have adequate air and temperature control. In smaller builds, a discrete custom-built space allows racks to be hidden away. We recently did just this for a home cinema in Mayfair, allowing the owner to stream a film and music library across not just one, but three properties… A CEDIA member will openly show you how they can build, test and install a single control system that will manage all devices in the home. In our case, the entire system is built and tested off-site, meaning everything can be quickly installed at the end of the build. Guy Singleton We often get asked ‘If I pay you to do a design, can install the cabling myself ’. Our answer is yes. We have, on a number of occasions, been commissioned to provide a detailed system design with schematics for

others to follow. We also direct them to the CEDIA website – where they can download the ‘Recommended Wiring Guidelines’ which may prove a useful resource for their build. I know that they will prefer this more than a central vacuum system. Stuart Burgess Plan, Plan, Plan! Get a CEDIA member on board right at the beginning to work alongside you and your architect. Making sure you put some basic infrastructure in at the beginning, can go a long way down the line.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: The Big Picture Decorum Technology Inspired Dwellings Imagine This Just Add Popcorn


Doors and Windows

PLANNING PERMISSION Building Regulations

Since 1 April 2002 building regulations have applied to all replacement glazing. The regulations apply to thermal performance and other areas such as safety, air supply, means of escape and ventilation. An external window or door is a “controlled fitting” under the Building Regulations and as a result of this classification these Regulations set out certain standards to be met when such a window or door is replaced. You could use an installer registered with the relevant competent person scheme. A registered installer will be approved to carry out the work to comply with building regulations without involving local authority building control. When work is complete you will receive a certificate showing the work was done by a registered installer Alternatively, you could use an 50

unregistered installer or DIY, in which case approval can be sought from the relevant Building Control Body – either at your Local Authority or an Approved Inspector. They will check the replacement window(s) or door(s) for compliance and, if satisfied, issue a certificate of compliance.

Thermal Heat Loss

Dwellings are required to be energy efficient. A method of achieving greater energy efficiency is to take steps to reduce the amount of heat that is lost through the glazing in both windows and doors.  If you are to install windows and doors you should be aware that they need to comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations in relation to the amount of heat that can to pass through the glass and framework, which is measured as a U-Value.  This U-value should not be exceeded. 

Safety glazing

Safety glazing should be provided to any glass in a critical area. Below is a list giving general view as to when safety glazing is required: • Any glazed area within a window below 800mm from floor level • Any glazed area within a window that is 300mm or less from a door and up to 1500mm from floor level • Within any glazed door up to 1500mm from floor level


Windows and doors provide ventilation to rooms within a dwelling and rules apply to how much ventilation. The type and extent of ventilation will be dependent on the use and size of the room. For example, rooms where steam will be produced (kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms etc) should be provided with higher levels of ventilation (normally

Courtesy of VuFold

Courtesy of VuFold

Courtesy of EuroCell mechanical fans and windows) than other rooms where suitably sized window openings and background (“trickle”) ventilators may suffice.

Fire Safety

There are two aspects to be considered: • Fire spread between properties through “unprotected areas” • Means of escape in case of fire

Unprotected areas

External doors and windows may need to have fire resistance and (in the case of doors) be self-closing or (in the case of windows) be fixed shut to limit the risk of fire spread between adjacent properties. The area of walls, doors and windows permitted to have reduced or undetermined fire resistance (known as “unprotected areas”) will be dependent on how close these elements are to the boundary.

Means of escape

When replacing any window, the opening should be sized to provide at least the same potential for escape as the window it replaces. If the original window that is being replaced was larger than necessary for the purpose of escape, then the new window opening could be reduced down to the minimum as specified in the criteria below. The means of escape should be considered for any new window installed to an extension or existing dwelling. If an escape window is required then criteria set out below should be followed.  It is also generally good practice to replace any window on the first floor that is not used as an escape window with an escape window. See below for the general criteria for egress windows: • Width and Height - Either of these are not to be any less than 450mm

• Clear Openable Area - No less than 0.33m² • Cill height - No less than 800mm and no more than 1100mm from floor level. • Only one window per room is generally required.

Access to buildings

When replacing main entrance doors in a dwelling unit that has been constructed since 1999, it is important to ensure that the threshold remains level otherwise the works will not comply with the Building Regulations as it would be making the threshold worse than it was when constructed. This is to enable people, including those with disabilities, to have continued access to the dwelling. This is an introductory guide and is not a definitive source of legal information This guidance relates to the planning regime for England. Policy in Wales may differ. If in doubt contact your Local Planning Authority. May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Eco Glazing

Advanced Glass

IQ Glass explain the advances in their new ecological glazing technology


he technological properties of windows nowadays are incredibly advanced. Long gone are the days when windows were simply used as a way to let in light. Technology is now so advanced that it is possible to install glass that has the ability to independently produce heat, acting like a radiator. But, there are a huge amount of alternatives to becoming more eco-friendly, and when it comes to being green, energy conservation is a very effective place to start. IQ Glass are known for their contemporary designs that encourage ecological activity, so when great design is backed-up by energy efficiency, it makes the expense all the more worthwhile. IQ Glass explain to us their new range of eco windows.

Innovare Collection:

The Innovare range is a flush glazed window and door solution suitable for all types of builds and designs. Using a triple glazed unit, the external panel of this is stepped over the slow grown pine framework creating an externally frameless appearance whilst achieving high thermal efficiency with Uw values of 0.8 W/m2K. The triple glazed unit, the double seal and stepped edge over the 52

framing create a highly weather resistant and easy to maintain glass surface that is perfect for harsher environments and coastal properties. This collection of windows and doors can be specified in a number of configurations such as side hung, top venting, lift and slide and bi folding doors.

Minimal Windows 4+ Collection:

Minimal windows 4+ is an upgraded version of IQ’s most popular sliding door, minimal windows. The high performing sliding doors can hold up to a 12m2 panel of sliding glass or an 18m2 fixed panel. These sliding doors have a 26mm vertical sightline with all surrounding framework finished framelessly. The triple glazed units used within the thin framing allow the system to boast a thermal performance of 0.8 W/m2K Uw, air permeability tests of class 4, water tightness of class 8A and resistance to wind of C5. In short it is now possible to achieve the high expectations of thermal efficiency and weather resistance whilst maintaining minimal contemporary framing and sightlines.


a total solution for architectural glazing

• atriums • facades • canopies • partitions

• rooflights • balustrade • conservatories • walk on floors

• shuffle glazing • framed glazing • structural glazing • frameless glazing

Tel: 01842 816080

SBH_90x130_2014-02-13.indd 1

14/02/2014 14:45:36


Vibrant Doors

ClimadoorSolid Oak Bi-folding doors


ibrant Doors Ltd has huge experience in both the design and manufacture of doors. Not only do they understand their products inside out, they can assist designers/ architects and fitting teams during the design or installation process, in choosing the right product at the right price. Vibrant Doors has grown rapidly, selling folding sliding and French door ranges including the NUVU range of folding and French doors which represent great quality, and value for money. As a major supplier to builders, joiners and Consumers their drive to achieve best value for money for customers is ensuring their continued expansion – supported by innovation and great quality. To target those customers looking for that real chic, with high quality solid oak folding doors, Vibrant Doors developed a new high specification prefinished SOLID oak bi-folding door system “THE CLIMADOOR SUPREME RANGE” which is having a major impact on the home improvement


and Self Build market. Essentially there are only 2 major manufacturers of solid oak folding doors – selling through various major retailers, merchants and internet based Companies, but Vibrant has proven that the CLIMADOOR brand will provide that extra quality at a more realistic price for Self Builders and Property Renovators. Especially those looking for solid oak, low U values and great quality stainless steel hardware. This range of 54mm solid oak folding doors is manufactured from solid laminated oak for stability, with a glass unit specification giving a stunning centre pane U-value of 1.1W/m2K. They come fully prefinished with a high performance durable coating system. The “Supreme” range is in addition to other Climadoor ranges, the Climadoor Classic 54mm white folding door range, and the Climadoor elite oak veneered folding door ranges which gives customers a wide range to choose from – all with great thermal and weather performance characteristics.

So look for an option that suits your needs at Delivery is available on a 5 working day delivery plan, achieving Vibrants continued drive to ensure excellent customer service.

Why Climadoor Exterior BiFolding Doors

• Superb solid laminated oak for durability, and stability. 3 part as standard. • High Performance double glazed units, giving a centre pane u value of 1.1W/m2K. • High Performance durable 3 coat application factory applied finishing system. • Best in category prices. • Best in category Service – delivery in 3 - 5 working days. • High Grade stainless steel secured by Design running gear from Brio UK. Only the best!!


Specialists in Folding Sliding Doors and French doors. Built with precision engineering, long lasting durability and performance in mind.




O 9





72 HOURS For orders over £750

Climadoor solid oak folding doors give you a high performance solution to opening your home up to the garden. These solid oak folding doors are supplied pre finished in a lightly tinted lacquer so you have no finishing to do on site. Available in 8 modular sizes ranging from a 3 door 1800mm wide set, right up to a 6 door 4800mm set and Part L and Part F compliant with UK Building Regulations with a U Value of 1.5W/m2K, these fantastic quality, low priced solid oak doors are now available to you at market beating prices.

PREMIUM TIMBER Products manufactured using the finest sourced, FSC timber


Product Size (WxH)

1800mm (6ft) 3 door

1795 x 2095

2100mm (7ft) 3 door

2095 x 2095

2400mm (8ft) 3 door

2395 x 2095

2700mm (9ft) 3 door (3+0 pattern)

2695 x 2095

3000mm (10ft) 4 door (3+1 pattern)

2995 x 2095

3600mm (12ft) 5 door (5+0 pattern)

3595 x 2095

4200mm (14ft) 6 door (3+3 pattern)

4195 x 2095

4200mm (14ft) 6 door (5+1 pattern)

4195 x 2095

4800mm (16ft) 6 door (3+3 pattern)

4795 x 2095

4800mm (16ft) 6 door (5+1 pattern)

4795 x 2095


£1,699.00 £1,799.00 £1,899.00 £2,099.00 £2,699.00 £2,999.00 £3,599.00 £3,599.00 £3,799.00 £3,799.00






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04/02/2014 21:43


Internal Door Fittings


A DIY GUIDE FOR EQUIPMENT To complete the following guide, you will need the following equipment:

• Door • Hinges & screws • Drill • Screwdriver • Chisel • Mallet • Pencil


• Tape measure • Steel screw • Wedges • Abrasive paper • Plane • Wooden dowels

Thinking of replacing tired internal doors yourself to save a little on labour costs? We have some helpful hints for getting it right



nstalling a new door can have a dramatic effect over the look of your interior, they can create just as much of an impression as a focal item as furniture. Because of how much they are used, most of the time subconsciously, you don’t want to necessarily just go for the cheapest option. Try to sync the style to the rest of your home’s features as much as possible as this will really help to reinforce the theme of your room and even bring out the features of other items. A new door has the potential to revive a room in need of renovation, so if you are thinking of buying some new internal doors this weekend and installing them yourself, we have some advice for you. We would recommend leaving heavier doors such as oak to a professional, particularly if there is only one of you available to hand. Below is our guide to how to get door hanging right. But first we have a few tips for you that may help to prepare you a little more before you get started.

wood when removing the screws, place a wedge underneath the door to support it so that it remains in the same position through-out. Remove the screws from the top hinge first, then the bottom. If you wish to renovate the frame, now is the time to do it. Note: Old, over-sized screw holes in the frame can be filled with pieces of timber dowel, coated with PVA glue and hammered home. Cut the end flush with the surface.

a 2mm gap around all edges of the door. If you have a thick carpet, you will need to make an allowance of roughly 5-10mm at the bottom. Plane or saw off some of the door if it’s too large or the frame isn’t exactly square. Note: If the door strains the hinges and doesn’t close fully, the hinge recesses are probably too deep. Cut out some pieces of card and put them behind the hinge flaps to solve the problem.

Make the Necessary Adjustments to the New Door

Ensure Hinges Will Fit

Remove Your Existing Door

Temporarily slot the new door in the frame and check the fit. Ideally, there should be

To prevent the door from damaging the

If you only need to remove a small amount of the height of the door, it’s easier to use a hand or power plane. But, if the height or width of the new door needs to be reduced by more than 6mm, we recommend using a panel saw and sand or plane the edges smooth. Note: When planing the top and bottom of the door with a hand plane, work from the sides towards the centre to avoid splitting the wood at the corners.

Check the Fit

Now fit the hinges to the frame. If the new hinges don’t fit the old frame recesses exactly, rest them on the bottom of each recess and mark around the top edges. Cut out the waste wood inside the line with a chisel and mallet.

Attach the Hinges to the Frame

Place a hinge into position and screw in just screw one screw in each hinge. Try to avoid using brass screws as they tend to break easily. You will know if the hinges are in the correct position if the pivots/ spine of the hinge just overlap the frame May 2014 I Self Build Homes


last st hanks ely now o stay

king or the


Internal Door Fittings

of the door. Now line up the door with the frame and most importantly at the correct height, 2mm above the ground using a 2mm wedge underneath to ensure it remains at the correct height. With a pencil, mark out where the hinge meets the door.

Attach the hinges to the Door

To ensure it all lines up, unscrew the hinges from the frame and place the hinges on the markings you have made and double check the markings around the outside edge. Measure the depth of the hinge and chisel out the markings you have made making sure the chisel is facing towards the waste wood and that it is the same depth as the hinge. Now, fix one screw per hinge again so there is room for movement. Use a drill bit slightly smaller in diameter than the screw to make a starter hole.

Attach the Door

Hold the door, using the wedges from earlier, at right angles to the frame, and screw in the hinge flaps to the door frame, allowing for movement with only one screw. Check the door opens and closes easily, then fit the rest of the screws.

t or ight

Shop 4 Handles Shop 4 Handles are true architectural ironmongers, specialising in a wide variety of door furniture like door handles, hinges, locks and latches. We can assist people through building regulations queries relating ironmongery to fire or access regulations and are able to supply the specialist products which that may entail. We also have a website to help people contact us from across the country and supply some of our more everyday products. Our range of decorative fittings is second to none, available in a huge range of finishes we also have some more exclusive products which we do not advertise on our website, including the Italianmade fittings see below.


FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: Shop 4 Handles. Email: Tel: 01344 876955 Web:

Darwins Darwins are a small independent door supplier. We specialise in smart contemporary residential wooden doors but also offer most classic styles of internal and external wooden door. We also have a range of luxury ironmongery fittings to suit our doors. We can supply doors in most sizes and can satisfy bespoke requests. We are partnered with shop4handles so can always ensure compatibility of doors and ironmongery.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: Darwins. Email: Tel: 01344 204902 Web:



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Sustainable Living


iven the opportunity, we would all prefer to be more ecologically efficient and become more independent with renewable energy tecnologies. But what are the real benefits of this? Are they worth the cost? If what you desire is an Eco-Home, first and foremost, it should be designed to use as little energy as possible and keep your fuel bills down. There are lots of green products and building materials that can help to make your home more sustainable and efficient in its use of energy, water and other natural resources. The benefits to an Eco-Home are very apparent, but when your self-build project has the potential to embrace the surrounding environment, working together with nature to build a sustainable relationship, the advantages are s eriously increased.

Limpley Stoke, near Bath, is home to a new and exciting addition to the EcoHome directory. With a very specific ‘Zero-Carbon’ output, the sustainable dwelling was designed to meet Code Level 5 criteria to enhance the natural beauty in the surrounding woodland. Code level 5 is notoriously difficult to achieve, particularly when on a budget, as there are a great deal of complex technologies needed to comply with its specific criteria. So what is Code level 5?

What is Code for Sustainable Homes?

The code for sustainable homes is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. It aims to reduce carbon emissions and promote higher standards of sustainable design above the current minimum standards set out by the building regulations.

The House That Nature Built

We delve into the benefits of eco-living with a property that has been to designed to thrive off and benefit the surrounding environment 60

The code provides nine measures of sustainable design:

The only circumstances where the code can be enforced are where:

• energy/CO2 • water • materials • surface water runoff ( flooding and flood prevention) • waste • pollution • health and well-being • management • ecology

• local councils require developers to comply with the code by including a requirement in their planning policy • a ffordable housing is funded by the Homes and Community Agency that requires homes to be built to code level 3 • t he level 3 energy standard is now incorporated in the building regulations

It uses a 1 to 6 star system to rate the overall sustainability performance of a new home against these 9 categories. The code is voluntary. It is not a set of regulations and should not be confused with zero carbon policy or the 2016 zero carbon target.

The property was designed to embrace the outdoors and demonstrate with best sustainable practice in mind. To achieve a ‘Zero-Carbon’ output, it was paramount that Code level 5 criteria was adopted and well executed. The dwelling had to accommodate a number of new sustainable developments,

Controlling Sustainable Living

• Certified timber from sustainably managed forests was used for its reusable and recyclable properties and is also easily used as a biomass fuel. Carbon sequestering construction materials and chiefly timber were chosen as the focal structural and cladding material. All the concrete used contains PFA, a pulverised fuel ash which is a waste product of coalfired power stations. • To utilise waste products, straw was used as insulation which is provided by local agricultural businesses. Straw is an abundant renewable material, giving excellent thermal insulation and thermal inertia, combined with negative embodied carbon. The panels are also breathable, encouraging moisture to escape from the fabric but maintaining air quality and avoiding condensation. •A  s the building fabric features a Mechanical

May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Sustainable Living

Ventilation and Heat Recovery system (MVHR), fresh air is on constant rotation and the climate is controlled at optimum temperature. This also allows for energy saving by reducing heating/cooling requirements. • At certain times of the year it is more thermally efficient to bypass the MVHR. The prevailing SW wind direction flowing over the rear of the roof can draw stale air out of the open clerestory windows through Natural purge ventilation and encourages fresh air along the front of the building if so desired.

Renewable Energy

To contribute the buildings ‘Zero-Carbon’ status, a number of renewable energy technologies are adopted. 2KW Solar photovoltaic panels are installed to the leading edge of the building which generate energy for consumption. The integrated solar pv panels also help to shade the living areas from highlevel summer sun. A roof mounted solar water system uses free heat from the sun to warm the domestic hot water. Acting a as back-up, an electric immersion heater is used to top-up when required.


Heating can be a costly utility. But there are an abundance of products that can help to reduce your usage with ways of conserving the energy produced. The following have implemented with successful results; 62

GUARDIAN HOMES Manufactures of Premium Timber Frame

Pre-insulated Wall Panels U-value 0.20 to 0.11 W/m2K As energy costs escalate, many of our customers demand the highest insulation levels provided by our pre-insulated panels (including service void). With hundreds of satisfied customers and 25 years experience in the design, manufacture and construction of timber frame homes, we know how to deliver a quality product. We are not prepared to compromise our high standards, that’s why customers return. We know you have a choice and if you value good service, support and quality products, then why not contact Guardian Homes. Guardian Homes, Bouthwood Road, Sowerby Woods Business Park, Barrow-in-Furness, LA14 4QR

Tel: 01229 820479



timber frames supplied in numbered pre-bored sections ready to fix – even door frames from your plan or drawing ■ Timber Frames

■ Oak Beams & Scantlings

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Riverside Sawmills, Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, YO51 9LJ. Tel: 01423 322370/320204 Fax: 01423 324334

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Suitable for homes without access to mains drainage Discreet solution to on-site sewage treatment 10 models in the range with a capacity up to 50pe CE Marked and EN 12566-3 Certified Uses the extended aeration method to treat sewage 96% efficiency allows a typical 3-5 year emptying interval Visually unobtrusive and odourless 25 year warranty on GRP & 2 year warranty on the air pump Deal Direct with the UK manufacturer

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Sustainable Living

• Log Burning stoves both in the main living area and remote studio have been installed where firewood can be sourced from the nearby woodland to heat the dwelling. The grounds of the house incorporate a woodland area which will be coppiced to provide a sustainable source of fuel. Infrastructure provision is also made for a Biomass boiler should the occupants require it in the future. • Projecting pv panels protect the glazing on the lower floor from the high summer sun as to not overheat the living areas. However, during the winter the lower sun can enter directly into the space, providing thermal gain when it is most required. • Thermal Mass technology is used in the lower ground floor concrete slab that acts as a heat sink to regulate temperature within the space. During the summer it absorbs heat, preventing the internal temperature from rising too quickly. In the winter it stores heat from the direct sun that shines upon it, slowly releasing it overnight.

Innovative Products

Rainwater is harvested from the roof of the dwelling, filtered and stored for use on the owner’s vegetable/herb garden and for washing their car. Also, a Finnish Ekolet composting toilet is being trialled in the remote studio which requires no chemicals or additives, is odourless and does not need sewerage or electricity. Protecting and improving the surrounding wildlife habitat and the site biodiversity was incredibly important to the owners. A biodiverse sedum roof has been installed which has been proven to significantly benefit native wildlife. Also, the planting of rich new grasses and plants, a native woodland habitat, aptly named the “Beauty of Bath” filled with orchard trees, an edible herb and vegetable garden and bat and dormouse boxes have all been carefully thought out to help encourage natural habitats.

Materials and Construction

The choice of materials has been heavily influenced by the building’s sustainable agenda and its locality. As a result, the project utilises many innovative construction techniques,

such as the straw-bale wall panels, a green sedum roof and a ‘triangular’ cross-laminated timber roof structure. Insitu Concrete Insitu concrete is used extensively on the lower floor in order to retain the hillside and to create thermal mass. The concrete used contains PFA (pulverised fuel ash - a waste product of coal-fired power stations) in order to reduce its embodied energy. Rough-sawn timber board shuttering was used in order to soften the appearance of the concrete and to relate it to the timber cladding used elsewhere. Timber Structure The building is planned on a unique triangular grid which evolved as an elegant means by which to ‘crank’ the floor plan (in order to better address the site entrance) without requiring any intermediate beams or columns. The roof structure is formed from a series of isosceles triangles made from sustainably-sourced ‘mass’ timber panels these are effectively multiple strips of timber glued together to form large sheets. This is an attractive self-finished material which is May 2014 I Self Build Homes


T 01225 461919 E W

Sustainable Living


Hewitt Studios LLP 28 Morford Street Bath BA1 2RT


Hewitt Studios LLP 28 Morford Street Bath BA1 2RT

T 01225 461919 E W



Fireplace re-ammended NL PY 24/04/13 Fireplace updated Concrete stub wall adjacent

S to entrance door changed to timber stud, Terrace Extension indicated


Fireplace and sliding doors updated Grid Updated


Steel columns updated, existing building outline added Grid and dims added


Tender Issue



Building Envelope upgraded for improved thermal performance Coordinated with consultant information

NL PY 20/05/13

Grid Updated Steel columns updated, existing building outline added Grid and dims added

NL PY 09/07/12


Tender Issue

NL PY 06/02/12

NL PY 10/06/12


NL PY 28/02/12



NL PY 19/02/13


NL PY 06/02/12 NL PY 16/01/12 NL PY 08/11/11

Updated in line with design team comments


Updated for stage E

NL PY 05/10/11


Lineweights altered. Lift indicated Glazing Module Ammended - sliding doors indicated Ammended in line with client comments



Door to master bedroom blocked in with studwork


NL PY 09/07/12




NL PY 15/03/13

NL PY 09/01/13

NL PY 24/10/11

NL PY 28/02/12

NL PY 16/01/12

Updated in line with design team comments


Updated for stage E

NL PY 05/10/11


Lineweights altered. Lift indicated

TS PY 21/04/11


- 07/03/11

NL PY 10/06/12

NL PY 08/11/11



TS PY 21/04/11

Building Envelope upgraded for improved thermal performance Coordinated with consultant information

Glazing Module Ammended - sliding doors indicated Ammended in line with client comments

NL PY 24/10/11


- 07/03/11 - 03/02/11


- 18/01/11

New Structural Grid. House Replanned


- 10/01/11

Stair Ammended. Detail Changes




Ammended in line with client comments



- 03/02/11


- 18/01/11


- 10/01/11


Building Area Reduced


- 04/01/11


Ammended in line with client comments New Structural Grid. House Replanned Stair Ammended. Detail Changes





Ramps Indicated


- 13/12/10


Building Area Reduced Ramps Indicated


Annotation Added


- 06/12/10


First Issue

Annotation Added First Issue

- 04/01/11 - 13/12/10 PY - 06/12/10 PY JH 03/12/10


A -

PY JH 03/12/10


MK Revisions

MK Revisions

DR CH Date


DR CH Date

Project title

54a Murhill Limpley Stoke Eco House

Project title

54a Murhill Limpley Stoke Eco House

Drawing title

Proposed Lower Ground Floor Plan

Drawing title

Proposed Upper Ground Floor Plan

Notes © Hewitt Studios LLP (UK) 2012


This drawing has been produced for Andy Barrs for the proposed development at 54A Murhill, Limpley Stoke submitted as part of the Construction Information and is not intended for use by any other person or for any other purpose.

© Hewitt Studios LLP (UK) 2012 This drawing has been produced for Andy Barrs for the proposed development at 54A Murhill, Limpley Stoke submitted as part of the Construction Information and is not intended for use by any other person or for any other purpose.

Responsibility is not accepted for errors made by others in scaling from this drawing.

Responsibility is not accepted for errors made by others in scaling from this drawing.

All construction information should be taken from figured dimensions only.

All construction information should be taken from figured dimensions only.


1:100 @ A3 1:50 @ A1


1:100 @ A3 1:50 @ A1

Drawing number

HS121 / 012

Drawing number

HS121 / 011

Revision number

Revision number

expressed both internally and externally (over the covered terrace). The joints between the panels are rebated in order to accommodate a recessed lighting track which serves to highlight the triangular geometry. Prefabricated Wall Panels The walls of the upper floor consist of prefabricated timber panels. These use the excellent thermal insulation qualities of straw bale to form panels with timber frames and plywood faces, made in a local ‘flying factory’. They allow super-insulated, highperformance, low-energy ‘passive’ buildings to be built using renewable, carbon- sequestering materials (the straw bales were provided from local farms where possible). Planted Green Roof The roof of the dwelling is covered with a living ‘green’ sedum made up of 16 varieties - it was grown in Yorkshire and is very hardy, low growing and low maintenance. The ‘green’ roof minimises the visual impact of the building, as well as reducing CO2 emissions through better temperature regulation and increased building insulation. It also reduces the amount of storm water run-off from the building.



Timber Cladding The upper floor of the building is clad with vertical slatted timber. It is also used as solar shading to the staircase, as well as for external gates / fences. All timber is locally-sourced where possible and is left untreated. It will fade to a silver/grey colour with time, thereby reducing the visual impact of the building in its surroundings. English-grown Western Red Cedar is the primary variety. Stone Walls and Floor There are cotswold rubble stone walls to the lowest level of the building. The stone is locally sourced and matches the colour of stone within the site, the intention being that the lower level of the building should appear as if it is growing out of the site. The internal floors are covered with Purbeck Limestone, sustainably sourced from nearby Dorset quarries. The stone tiles are laid in a triangular pattern which aligns with the unique structural grid of the building. Glazing / Structural Glass Glazing to the south-facing upper level consists of large format sliding panels, designed to reduce visual interruption of

the views. These panels (from Fineline Aluminium) are double glazed, with concealed frames and tracks. Elsewhere windows are triple-glazed, in order to maximise thermal performance. Throughout the project, balconies and balustrades are constructed from cantilevered structural glass. They are designed to appear almost ‘invisible’ and to reduce visual clutter.

SUPPLIERS & CONTRACTORS Architect: Hewitt Studios - 01225 461919 Structural Engineer: Integral Engineering Design - 01225 859657 M&E Engineer: Hicks Titley - 01656 663003 Lighting Designer: The Lighthouse Design Partnership - 01793 784254 Landscape Architect: B:D Landscape - 01684298582 Main Contractor: ER Hemmings - 01454 334938 Planning Consultant: Jan Molyneux - 01225 834499 Energy Consultant: Aaben - 01934 862810 Ridge and Partners LLP: - 01275 813509


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Ecological Living

The New Renewable Heat Incentive With the launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive this spring, we discuss how the scheme could benefit you and help save you money



eat Pumps have long been considered a viable alternative to fossil fuel heating systems thanks to their efficient, reliable and cost-effective nature. This spring the launch of a new government scheme is set to make adopting heat pumps an even more attractive proposition and if you’re building your own home, you could be one of the people lucky enough to benefit.

What are heat pumps?

There are two main types of heat pump; ground source heat pumps and air source heat pumps. Ground source heat pumps access stored solar energy from beneath the ground via a series of pipes known as a ground loop. The ground loop is buried within horizontal trenches approximately 1 metre deep and 50 metres in length where the ground temperature remains at a constant 10C to 12C throughout the year. Heat is passed through the heat pump where it is essentially compressed to a high enough temperature for distribution via radiators or an underfloor heating system. Air source heat pumps use very similar technology but unlike ground source heat pumps which are housed indoors, the units are placed outside of a property where they extract heat from the air rather than the ground.

The benefit of heat pumps

Firstly, let’s consider the installation. While heat pumps can be easily retrofitted into existing properties, installing them at the build stage where they can be seamlessly combined with an underfloor heating system to make the most use of available space is clearly a benefit. Additionally, if you have equipment on site which can be used to dig the ground loop trenches, you could save yourself several thousand pounds and avoid digging again at a later date. Now, let’s look at the cost savings. Heat pumps can have a significant effect on running costs thanks to their use of renewable energy rather than fossil fuels. If you’ve been heating your home with an oil boiler for example, you could reasonably expect to save yourself in the region of £1,500 a year by installing a heat pump. Because your home will be built to a much higher specification and will therefore be better insulated than the vast majority of existing properties, it will retain the heat more effectively which will only increase the efficiency of your heat pump and mean you can heat your home for less. Another benefit which is particularly pertinent at the moment is the removal of supply issues. Large areas of the UK May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Ecological Living

have experienced severe flooding in recent months which has seen some people in rural locations effectively cut off from the outside world. As a result, deliveries of heating oil have been unable to get through to these villages leaving residents with no option but to have their heating on only at specific times and for very brief periods in order to conserve their supply. Installing a heat pump effectively eradicates issues of reliance on fuel deliveries whether as a result of flooding, snow or even holiday periods. Then there are the environmental benefits. Heat pumps emit no noxious gasses and contain no dangerous or explosive substances making them a safer and more environmentally-friendly option for your home. With fossil fuels diminishing and their price therefore increasing, by installing a heat pump you are future-proofing your supply, shielding yourself from continued energy price increases and protecting the environment for future generations.

cost of installation. The rate and therefore cumulative value of payments will vary depending on the amount of renewable heat generated and the type of heat pump installed. Air source heat pumps will benefit from a rate of 7.3p per unit of renewable heat generated while owners of ground source heat pumps will benefit from rates of 18.8p per unit to reflect

The Renewable Heat Incentive

the larger installation costs. What this means in real terms is that a property producing approximately 23,000 hours of renewable heat from a ground source heat pump could receive almost £20,000 over the 7 year lifetime of the scheme. This means you have the opportunity to invest in a sustainable heating system which has the potential to be more cost-effective to

The RHI is a similar scheme to the Feedin-Tariff for Solar PV and is a government initiative designed to drive the adoption of renewable energy systems in the UK. Due for launch this Spring, the RHI will provide owners of heat pumps with quarterly, tax free, index linked payments made over 7 years which are designed to help recoup the

run, can protect you from future energy price rises, requires less maintenance and will last longer than a traditional boiler system and which could effectively be paid for by the RHI payments, all of which makes heat pumps an extremely interesting proposition. Of course when you are considering heat pumps for your project, you need to be careful. While the RHI is a fantastic opportunity for more people to access and benefit from heat pumps, there is likely to be a raft of new players in the market, all of whom claim to be experts in the field. The likelihood is though that most will be small plumbers and heating companies who are expanding their product range with little knowledge of designing or installing heat pumps correctly. To get the most from your heat pump your system must be sized and designed correctly or you run the risk of installing a system which simply won’t meet your requirements. It’s therefore important to ensure that the company you choose to design, supply, install and commission your system has the requisite knowledge and experience, not to mention certification, to meet your requirements. Ice Energy have been specifying, supplying and installing heat pumps for over a decade with over 10,000 installs to their name in that time.


THINGS TO CONSIDER If the information above has convinced you to look at the feasibility of heat pumps for your project, there are a few things you ought to bear in mind; Qualification – To claim RHI payments you must be planning to live in the property you are building. If you’re building a property for someone else then you won’t qualify. Product – To qualify for RHI payments, the heat pump equipment installed and the company commissioning it must be registered under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). No MCS no RHI. Application – Full details of the application process are yet to be released but what has been confirmed is the requirement to submit a Green Deal Assessment as part of your application.



Home Energy Conservation

Home Insulation: W The Most Effective Way Save Money Insulate now to save money and cut carbon


ith many energy saving insulation solutions readily available for homes and businesses large and small, there really is no excuse not to insulate. Although winter is coming to an end, the National Insulation Association (NIA) is advising that now is the perfect time for householders to invest in insulation and combat rising energy costs and climate change sooner rather than later. Neil Marshall Chief Executive of the NIA commented; “There are fast-rising costs in many other areas too, Householders should not wait a moment longer to put these money-saving measures into place.�

The way a building is constructed, insulated, ventilated and the type of fuel used, all contribute to its carbon emissions. A worrying fact is that a significant proportion of the money spent on energy is literally being thrown out of the window as a result of inadequate levels of insulation, with around 58% of the heat being lost through the roof and walls alone. By simply installing Cavity Wall Insulation savings of up to £250* per year can be made and £250* per year from Loft Insulation. Draught-proofing windows and doors can save between £35 and £50* per year and when installed with other measures will greatly increase the comfort in a home. The savings

are even greater for insulating solid walls up to £460* per year. The NIA represents the UK’s manufacturers and installers of cavity wall, solid wall and loft insulation as well as draught proofing. As a membership organisation, it actively supports Government policies for insulation to reduce energy bills, tackle fuel poverty and climate change and aims to raise awareness of the benefits of insulation. The NIA is working with the Department of Energy and Climate Change, highlighting that more needs to be done to encourage consumers to install insulation measures. Of course, insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing energy

consumption, with Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) providing the perfect solution for local businesses. Around 33% of a building’s heat is lost through uninsulated cavity walls and around 25% through the roof, collectively amounting to considerable heat loss and the need for further energy consumption. CWI usually takes less than a day to install and, with all the work done from outside the building, the disruption to business is minimal. For those buildings that do not have cavity walls - solid stone, pre-1944 timber frame and non-traditional, i.e. concrete construction which lose more heat and energy than any other type of construction, other solutions are readily available. Solid walls can be

May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Home Energy Conservation

insulated with either Internal Wall Insulation (IWI), External Wall Insulation (EWI), or a combination of the two known as Hybrid Wall Insulation (HWI) and any option will greatly increase comfort, while also reducing energy bills and the associated environmental impact.

The Solutions

Solid walls can be insulated with either External Wall Insulation (EWI) or Internal Wall Insulation (IWI) either option will greatly increase comfort, while also reducing energy bills and the associated environmental impact. IWI typically consists of either dry lining in the form of flexible thermal linings (commonly known as thermal wallpaper), laminated insulating plasterboard (known as thermal board) or a built-up system using fibrous insulation such as mineral wool held in place using a studwork frame. Flexible thermal linings come on a roll and are applied like wallpaper and, with some at only 10mm thick, will not cause significant disruption during installation. These products can be applied to ceilings and walls providing a solution for properties without a loft space as well as those with solid walls. It can also be applied to the underside of floorboards in a cellar/basement. It is applied using a special adhesive using a roller or a brush and can be easily cut to size using wallpaper shears or scissors. Once it has been


applied it can be painted, papered or even tiled. These products are only applied to the exterior facing interior walls of the property. Another solution is laminated insulated plasterboard which normally replaces existing lath and plaster and is fixed directly to the existing brick. Depending on the system, thermal boards can either be screwed or glued using a dry wall adhesive directly onto the brick work just like standard plaster board. It has the advantage that it can be installed room by room with the tenants in situ. It increases internal surface temperature within a room and also improves response to heating input when heated intermittently. It has the lowest thermal conductivity available and allows installation on damp surfaces without drying periods because it’s hydrophobic. EWI comprises of an insulation layer fixed to the existing wall, with a protective render or decorative finish. Dry cladding offers a wide range of finishes such as timber panels, stone or clay tiles, brick slips (brick effect finish) or aluminium panels. EWI increases the thermal quality of the building – particularly relevant when refurbishing non-traditional housing. It also overcomes moisture and condensation issues, protects the existing building envelope can reduce heating bills by up to 25% as well as greatly improve the appearance of the building. EWI is a tried and tested method of upgrading the thermal performance and

external appearance of existing properties which are literally transformed into warm, energy efficient and attractive homes and buildings. Improving appearance is of particular significance to many local authorities targeting housing projects in poorer areas. Adding EWI on a whole street basis will raise residents’ morale and give a sense a pride in their community. There are many benefits of EWI including the fact that no living space is lost. There is minimum disruption for the residents as the work can be carried out while they are in their homes and there is no risk of condensation within the property as it is moved to the outside of the system that is being put in place. Also there is minimal maintenance once installed. Marshall added: “The best way to find out if a house requires insulation is to contact an NIA installer member for a free survey and advice on any grants or schemes that can help with paying for insulation measures. Also homeowners can be safe in the knowledge that an NIA installer will have signed up to a strict Code of Professional Practice. Meaning peace of mind comes as standard with an NIA approved member.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION: To find a local NIA member, visit or call 08451 636363.


Self Build Mortgages


We talk to Aston Mortgages to explain the in’s and out’s of a Self-Build Mortgage



uilding your own home can be one life’s most exciting and rewarding challenges, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. On top of all your organising, planning, designing, re-designing, scheduling, sourcing…the list is endless, you have to ensure you have all of your finances straight first. As you might expect, self-build mortgages are very different to regular house purchase mortgages. They are very specialist, but alike most mortgages, they are completely dependent on your situation, the type of dwelling to plan to build and how easily you can return the cash you borrow. Because of their specialist nature, you will most likely not be able to meet the criteria of a High Street

bank, which is why we have enlisted help from expert specialist mortgages advisers, Ownbuild who are part of Aston Mortgage Services.

What’s the difference between a Mortgage and a Self-Build Mortgage?

A “traditional” mortgage is where the borrower would obtain funds from a lender to purchase a property where a deposit is normally paid by the borrower with the remaining funds being released upon the day of completion to complete the purchase. A normal mortgage is advanced against a property that is already habitable, whereas a self-build mortgage is designed for those people who intend to build their own house

or have a house built for them to a design of their choice. A Self Build Mortgage can also be used to assist with the purchase of a property (or land) with the agreement that further funds can be released in stages to fund the actual building of a property, you will generally find that at least 25% of the purchase price is as a deposit with a self build mortgage where as a “normal” mortgage may only need 5% deposit.

How easy is it to get a selfbuild mortgage?

Realistic cashflow forecasts and a well managed budget are key to a smooth selfbuild project, so being able to present this to a

lender will greatly help your chances of being granted a self-build mortgage. There are only a few lenders left who now provide self build mortgages so you need to make sure both the applicant(s) and the build project is an attractive proposition.

Are there different types of self-build mortgages?

There are different types of self-build mortgages. There are interest only and repayment options, along with fixed and variable rates of interest. There are not many self-build mortgages but there is a small amount of choice with most lenders allowing interest only whilst the property is being built.

May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Self Build Mortgages

Why are funds given in stages?

Funds are given in stages primarily to make sure that the budget stays on track, and therefore the build is completed successfully. This ensures the work is being carried out correctly and that they are not lending too much against the property at any one time, it also helps the self builder in budgeting as they only pay for the funds they have actually used.

Are there higher fees involved with self-build mortgages?

There can be more fees with a self build mortgage (or higher rates) mainly to compensate for the extra paperwork but they are normally well within a reasonable limit but sometimes there are no more than usual it depends on the lender. Self-builders tend to save some money by paying lower stamp duty. This isn’t because they get any special treatment, it’s just a matter of paying less stamp duty on plots because they are worth a lot less than finished houses. But, fees vary so much whether you are looking at normal mortgages or self-build mortgages, so whether they 78

end up being higher would depend on the individual borrowers circumstances.

Is it more time consuming than an ordinary mortgage?

There is quite a bit more paperwork than a normal mortgage such as schedule of works, all the plans etc which all have to be seen by the lender, but whether it will be more time consuming depends on the quality and presentation of the application.

Who is currently lending ?

It changes all the time also there are some smaller building societies who only lend in certain geographical areas. is a great source for any self-build enquiries as they have access to a panel of lenders.

What are the typical early repayment penalties?

They are generally the same as normal mortgages 4-5 % (approx) of the amount borrowed for the first few years. But, typically, there are no early repayment penalties for self-build mortgages, but there are deals which

carry no early repayment penalties at all.

What would you advise for those on a tight budget?

Those on a tight budget are walking a fine line when considering self-build as it is easy for costs and budgets to escalate. I would be wary about advising a self-build mortgage for someone on a tight budget unless they were experienced self-builders. I would tread with caution, be very careful as this type of project/ mortgage may not be for you. Also the lender is unlikely to lend if the budget is too tight.

Where’s the best place to get advice?

A ‘whole of market’ Mortgage Broker is certainly a good place to start when looking for a self-build mortgage. Through an experienced mortgage broker you can make sure they have an understanding of the selfbuild market and that they have dealt with these types of mortgages before.


Versatile Insurance

Insurance: Covering the Risks


f you have bought a plot of land and planning to build your own home, whether from scratch or from a kit, you need a “Self Build” insurance policy to cover the land and the works in progress. A good insurance policy will cover a wide range of risks that could occur such as storm, flood, fire, theft, vandalism and accidental damage. There are only a very small number of self build policies available in the insurance market and are all from specialist providers. At Versatile insurance, we compare insurers to find the best premium and cover for you. We are experts in their terms and conditions to make sure that you are not tripped up by their small print, resulting in a claim not being paid. An example of where things can go wrong is buying a policy too soon. There can be a

limit of time before works can commence – anything between 3 – 6 months depending upon the insurer’s rules. So, if you start work 9 months after commencement of cover, you may find that the policy is invalid. We ask you when the work is likely to start so that you do not buy a policy which is not suitable. The premium and cover for self build insurance varies from each insurer, but although you may be looking for the cheapest quotation, consider other things that you may wish to insure as well as your new house and the materials you are building it from. Examples are tools, plant (which you may own or hire in) and portable buildings. It is not uncommon to live in a caravan whilst you build your home and many policies can insure this as well. Another thing to

think about - are you getting any help? Any tradesmen that you use, such as the ground workers, carpenters and roofers should carry their own insurance (make sure they have a public liability insurance certificate) - but what if you have friends or family assist you? What if you use any contractors that do not carry public liability insurance? To be safe, choose a policy with public and employer’s liability insurance. Ray Colenutt DipCII, the writer of this article, has over 30 years of arranging insurance in the construction industry and is the managing director of Versatile Insurance Professionals Ltd 01837 658955

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: Versatile Insurance May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Code Level Build Regulations


The Code for Sustainable Homes

The Code for Sustainable Homes assessment method has been in operation since April 2007. It was launched by the Department for Communities and Local Government to create a national standard for use in the design and construction of new homes, with a view to encouraging continuous improvement in sustainable home building. In the context of construction it was designed reduce new buildings impacts in terms of environmental, social and economic values. ‘Code’ is now used throughout the UK and replaced the Eco-Homes scheme.

The Code Assessment

The Code is a credit based assessment which rates and certifies the performance of new build dwellings. The aim of the assessment is to future proof housing incorporating a sustainable design through nine categories; • Energy • Materials • Surface Water Run-off • Water • Health and Well-being • Management • Pollution • Waste • Ecology Each of the categories has relating sustainability issues within the assessment. For example, the Energy category consists of 9 sustainability issues that include minimising a dwellings CO2 emissions rate, improving the fabric energy efficiency, using energy display devices, including a drying space for clothing, providing energy labelled white goods, specifying energy efficient external lighting, incorporating low and zero carbon technologies such as biomass or solar panels, providing adequate cycle storage and providing space and services for a home office. Evidence is required in order to fulfil the credit criteria and once the performance objectives have been met credits can be achieved. The majority of credits can be targeted on a tradable basis, giving you choice on how to reach the dwellings Code level. However there are 5 credits that are mandatory with specific performance targets that must be met. These are dwelling emission rate, indoor water use, environmental impact of materials, management of surface water run-off from developments and storage of non-recyclable waste and recyclable household waste. Credits are weighted across all categories with the more heavily weighted issues offering greater value. For example, water is the most heavily weighted category at 1.5% per credit, therefore identifying and targeting the sustainability issues within this category

will benefit you in reaching the dwellings required Code level. This allows emphasis to be placed on specific categories, as the Code evolves and moves with an evolving construction sector, without having the change credit amount at every revision which could become misleading.

Who does Code Affect?

All new build dwellings must be assessed against the Code for Sustainable Homes. Even if no assessment is required, a nil-rated certificate must be provided. The Code levels required range from 0 to 6, and is derived from the percentage achieved from the credits targeted; • 36 Points - Level 1 • 68 Points - Level 4 • 48 Points - Level 2 • 84 Points - Level 5 • 57 Points - Level 3 • 90 Points - Level 6 In England, Code is not a national legislative requirement for every new build dwelling however the decision has been devolved to local authorities who can include it within their Local Plan or Core Strategy, effectively creating local planning policy. Therefore, if your council has asked you to comply with Code, you may not be able start building until you have interim certificate in place or get completion sign off without certificates showing compliance. This precedent is also the same in Scotland with local planning authorities asking for specific requirements for Code within planning conditions. In Wales, the Welsh Government has adopted Code as a planning policy requirement for new build dwellings to achieve a minimum Code Level 3+ rating. This has been applied to create a routine for new build housing, with a single standard precedent in place. The Code level required for a dwelling in England and Scotland is also determined by a local authority which sometimes creates an uneven approach to sustainable design between authority areas, especially as many still have no requirement at all.

Tips for a Successful Assessment

Experience shows the importance of appointing a Code Assessor at the earliest possible stage. This would either be at the initial planning stage where a Code preassessment report is required to accompany the planning application, or once the planning application has been successful and your planning conditions request a Code for Sustainable Homes Assessment for the dwelling. May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Code Level Build Regulations

At first, some of the Code requirements can seem complicated and frustrating but by appointing an Assessor at an early stage will help make sense of the Code requirements and will inevitably simplify what is required in order to achieve certification. A good Code assessor should be able to take the complex nature of the specific credit requirements and apply them in a simplistic way that the whole design team can ‘buyin’ too. A poorly managed assessment where there is little interaction between the developer and the Assessor often leads to unforeseen delays and unanticipated costs. Having an initial meeting early on can counteract this as the design team can discuss the project objectives and target credits that will enhance the development. Additionally, having a meeting early in the project will make members of the design team aware of their responsibilities for delivering relevant documentation to go towards the assessment and therefore the process will in theory run more smoothly. An additional tip to a successful Code assessment is to note that there are mandatory credits that must be targeted. More often than not, these are the credits that hold up an assessment from receiving design or post construction certification. For example, mandatory performance targets are required for the surface water run-off of a development site and the relevant calculations must be carried out by an appropriate qualified person. This is often unknown to the developer prior 82

to a Code assessment and is an unwanted additional cost. However, an assessor cannot submit for relevant certification until the mandatory criteria has been met. It would therefore be advantageous when initially contacting your assessor, to discuss any potential issues that could cause the project to stall or incur additional costs. •C  heck your local planning policy to see if Code if applied within the authority area •E  ngage with Code assessor as early as possible •A  sk your architect if they are familiar with the Code requirements. Many will provide the assessment service themselves but if not then make sure they also engage with the assessor •C  onsider the additional costs that may be incurred. It can vary between 0-5% additional cost to the build •G  et a watertight specification written and issued to all involved in the design and construction •E  nsure that and contractors and subcontractors are aware are what is required. Nothing is more frustrating in not being awarded credits because your electrician didn’t provide the minimum amount of power sockets in a bedroom which could be a home office!

What does the future hold for Code levels?

The future role of the Code for Sustainable Homes within the construction industry has become uncertain as the Government

has recently proposed that the assessment method could be discontinued over the coming years in its drive to remove ‘red-tape’ measures and encourage national house builders to increase build programmes. It is also proposed that with evolving building regulations elements of the Code assessment will either be incorporated in to them or possibly the assessment could evolve into something else. Whatever the future does holds though one thing is for sure and that is change take time! Code is here to stay until at least 2015 and no timeline has yet been set as to when Code will be changed, removed or phased out. You should therefore still expect to see Code requirements within your planning conditions on new build housing for the foreseeable future!

Find out what applies to you: For more information on Coding we recommend you contact your local authority to find out what exactly applies to you. But, for innovative design ideas and help to configure your plans Melin Consultants and the LABC are great places to start. Melin Consultants


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HEBHOMES Advice for anyone building a new home It is important that you are realistic about construction costs from the start – especially if you are building in a remote location. Plan a contingency of 10% because there are always unknowns, such as difficult site conditions or servicing that may not appear until well down the whole process. But my main advice is to keep remembering what you will have at the end – a magnificent architect designed house which you can enjoy and could generate a substantial return. Also remember, the better the views, the better your house.

04/03/2014 13:53 0141 550 7360 Beautiful architect designed SIP kit houses that integrate super-insulated construction with stunning interiors

Open-plan living, high volumes and wall glazing give the houses a remarkably bright, spacious and contemporary feel, while maintaining a perfect form for our landscapes. Or team of specialists can take you right through the whole build process – from choosing a design, erecting the kit, to handing over of the keys of your completed HebHome house.


Eco-Flooring Ideas



onserving energy around the home can either be expensive or an inconvenient task that may require extra effort. But what if there were affordable products that allowed you to just sit back and relax? Installing a


Reflecting the growing trend for high shine surfaces, Kährs new Shine Collection includes eight one-strip wood floors which each feature a dazzling, reflective lacquer sheen. Metallic infused wood grain adds further distinction to the surface, with colour options spanning from pearly white to copper toned black. All designed are crafted for sustainable European oak, beech and ash and feature Kährs eco-friendly multi-layered construction.   Based on Kährs original design, patented in 1941, the award-winning construction uses hardwood down to the joint only, with fast-growing timber below.  This design, alongside Kährs glueless Woodloc® joint, provides 75% greater stability than a solid floor, eliminates gapping and promotes fast installation. 84

new floor that’s not only sustainably sourced, but could also help to conserve heat with durable properties that ensure that you don’t have to spend a fortune on updating is a no brainer right? We investigate a series of brands that are big on being green.

Urban Living

Cork is remarkably resistant to wear, has excellent thermal insulation properties thus reducing energy wastage in the home. It is made of millions of cork cells so that no matter how much it is walked on or how long furniture stands on it, it will always retain its shape and elasticity. It has great thermal and sound insulating properties making it comfortable and quiet to walk on. It is also a natural fire retardant and does not absorb dust meaning it helps to protect against allergies. Cork flooring is manufactured from a completely natural and sustainable material and harvested without damaging the tree and can produce several hundred kilograms of cork at each harvesting.

Bamboo Flooring Company

Natural Strand Woven uniclic bamboo flooring (135mm x 1850mm x 14mm) is quickly becoming a popular choice for homeowners because of its durability, eco-friendly credentials and reasonable price. Bamboo is a re-generating grass that reaches maturity within five years, meaning that it is a sustainable and natural flooring material.  Strand woven bamboo flooring is extremely strong and hardwearing (over twice as hard as Oak flooring), making it an excellent choice for high traffic areas, rooms with underfloor heating and rooms where temperature and humidity fluctuates.  The unique click fitting system of this product allows it to be installed quickly and easily throughout any property.


Junckers pride themselves on timber that is sustainable and eco-friendly that comes from well managed forests. The smooth and crevice free surface of a Junckers floor cannot harbour mould spores, dust mites and other allergens so the environment is cleaner and healthier. In addition, as there are no gaps between boards, it means that no nasty draughts can come through. As a natural material, solid wood creates a harmonious indoor climate. The temperature will remain even due to the natural heat retention of wood. The level of humidity will be balanced and, unlike carpets and laminated floors, static electricity from IT equipment, TV screens etc. will be minimized due to the non-conducting composition of solid wood. May 2014 I Self Build Homes




ECO-HEATING SOLUTIONS We glance at a range of eco heating products that can help to reduce your energy bills Euroheat Eco Wood Burning Stoves

Opting for a woodburning stove to heat the home is an eco-friendly option. Wood is one of the few truly carbon neutral fuel sources we know about and that is readily available and with tree stocks on the increase, using wood to heat the home is a cost-effective option when compared to rising energy bills. The Scandinavian design of the Hwam 3420 from Euroheat means the embers of the fire can be seen and enjoyed from almost any angle. What’s more the stove’s innovative air wash technology ensures that the glass is effortlessly clear and soot-free. All Hwam stoves are also fitted with an auto-pilot, guaranteeing maximum efficiency which means more heat for your money. Prices for the Hwam 3420 start from £2,627.

Dimplex SmartRad Range

Fan assisted radiators operate at lower temperatures to optimise the performance of domestic heat pumps and the Dimplex SmartRad range offers stylish, compact design with a choice or white metal, white glass or black glass finishes. The lower water content compared to conventional radiators ensures they heat up and cool down quicker, and integrated thermostatic controls ensure maximum comfort by regulating the fan speed in line with room temperature. With an optimum working temperature of 35-40oC – similar to underfloor heating - these radiators do not require oversizing like their conventional counterparts. In fact, they contain around only five per cent of the water content of a traditional model and deliver three times more output per metre of length than a double panel convector, making retrofitting into a pre-existing radiator footprint much easier.

Panasonic Aquarea Range

The Aquarea super-efficient air source heat pumps are easy to install, cheap to run and offer outstanding energy performance. Offering capacities from 3 kW to 16 kW, whatever the heating and cooling needs for a contract, the Aquarea Heat Pump Range ensures a system is available. Suitable for new build and refurbishment projects, the systems are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. The range offers maximum savings, maximum efficiency, maximisation of space, whilst minimising CO2 emissions. Panasonic has now added the innovative IntesisHome smartphone control, designed by Intesis Software, to the Aquarea range. Simply connect the interface and download the app to control your home’s heating and cooling via your mobile, available in both iPhone and Android versions. 86


Home Energy Efficiency


Stephen Passmore, Technical Delivery Manager at the Energy Saving Trust, shares his insights into saving money on your energy bills


t’s funny how that only a few years ago energy was one of the UK’s top success stories. It was scarcely mentioned in UK politics and no one was worried about leaving the bedroom light on! But now, soaring domestic energy prices means that the demand to conserve and save energy has never been greater. Energy efficiency within the home seems the easiest, quickest and cheapest option for helping to solve the energy crisis to counteract extortionate utility bills. We speak to Stephen Passmore, Technical Delivery Manager at the Energy Saving Trust about how we can ensure our homes are as efficient as possible. 1. W  hen designing and building a new home, how can one prepare for the installation of energy saving technology? Our advice is making sure that the energy performance of your home is considered at the design stage rather than leaving it as a last minute add-on. It’s all about installing energy saving technology and measures that are relevant for a specific home which is why it’s so important to consider energy performance at an early stage. Also we would encourage self-builders to get expert insight in helping to decide the best technology and measures for the home. This might mean employing an energy consultant who can advise on appropriate and relevant measures and technology based on the design of your home. 2. I t states on your website: “New Homes should use almost no energy from the grid”. How do you propose that this be the case? I think this relates to our aims as a Foundation. One of the aspirations is ensuring that all new build homes use as little energy as possible through being super energy efficient and generating its own energy through renewable sources The-Foundation


3. What does it mean to reduce your carbon-footprint and what are best ways to reduce this? Best ways to reduce your own carbon footprint are to look at your lifestyle and your home. With regards to lifestyle, this might mean looking at how you use energy in the home, such as your domestic appliances. By making some simple changes to everyday behaviours to become more energy efficient, a family could save

as much as £130 on their annual energy bills, as well as avoiding 500 kg of carbon dioxide emissions a year. Lifestyle changes might also involve how you use transport. For example, if you drive then it might be worth considering if you can reach the desired destination through other means or if you have to use a car then it might be worth checking out our smarter driving tips on our website with typical annual savings for the average UK driver between £250 and £300 each year. With regards to the home, it’s important to look at the home and what energy efficiency measures it could benefit from – this could be anything from wall insulation to upgrading the boiler. An energy

efficiency retrofit – including insulating cavity walls, topping up loft insulation, installing double glazing and upgrading a boiler – could save a household up to £320 on the annual energy bills, reducing emissions by 1.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. 4. Energy saving technology can be a costly process, for those on a budget what are simple steps that can be taken to improve energy consumption? Lower cost tips as part of our ten top tips are a good start on the following page: 5. What sort of help, in terms of grants, are available for your average household for those wanting to become more energy efficient? Currently, the following grants and schemes are in place to help households wanting to make their homes more energy efficient: Green Deal – A Government-backed scheme to help households make costeffective energy saving improvements. Instead of paying for the full cost of the improvements up front, household pay over time through a charge added to the energy bill. ECO (Energy Company Obligation) – Funding from the big six energy suppliers to support energy improvements for people on certain benefits, for those in solid wall properties and for households in the poorest parts of the country. Feed-in Tariffs – On-going financial support for people generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar PV and wind. Renewable Heat Incentive (starting in Spring this year) – UK Government financial support scheme for renewable heat installations, targeted at, but not limited to, off gas grid households

For more information, please see our website: Generating-energy/Getting-money-back/ Renewable-Heat-Incentive-RHI 6. In your personal experience, what are the most effective, regardless of cost, ways of saving energy in the home? The most effective way at saving energy in the home is through energy efficiency measures, such as wall insulation, that keep the heat in the home. Nearly 60% of all heat loss in the home is lost through the walls and roof so it’s important that these parts of the home are adequately insulated to help prevent this. Topping up your loft insulation from 100mm to 270mm and installing cavity wall insulation – if your home has cavity walls – could save you up to £160 and 660kg of carbon dioxide a year. 7. How important is it to ensure that your home is properly insulated? It’s very important when you consider that nearly 60% of all heat loss in the home is through the walls and roof. This highlights the importance of having your walls and roof insulated as a way to prevent this heat loss and to ensure a warm and cosy home that is economic to run. 8. U  pgrading your boiler can be a daunting process, do you have any advice for prospective buyers? The right fuel – If you have mains gas, then a gas boiler is usually the cheapest heating system for you. If you don’t have a gas supply to your home, it might be worth looking into getting a gas connection. If there is no gas pipe near your home then this may not be an option, but if it’s available just round the corner then it might be worth paying for a new connection. The company that owns and operates the gas network in your area may be able to help with the cost of getting a new connection, and it may even be fully May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Home Energy Efficiency

funded. To discuss a new gas connection, and to find out if you can obtain help towards all or part of the cost, contact the company that owns the gas network in your area. The right boiler – Most old gas and oil boilers are regular boilers - they have a separate hot water cylinder to store hot water, rather than providing it directly from the boiler. When you replace your boiler you have a choice of buying a new regular boiler, and keeping your hot water cylinder, or buying a combi boiler that doesn’t need a cylinder. A regular boiler is more efficient than a combi at producing hot water in the first place, but then some heat is lost from the hot water cylinder, so a combi may be more efficient overall. The best option for you will depend on a number of factors: • How much hot water do you use? A large family using lots of hot water could be better off with a regular boiler – a smaller household using less may be better off with a combi. • Are you short of space? A combi boiler doesn’t need a hot water cylinder, and so needs less space. • Are you thinking of installing solar water heating? Many combis are not compatible with solar water heating or cannot use it so effectively. Finding an installer – For a list of registered installers go to the competent person website, SNIPEF, or www. For gas and LPG boilers, the installer must be Gas Safe registered. For oil boilers we would recommend that you use an OFTEC registered installer. You can find registered installers at www.gassaferegister. 90 and It’s also worth getting three quotations from installers. You may also want to check that installers: • h  ave a local office • h  ave been in business locally for several years • h  ave customer references that you can check. The Heating and Hotwater industry Council website at www.centralheating. also has advice and information, including a useful list of what should be included on a quote, and everything you should be told after your new boiler is fitted. Your registered installer will ensure that your system complies with Building Regulations and will make sure you get all the documentation to prove this. Keep these documents safe – you will need them when you sell the property. 9. Is there a cheaper alternative to solar panel technology in renewable energy? Solar panels are the cheapest form of domestic renewable energy on the market, simply because the market and the Feedin Tariff for energy generation has been well-established for several years. This has led to the price of the technology falling as more and more households install solar PV on their roofs. However, the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is starting in Spring this year with financial incentives being provided for renewable heat technologies (air source and ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal heating) for the amount of heat they produce as well as the technology providing savings on energy bills for homes off the gas network on oil and electric heating systems. This could see this form of renewable

technology start to grow within the UK. Please see link to info about the RHI: Generating-energy/Getting-money-back/ Renewable-Heat-Incentive-RHI 10. It is a well-known fact that you get paid for the energy you send back to the grid, but are you able to say how much on average a household can make annually? For solar panels, the average savings and income are the following: Till End of March 2014 = The average 4kWp system could save around £770 and 1.8tCO2 a year (£555 Fit income, £90 export payments and £125 saving on electricity bills). From April 1st 2014 = The average 4kWp system could save around £750 and 1.8tCO2 a year (£535 Fit income, £90 export payments and £125 saving on electricity bills). 11. Are there any new advances in low-carbon technologies that will be appearing on the market soon? Smart energy management systems could be the next big thing. This ensures full control of the amount of energy you use in the home by having a system that manages all heating and electricity. For many energy efficiency measures, controls are key as these measures work most effectively when the consumer is in full control and aware of their energy use in the home. To get the most out of insulation, it’s vital that households have the appropriate heating controls installed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: Energy saving trust

architectural design services certified passivhaus consultant

new bold design limited is an architectural design and project management consultancy, led by the Director, Philip Newbold, which draws on over 40 years experience. We specialise in three main areas of building design :-


Philip is a Certified Passivhaus Consultant, a member of the AECB and the Passivhaus Trust. He has recently self-built his own Band A passive house combining a low-energy home and office in County Durham


Philip has considerable experience in the design of buildings for people with disabilities, both in large scale multiple-user projects and in domestic projects for individual clients with special needs. He is an APIL Expert Witness


Philip has always been recycling old buildings, either by adapting or extending them for a new use or restoring them to extend their existing life Telephone : 01388 537878 Mobile : 07815 305454

buildings for all our futures

Unique timberfarme homes created by quality-assured craftsmen in the Scottish Borders ready to erect on your site anywhere in the U.K. Environmentally-friendly designs for the 21st century - bungalows, room-inroof, 11/2, 2 or 3-storey, detached or semidetached, individually-designed to suit each buyer’s own specific needs and the site on which they are to be built. For details of these very special, highspecification, carefully-engineered, lowenergy, state-of-the-art timberframe homes contact Ian Scott Watson by tel or fax on 01578 740218 email: or write to The Border Design Centre Harelaw Moor, Greenlaw TD10 6XT website:

Designed to be Lived Innot just to be Looked At!


JB Kind are considered specialists in their field, balancing profitability with environmentalism ensuring all of its wooden doors are procured from sustainable sources. They have provided their top tips for what to consider before you buy your new interior doors: • How many do you need? • What types do you need? Internal? Wardrobe? Sliding? External? • Are they a standard size or do you need bespoke doors? • Do you need any fire doors? • Do you want extra light? If so, go glazed. • What door styles fit with your style? You can find more than 200 door styles on their website, including stylish fire doors, innovative designs and a wide range of finishes, as well as FSC ® certified doors

A selection of the best



Hardwood floors provide a natural and practical solution for day-to-day living. At John Boddy’s there is a vast range of woods to choose from to create the look you want. Oak is the most popular wood floor, it ages well and you can select from clear grades through character to pippy and the more distinctive rustic. Character oak floors wear well and absorb day to day wear and tear into the character of the floor. Wood floors are also hygenic, easy to clean and maintain and do not harbor irritating dust and microorganisms, very useful if you suffer from allergies.



Todd Doors, the UK’s leading independent timber door and ironmongery specialist, stocks an excellent range of high quality, thermally efficient external Oak doors which meet or exceed Part L of current building regulations. These doors are constructed from an engineered core and real timber veneer for increased durability. Glazed options are fitted with triple glazed units. The Todd Doors external door range includes contemporary and classically styled options with matching sidelights. Doors are supplied untreated as standard, but Todd Doors also offers customers professional stain and spray paint finishing service on request. Todd Doors also stocks a comprehensive range of ironmongery. The Spring Sale includes 20-35% off many products and runs to the end of June 2014.


Doors of Distinction has earned a worthy reputation as a market leader in both internal and external doors with a proven and prolific record in delivering exciting, innovative, affordable products to the marketplace. Doors of Distinction regularly search the world’s manufacturers for new and unique designs and above all quality items at competitive prices. Often they have been the first in offering the latest designer ranges available in the market place and the first to supply the latest hardware innovation to improve or enhance the look and function of any door.


Urban Front embodies a passion for high quality doors, materials, design and service. They aim to continually exceed expectations, developing contemporary products that are innovative and always exceptional. All their designs are custom made for modern living from natural hardwood with a range of acoustic values up to 42dB. We highly advise you browse their current collection or a range of beautiful sustainable doors.

May 2014 I Self Build Homes



Free to enter competition


Complete Victorian Pr iz e Lamp Post Set value of £300

lack Country Metalworks Ltd offer a stunning range of Period and Victorian garden lamp posts. All fashioned in high grade, heavy duty cast iron and strong galvanized steel. These Victorian Lamp Posts are robustly made with unrivalled attention to detail. For peace of mind, the lanterns feature clear Perspex panes as opposed to glass. Perspex has exactly the same reflective, visual qualities of glass, but with the added bonus of increased durability and a greater strength. A traditional Victorian lamp post, striking in its appearance, is built to a superior specification complete with Victorian lantern in satin black. A classically elegant lamp post that would look no less than perfect when adorning your drive way or home. This superb period lamp post is ready for installation by a professional and is supplied with a free bayonet bulb holder.

THE SPECIFICATION: • Victorian Cast Iron Lamp Post • Total Height: 2.26 metres (7ft 4”) • Hand turned Victorian Lantern with hinged door • Free bayonet bulb holder • 10 year Lamp Post guarantee • Ready for installation by a qualified electrician


QUESTION Which artist is best known for singing “Leaning on a Lamp-post”? Email your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number to with the phrase ‘Lamp Post Competition’ in the subject line. The winner will be drawn by the editor after the closing date of 28.04.14 and notified via email. 94

Competitions, rules of entry: Employees of the publisher and any of the contributors are not eligible for entry. Entries that fail to comply with these instructions will be disqualified. No cash alternatives can be offered in lieu of prizes. Only one entry per household, whether by post or via the internet will be accepted. Competitions are only open to UK residents aged 18 years or over. Winners will be notified via post and/or email within 7 days of the competition draw. The editor’s decision is final. Competition entries: Entries by post require an individual postcard of a regular size (A6). Oversized cards will not be accepted. Competition entries should be sent to Self Build Homes Magazine, Crown House, John Roberts Business Park, Pean Hill, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3BJ. Certain competitions that appear in Self Build Homes magazine can also be entered online.



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12 ISSUES FOR £40 Self Build Homes is the perfect magazine for anyone interested in selfbuilding, whether they are casually thinking of the possibility of starting their own self-build project, are in the middle of a build at present, or are a veteran of numerous self-build homes.

Financing Your









Call our magazine hotline on: 01227 378390 or Subscribe online: May 2014 I Self Build Homes



new bold design

Greendale Cottage


hil Newbold and his wife Joy sold their house in 2008 and started looking for a building plot to build a low-energy passive house in County Durham. They found a small plot in Upper Weardale in 2011 and it turned out the planning consent had expired in 2009 so the vendor had to re-apply and was refused. 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. They finally bought the plot in January 2012 for £70k. The plot is 345 sqm and is the former walled garden of an adjacent property in a small hamlet of 18 houses which is in a Conservation Area and an (AONB). Phil found the Planners were not really interested in his aspirations to build a lowenergy passive house. The Conservation Planning Officer was not interested in the Government’s energy conservation agenda at all, just conservation of the local vernacular. Planning insisted on mock sliding sash windows so bang went any hope of being able to build a Certified PassivHaus. Another planning application was required for the contentious addition of solar thermal and PV panels on the roof. The house is a 2-storey, 3-bedroomed, detached house of 116 sqm with a non-habitable attic plant room and store of 46 sqm.


Phil & Joy have spent around £170k on the build so far and the completed house is worth about £225k according to the Building Society’s Valuer. The eco-credentials of a house have no bearing at all on the value according to RICS rules and Phil feels this is a scandal that needs wider publicity The U-value of the building fabric is 0.1, the windows are 0.9 and the air-tightness is 0.59. The SAP Energy Rating is 97. There is no heating system apart from the woodburning boiler stove and the house is being maintained at 20 degrees. The MVHR system is 94% efficient and works really well. Phil & Joy have managed to build the first Band A passive house in County Durham and have a comfortable home in which to retire without any significant heating bills. More importantly, they have proved that it is possible to build a real low-energy home in a Conservation Area and AONB which fits in with the local architecture while addressing fuel poverty issues head-on.

10 Top Tips

• Try to plan everything in advance, not just room layouts but drainage, plumbing, electrics, lighting and data cabling. • Concentrate your design efforts and financial priorities towards achieving the best building fabric performance you can afford.

• Don’t build your house in the wettest summer for 100 years in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). • Don’t try and do too many jobs yourself, even if you think you have the ability, knowledge and experience to do them. • Don’t expect tradesmen who have been recommended to perform any better or reliably than normal UK rubbish standards. • Don’t expect UK manufacturers to come up with the best components for your project. They are still at least 20 years behind mainland Europe. • Don’t waste money on trophy kitchens, marble-clad bathrooms, fancy lighting, multi-room sound systems or integrated vacuum cleaners. • Don’t expect any help from our clueless Government with energy conservation initiatives. Con-tricks like the Green Deal are no use at all. • Keep all your receipts and record them on a spreadsheet as you go along or you will spend weeks sorting out your VAT claim at the end. • Allow a Contingency Sum of at least 25% of your initial budget as there are lots of things you will forget to include.


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Self Build Homes Magazine May 2014  
Self Build Homes Magazine May 2014