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WINDOWS JUNE 2014 £4.25

Dream into Reality INDULGENT POOLS



A Stylish











oilets! How and where we make our personal deposits is a subject that we don’t think about too often and if we do its usually with an degree of embarrassment. However, since way before the days when throwing the contents of a chamber pot into the street was considered the last word in acceptable hygiene, the human race has had to find ways of disposing of our natural bodily waste. Fortunately, we have moved on significantly from the days when the UK’s streets were awash with sewage, and all of the diseases and illnesses that came with it. Whilst today we have all of the convenience of “flush-and-forget” and not having to get up too close and personal with ours-or someone else’swaste, not every location has the luxury of mains sewerage and water provision, nor the means to install it. For many people seeking to design and build their own home, access to mains facilities may just be a pie-in-the-sky dream, and also, many ecologically-aware consumers today are very keen to minimise their environmental footprint by considering water conservation plus living a low-

impact lifestyle where possible. So, what is the solution? Composting your own waste! Read on to learn more…

WHY TRY TO REINVENT THE WHEEL? For the self-build home designer or planner, the provision of plumbing, sewerage and waste disposal is one of the core considerations at the earliest stage. Having a plumbed-in toilet that empties into a septic tank or the mains sewerage system might be the most common method of solving the dilemma, but it is by no means the best or only way to handle things! In many areas where water is in short supply or a suitable sewerage system or black water drain-off is unavailable, the traditional or bogstandard (pardon the pun) toilet arrangement might not even be an option. Even in areas where clean water runs freely and sewage simply disappears down the pan, the forward-thinking and environmentally aware homebuilder would be well advised to consider all of the available options: and one of the best ways of tackling toilet and sewerage provision is by considering composting your waste. Only 1% of the Earth’s water is drinkable, and we flush 30% of that down the loo daily. In addition, if you are unable to connect to a main sewer, your choice is either a cesspit or a septic tank; the latter can leach harmful pathogens into our water system and, if you source your water locally, that can be especially dangerous. The new generation of composting toilets work on the same principle as the human body separating the liquid from the solids at source. Urine, an excellent fertiliser, is dealt with immediately, whilst faeces and toilet paper break down into useful nutrients for the garden. In new-build projects, the use of composting toilets can mean no sewage connection; saving thousands in build cost as well as a major reduction in water rates.

Tel: 01327 844442


If a house uses separating compost toilets throughout, the only waste liquid is grey water. If you were to use an aboveground reed bed system, water would be cleansed and returned to the property, negating the need for wastewater disposal. This can reduce water charges by a further 40-60% depending on the water authority.

BUT I DON’T WANT SOME KIND OF WEIRD-LOOKING SMELLY EARTH CLOSET... The Separett Villa, designed and made in Sweden, looks like a WC and can be fitted in most locations in a few hours. Ease of installation allows it to be used in temporary accommodation during the build, and then transferred to the main property. The urine outlet can run either into a sink/ shower waste pipe, a soak away, or (for keen gardeners) into a holding tank to be sprayed onto plants to improve their growth. The holding tank for the solid matter needs replacing on average every 2-3 months, depending on usage. The full tank with attached lid is removed to compost fully, or keen gardeners can add the contents immediately to their composter. That’s all there is to it! No digging, no pipe work, no flushing and quite definitely no smell. It would be the clever choice for any new build, extension or garden room, in fact, in any other location you could think of. This may sound very far fetched, but ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’ Steve Jobs and if you can open your minds you can zip up your wallets…

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Richard or Susanne Saillet ECOTOILETS Crick Road, RUGBY CV21 4PW 01327 844442 or



Welcome Welcome to the June issue of Self Build Homes. This is probably the most exciting time of the year as not only does Spring herald the start of good weather and new beginnings, it is also the time when we wave goodbye to dark winter evenings and unfavourable conditions, and get cracking on bringing our self-build projects to life! As ever, we have a look at a selection of readers’ homes, which we hope will be an inspiration to you, if you are thinking of embarking on your own self build project. If you dream of owning your own pool, where you can relax in the privacy of your own home and enjoy a healthier lifestyle, the reality of pool ownership is nearer than you may think! Take a look at our feature ‘Turning Your Dream into a Reality’ page 74. With the outdoors still in mind, we take a look at ‘Bringing the Outside In’ page 82, where we take a look at single glazed conservatories, which allows maximum glass exposure to reduce the feeling of being enclosed, and merging you with your garden and external space. Every month Self Build Homes magazine brings you the latest news and views on everything to do with self building and renovating. I hope you will agree, that Self Build Homes continues to be essential reading for both prospective and experienced self builders alike. This issue is bursting full of informative features, which I’m sure you will enjoy reading. Plus there are a couple of ‘Competition Giveaways’ for you to enter, page 102. Happy building! Vicki Watson 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:

ADVERTISING Sales Director: Rachael Nikolaj Email: Sales Manager: Simon White Email:

EDITORIAL Editor: Vicki Watson Email:

Cover Image: Courtesy of Home Counties Magazine Subscriptions: 01227 378390

Art Director: Ian Denby-Jones Email:

Customer Care Line: 01227 378390 One year subscription price UK £40, Europe £60, ROW £105. UK offers a saving of £11.

Contributors: Nadia Cohen, Jacquiline James, Beky Cann,Shereen Russell, Julie Price, Katie Herbert, Philippa Barker

Distributed by: COMAG, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE Tel: 01895 433800

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

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



June 2014

62 74 66






46 Choosing Your New Roof

22 Home Entertainment at its Best

12 A Stylish Masterpiece

Nick Boulton explains how choosing a new roof can influence the long term value of your home and its annual running costs

66 Bringing the Outside In Take a look at a new range of single glazed conservatories from IQ Glass

98 A Propelling Market We get acquainted with two Interior Designers, who talk about their very different journeys from brave homeowner to established designers 6

Part 3 - CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design & Installation) talk about why technology is ever popular, due to the energy savings it can offer

74 Turning your Dream into a Reality Part 1 – Ever dreamt of owning your own pool? SPATA tells you how the reality of pool ownership is nearer than you may think!

When John Osborn found a plot of disused land on a popular residential street he had to use all the clever tricks he could think of.

58 A Home with a View We take a look at a beautiful contemporary home

62 A Touch of Far East Jayesh and Ammeta Patel were inspired to build their own home, after visiting the Grand Designs Live Show

22 EXPERT ADVICE 54 Save with Loft Insulation The Government says that householders can cut their energy bill by up to 20% through effectively insulating their loft


56 Roofing Top Tips Expert tips and advice from this month’s contributors, plus useful contact details

94 Buying Bricks The question is, should you buy machined or man-made bricks?



5 Welcome

42 Building Automation

Thinking about how lifestyles impact the design of your self build home

How to combine different types of networking to increase comfort, security and energy efficiency in the home

8 In the News All the latest industry news

70 Eco Windows and Doors

102 Competitions

Gone are the days of thick timber frames and chunky profiles, we take a look at more sustainable solutions

Your chance to win some great prizes with our free to enter copmpetition.

104 Stockists Directory Where to find products that are featured in this month’s issue


88 Feature Staircases First impressions count. Expert advice from Iain McIlwee, Chief Executive of the British Woodworking Federation June 2014 I Self Build Homes



London Housing Bank to Fund Thousands of New Homes The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has launched proposals for a new investment scheme designed to accelerate house building and help deliver thousands more low cost homes for people in the city. What is described as an unique London Housing Bank scheme is set to loan up to £200 million to development partners to help them speed up the building of around 3,000 homes on large scale multi-phase projects which already have planning consent. These homes would then be let to Londoners at low cost rent, below the market rate, for a 10 year period before being sold on, with the loan repaid to City Hall. It is the result of research conducted by

City Hall which found that planning consents have been granted for around 200,000 homes in London which have not yet been built, a figure that is sometimes confused with developers land banking sites. However, around three quarters of these consents are on large, multi-stage regeneration developments of more than 500 homes which can take many years to complete. Often this is due to the funding and sales constraints which can limit the pace of building. Through the London Housing Bank the Mayor would help to fast track these developments, completing them several years earlier than traditional house building

methods allow, and make thousands of additional new homes available for Londoners at low cost rent which would complement rather than compete with the other homes being brought to market on the sites. The ‘bank’ would be repaid no later than 10 years after the loans are made, when the homes could either be refinanced, let by the developers to private buyers or institutions, or sold to the Londoners who had been renting them under this scheme. ‘We’re doing everything we can to double house building across the capital and address a 30 year failure to build enough homes for this thriving city. The proposed London Housing Bank is just one of several highly

MAXIMISING THE POTENTIAL OF BROWNFIELD Landowners whose property includes Brownfield sites and people interested in building their own homes, are both set to benefit from new backing from the Government. Helen Russell, from H&H Land and Property, said: “The Government is keen to encourage greater use of


redundant buildings and selfbuild plots as part of its wider planning boost the housing market. “Brownfield sites will form an essential part of this.” Previously, people who wanted to create their own home from scratch faced numerous obstacles but the Government is

now aiming to ease the process. A key part of the changes is Government backing for the reuse of Brownfield sites, which are in abundance the North East. At the heart of the plans is a database to hold the details of local people looking to build their own home within their community. Those registered

with their local authority scheme would be given first refusal. In addition to privately owned Brownfield sites, people will now have greater access to public sector-owned land under the Community Right to Reclaim Land Scheme. Details of publiclyowned land that is no longer in use will be included on a



Self-Build Projects Given a Boost by the Government

innovative new schemes we are pioneering here at City Hall to help meet the needs of hard working Londoners,’ said Johnson. ‘Through this exciting new fund we hope to provide thousands of brand new homes many years sooner than would otherwise be possible, and make them available to rent at more affordable, below market, rates for hardworking Londoners,’ he added. In the future the London Housing Bank could extend its offer to further incentivise building by purchasing off plan market homes or offering funding guarantees. Future funding could be attracted from a range of sources, including the public sector and private sector institutional investors.

For a number of self-builders the prospect of a substantial additional charge imposed by their Local Authority for the development of their own land has seen projects stalled or even shelved. So the recent announcement that the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) will not now apply to owner-occupied selfbuilt properties is welcome news. Thanks to a sustained lobbying campaign by The National Self Build Association (NaSBA), this now means that up to 3,000 ‘mothballed’ self-build homes can now get underway. With figures as high as £15,000 being previously levied on a self-build fourbedroom home, it is no surprise that this statement has been applauded by the selfbuild community. The Government has put in place measures to ensure that homes constructed under ‘self-build’ are to be used for personal home occupation and not sold-on for profit. So, in addition to holding a ‘charge’ on the property for three years, once the home has been built, the self-builder will also need to provide documents that prove ownership. In addition to cutting the levy for selfbuilders, the Government has also stipulated that extensions over a certain size will also now be exempt from the levy. In addition, from April there will no longer be a Council Tax surcharge on family annexes.

SITES FOR SELF-BUILD Government website where self-builders can apply for the release and sale of plots. Funding has been difficult in the past for self-build projects due to reluctance among lenders to provide a mortgage for a property not yet built. Lenders are becoming more disposed

towards supporting selfbuilding, with 26 lenders now offering specialised loans. Further financial help is available from two Government schemes: a £47 million loans fund for community groups and individual self-builders, and a £65 million Affordable Homes

Guarantees Programme aimed at community groups that want to build affordable homes in their local area. Between 2012 and 2013 nearly 11,000 homes were self-built in the UK. H&H Land & Property: 0191 370 8530

Help is on the way for self builders The UK’s largest home improvement company, Anglian Home Improvements, opened its doors on the 1st April 2014 to Greg Barker MP, Minister of State at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), for talks on improving the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes. The breakfast meeting took place at Anglian’s head office in Norwich, where the government minister and senior executives from Anglian Home Improvements were joined by Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North. Key areas of discussion included the Green Deal initiative and proposed changes to the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) scheme. Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said, “Green Deal and ECO are helping hard working families across Britain cut their energy bills and improve their homes. “Double glazing has huge potential to be part of the growing Green Deal market. As market leader, Anglian will be a key part of this growth and I was hugely impressed by the vision of the Anglian team and production facility.” Laurence Vaughan, Executive Chairman at Anglian Home Improvements, said, “Improving energy efficiency in the home has long been a key focus for Anglian, which is why we were one of the first companies that signed up to deliver the Green Deal scheme. The government shares this objective so it is important that DECC and industry leaders work together to make sure we’re all pushing in the same direction. We are pleased to be given this opportunity to work with the government to improve the efficiency of British homes.” Anglian Home Improvements has a large manufacturing base responsible for employing 4,500 people across the UK. June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Scandia-Hus Finalist in South East LABC Awards Scandia-Hus are delighted to announce that we are a finalist in the Best Individual New Home category for the 2014 South East LABC Building Excellence Awards. The LABC awards recognise when design and construction teams have dealt with a variety of issues and used a range of innovative and creative solutions. Nominated by Tandridge District Council, the Scandia-Hus Westbrook entry, is located

in West Sussex and is a beautifully presented Tudor inspired family home. Designed by the Scandia in-house design team this individual and unique home successfully blends in with its surroundings. The property was shortlisted for the awards for a number of reasons including the complexity of the build - the house is built over four storeys and is on a sloping site with a natural stream at the bottom of the

garden. Other factors included the efficiency of the house in terms of U values and air permeability as well as the excellent working relationship between Scandia-Hus, Tandridge Building Control and local craftsmen involved. In addition to which the house has been built to exceptionally high standards both internally and externally. For further information on Scandia-Hus:

GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES RENEWABLE HEAT INCENTIVE Leading renewable energy provider, GreenACT, has welcomed the announcement by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) that the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) officially started on 9th April. The government has launched its long-awaited domestic (RHI), in a bid to stimulate investment in new green technologies such as biomass boilers, solar thermal panels, and heat pumps. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker unveiled the much-anticipated scheme, completing the rollout of the RHI, following the launch of similar incentives for commercial and public sector properties in November 2012. Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, said: “This is the first scheme of its kind in the world


- showing yet again that the UK is leading the way in the clean energy sector, not only will people have warmer homes and cheaper fuel bills, they will reduce their carbon emissions, and will also get cash payments for installing these new technologies. “ He added that the scheme would also provide an economic boost, by driving demand for new technologies and maintenance services. “It opens up a market for the supply chain, engineers and installers - generating growth and supporting jobs as part of our long-term economic plan,” he said. Under the policy, homeowners installing approved biomass heating systems, ground or water source heat pumps, air to water heat pumps and solar thermal panels will be able to secure payments over a seven year period. Air source heat pumps will secure a tariff of 7.3/

kWh, ground and water source heat pumps will secure 18.8p/kWh, biomass-only boilers and biomass pellet stoves with integrated boilers will get 12.2p/kWh, and solar thermal panels will receive 19.2p/kWh. If you would like to find out more about the Renewable Heat Incentive for domestic properties, visit the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Help for Self-Builders with the Right to Build Scheme People who want to build their own home may be given the right to a plot or offered access to the Help to Buy equity loan scheme The Government plans to consult on measures to make it easier for people to build their own home including the right to a plot of land and access to the Help to Buy equity loan scheme. As part of the recent Budget, the Government said it will consult on a new Right to Build scheme that would give custom builders a right to a plot from councils and a £150m repayable fund to help provide up to 10,000 serviced plots for custom builders. The Government will also consider making its Help to Buy equity loan scheme available to custom builders. Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, welcomed the Right to Build scheme, but warned selfbuilders may struggle to secure a suitable piece of land. “One of the problems facing self-builders is that they are often outbid when it comes to securing a development opportunity in the first place, such as a bungalow on a nice plot which can be knocked down and rebuilt,” he said. “Developers can bid for cash and regularly outbid the individual who doesn’t have the same resources. Although there will be more money available, it might still be hard for individuals to really take advantage of it and secure a suitable plot.” George Osborne, the Chancellor, today confirmed plans to extend the first phase of Help to Buy for an extra four years to 2020. An extra £6bn will be pumped into the scheme allowing a further 120,000 new homes to be built. The equity loan allows people taking their first step onto the property ladder to borrow up to 20% of the value of a new build home from the Government, interest-free for the first five years. The loan is available on properties worth up to £600,000. Borrowers need a 5% deposit and must take out a mortgage to cover the remaining 75% of the cost of the property. After the five-year interest-free period ends, borrowers are charged a fee of 1.75% of the loan’s value. This fee increases every year at 1% above retail price inflation. These fees only count toward the Government loan and come on top of the mortgage repayments. Borrowers must pay back the equity loan when they sell the home or at the end of the mortgage period – whichever comes first.

Builder Welcomes Government Plans for Self-Builders A top house builder which is leading the way in the North East by offering self-build plots, has welcomed the Government’s plans to look at measures to make it easier for people to build their own homes. Charles Church North East has already created an innovative self-build scheme at Newcastle Great Park for anyone looking to create their perfect home. However, the builder welcomed the Government’s move to back custom build after the Chancellor announced plans in the Budget to look at a new “Right to Build” scheme in a bid to solve the housing crisis. The Government will now consult on the scheme, which would give custom builders a right to a plot from councils. It will also consult on the creation of a £150m fund to help provide up to 10,000 serviced plots. Expansion of the Help to Buy equity loan selfbuilders scheme will also be looked at. John Eynon, Managing Director for Charles Church North East, said: “The introduction of 39 serviced plots at Newcastle Great Park is an exciting development that offer people the chance of a lifetime to create a stunning home that is absolutely perfect for them and their families.

“We have currently sold three plots and we are expecting completions to take place next month. It will be fascinating to see this development take shape as people create the homes they have always dreamed of.” The self-build plots are located on the rural edge of the Great Park development, which includes a range of housing from starter homes to executive properties. People have the freedom to design their own home, which can be up to three storeys high. Charles Church is providing road access to all plots, which will also be provided with foul and surface water drainage and utilities such as water, gas, electricity and telecommunications.

Section 106 scrapped by new goverment proposal? Section 106 contributions could be scrapped for self-builders under plans outlined by a government proposal - potentially saving £10,000s in planning fees. Hot on the heels of the announcement that individuals building their dream home are now exempted from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) tax, the government intends to help even more self-builders across the UK by excluding them from the burden of Section 106 (S106) charges. Part of the Planning performance and planning contributions consultation recently published, the proposal would set a 10-unit threshold for Section 106 affordable housing contributions. Smaller developments and oneoff self-build homes would therefore become exempt from this portion of the charge. What is Section 106? Section 106 is a piece of legislation that allows local councils (in England & Wales) to charge a development fee as a ‘planning obligation’ attached to a piece of land. These fees are frequently inserted to planning permissions for housing and can often run into the £10,000s. The charge is the precursor to the Community Infrastructure Levy (which is imposed on a m2 basis) and is set to be phased out by April 2015.

The government wants to review Section 106 charges to bring them into line with the new CIL exemption. Why only ‘affordable housing’ contributions? Government research has found that the ‘affordable housing’ justification accounts for around half of the value of all planning obligations. The Department for Communities & Local Government appears to have decided to focus on tackling this element of the contributions, although the consultation does invite views on a possible extension of the exemption to other tariffs and justifications for planning obligations. The move should therefore remove a large part of the burden of Section 106 charges, but may still leave self-builders exposed to the elements of S106 that apply to ‘infrastructure’ improvements.

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Maximising Every Inch


When architectural designer John Osborn found a plot of disused land on a popular residential street, he had to use all the clever tricks he could think of to squeeze in the family home of his dreams.By: Nadia Cohen


e came up with a wealth of smart design solutions to maximise every inch of living space and the result is a uniquely stylish modern masterpiece in the heart of the big city. Although he had to work within strict building and planning regulations, John managed to create this fivebedroom family home in just nine months. He had worked on building sites after leaving school before studying for a degree in Interior Design, after which he worked in various architecture studios. “I’m very lucky being able to combine onsite building skills with technical and aesthetic training,” said John. “Every time I design something I always consider the practical implications of how it is actually going to be constructed.

Sometimes a few insignificant tweaks to a design can make a big difference to its cost.” He was able to pair modern building technology with his own innovative design to deliver a result that is not only truly original, but also specifically tailored to his meet his own needs and budget.

Bringing You’re Dream to Life The project first came to life in 2011 when John bought land with planning permission for two flats already in place, having been arranged by the previous owner who auctioned off the site. While he had to ensure the exterior was sympathetic to the local area, inside John had free rein. And of course, being totally hands on meant he could design and build every aspect himself,

at a fraction of the cost of outsourcing the work: “Architects can be very talented when it comes to aesthetics and have outstanding technical knowledge but very few have ever actually laid a brick wall or constructed a timber roof truss,” said John. “Understanding how both sides work together gives me an advantage and helped me make more informed decisions when I was designing the property.” Sleek style and modern aesthetics are crucial to John’s vision, and he wanted contemporary sensibilities throughout the build, but this property remains a family home first and foremost, and with small children functionality could not be entirely abandoned for surface image. “It was important for me to be honest not

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Maximising Every Inch

only about how I’d ideally like to live, but also how we actually do live,” John explained. “With three kids, expert design was called into play as some of the modern themes I’d imagined had to be sacrificed at the altar of functionality. “It would have been tempting to get carried away but it was important to consider all the members of the household, there would be no point in creating a show piece that didn’t accommodate our practical needs. “It was a massive and complex task and it would have been very easy to become distracted so once I had the design in place it was important to stay on track. As well as being inspirational, I wanted the house to be comfortable, easy to use and efficient to run. It’s the first thing we see when we open our eyes so I wanted it to be refreshing and original, but also a tranquil and happy home.” John has a truly diverse knowledge base and was able to be completely hands on


throughout the project. As well as drawing up the blueprints, he also took on the roles of project manager, builder, bricklayer, carpenter, plumber and interior designer. He recalled: “I found it a great advantage to be building my design as it meant that I had a comprehensive understanding of what was going on and how each trade would impact on another. “For example, when putting in a timber floor or wall you are conscious of how it may affect pipe or electrical wiring runs which, although it may sound trivial, saves time and therefore saves money.

Building Schedules

As well as keeping costs under control it was important to keep to the schedule. The restricted size of the site meant that the logistics were also a factor. “The build required 14,000 bricks just for the outer skin of brick work and there was no

way to store more than a couple of thousand along with sand, cement and a space for the mixer, so we had to have them delivered in batches – each of which needed to be ordered a few days in advance to make sure that they arrived on time. I’m an OK bricklayer but I’m not very fast so I hired two other brickies and a labourer to help. With careful management of material deliveries and coordination of visits from the scaffolding contractor, starting from the basement floor we built up to the second floor and had the roof on and the site weather tight within six weeks. “It was important to keep costs under control. As well as knowing what to buy and where to buy it I also had to factor in shipping, ensuring things arrived at the right time to be installed.” Luckily there were no major disasters because John has expert knowledge of the necessary technologies and building regulations which were called into play. He also has experience of renovating and fitting hundreds of other properties, and made time to carefully manage every aspect of the build himself seven days a week. “It was a fantastic, and satisfying experience to be involved in each stage and to ensure everything came in on time and within the budget,” he added. “I wanted minimal clean lines, slick modern design is more versatile as you can incorporate a range of styles,” said John. “I hoped to avoid clutter and disorder although that can be tough with children in the house!”

Creating an Immediate Impression

Taking inspiration from his travels - John has lived and worked in Italy, Spain and South Africa – he was also determined to prove that building your dream home is not just for the privileged few. His bespoke designs can also be affordable and always create an immediate

impression on guests that visit the property for supper clubs or workouts in the basement gym where his wife Louise runs personal training sessions. “My design intent was to build a distinctive and luxurious home which achieved a high level of comfort, but could also function as a showcase for my work,” John explained.

Time to Entertain

John built the house very much with entertaining in mind, and the kitchen is the heart of the house: “To me cooking is theatre, so a central island must be your stage and you don’t want to turn your back on the audience, so I kept that in mind throughout the design,” smiled John. The ‘four in a line’ induction hob has been sunk to create a perfectly flush work surface which gives more flexibility. “As we cook, guests gather around with a

glass of wine so the island needed to be deep enough to function as a breakfast bar on the other side. An overhang needs enough space for knees otherwise people have to perch sideways. The flow changed with the simple addition of a breakfast bar, because it became our preferred seating area and the amount of time spent at the dining table became less. “I personally would never put a sink in the island as, even with the best will in the world, the area ends up cluttered with dirty dishes “An extractor fan with nice integral lighting over the breakfast bar was carefully considered in the planning, bearing in mind that ceiling mounted hoods afford more openness and are more powerful. “An integrated vacuum system takes the fuss out of cleaning up too.” The kitchen also features a funky gold crocodile skin vinyl splash back, while an unwanted structural A column in the

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Maximising Every Inch

window opening doubles as a herb garden. “Drawers are preferable to cupboards for maximising storage, because you can see the entire contents,” John added. “A wine fridge makes a stylish display item, and I’d recommend a splash back with a multiple lighting function so you can dim it and alter the colours to affect the mood. If you don’t have a hob in front of it the splash backs don’t need to be heat resistant and so we have used a commercial grade wall vinyl which is both durable and wipeable.”

Bursting with Ideas

Having spent a good deal of time ogling other design projects, John was bursting with ideas when it came to creating his own space, and wanted to ensure maximum impact on first glance – in fact he sketched the hallway before even finding the land. “Although the ground floor is open plan I wanted to create different atmospheres within it,” he said. “The warm, cosy look and texture of the brickwork wall in the sitting and dining area contrasts the bright, modern clean lines of the kitchen. Although it may seem like an expensive option, the extra cost of expensive facing bricks is 16

offset by not needing to board, plaster and paint the wall.

Open Planned Living

“Family life has changed, we no longer want separate formal dining areas. A modern open-plan living area is not only more convenient, but also more social. We are time poor these days, and so we tend to cook, eat, entertain, watch TV and often work all in the same room. Whoever is doing the cooking doesn’t want to be stuck out in the kitchen while everyone else socialises in the living room, that’s an old fashioned concept and those days are gone. “Open plan living makes for a far more social environment, and using the space cleverly means each zone benefits by borrowing space from the other. “Open plan creates an illusion of space, it is simply a matter of perception. I identified different areas using furniture and various lighting effects, so there are bright hood lights in the kitchen, and a chandelier in dining area. Localised pools of light and different finishes on the walls also mark out different zones. “If I could have anything extra I would go

for a utility room to keep all the appliances out of the way, but there simply wasn’t enough room on the ground floor” A nifty electronic hatch in the kitchen floor reveals a hidden second staircase directly into the basement living room. Building downwards created a whole extra floor, housing a private gym, an extra bedroom with its own shower room and spacious family living room. The basement is also houses a laundry, keeping all that unsightly washing neatly tucked away. “It was a massive job,” said John. “The basement shell was the only part of the build that I did not take part in – the bank were very specific that I employed a specialist contactor for that part. I can understand why. Given that there are two three-story houses within three metres either side!” The whole perimeter of the floor plan was outlined with pile foundations before being dug out and lined with re-enforced concrete creating a 75 square metre basement. Once the basement box had been created, the floor and walls needed to be lined with a strong steel mesh, which was then sprayed with concrete. The inside had to be lined with a



elf-builders can now easily work out how much they could save on fuel costs by opting for a greener heating system, thanks to a new online calculator from leading renewable heating manufacturer NIBE. The interactive tool allows self-builders to quickly and simply calculate the bespoke savings they could make by generating their own renewable heat – as well as giving an estimate of the ongoing payments they could receive through the newly launched Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. The RHI is a government-backed financial incentive scheme designed to encourage UK homes to swap to sustainable heat – rewarding owners of air source and ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar thermal systems for the heat they generate over a seven-year period. NIBE’s user-friendly calculator has been developed specifically for those considering investing in a renewable heating technology. It lets

visitors simply compare the cost of running heat pumps or biomass boilers against traditional fossil fuel systems, providing tailored results for their property as well as RHI payment estimates. Phil Hurley, managing director at NIBE, explains: “The launch of the domestic RHI is fantastic news for anyone looking to fit their home with a renewable heating system, especially self-builders – with self-build projects the only type of new-builds eligible. Not only can they enjoy the long-term benefits of a system that is both efficient and cost-effective to run, but they can now also reap the rewards of regular payments from the government for the renewable heat they produce. At NIBE, making this process as straightforward as possible for homeowners is a top priority, and our new savings calculator is all part of this. The tool brings clarity to the all-important numbercrunching element of investing in renewable heat sources, as well as giving homeowners

valuable reassurance and understanding of how the RHI could benefit them.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION: To use the calculator, or for more information about NIBE’s marketleading renewable heating portfolio, please visit:


The new NIBE F2040 air source heat pump range offers the homeowner a ‘World of Possibilities’ with pre-selected packs designed for use in new build and retrofit properties. The new packs include market-leading air source heat pumps, pre-packaged hot water units, hot water cylinders and solar thermal combinations, all controlled by an advanced intelligent controller with easy to use colour display and featuring NIBE Uplink. Read more about our air source heat pumps at

AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP NIBE™ F2040 | OUTDOOR MODULE • New air source heat pump for residential & commercial buildings • Produced in three sizes 8kW, 12kW & 16 kW • Both heating & cooling functions • Compact design • Inverter Controlled compressor • Built in condensate water tray

NIBE™ SMO20/40 & NIBE™ HA-WH5-MEGACOIL | INDOOR MODULE • An advanced new generation controller with easy to use controls and colour display • Compatible with NIBE Uplink to connect to the internet for complete control anywhere • HA-WH5-Megacoil available in 5 sizes including solar versions with 25 year guarantee • NIBE F2040 together with SMO 20/40 and HA-WH5-Megacoil gives you a complete solution for heating/cooling and domestic hot water

NIBE Energy Systems Ltd . Tel 0845 095 1200 .

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Maximising Every Inch

delta membrane and fitted with a drainage pump to stop surface water coming through. The initial dig, which took three months, cost about £130,000. The ceiling in the basement has deliberately been left unfinished, revealing the structural re-enforced concrete slab. The basement living room has two light wells in the ceiling, the sides of which have been clad with mirrors: “They were put there so that you can see reflections of the garden in them rather than just a view of the sky, and because they let in so much light means that you don’t feel like you are actually in basement” John explained.

Facing a Challenge

In the living area John was faced with the challenge of eliminating a sloping side 18

wall, which was angled, following the boundary of the property, so by stepping the cladding the wall could be straightened as well as presenting an opportunity for some concealed lighting. John toned down the industrial finish with recycled scaffold boards, turning the new wall into an unusual feature by illuminating the faces. “It can change different colours, and fades in and out,” he said. “When we host supper clubs here, we clear the furniture out and this turns into the dance floor and the gym becomes a cocktail bar. Luckily the soundproofing is excellent! “The basement offers hidden extras that we wouldn’t be able to enjoy otherwise, but in my mind it’s still a work in progress. I don’t think you ever really finish a project like this.”

Design Solutions

The property boasts a wealth of other neat design solutions including a laundry chute which travels the full height of the house, with hatches on the 1st and 2nd floor, into a cupboard in the basement laundry: “I made the stairs in such a configuration that allows a laundry chute in the centre,” explained John. Spread over four floors, the house is surprisingly spacious, and when it came to kitting out the house, John was able to use his own expert knowledge to hand craft much of their bespoke furniture himself, including tables using reclaimed scaffold boards which are on detachable clear acrylic supports to create a floating illusion, enhancing space and giving a modern architectural feel: “I have always loved the rough texture of

ordinary scaffold boards found on building sites, because each piece is unique,” he said. “After reclaiming the boards from building sites, I up cycle them by hand, treating the wood carefully to maintain its natural look and feel, before transforming them into dining tables or desks. Using tension cables, the boards are mounted on acrylic sheets, which are 100% recyclable, creating a floating illusion to enhance floor space. “I have developed the line to include matching wooden benches, but I wanted them to be as versatile as possible, so I came up with a way the benches can clip neatly together to create a coffee table, or stack on top of each other to create unusual shelving. “Since space is at a premium for most people, all the furniture can be flat-packed for easy storage and transportation.”

John’s beautiful style continues right to the very top of the house where the master bedroom links with the outside thanks to its own secluded roof terrace: “This was an indulgence as we decided to sacrifice a potential extra bedroom for an en-suite terrace and claim the whole top floor as ours. The east facing folding doors mean that we are woken up by the morning sun and in warm weather, when the doors are left open all day, the roof garden becomes an extension of the bedroom. It’s also great for having a quiet coffee away from the kids! “I wanted to create an atmosphere that is comfortable and inviting, not only to the eye but also to the touch, so lighting is crucial. Even living in a busy city, serenity can be created with soft lighting to create localised pools of diffused light, which are far more

flattering than big washes of bright lights.”

Stick to a Budget

The budget for the build was £400,000 including the basement, and the build needed to be completed within 18 months to satisfy the bank lending the funds. Planning and party wall took the best part of four months and the basement shell took three months to complete. “The basement structure was finished in May 2012, and we managed to move in by October, although it took another month before everything was finished to the point where we could get signed off by building control,” he said. “This was the crucial deadline as we needed sign off to be able to apply for a mortgage and so pay off the development loan.” June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Maximising Every Inch

Indulgent Buys

John tried to keep costs down where he could, but among the more expensive items were the white oak internal doors he had imported from Italy as fully factory made up sets including handles and matching architraves. “They cost around £800 each but it took me two days to fit 13 fully finished doors so the amount saved on labour alone


probably justified the cost,” he said. “On a self-build project, a good interior designer should be able to design the structural elements, removing the need for an architect. It’s important to understand the technical aspects of drainage, electrics, water supply and waste, pipe work, plumbing, cables, lighting circuits – in fact all the structural elements required to realise the

best design. “With both skill sets I could construct the build as well as come up with the aesthetics - for example an electrician will put sockets and switches wherever is technically correct, not necessarily where they look most attractive. An interior designer should create something within building regulations that also works functionally and aesthetically.”

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Home Technology Integration


E RTAINMENT By: Shereen Russell

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Home Technology Integration


he demand for smart home technology is on the increase. In the last two issues of Self Build Homes, CEDIA (the Custom Electronic Design & Installation) has discussed how more and more self-builders are installing technology into their homes to create an environment of convenience and relaxation, to escape from their busy lifestyles. However, there is another reason why technology is proving popular and this is the energy savings that it can offer. Selfbuilders are becoming more aware of their property’s energy efficiency and with huge advancements in technology, there are multiple options now available in the home automation arena that can save time and energy at home. Those self-builders who get a CEDIA home technology professional on board, will benefit from these experts taking a proactive approach to implementing simple energy efficiency measures through systems controlling heating, lighting, cooling and power in the home. These systems are dropping in price and now offer the


possibility of reducing power consumption and lower running costs. The latest advancement is the ability to control aspects of the home from your smart phone or tablet device and monitor how much energy you are using. This can be used across a variety of areas from lighting to heating to music.


A well designed lighting control system can drastically decrease the amount of energy used. These systems allow you to adjust light and shade levels, edit temperature settings and schedules, control ceiling fans and more. This means that you can set your lighting to make sure that you aren’t wasting electricity. For example if you leave a light on in another room, or if you leave the house, you can turn it off from your phone with the app. You can also set lighting scenes, so that lights turn on and off automatically so you are never using lights on when they are not needed. Halogen downlights are a particular problem. Not so long ago we were content

Cedia-A4-FP.indd 2

24/02/2014 17:16


Home Technology Integration

to light a room with a single 60W pendant. Now six downlights are installed instead, each using 50W giving a total energy consumption of 300W, a 5 times increase in power usage. Multiply that by an entire house and the waste is clear. LED lighting has the potential to become the low energy light source of the future. The lamps are smaller and they are now as energy efficient as fluorescents for the same light output. However, again there has been a problem with the light output. The first white LEDs were actually very pale blue, which gave out a very cold, unflattering light. There were also problems dimming LEDs. These issues are now being overcome and better and warmer LED lamps are becoming available. LEDs are dimmed electronically. As well as providing attractive scene lighting, electronic dimming has the advantage over conventional dimming that it uses less electricity. In many lighting schemes, lights can be run at 80-90% of full capacity with no discernable difference. Electronic dimming can either be on a per circuit basis or as part of a more sophisticated lighting control system. Lighting control systems also help save energy in other ways too – lights only come on when required and are automatically turned off when not in use. Useful in bathrooms and other areas which are used for short periods of time. Outside lights are only triggered between sunset and sunrise, which automatically adjusts with the changing season and for Daylight Saving.



Heating and cooling is the biggest source of energy use in homes. Even though modern heating systems can be treated as standalone systems, heating solutions based around ground or air source heat pumps can be even more efficient if integrated with home automation system. Sophisticated HVAC control systems are now available that are simple and intuitive to use and can provide better, more accurate and more efficient levels of control in the home. They can effectively deal with complex requirements, such as the zoned room-by-room control required by an underfloor heating system or air-conditioning systems. The control systems allow you to check your heat output status and manually override the temperature settings if you need to. A temperature hold button means you can maintain a temperature for a desired period and after the hold period has expired it will revert back to its programmed settings. A Home and Away function allows you to turn off the heating system and turn it back on for your return, ensuring that you are not wasting heat. There is also a holiday feature to put heating into frost mode whilst you are away, again returning to the programmed time for when you get back.


Music might not spring to mind to improve your energy efficiency but how often do children have music playing when they have left the room? There are systems which control all of your music, in every

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Cinema Room Misconceptions


By: Ciaran Wilkins

What size room do I need for a good home cinema?

It is a common misconception that a large room is necessary to do home cinema well. However, some fantastic home cinemas have been created in rooms as small as three metres square. The only real limitation there is, the size of the audience is limited to around six or seven people, but this is often enough for most families. Of course as the room size gets larger, more people can enjoy the home cinema experience in comfort. What is important is getting the screen size right. Screen height (not width) is the most important factor; too tall and human eye gets quickly fatigued scanning up and down, but too small and the cinematic impact can be lost. A lot of people ask for the largest screen possible to go on their wall. However, this really is the wrong way to go about it. A


Hollywood format (2.35:1) screen width should cover a 45 degree of viewing angle. A qualified cinema designer will suggest the perfect screen size for your viewing distance.

What might a cinema cost?

A projector based system of reasonable quality professionally installed, is likely to start from around £6,000, whereas a fully hidden system can cost from £7,000.

Control systems

A control system is highly advised for any cinema system. Without it, you are likely to be using several remote controls, which can be highly infuriating. A control system will allow simple control of all kit from just one handset. Press ‘Watch Movie’ and that’s it, everything is done for you, ensuring that even the most technophobic of individuals have no fear of operating the system.

A quality Control system is likely to add around £1,000 to the project.

No spare room?

Many of the system’s we do at ‘The Big Picture’ are discretely hidden into lounges or media rooms. You would never know that a cinema was present until you started it up.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture has created many fantastic cinema systems; our string of accolades is testament to this. Our aim when creating any cinema system is not to match what you see and hear at the local ‘Multiplex’, but far outperform it. We are confident; given a realistic budget we can achieve this time and time again.


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

Certified Kaleidescape Specialist

Home Acoustics Alliance

Imaging Science Foundation

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

ISE Winner of Most Professional


Home Technology Integration

HI-TECH GREEN HOME SECURES A complex project to create a ‘smart’ eco-home, won Konnectiv a top prize from the industry trade association, CEDIA. The Sheffield-based company triumphed in the Integrated Energy Management Solution category of the CEDIA Awards 2013, with a fully integrated automation and entertainment system which improves the lifestyle of the house’s occupants at the same time as it conserves energy. The homeowner wanted to incorporate lifestyle-enhancing technology, including integrated control, a distributed audiovisual system and a home cinema, while ensuring that energy in the property was being managed effectively. Konnectiv was tasked with delivering a complete home automation system which would enable the property to achieve the highest possible zero carbon rating, Code Level 6, on the Government’s Code for Sustainable Homes. Konnectiv specified an AMX control backbone with a Helvar system regulating the lighting for the property. Alongside the lighting, this control system enables complete integration of the house sub-systems, including all audio-visual


equipment together with alarm and door entry security. It also embraces control of the dwelling’s range of eco-technologies, such as the solar photo-voltaic energy system and rainwater harvesting. Konnectiv’s system is accessed primarily via six iPads, conveniently located around the house, running the AMX Apple Application which transforms the tablet into a fully functional wireless touch panel; enabling simple and intuitive use. These are complemented by AMX six-button keypads in the main ‘entertainment’ areas and Helvar lighting keypads. Using the iPads, the homeowner can check the current status of lights and temperature, across the property, and turn off areas which are not in use. As well as viewing overall energy consumption, it is possible to see how much rainwater has been harvested, or solar energy generated and compare that figure to actual house demand. In terms of entertainment, the homeowners can enjoy distributed AV from a range of sources including a Sonos wireless

audio system which brings music to the entire property, Sky HD, Apple TV and a Kaleidescape movie server. The impressive cinema room, meanwhile, is equipped with a Panasonic Pro display, Current Audio inceiling speakers, and Polk subwoofers driven by a Denon receiver. One of the ways that Konnectiv is able to reduce energy consumption is through active room management. Multiple, discreet Helvar in-ceiling sensors, fitted all the way through the house, monitor both occupancy and light levels. This means, for example, that if someone walks out of a room, the lights and electronic equipment will automatically be switched off. The system is also set to give a constant light level throughout the day by adjusting the power according to the amount of daylight. One common problem with energy control is that people tend to open a window when a room gets too hot, rather than adjusting the temperature controls. To address this issue, window sensors have been fitted which


CEDIA RESOURCES CEDIA has released a number of resources which are suitable for self-builders. These offer useful advice and provide guidance for different stages in the build. RECOMMENDED WIRING GUIDELINES CEDIA’s Recommended Wiring Guidelines document is to make self-builders aware of the cabling infrastructure necessary to support the technology typically required for the modern home. This publication provides a useful and practical step-by-step guide. It identifies the key requirements for an installation and defines three grades of recommended cabling infrastructure.

AWARD recognise when this has happened, and will switch the heating off automatically. Through the integration of the burglar system, Konnectiv has been able to take advantage of the alarm status to proactively manage devices. A ‘going to bed’ preset turns off the ground floors, while a ‘full’ alarm set switches off all devices. As the rear of the house is all glass, thermostats have been installed to monitor heating in the home along with an astronomical time clock which enables automatic adjustments according to sunrise and sunset times. This enables the system to manage thermal gain by dropping blinds to actively shade the rear of the house. The integrator has successfully created a state-of-the-art energy management system where the house is actually ‘thinking’ on behalf of the occupants. As well as being a technology-rich modern home, it can boast excellent environmental credentials. A worthy energy management award winner, indeed!

Grade 1 will ensure the effective and reliable delivery of internet services, home networking, TV, satellite, radio, telephone, conferencing and other entertainment services to most rooms in the house. A Grade 2 infrastructure will additionally provide the capability for whole-home distribution of audio-visual content using discrete in-ceiling speakers and in-wall control points. With a Bespoke Grade infrastructure, functionality is further extended to embrace lighting control, motorised curtains and blinds, access control systems, CCTV networks, environmental and heating control, as well as systems that allow these technologies to be controlled and integrated by a single control system using in-wall controls and hand-held remote devices. Through a clearly defined staged process and using explanatory diagrams, the document outlines the incoming services and the planning, cabling and testing essentials which should be followed for each Grade. Once installed, a qualified CEDIA Structured

Cabling Assessor can be called in to provide independent verification and testing of the cabling infrastructure to ensure it is fit for purpose. This document provides the essential guidance that’s needed on wiring to support today’s digital and connected lifestyles. The association would always recommend that a CEDIA specialist is involved as soon as possible in a project life-cycle to advise and design the cabling infrastructure. The most expensive cable that can be installed is the one that did not get fitted in the first place. Mistakes can be costly so it is vital to get the cabling infrastructure correct the first time around. To download a free copy of the Recommend Wiring Guidelines publication, please visit: WHAT IS ULTRA HIGH DEFINITION AND WHY DOES IT MATTER? Ultra High Definition is an important advance in home cinema technology and is one which has been integrated into many households. However, some self-builders are still not clear on the features and advantages of HDTV. The ‘What is Ultra High Definition and Why Does it Matter?’ white paper has been created in an effort to provide self-builders with a clearer understanding of what Ultra High Definition is. It addresses the terminology associated with this technology, details how it has developed over time and explains how excellent picture quality is achieved today. The document also clarifies the difference between 1080p and Ultra HD and offers advice on what Ultra HD products are available, including 4K. To download this document, visit

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Upgrading Outdoor Technology

HOW TO PLAN YOUR SMART HOME: PART 2 In this month’s feature, Phillip Pini, Residential Business Development Manager at Crestron, covers how to up the tech-spec in your garden.


uch like inside the home, cabling is key to successfully bringing technology to the garden. If you already have a smart home then a savvy installer will be able to extend this easily to the garden. If you are starting from scratch in a patio, gazebo, pool area or garden then make sure you are clear with your supplier as to what you want in the garden – speakers, TVs and security solutions, for example. By using a Crestron accredited integrator, you can ensure that high quality, protected cabling is installed to support the introduction of your desired technology, and will also make it capable of handling emerging technologies such as 4K Ultra HD TV. Cabling can also easily be hidden away from view. The goal is to hide and integrate the technology so you can conserve the natural beauty whilst technically enhancing the entertainment and security. .

What is available?

Pretty much anything you find indoors, we can replicate outside. Crestron manufactures equipment specifically for outdoors such as weatherproof speakers and remote control devices. In terms of weather proofing, you’ll need fittings with an IP65 rating as that denotes their suitability for outdoor use. We make a weatherproof remote and docking station that can be left outside all year - it’ll even float and function in a pool. 32

In addition, our free app can be downloaded for both Apple and Android phones and tablets, which will give you control of all of the technology in the garden and home. Fully waterproof control equipment can be used outdoors to cover everything from simple on/off switching, to a fully landscaped and designed lighting installation with dimming controls, colour changing LED fittings and a selection of pre-set scenes for bright days, cloudy days, al fresco dining and parties. Dimmable lighting outside enables you to create different moods and gives you far greater control over your fittings.

With the correct cables, equipment can then be added to your garden to create a system as and when you require it, designed specifically for your needs. At Crestron we have our DigitalMedia™ system that will cater for all current and future audio and visual technologies. This is the system used by thousands of residences worldwide for integrating and managing technology in the home.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: or telephone 0207 352 0028

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


Home Technology Integration

room, allowing you to manage what you are playing in each room and turning it off in unoccupied rooms.

Whole House

The best way to achieve optimum savings it to link every aspect of the home together and integrate heating, lighting, security and audio visual elements together and control it via a smart phone or tablet device. To further increase energy efficiency the system can be linked with sensors for heating and lighting, which can tell if a room is occupied or if there is enough heat/light and respond by dimming or turning them off when they are not needed.


Smart Meters

Smart meters can be an important aspect as long as the implementation is complemented by user friendly monitoring software. On their own, and hidden away from sight, homeowners will struggle to change energy usage habits. However, innovative solutions such as whole home control systems, which put energy monitoring at the forefront of user’s knowledge with display systems on devices such as tablets, smart phones and TV’s, will contribute to making users more aware of electricity consumption. Assuming that a control system is properly installed, its intelligence can be used to control a vast number of devices and systems within the property, consequently

making considerable savings overall. If the smart home system is not efficiently integrated, programmed or power managed, the energy consumption may be higher than with a standard non-integrated home as owners may not check on AV devices which are commonly kept out of sight in closed AV racks. Inexperienced installers can configure certain devices (such as multi channel amplifiers) to stay powered on at all times, thus increasing the value of electricity bills for the unaware clients. This highlights the importance of working with an experienced CEDIA member.


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.

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June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Total Technological Control



hen embarking on a selfbuild, or remodelling your home, it’s essential not to overlook the importance of incorporating structured cabling at the key ‘first fix’ stage. It is important to spend some time thinking about the technological services you may wish to have available once the project is completed, and you’re living in your new home. We are now at a time where having a strong wireless signal and a reliable hard-wired network connection in every room is as important as how many electrical plug sockets there are available. Buyers are now not just looking for a well designed kitchen or bathroom, but a multi room audio system, intelligent lighting and being able to control their entire home from a in-wall keypad or a mobile device. Luckily this is where one astute client from Burwash in Sussex was ahead of the game. He called in the team from Just Add Popcorn with a brief for a system that could incorporate all his music, entertainment and networking needs into one simple package. It was also of high importance to hide the equipment, apart from the screens and speakers. The client’s outlook was twofold: to enjoy the system himself, and to make the house more attractive to potential buyers in the future. The initial solution was to install a network of structured cabling from the


central basement location to each room. Building on the principle of an old fashioned TV aerial connection, Just Add Popcorn added the ability to: receive multiple feeds from the aerial and satellite system; create a hardwired network connection; allow access back into the house’s URC Total Control System; and provide the ability to stream high definition video via a HDanywhere 4K Modular HD Matrix. In addition, Just Add Popcorn installed 10 rooms of multi room audio for access to the client’s music collection and to enhance the sound quality for the TV’s, all being controlled via URC’s Handheld Touchscreen controllers. Just Add Popcorn then installed a state-of-the-art yet discreet cinema system in the Lounge. Consisting of a 7.1 speaker system using Kef In-Ceiling Speakers with the audio being supplied via URC’s DMS-AV surround sound amplifier, a Panasonic LED TV was mounted on the wall and thinking of the future, wiring was preinstalled so the client could add a projector and screen at a later date. Wiring was also installed for future expansion of the audio and video system as well as CCTV and entry system.

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’

Visit for more information



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


Home Entertainment System

Invisible Sound Throughout the Home


Having a multi-room audio system without having any visible loudspeakers, is a dream come true for design conscious self-builders.


ormed in 1999, Amina Technologies Ltd is based in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Having developed the first plaster-over invisible loudspeakers in 2001, Amina have continued to be a world leading company in the development of invisible sound solutions. The loudspeakers are designed to be covered by a 2mm final skim of plaster, or similar, and be fitted into the wall or ceiling. The Amina Evolution Series of loudspeakers are ideal for homes requiring high clarity room filling sound with no visual intrusion.

Does being invisible have any impact on sound quality?

Traditional loudspeakers create sound using the pistonic actions of a rigid cone or domes. Inherent in any pistonic sound source is increased directionality as the pitch of the sound becomes higher. This is why higher quality examples of conventional loudspeakers use a combination of different size “woofers” and “tweeters”, in an attempt to make the sound less directional. This is important for any speaker so that it reproduces the full range of sounds over a broad listening area. However, if plastered over, cone speakers would be unable to work. The inherently dispersive nature of Amina VPT (Vibrational Panel Technology) loudspeakers means that all frequencies spread effectively hemi-spherically from the wall or ceiling, providing a larger “sweet spot” than is the case with conventional loudspeakers. Think of how an acoustical musical instrument sounds in real life, and compare that to reproduction through conventional loudspeakers is the easiest way to understand the difference in sound output.

How do VPT loudspeakers work?

As the name suggests, these speakers work through vibrational technology in a way that is akin to how an acoustical musical instrument such as a violin works. The strings on a violin or acoustic guitar do not produce a significant amount of sound directly. In reality the energy from the excitation of the strings crates vibrations in the lightweight rigid wooden sound box of the instruments, which propagates sound into air and into our ears. The flat panel front of the Amina speaker creates sound in a similar way, through,100s of tiny vibrations with the energy initially created from one or more “exciters” on the back of the panel. The speaker is connected by standard speaker cable back to an amplifier in the same way as any other loudspeaker. June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Home Entertainment System

Where can they be used?

Amina Invisible Loudspeakers can be installed in walls or ceilings, whether solid or cavity (plasterboard) structures. The dispersive nature of the loudspeakers allow a surround sound system to be fitted entirely into a ceiling while still giving an immersive listening experience. The speakers provide high quality stereo music whether installed in a wall or ceiling. Dual channel (single stereo) speakers are available for small rooms such as en-suites or walk-in wardrobes where space is at a premium and stereo separation less important. Once installed and covered by a 2mm skim of plaster, the speakers are protected from the environment making them ideal for wet rooms such as kitchens, bathrooms and swimming pools. The standard products are 40mm deep and the front panel has dimensions of 345 x 450mm, designed to fit between standard 400mm stud work and joist spacing. Slim line versions are available, just 200mm wide, and thus ideal for narrower inter stud spacing.

What can they be covered with? The speakers are most commonly rendered invisible by the application of a final 2mm skim of standard finishing plaster but can also be used with other plasters such a polished plaster, lathe and plaster, repair plaster such as British Gypsum EasiFill ™ and lime plaster. In addition, wood, MDF, wood veneer, leather and acrylic stone can also be used very successfully and Amina are always happy to advise on more unusual solutions.

Where are there demonstration facilities?

Amina have demonstration facilities in Huntingdon and Central London, and in addition many of our installation partners 40

have their own demonstration facilities throughout the UK. Few believe just how good invisible loudspeakers can sound without having heard them for themselves. The loudspeakers are only one part of the jigsaw when it comes to a home audio or home audio/video system, and to optimise the solution for each individual home Amina always recommend working with experienced custom integration companies many of whom belong to CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association). Installed professionally, Amina offer a 10 year manufacturer’s warranty, against, manufacturing defects, in residential applications

are perfectly complemented by invisible loudspeakers, enabling a multi-room audio solution without the need for any circular “dinner plate” loudspeakers interrupting the otherwise perfect lines. Once installed, the walls or ceilings can be decorated and re-decorated as normal with paint and wallpaper. The speakers are equally at home in more traditional properties wanting an authentic look and feel combined with the latest technology. Aesthetic perfection and high clarity room filling sound can be combined to provide a family living room for entertaining guests, which can also be a high end home cinema with full surround sound experience for the family to enjoy.



Modern minimalist designs and wanting to incorporate the latest in home technology,

telephone: 01480 354390

Smart thinking for smart homes We are specialists in high-end cinema design, whole house control and integration. We strive to provide a custom design and bespoke solution for each and every client. westlondonav

Contact us for advice on 0844 692 1001



If you are looking for high-end home cinema design, whole house control and integration then look no further than West London AV Solutions. We are a family run specialist custom design and installation company. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional service and a truly bespoke solution for your home or workplace. We treat every project individually, designed specifically to meet our clients’ needs. Our team of experienced engineers and project managers are responsible for delivering your project on time and in budget, using products from our exclusive partners to ensure the installation is of the highest quality and includes all the latest technology.

T: +44 (0) 1480 354390 W: E:

Contact us for advice on 0844 692 1001

Untitled-3 1

14/04/2014 15:12


Intelligent Control Systems

INTELLIGENCE THROUGH CROSS-VENDOR STANDARDISATION By: Andreas Schneider, Chief Marketing Officer, EnOcean GmbH


ll the necessary technologies already exist. The real challenge today is to combine the partial solutions of different manufactures and various communication standards. An open network based on standards paves the way for “artificial intelligence.� The idea behind building automation is to automate the control of different technical processes, creating solutions that switch the lights on and off energy-efficiently, activate shading according to the weather conditions and adjust the heating, ventilation and air


conditioning to the room temperature or occupancy. The individual disciplines have long been viewed as separate areas, with optimised, isolated solutions developed for each one. The goal today, however, is to break down these boundaries and combine the different aspects into one, intelligent overall system. This type of networking is necessary in order for developers to take full advantage of the opportunities for increasing comfort, security and energy efficiency. The goal is for automation to form an integrated system and not just be a sum of different applications.

The Stumbling Block for Building Automation

When a system needs to integrate hundreds of sensors and communicating devices into a comprehensive network, a number of specific building automation standards come into play. At the same time, networking should be as easy as possible. However, many solutions today take a proprietary approach aimed at their specialised areas and are difficult to combine with the products of other manufacturers. This limits the selection for building owners and system planners alike

Building automation must meet increasingly stricter demands as more disciplines need to be integrated into intelligent control systems.

and often makes for extremely complex operation, creating a real stumbling block for building automation.

Interfaces Instead of Isolated Solutions

The solution lies in open interfaces and specifications with few obstacles to integration. However, this means that existing systems must become more open. Energy harvesting wireless technology shows how this can work. Wireless technology without batteries has been defined as the

open, international standard ISO/IEC 145433-10 since early 2012, one that is designed for very low energy consumption and energy harvesting. It covers the standardised physical, data link and networking protocol layers. The application layer define the standard application profiles (EnOcean Equipment Profiles—EEPs) of the EnOcean Alliance. This foundation ensures that the energy harvesting wireless products of different manufacturers can communicate with each other in a single system. The EnOcean Alliance has further developed this

interoperability with Generic Profiles, the first generic language for energy harvesting wireless solutions.

Open Networking

Self-powered wireless technology is a particularly good choice for transmitting states and measured values from wireless switches, sensors and actuators. However, additional networking is based on standards such as KNX, LON, DALI and WLAN and not on the energy harvesting wireless technology. Open interfaces that allow June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Intelligent Control Systems

gateway and software providers to combine their standards have been defined to make these different systems work together. In this case, the standardised definitions form a basis for middleware, similar to EnOcean Link, which automatically interprets the values in energy harvesting wireless telegrams and makes them available to applications that further process them.

Dynamic Adaptation

This open network also paves the way toward “artificial intelligence” in building automation. Integrating the different technologies means that a system can also access sensor data more directly, regardless of the situation, as well as run calculations on this basis and control actuators intelligently. The networks of sensors, actuators and processors needed to do this can be created and modified dynamically as needed. The data can be stored and processed locally or in a cloud-based infrastructure, so that once


it has been collected the data can be used for different applications.

enough to eliminate the need for artificial lighting in the rooms.

Situation-Dependent Control

Automation in Balance

As a self-learning system, the automation technology can adapt to the behavior of a building’s users or employees while also taking into account external influences and the latest situations. The first solutions incorporate not only weather data and a room’s frequent use into the heating control system, for example, but also the number of people. In the future, they will also interpret statements such as “it’s too hot in here.” Intelligent LED luminaires communicate with each other to optimise office lighting depending on the situation. At the same time, the communicating luminaires, which form part of the wireless building automation system, can be integrated into different energy efficiency measures. For example solar-powered light sensors can let the luminaires know when the sunlight is bright

Integrating the individual aspects of building automation into an intelligent system establishes a situation-dependent balance between user comfort and energy savings, for instance. Organisations such as the EnOcean Alliance are building platforms that enable manufacturers to combine solutions that are based on different standards. This approach benefits building owners and system planners alike, who are no longer tied to a particular system when choosing the building automation technology but can integrate different disciplines both flexibly and costeffectively. The search for a single standard therefore really means finding suitable interfaces between the existing technologies.



The Right Roof For You

CHOOSING A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD Understanding the long term impact a new roof can have on your home By Nick Boulton, Director, Trussed Rafter Association (TRA)



hile it may not be as glamorous as choosing a fitted kitchen or selecting the latest bathroom style, the decisions you make about your new roof can have a significant influence on the long term value of your new home and its annual running costs. There are potentially many types of roof construction to choose from, but selecting Trussed Rafters means the structural elements are custom built in a factory and delivered prefabricated to site exactly when required. Here are some tips and hints to consider when thinking about your new roof. Do make sure you plan ahead, as with many decisions in modern life, giving yourself the time to consider and make the right choices will give you the greatest opportunity to select the right products and purchase them at the most cost effective price. This is especially true with Trussed Rafters as the design process allows you to customise their style and performance to get exactly what you need. Do seek out the best advice. There is no better way to male decisions about your roof than to discuss the options with a member of the TRA. Roof design is what our members do every day so they have the expertise to answer your questions quickly and easily, perhaps making suggestions that you had not previously considered. TRA members are happy to assist in your design process to help minimise the overall cost and maximise roof utilisation and

performance. Many members also provide a full design and roof truss erection service. As part of your early project planning, it is really important to think about how you want to use your roof and the space within it. Clearly it is highly important to important to keep the weather out, but this said, the space it encloses can provide the opportunity for an extra room or rooms. This room in the roof concept has become increasingly popular as the cost of available housing sites have rocketed in price. Attic trusses provide an ideal solution for projects which include a room in the roof. More information is provided below. Do think about the environmental aspects of your roof as there are two important considerations in this regard. Firstly insulation, as most housing experts would now agree that maximising the levels of insulation within the fabric of your new home, especially the roof, is the most cost effective way of lowering energy bills. Optimising the Trussed Rafter design can help to provide the additional space necessary to incorporate significant levels of insulation emphasising the point that a little forward planning can have a big impact on driving energy bills down. Another environmental aspect to consider is the use of renewable energy with Government schemes such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) or Feed-In Tariff Scheme (FITs) making the use of solar thermal and/ or solar PV economically attractive. From a roof perspective however; June 2014 I Self Build Homes



The Right Roof For You

probably the most critical aspect is the extra structural load that such equipment will impose. So whether you are planning to include renewable energy as part of the initial build or further down the line, do make sure you discuss this aspect with the trussed rafter designer. They can then take this potential additional load into account within the initial design as changes later could be complex and potentially expensive. Additional rooms within the roof undoubtedly offer the residents concerned considerable extra living space that can be


adapted to a wide variety of purposes. In a similar manner to the way the nation is finally rediscovering the value of cellars or basements, Self builders are increasingly making use of the loft as a versatile additional space for a growing family or luxury on suite bedroom. Significantly, timber trussed rafters represent a proven technology based on the use of a sustainable raw material, manufactured under closely controlled factory conditions. Attic trusses are a natural extension of this approach to

modern methods of construction. Though the timber sections are inevitably larger than for conventional roof trusses to cope with the long clear spans and imposed loads - the additional cost is minimal in relation to the value of additional living space achieved. TRA members offer the complete design exercise for the roof trusses to ensure they meet all the size and loading constraints placed upon them. The manufacturer’s design departments employ the latest specialised software packages to analyse the


A quarter of all the heat in your home is lost through the roof if your loft is not insulated. The recommended depth of insulation to maximise the energy saving in your home is 270mm but if you have less, we can simply top it up. Installing loft insulation is easy and hassle free and you’ll feel the benefits straight away! We also install Cavity, Internal and External Wall Insulation too!


Helping YOU save money on your heating bills!

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The Right Roof For You


Sheet No.6 May 2007

C R E AT I N G R O O F S C A P E S W I T H TRUSSED RAFTERS Trussed Rafters have become part of the modern building vocabulary. Around 95% of all new house roofs are constructed using trussed rafters as are an increasing proportion of roofs for nondomestic premises such as offices, retail outlets, hospital extensions, leisure developments etc. The trussed rafter form of construction is well known for its economy, off site prefabrication, speed of erection and the minimal environmental impact of its timber base. What is not always so readily recognised is the flexibility and adaptability of the system and its ability to cope with a wide range of roof shapes such as hips, intersections, corners etc without the need for any special forms of construction. The variation in roofing styles possible with trussed rafters is unlimited.

‘T’ intersection


Fig. 1 Flat top hip

Hip boards to be birdsmouthed over the compound girder of flat top trusses and over the wallplate

Lateral bracing

Within this Product Data Sheet are a series of standard details of differing roof styles. These are the most commonly constructed roof shapes and the detailed solutions indicate a way of achieving them. It must be stressed that these are not absolute solutions but simply give an idea of how roofscapes may be easily achieved.

Compound girder of flat top trusses permanently fixed together

Infill ceiling joists

It is hoped that by showing these few solutions users and specifiers will see that many differing roof profiles may be solved using the same simple, readydesigned techniques. However, it must be stressed that each specific case will have its own individual characteristics and readers are strongly recommended to contact a TRA Member fabricator/designer as early as possible in a project in order to discuss a detailed solution.


Infill jack rafters to be a minimum of 25mm deeper than trussed rafter rafter members to allow for birdsmouthing at wallplate

Standard trusses to main roof

Monopitch trusses supplied wth extended rafters for site cutting to suit hip boards

Jack rafters shown in part only for clarity

Noggings to be nailed to ceiling joist and side of jack rafter


Set of multiple diminishing valley frames nailed directly to the main trussed rafters. (The internal members of the valley frames are omitted for clarity)

Fig. 2 Typical ‘T’ intersection Standard trusses with eaves overhang removed on ‘T’ side

Overlaid hip


Dutch or Barn hip

Mono ‘L’ return/hip

Flat top trusses supplied with extended rafters for site cutting to suit hip boards

Standard trusses to main roof

A Duopitch


Compound girder of ‘Howe’ trusses permanently fixed together

‘L’ return


If a loadbearing wall or beam is available to span between positions A-A to support the standard trusses of the main roof, the ‘Howe’ girder can be substituted by a standard truss on the ‘T’ return roof

PA G E 2

loading conditions and provide accurate cutting schedules to the factory floor ensuring that each and every trussed rafter is manufactured to exactly the size and shape required for the job in hand. Once on site the prefabricated trusses can be lifted into place by a crane, with the installer being able to complete the majority of the installation from the safety of the surrounding scaffolding and temporary decking systems which are now readily available. Where budgets are tight, you may feel the fitting out costs of an additional on suite bedroom are a step too far. It may however still be valuable to consider the long view and perhaps take the far-sighted step of specifying attic trusses atop a new property without actually fitting out the rooms or even installing a staircase. Thereby, for a relatively small outlay at the time of construction, a substantial asset has been created to facilitate flexibility for the future use of a dwelling. Environmental considerations in relation to the roof are not just about renewable energy but also wider considerations including the energy required to create, manufacture and deliver the construction materials. In this respect trussed rafters are highly engineered components that 50

combine structural timber with engineered joint components to provide a structural framework to support a roof, offering a versatile and cost-effective roofing option. As wood is a truly renewable building resource, using timber trussed rafters can make a positive contribution to the environmental impact of a self build development. Trussed rafters are predominantly made from softwood from Sweden and Finland where both countries have a long track record in managing forest resources sustainably. Where Buyers want further confirmation FSC and PEFC certification schemes can provide an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood products that the wood used is from sustainably-managed forests. The Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) encourages its members to achieve chain of custody certification and supports the use of sustainably-sourced timber for trussed rafters. In response many TRA members offer this additional assurance and can deliver PEFC or FSC certified timber trusses via the Chain of Custody schemes they have in place. Buyers are reminded to always stipulate their full environmental requirements at order stage as these can not be achieved retrospectively. In addition to using sustainably-

sourced timber, highly-engineered designs, which are made possible by the use of sophisticated software, mean that trusses are designed to minimise timber wastage by using less timber than traditional ‘cut’ roofs - saving on both forest resources and energy usage. The trussed rafter manufacturing process is advanced and efficient, which helps to reduces energy usage and emissions. Timber trussed rafters also have greater thermal and energy efficiency than some other competitor materials such as steel, aluminium and concrete. At first glance, one timber trussed rafter looks much the same as the next - and the same might be said for truss manufacturers. However, just as each trussed rafter is custom-designed, each manufacturer is different. There can be as much variation in quality, professionalism and value-formoney in the trussed rafter industry as there is in any other sector of industry. One way of ensuring peace of mind is to use truss suppliers which are members of the Trussed Rafter Association (TRA), the professional body whose members represent the majority of UK truss production. The TRA not only represents the interests of its members but also requires that each member satisfies a set of minimum standards for quality and professionalism.

Fig. 3 Typical ‘L’ return

Fig. 5 Dogleg intersection Ridgeboard

Lateral bracing

Set of multiple mono valley frames (smallest omitted for clarity)

Purlin support securely nailed to internal truss member. Minimum size to be 60mm x width of compound truss

Ridgeboard Ridgeboard support ledgers nailed to compound girder trusses

Purlin Compound girder truss

Standard trusses to main roof

Compound girder of flat top trusses permanently fixed together

Binders Infill ceiling joists Compound girder of multiple trusses permanently fixed together

Common rafters omitted for clarity Standard trussed rafters to main roof

Fig. 4 Overlaid hip

Set of multiple valley framesincluding two special flat top frames to spread imposed load

Standard trusses with eaves overhang removed on hip side

Standard trussed rafters

Infill rafters to be 25mm deeper than trussed rafter member to allow for birdsmouthing at purlin and wallplate

Compound girder trusses permanently fixed together

The five roofscapes illustrated on this Product Data Sheet are those most commonly constructed. There are many other ways of framing hips, corners, and intersections etc with trussed rafters. Please contact your TRA trussed rafter fabricator for details. Throughout this document required wind and stability bracing has been omitted for clarity

This product Data Sheet has been produced to give some ideas on how trussed rafter construction may be adapted in order to provide a range of roof intersections within the overall roof structure. However, it must be stressed that these are typical solutions and each roof will have its own individual characteristics, readers are strongly recommended to contact a TRA Member fabricator/designer as early as possible in a project in order to discuss a detailed solution.

Standard trusses to main roof

Compound girder of flat top trusses permanently fixed together

More details on trussed rafter construction are contained within the TRA ‘Technical Hanbook’ which is a priced publication available from the Trussed Rafter Association at the address given below.

Hip boards to be birdsmouthed over compound girder of flat top trusses and over wallplate

The guidelines within this Data Sheet are issued in good faith but without liability and its use is entirely at the user’s risk.

PA G E 3


All manufacturer members are required to have an approved quality assurance system and professional indemnity insurance in place. This ensures that customers can have confidence in TRA members and their products and it gives our members a distinct advantage in the marketplace. An approved Quality Assurance system will reassure you as the customer that the trussed rafter manufacturer you plan to engage has the professional ability to produce quality products and services. Although there are some manufacturers out there which are not TRA members and do have both PI insurance and quality assurance certification in place, there are some which have one but not the other and self builders should always be aware that there are a few that have neither. The point is that if you use a company which is a member of the TRA, you don’t have to check – you know that they have the right insurance and QA in place. Remember, the choice of a trussed rafter roof gives you the opportunity and flexibility to incorporate the style and features you want at an affordable price.

The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, London WC1E 7BT Tel: 020 3205 0032

PA G E 4

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: Trussed Rafter Association June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Building Control

Building your dream home? Speak to us first!


Once you have planning permission you are required by law to submit a seperate Building Regulations application and we are happy to advise you.

trouble and expense. When you are ready to start on site, we will agree a schedule of inspections to enable us to check the works at critical stages of construction and help you and your builder with any technical queries as the build progresses. We offer a same day inspection service and are always just at the end of the telephone. At the end of the project we will provide you with a completion certificate, which you will need when you come to sell your home and we will retain copies of both your plans and certificate should you need them in the future.

What we do

Peace of mind

tarting a self-build project can seem daunting as you arrange specialist finance, identify and purchase the land and draw up a budget. Yet, building your dream home needn’t be as overwhelming as your local authority building control team are on hand to help you manage your project from beginning to end.

I have planning permission is that enough?

The building control process ensures your new home is safe, well-built and energy efficient, reaching the required standards. It is there to safeguard your dream home. Our team will check your plans to ensure your proposed design meet the building standards including; structural integrity, fire safety, acoustic performance, ventilation, accessibility and energy efficiency. Identifying problems at this stage will save you time, 52

We can help protect you and your money, are completely impartial and offer a not-forprofit service. To find your local authority building control surveyor contact to make a building control application.


EcoBuildingNews_APRIL_v4b_Layout 1 16/04/2012 17:11 Page 11

April 2012



The Icynene Insulation System makes its mark on reducing UK energy and heating bills

GMS Insulations Ltd are UK importers and distributors of The Icynene Insulation System from Toronto Canada. Icynene is soft flexible spray foam insulation suitable for residential, commercial and industrial properties and is ideal for walls, floors and roofs. Icynene expands to 100 times its initial


shape and design while at the same time

and non breathable roof membranes and

volume and insulated every unusual delivering a high level of air tightness.

Icynene is the insulation of choice for “hard to heat, hard to treat properties” and has been used by a number of

housing associations and residential

owners to insulate difficult areas and historic buildings such as lath and plaster and existing dry lined walls

The Icynene Insulation System is the market leading spray foam insulation

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over time and each application comes with a lifetime guarantee offering up to

50% greater energy savings over





application to the underside of breathable felts in addition to sarking boards.

The Icynene range of product include

Icynene Classic, Icynene Pour fill for enclosed cavities and Icynene MD-R range of products which are medium to high density rigid foams.

Icynene is supplied and fitted by a

professional accredited network of contractors throughout the UK


support this product and contractor

network we provide initial training, continuous monitoring and on-going

support including technical support, we offer RIBA approved CPD presentation

to industry professionals in addition to marketing and trade show attendance.

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Reducing Energy Costs

Save with Loft Insulation As much as a third of the heat that householders are paying for could be escaping through the roof By: Duncan Murray



ost loft insulation materials work by preventing the movement of heated air through the material. The Government say that householders can cut their energy bill by up to 20% through effectively insulating their loft. • Loft insulation is located between the joists on the loft floor of a the property • The main materials used by installers are Blown Mineral Wool (Glass or Rock Wool), Blown Cellulose (Recycled Newspaper), Quilted Mineral Wool (Glass or Rock Wool) • The recommended depth for loft insulation is 270 millimetres for glass wool, 250 millimetres for rock wool or 220 millimetres for cellulose. • Loft Insulation can help lower heating bills, lower wear and tear on a boiler and reduce global warming and climate change • Loft insulation is effective for at least 40 years, and it will pay for itself over and over again in that time • Loft Insulation can give an annual saving of between £15 to £250* • There are a number of grants and schemes available to home owners which can substantially reduce the cost of installing these products. Neil Marshall, Chief Executive of the National Insulation Association answers the most common questions about Loft Insulation. Q. What is the recommended thickness for loft insulation? A. The current regulations under the EEC programme states that a minimum 270mm of loft insulation is required. Q. I already have some insulation in the loft but it is not very thick, will this have to be removed or can it be topped up? A. Any existing insulation can be left in the loft and an additional layer added to it to bring it up to the required minimum thickness. It does not matter how long the existing insulation has been in the loft it still retains its insulant value. Q. I use my loft for storage but need to get it insulated, can I do this? A. Once the loft has been insulated to a minimum 270mm thickness the ceiling joists will no longer be visible making the roof space hazardous to anyone attempting to enter. However it is possible to arrange for additional joists and floor boarding to be fixed via a local joiner to help maintain your storage area. If you already have a boarded area of no more

than a third of the loft area the installers will work around it and leave it uncovered. Q. I have electrical cables in the loft. Will these be a hazard in anyway? A. Apart from any cables feeding a shower unit they will not. A cable, which feeds a shower unit, is usually a 30amp. The installers will identify this and make sure this cable is not covered by the insulation by either laying the cable on top if there is enough flex or leaving a gap in the insulation around the cable to ensure it does not overheat. Q. I have sloping areas and flat roof areas within my property. Can these be insulated? A. It is not always possible to do these areas. The reason being is that the timbers within these areas need to breathe and if loft insulation is fitted in these areas it can block the airflow off altogether. Access to these areas is usually minimal if at all existent. However every property has to be treated on an individual basis and the surveyor will make an assessment when visiting the property and advise accordingly. Q. My roof space is not big enough for an installer to stand up in. Will this be a problem? A. It is very common that roof spaces are not big enough for anyone to stand up in. This is not usually a problem as the installers are usually working in a kneeling position on walkboards. Many companies within the industry work to a 1.4m height minimum for installers to gain access. It is very rare that a roof space is less than this.

The Next step

The NIA is urging householders to contact an NIA member to find out if their home requires additional insulation and for details of help with paying for insulation measures through the current Government cashback scheme or Energy Company Obligation (ECO). 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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: To find a local NIA member and details on the Cashback scheme, householders and landlords should visit the NIA website or call 08451 636363. *These are estimates based on insulating a gasheated home with either a totally uninsulated loft, or topping up existing insulation from 100mm to 270mm. Energy Saving Trust.

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Tec7 has become the Number 1 choice for the trade person and DIY enthusiasts because they know “It gets the job done first time every time” Even under water. Because of its overall strength, flexibility, sealing and mounting quality, customers know that Tec7 sticks to almost all building materials, including most plastics and with each cartridge containing 310ml of product, they are getting better value compared to most other MS Polymer’s on the market. With customers expecting high quality from the Tec7 range of products, the new spray cleaner introduced last September as part of the range is no exception. This Unique All Purpose fast acting Foam Spray Cleaner is ideal for professional use, for cleaning up after any job, on tiles, counter tops, glass to name just a few along with being perfect around the house on windows, cooker hobs, shower doors, stainless steel and mirrors as it does not contain any abrasives, it will even remove nicotine or pencils marks from a wide variety of materials. Multi-Clean7 is also ideal for cleaning your car, on dashboards, carpets or fabrics without leaving any traces. Look out for the Special Offer Multi-Clean7 & GT7 200ml Twin Pack available for a limited time or while stocks last. 016292963 or join us on Facebook.

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Did you know…… A quarter of all the heat in your home is lost through the roof if your loft is not insulated. The recommended depth of insulation to maximise the energy saving in your home is 270mm but if you have less, we can simply top it up. Installing loft insulation is easy and hassle free and you´ll feel the benefits straight away! We also install Cavity, Internal and External Wall Insulation too! JMC Green - helping YOU save money on your heating bills!


Since introduction to the UK market, TapcoSlate has rapidly established itself as an extremely attractive and a cost effective, easily fixed alternative to natural slate for many new-build, renovation, conservatory, extension, garden room and atrium projects. Of course it is common knowledge that some natural slate can be purchased very cheaply, but with what inherent caveats? Top-of-the-range imported slate is more expensive, and Welsh slate, although highly desirable, remains an exclusive and seldom-obtained, high-cost product. BBA certified TapcoSlate, with its’ many benefits, advantages and dry-fix accessories lends itself to the self-build market place for those seeking to differentiate their property.


At Sterling Bathrooms we specialise in the full installation of bathrooms, cloakrooms and shower rooms. We also offer a supply only service where you can buy many bathroom products from leading bathroom brands such as Laufen, Vitra, Aqualisa, Hafele and Karndean.

Our ethos has always been ‘a family business offering you the service you deserve’. Whether a tap change or a full bathroom installation, we pride ourselves on the care and attention our customers receive from the moment they walk through the door to the completion of their bathroom installation.

Sterling Bathrooms I 8 Queens Road I Farnborough I Hampshire I GU14 6DN Tel: 01252 518818 I

Have you seen our new website?


Luxury Living


The design brief was to create a contemporary house in a fantastic setting that was not isolated and was easy to live in, either full or part time.



his beautiful contemporary home has been a project of one couple for the past year and was designed by the architects Sadler Brown, recognised for their Grand Designs work and with overall garden planning by Chelsea Flower Show prize winner, Alastair Baldwin. The property was built by a local builder of repute and carefully overseen by the owners and architect with great attention to detail. It has very high insulation ratings and benefits from its sunny south facing aspect, with fantastic panoramic views. The house is presented to the very highest standard and has a harmonious interior feel with clever use of space. The property has a Heat Recovery System, solar panels and underfloor heating. A Nuvo sound system is installed throughout the house and Lutron mood lighting system manages lighting in the main living area. With the substantial use of glass and neutral colour schemes, a light and airy atmosphere has been created without the sacrifice of any functional amenity or comfort. The kitchen and laundry room are fitted with the latest Miele and Neff appliances. The garden floor is wired for a home cinema or could be used as a separate apartment, business area or children’s play area, and all rooms have their own panoramic sea and village views. The house is wired for televisions and Wi Fi throughout and the snug has a large wall mounted TV. A top of the range security system is also installed. No expense was spared when the couple started their project, and the end results really have to be seen, to be believed! At the time of printing this property is currently on the market with Strutt & Parker. If you are looking for an exceptional Architect designed home, with outstanding views, then look no further!

FOR MORE INFORMATION: telephone 020 7629 7282

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Luxury Living



Lyme Bay House is in a spectacular position on the west side of the historic fishing village of Beer. From the property there are open views over the village, Beer beach and to the Dorset coast and Portland Bill in the distance. Beer is a gem of a fishing village with a sun trap south facing cove, summer beach cafes and an active sailing club noted for its hosting the World International 14’s Championship. It is located in the heart of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast in the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is peaceful not being on any through road and is special for a small community with its wide range of shops, galleries, restaurants and pubs. Fresh fish and seafood can be purchased from the fishermens’ shop on the beach. Beer is not a community that closes in the winter and has a lovely atmosphere all year round. The coastal town of Seaton provides a wider range of facilities, whilst the delightful town of Lyme Regis, also on the Jurassic Coast, with its literary and artistic


connections, is about 8 miles away. The cathedral city and county town of Exeter is approximately 22 miles away and offers an extensive range of cultural, educational and recreational facilities. A John Lewis store opened in 2012 enhancing the recently developed Princesshay centre with its open piazzas of restaurants, cafés and shops. Exeter also has a fine university. Entrance lobby • Living room with open plan kitchen and dining area Study • Snug • Pantry • Utility room • Cloakroom • Galleried library Master bedroom with a dressing room and en suite bathroom • 3 further bedrooms each with an en-suite bath or shower rooms Cinema/play room • Shower room • Laundry • Extensive storage rooms • Roof terrace • Superb balconies and terraces • Ample parking and turning for several vehicles.


The garden is easy to maintain and surrounds

the property. There is a built in irrigation system using grey water collected from the roof and a large hot tub in a private sun trap setting. The terraces are large and perfect for entertaining including a very large roof terrace with a truly sensational view across Lyme Bay. Sidmouth 7 miles, Lyme Regis 8 miles, Exeter 22 miles


Lyme Bay House commands the most exciting location in Beer with possibly the best sea view outlook of Lyme Bay in East Devon whilst being only 300 metres from the village centre and beach.


Strictly by confirmed appointment with the vendor’s agents, Strutt & Parker. Tel: 01392 215631 24 Southernhay West Exeter, EX1 1PR

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Fulham Showroom

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82-84 New Kings Road 21 Lydden Road, Wandsworth Fulham, London, SW6 4LU London, SW18 4LTUK

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t: 020 8874 2234 e:


Modern Ethnic Design



hat interested me most in the beginning when choosing a house builder was the fixed time scale and the fixed budget”, says Jayesh Patel who is an Investment Manager in London. He and his wife Ameeta have Indian roots. They both love architecture and interiors. “However, house building has a very bad image in the UK: the builders take much longer than projected and the cost always goes much higher than budgeted – a nightmare! We did not want that kind of hassle.”


At the Grand Designs Live Show, they saw an example of a Baufritz show home. They were impressed by the build quality and decided to visit the factory in Germany. “Building a home means dealing with people” says Jayesh. “We felt we could really trust the people we met; they seemed very professional and knowledgeable. Back in the UK, we visited some of the houses built by Baufritz and were very impressed. Finally we decided: this is the only way we should build a house. It simply felt right.” Jayesh bought a mature woodland lot in a town in the Greater London area. The idea

was to design a house that incorporates views of the garden from most rooms. Today, his favourite place is the living room from where he oversees the garden, a water feature in the hallway and the rest of the house. As he works from home most of the time he enjoys the inspiring view of the trees. “It is a very peaceful relaxing atmosphere. Anybody who comes to visit us comments that they feel very chilled out here – due to the design, the interaction with nature and the natural materials in this healthy home.” The Patels were inspired to build a house by the modern architecture they saw in the

June 2014 I Self Build Homes




dential to and the property of Urban Curve Architecture Limited

Modern Ethnic Design

Far East – Bali, Singapore and Malaysia. They wanted to bring some of the ideas to London, like a courtyard effect inspired by one of their favourite hotels in Bali or the long slit front windows from the roof to the ground they saw in a hotel in Thailand. Another idea was to connect the prayer room above the entrance with a bridge to the rest of the upper floor. It is the most modern house in the area. During the build week they had invited friends and neighbours to watch, and nobody could believe what they were seeing. The whole house went up in three and a half days. The council came to visit and was very pleased with the construction method and all the eco-friendly aspects. “All houses should be constructed in this way” they commented.


Grey Powder Coated Aluminium Windows

White Render

14414 5500

The Copyright in this document and design is confidential to and the property of Urban Curve Architecture Limited








8914 276












Stone Cladding






4963 1873

















11914 3102










350 2501














Clks SVP





2425 156 2149









1570 960 156

156 1880



Living Room














Terrace RWP








FFL 115.95

Baufritz Construction


Drawing Title

Mr and Mrs V Patel 351 651




Drawing No.


1680 Date

1:100 @ A4


33 Adelaide Close, Stanmore


Front and Rear Elevations

319 650

4200 Scale.

Project Title

3753 14415






2444 1080


350 1130


NB Rev.


REV: C Date: Mar 13 Notes: Utility Layout a REV: B Date: Mar 13 Notes: Kitchen Layout REV: A Date: Dec 12 Notes: RWP, SVPs an



Drawing Title

Proposed Ground Floor

Mr and Mrs V Patel Scale.

1:100 @ A4

Project Title

33 Adelaide Close, Stanmore

Drawing No.



Jan 12

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.

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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:

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Modo Vitro is a range of new single glazed conservatories from IQ Glass.

H E OUTSIDE IN June 2014 I Self Build Homes





he slim aluminium framing is highly durable and allows maximum glass exposure to reduce the feeling of being enclosed and merging your Modo Vitro with your garden and external space. Frameless glass panels can be used on all three open sides of your Modo Vitro conservatory which can be slid or folded away neatly to open out your conservatory to the garden. The Modo Vitro glass extension can be shaped and designed to suit your building shape, with the option for the roof to overhang for drainage and different corner details to suit your garden and house shape.


Included in the Modo Vitro range are a collection of stylish awning and shading solutions. Integrated into the minimal aluminium framing you can easily protect your Modo Vitro Conservatory from the sun at the touch of a button.


For nights the integral LED lighting strips are 68

a great option. Either for entertaining or for a quiet night in the Led lights are built into the aluminium supports of the Modo Vitro glass box and cast a gentle light over your glass extension. The light bars are remote control operated with the function to dim the lights to suit the atmosphere.


For cooler nights you could choose to have the Modo Vitro heating lamp within your glass box. The Infra-red radiant heat lamp fixes internally to your Modo Vitro and baths the glass box with a gentle heated glow.


Within the slim framed glass roof of the Modo Vitro you have the option to include ventilation panels to help keep the internal environment fresh. Choose between a hinged venting roof panel or a sliding roof section to open up whole panel in the glass roof.


a total solution for architectural glazing




• atriums • facades • canopies • partitions

• rooflights • balustrade • conservatories • walk on floors

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Lignia-Hybrid. The best of both worlds. Our exclusive Lignia-Hybrid system combines the high performance of an aluminium exterior with the luxury of a Lignia timber interior. We can offer windows, doors, bi-folding doors, conservatories and atriums in this highly energy efficient system. Lignia-Hybrid is the next generation solution for glazing. Part of Totali Timber Solutions Ltd. t: 01977 608 069 w: e:


Use your IQ

Eco Windows & Doors

Eco Windows and Doors…. It used to conjure images of thick timber frames, chunky profiles and European inward only opening windows. Words: Rebecca Clayton, Images: IQ Glass.


n a market led economy innovation follows demand and as building regulations thermal efficiency standards get tougher and builders want to build sustainable eco-friendly homes building materials have undergone a similar forward push toward more sustainable solutions. When looking into the windows and doors to a build, any type whether thermal efficiency is a factor to you or not, it is always important to understand the terminology used for windows and doors. A U-Value is the generic term used to describe the thermal performance or efficiency of a window or glazed installation, it is noted in W/m2K and measures the amount of energy passing through a window per meter squared at normal temperatures. But the term ‘u-value’ is very vague and can actually refer to a few


different aspects of a window. The Ug value is the centre pane thermal performance of a glass unit; this can be improved using glass solutions such as triple glazing or altering the glass specification used. The Psi Value measures the thermal performance of the spacer bar used in the insulated glass unit, products like Warm Edge spacers or Swiss spacers can be used for an increased thermal break performance within the unit. The Uf value refers to the thermal performance of the framing used. All of these individual elements come together to form the overall thermal performance for a window which is known as the Uw. This is the value that is referred to as the U-value by building regulations and various other building codes, such as Code for Sustainable Homes. Calculating a Uw

value is not a straightforward endeavour as the calculation also depends on the size and configuration of a window or glazed door. Also the way that a frame is installed will affect the thermal performance of the installation. If a framing section is finished flush and hidden by the building materials then it is insulated and the overall thermal performance of the installation is improved. The lower these values the less energy transfers through the material so the more energy efficient. Nowadays it is realistically possible to install windows and doors that have a Uw value of 0.8 W/m2K whilst maintaining a contemporary or high design appearance. When using a metal material as a framing material for windows or glazed doors a ‘thermal break’ needs to be inserted within

the framing profile to stop any cold bridging from the outside of a space to the inside. As metal is largely an easy conductor of heat if frames were installed without a thermal break heat would easily transfer from the inside of a space through the framing to outside and reduce the performance of the installation. This would also create a cold internal frame which can lead to condensation build up on the internal framing and damage internal surfaces Quality thermal breaks are usually made from a plastic based material such as a polyamide and mechanically fixed between two elements of the framing profile, essentially sandwiching a thermal break between two pieces of metal framing. In some framing solutions where thermal breaks will be seen, such as bi fold doors or

casement windows, these thermal breaks can be coloured to match the framing so you don’t see any visual difference. Sliding doors afford the most minimal sightlines in all thermal ranges of products and this is still the case with highly thermal efficiency sliding glass doors. These normally use a metal framing in aluminium with a thermal break. Using an aluminium framework you can get still get slim vertical sightlines, down to 26mm, with flush floor and ceiling thresholds but by using a glass panel with a lower Ug value, such as a triple glazed unit, it is possible for these windows and doors to achieve a Uw value of 0.8 W/ m2K. Additionally because these types of minimal framed doors normally have all surrounding framework hidden therefore the Uf value is also improved.

Because of the extra glass weight and the slightly more robust framing most aluminium framed sliding glass doors can hold up to 12m2 of glass per sliding panel. Large glass panels really give you the wow factor to any level of project with minimal design expense and effort. Triple glazing is the most effective way of achieve a better and more efficient Ug value. By using a third panel of glass you are sealing a secondary gas cavity into the glazing unit and creating a second thermal barrier for heat to escape through. Timber is widely known for its natural thermal efficiency and as such has been used for years as an effective window and door framing material. Unfortunately timber has an inherent downfall – maintenance. The upkeep and maintenance of timber frames June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Use your IQ

is part of the movement toward aluminium framing profiles which are much easier to clean and have a longer lifespan. To counteract this you can opt for a flush glazed casement, using a highly thermally performing timber frame but the glass of the unit is stepped over the framing, protecting it from any external environment creating a fully glazed external appearance where all framing is hidden. Using triple glazed units for a low Ug value will further improve this thermal efficiency. The external of the three panes of glass is stepped over the internal framing Again it is possible to achieve Uw values down to around 0.8 W/m2K depending on the framing material used and quality of the window manufacture. This type of window design is a bit more versatile than a standard sliding system and can be specified in almost any window configuration desired such as side hung windows, French doors, lift and slide door and bi folding doors. All whilst maintaining a flush and uniform external appearance. Eco Doors and Windows are all about the quality of the glass and framing used and the quality of the manufacture to ensure no thermal bridging, and the quality of the installation. But these elements are worth the investment and help towards providing a sustainable home that will last the years.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: visit or telephone 01494 722 880 72



qua Platinum Projects were proud to be involved in a recent Grand Designs project for Channel 4. This project was a new build development in Camden, Central London, the house being built in a contemporary, modern style, with a focus on creating a spacious family home. The house was designed to be carbonneutral for a sustainable and green lifestyle. Polypool insulated panels were a perfect choice for this design due to the high insulating quality,with 96% heat retention and an overall U-value of the pool of 0.18.

Therefore the swimming pool has low energy use and low running costs. Two thirds of the building is situated below ground to maximise the living space within the land available. Over the past two years Aqua Platinum have played a key role in the design of the leisure suite in the basement substructure of the house which includes a lap pool 12 x 2 meters, gymnasium and sauna. The pool was installed in August last year with a liner finish and a salt water chlorinator which will sanitise and disinfect the pool water. This system uses a smaller amount of chemicals in comparison to a

conventional chlorine sanitizer so is better for the environment. The insulated panels were the perfect choice for this type of project where access can be an issue, as the panels can be carried downstairs easily into the basement. Combined with the ease of installation, low running costs, design and project management meant that Aqua Platinum and the Polypool insulated panels were the ideal solution for this type of project.


June 2014 I Self Build Homes


By: Sallie Golding


Dream Pools

Turning your PART 1 Dream into a Reality

If you dream of owning your own pool, the reality is nearer than you may think!


Stone surround in Gold Grey Jerusalem Limestone from Lapicida Price from ÂŁ95.94 inc vat per square metre. June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Dream Pools

Trex transcend eco decking in Gravel Path’ from Arbor Deck.

XL Pools 2014 SPATA Award Winner


Rio Pool Construction Co Ltd 2014 SPATA Award Winner


nstalling a pool is a major undertaking and needs careful planning and construction, if you are to reap the rewards of your investment. The size and specification of your dream pool will affect the cost; therefore, this guide has been designed to outline the options available and to help you to decide on the type of pool appropriate to your own needs.

your budget. Small children grow up remarkably quickly, their circle of friend’s increases, so they are likely to use the pool more often. Pools are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, mainly dictated by budget and site considerations. Before making your final decision, take advice wfrom an experienced and approved contractor or architect.

Position, Shape and Size


Ensure your chosen pool position benefits from maximum exposure to sunlight, avoiding trees and other foliage which could overshadow the pool or shed leaves and other debris into the pool. Don’t build the pool too far from your house - a lengthy cross garden trek can take the edge off the enjoyment of your own pool! It’s also imperative to plan for the future, go for the largest pool that is practical for you, within

There are three basic methods of pool construction, each with its own merits: 1. H  ard finish. A strong, waterproof reinforced concrete shell finished with tiles, mosaic, marblite or special paint. 2. L  iner finish. A tailor-made PVC liner provides the necessary waterproofing, avoiding the need for heavy structural reinforced base. Correctly designed and

installed, liners are crease and wrinkle free and are available in a range of different qualities and attractive finishes. 3. Glass Fibre/Ceramic. A one-piece moulded swimming pool shell that is strong, durable and requires minimal maintenance. However, the choice also extends to the consideration of having an above ground pool, which may be more appropriate to meet budget and garden size requirements. Not to be confused with the basic, low cost ‘splasher’ pools, high quality above ground pools are available in a range of shapes and sizes that will offer years of fun and enjoyment. Often supplied complete with their own filtration system, good quality above ground pools provide a choice of optional extras such as access ladders, covers and counter current swim systems to create a bigger feel to a smaller pool. June 2014 I Self Build Homes















Dream Pools

Stone surround in Gold Grey Jerusalem Limestone from Lapicida Price from £95.94 inc vat per square metre.

Is Planning Permission Required?

As a guide, outdoor pools, or those housed in a detached building which are for the exclusive enjoyment of the owner of the property, will often be treated as a permitted development and therefore will not require planning consent. To be sure whether your pool will require any type of planning permission, consult your SPATA contractor for advice, or call the relevant Local Authority planning or building control department for further information.

XL Pools 2014 SPATA Award Winner 80

Designing your Dream Pool

Constructing your dream pool is not just about finding a competent builder; it also requires a specialist to design the pool, and if the pool is to be located indoors, a ventilation engineer will be needed to deal with environmental control. A specialist designer will be able to discuss your requirements in detail, carry out a thorough assessment of the plan, draw up a complete schedule of work and supervise the project from start to finish. Besides the practical aspects, a professional

designer can also help make the most of the aesthetic possibilities by creating an environment tailored to your own personal requirements. Since swimming pool water is generally flat and still (at least when the pool is unoccupied), an extra dimension is useful to give it a ‘WOW’ factor. This extra dimension can be provided as height, depth, light, movement and even sound. If you have sufficient space and your budget will allow you to indulge your imagination, elements such as different levels of pool surround, planted areas,

Trex transcend eco decking in Spiced Rum, priced from £75 per metre squared including fixings. Arbor Deck.

• The Aquatrac is a 100% Automatic safety cover • Superb installation and sealing of the pool, i.e. great savings costs, heat retention etc.

• Variety of bespoke cover models to suit all pools • Second to none aftersales care and trade support • Superior finishes which includes a hidden leading edge and a flush pit top

• Personalised printed covers available Tel: 01268 571515 Email: SELF BUILD HOMES HP_Layout 1 29/04/2014 15:40 Page 1

Image courtesy of Harris Pools & Hot Tubs –

If you thought that owning a swimming pool, swim spa or hot tub was beyond the reach of you and your family, then perhaps it’s time to think again. Owning one of these products is more within your reach – and enjoyment – than you’ve ever imagined

For your FREE 116 PAGE BUYERS GUIDE, packed full of ideas, inspiration and products to enhance both your garden and your family’s lifestyle, just register online at


Dream Pools

John Preston Pool & Spa Services 2014 SPATA Award Winner

John Preston Pool & Spa Services 2014 SPATA Award Winner island stepping stones, peninsulas or bathing platforms extending into the pool can all be incorporated. You could even enhance the visual aspect of the pool with waterfalls, water curtains, fountains or bubbling waters. When researching architects and specialist designers, make sure they can undertake the tasks that they are being required to do by you and always ask for references. If possible, go and visit these to see first-hand the quality of their work and to get feedback from the client on how well their installation went. An integrated approach to pool design is a sure way of ensuring that your pool will be trouble free and brings your dream to life!

Covered or Open Pool?

A covered pool increases the amount of time you use the pool throughout the year as well as reducing heating and maintenance costs. However, a covered pool will also incur higher installation costs. Pool enclosures come in a wide variety of forms including telescopic versions which can be rolled back in fine weather; air domes, large ‘conservatories’ and even log cabins! If you do decide on an open pool, you may want to consider enclosing it in the future, and you should bear this in mind when positioning it in your garden.

Heating and Maintenance

The majority of pools are heated, and therefore consideration should be given to the best heating method. Oil and gas boilers and electric heaters may be your first thought but don’t forget other options such as heat pumps, heat exchangers and solar panels, which are more environmentally friendly and can significantly reduce costs and your carbon footprint. Heat retaining covers should be used where possible; however, irregularly shaped pools can sometimes make this difficult. Covers also keep the surface free from debris, insects and leaves. 82


Aqua Platinum Projects were proud to be involved in a recent Grand Designs project for Channel 4 which has been filmed for the new series on Channel 4 and will be aired September 11th at 9 o’clock. This project was a new build development in Camden, Central London. The house was designed to be carbon-neutral for a sustainable and green lifestyle. Polypool insulated panels were a perfect choice for this design due to the high insulating quality, with 96% heat retention and an overall U-value of the pool of 0.18, creating low energy use and low running costs. The ease of installation, low running costs, design and project management meant that Aqua Platinum and the Polypool insulated panels were the ideal solution for this type of project.

A selection of the best



Did you know…… A quarter of all the heat in your home is lost through the roof if your loft is not insulated. The recommended depth of insulation to maximise the energy saving in your home is 270mm but if you have less, we can simply top it up. Installing loft insulation is easy and hassle free and you´ll feel the benefits straight away! We also install Cavity, Internal and External Wall Insulation too! JMC Green - helping YOU save money on your heating bills!

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Dream Pools

Sun Sand Porcelain tiles, priced £55.20 per square metre. Stone & Ceramic Warehouse

Modern pools are so reliable that, in general, if properly looked after the pool, will only need to be emptied for major repair work. The trick to pool maintenance is ‘little and often’ with perhaps only 5-10 minutes per day with an additional 20-30 minutes each week in the summer. Offseason, a properly prepared pool may only need a monthly check.

Accessories and Optional Extras

You want your pool to be as comfortable and attractive as possible, and there is an enormous selection of enhancements and labour-saving devices available on the market. These range from underwater lighting, automatic water top-up, counter current machines and automatic cleaners to diving boards, slides, special deck finishes and poolside furniture. Research what is available and choose the accessories and extras which suit your lifestyle to help you make best use of your investment.

Driftwood wood effect, porcelain flooring available in white, beige, grey and brown. Price £90.00 per square metre. Stone & Ceramic Warehouse

And finally

A well planned and installed pool will give years of pleasure to you, your family and friends and bring great health and enjoyment. Go on - take the plunge! Visit: and take the first step to making your dream a reality! 84

Rockingham Swimming Pools 2014 SPATA Award Winner

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Design & Materials has over 40 years’ experience and has helped thousands of families to build their own home; every style you can imagine from cosy cottages to large country houses, traditional design to cutting edge contemporary and located as far afield as Inverness and Penzance. We pride ourselves on a high level of personal service, customer care and giving sensible budget advice from the outset. Our Head of Design, Beverley Pemberton is recognised as one of the country’s leading house designers and given the opportunity we are confident she can create something special for you. Talk to us you’ll be surprised what we can do for you. or 0484 40 40 400

A selection of the best



All our bathroom furniture is manufactured in our factory in Farnborough, Hampshire. We use only the highest quality wood and the latest acrylic panel technology to produce stunning, durable units that are built to our very own high quality standards. We currently are promoting our Cleopatra bathroom set, it’s our off the shelf, one stop shop for your bathroom. Designed for DIY & home builders, it offers easy installation & a choice of colours & handles. With prices start from £495, can you afford to miss out? You can buy our Cleopatra set in our showroom or via our new online website



The cachet of owning a three-in-one tap at the beginning of its popularity is only one of the benefits of this technology. These taps are the most exciting tap category right now, representing huge growth potential, and as they inevitably become more mainstream, so the consumer will become more demanding. The desire for ever greater functionality has meant that taps are now expected to perform a range of kitchen tasks, and three-in-one boiling water taps are definitely the ‘hottest’ thing at the moment. The genie is out of the bottle now and more manufacturers are launching models to capture some market share. Carron Phoenix 01614 366 280


Danny Davis, operations manager at The Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, (CIPHE) – the professional body for the UK plumbing and heating industry – believes that Salamander’s Home Boost presents the UK plumbing industry with an opportunity: “There are over a million combiboilers installed each year, and for many installations poor flow can be a problem. A common solution is to replace the incoming mains water supply, which can be laborious and can be cost prohibitive. “I can envisage Salamander Home Boost providing a much simpler solution for home owners, those living in smaller houses and especially those living in flats, where space is limited and the replacement of a mains water supply could be very difficult.”


The busiest room in your home, the bathroom needs to provide a space that exudes luxury, creates calm and maintains the integrity of your home. With this in, mind installations of cutting-edge next generation bathrooms featuring wet rooms, walk-in showers, steam showers and underfloor heating are on the rise. Rather than having a built-in, UPVCenclosed and often small shower cubicle, the bathroom itself effectively acts as the enclosure – hence a ‘wet room’ – and are ideal for those wanting to maximise the space available and create a unique layout. Substrate preparation and waterproofing, however, are essentially important aspects of any bathroom or wet room, ensuring that water only goes where you want it to go.

Schlüter 01530 813 396

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Choosing a New Staircase

Feature Staircases

The staircase often provides the big ‘wow factor’. By: Iain McIlwee, British Woodworking Federation Chief Executive

Bisca Designs, built this one-off staircase, truly a work of art! 88


hen you first walk into any building, the stunning visual impression made by a well crafted timber staircase is undeniable. In addition to the familiar standard ‘double stringer’ design there are many other design options to add character and style and to suit every building type, from heritage homes to the most contemporary masterpiece. However, the staircase is one of the most common areas for accidents in a UK home. This liability means that all stairs must be manufactured to a high standard and installed correctly in order to boost safety. Too often the need to do a bit of ‘value engineering’ on the project is overriding the original specification, and the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Stair Scheme is warning of the risks this may pose. The BWF Stair Scheme aims to raise standards and awareness of stair safety. The scheme, which is now estimated to cover over

60% of the timber stairs market, requires manufacturers to ensure all stairs comply with current building regulations and meet relevant performance requirements. There are many issues to consider when designing a staircase, including complex technical requirements. The ‘Approved Document K: Protection from falling, collision and impact’, assists with this. While it doesn’t cover every eventuality and can at times conflict with other technical standards, this document draws together elements in other parts of the Building Regulations to provide guidance on issues such as the rise and going and construction of steps, headroom, width and length of a flight of stairs, landing areas, handrails and guarding. It is imperative that both designers and self-builders become very familiar with these requirements to ensure the successful design and installation of stairs. It is essential that the self-builder consults with the staircase manufacturer throughout

the design process to ensure any potential mishaps are avoided. Dimensions must be accurate and changes to the building or stair must be discussed immediately as this could hinder the installation of the staircase. Once designed and manufactured, careful delivery of the stair should be arranged. And once on site, the staircase can be installed straight away (but should be protected if construction works are ongoing) or suitable storage should be organised to ensure damage limitation. Before fitting the first step, the self-builder should be fully aware of the assembly and installation instructions. Once construction of the staircase has begun there’s no room for manoeuvre as the smallest change could have huge consequences on the function and safety of the stair. To help self-builders understand the do’s and don’ts when planning and designing the perfect staircase, the BWF Stair Scheme has produced a helpful A to Z guide of everything you need to know about stairs.

Sitting in the grey/beige colour palette, greige is simply a blend of the two colours and has been introduced to staircases in the form of a new wood finish, Dusty Oak. James Grace Staircase Renovations.

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Choosing a New Staircase

A spiral stone staircase in Portland stone on 2 floors, this traditional stone staircase sometimes called pinchbeck, were done in collaboration with Goldholme quarry. The Stonemasonry Company.

A is for…

Accidents. Stairs are one of the most common areas for accidents in a UK home. Recent research conducted by BRE accounted for 10 deaths a week and a serious fall every 90 seconds, just from using the stairs.

B is for…

Balustrading. This is essential guarding

for your staircase. A Balustrade consists of the handrail, balusters (also known as spindles) and newels which provides extra support for the stair. There are specific guidelines for the distance between balusters to ensure that a small child cannot fit through the gap and much research has been done to ensure handrails can be grasped effectively in an emergency.

C is for…

Careful planning. Before the design process can begin, consider the space of the area intended to house the staircase, identifying any areas of potential obstruction and how it will impact on the current layout of the room. Consider accessibility and dimensions such as the width and length of the staircase including headroom.

D is for…

Designing. Now you have assessed the

space where the staircase will go and you have established the layout, the design process can begin. This is when you need to engage with the manufacturer who can Stair installation. Stairways.


support you through the process. The BWF Stair Scheme has published a design guide specifically for designers of timber stairs. It includes all the relevant guidance, legislation and regulations to consider on top of the specification given for the staircase.

and anybody in the building at the time of installation. The guarding on a staircase, such as the handrail, is often installed last to avoid any damage during installation but the installer must take the proper measures to provide temporary guarding for workers.

E is for…

I is for…

Engaging. Engage your stair manufacturer

early in the process – there are many things to consider and they can help you ensure you get it right before you start.

F is for…

Fire. If the stairs are going to be used as a means of escape, make sure they have the appropriate fire protection. Fire Protected Common Stairs manufactured by BWF Stair Scheme members require a higher level of accreditation and receive independent third-party certification by the Scheme’s certification partner the Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB).

G is for…

Guarding. Guarding provides extra support for the stair but most importantly for those using the stairs. Handrails are also required on every stair to assist people ascending or descending the stair by providing support and can help prevent a fall.

H is for…

Health and Safety. Installing a staircase is a big job and is no easy feat. Therefore health and safety is paramount for both the workers

Installation. The installation process

should begin with the installer verifying the details of the job with the client and checking that all the components and instructions are available from the manufacturer. A good installer will check the dimensions once again before starting on site. The BWF Stair Scheme provides an installation guide to help with this stage. And remember, squeaky stairs are usually the result of poor installation.

carefully, especially in transit.

L is for…

Loading. Loading, deflection and fireprotection are the three major performance requirements for which a stair is assessed under the BWF Stair Scheme. For each of these characteristics there is a set level of performance they must meet.

M is for…

Maths. Do your calculations before the

beginning of each process. Carefully record room dimensions before the design process begins, stick to exact measurements during manufacturing, and check the dimensions of the room and staircase again before installation. Remember that floor and wall coverings may impact on your measurements.

J is for…

N is for…

create the staircase and may also install it. Depending on the style of the staircase the joiner will use either traditional hand skills and hand tools or state-of-the-art CNC machinery, or some may use both.

stands for good practice and if a Stair Scheme member does not meet the stringent standards of the BWF’s Code of Conduct their membership can be terminated. Full stop.

Joiner. The joiner is the expert who will

K is for…

Kits. Some staircases are available in kits.

If purchasing a kit, make sure you fully understand the installation process and have full instructions from the manufacturer before leaving the store. Minimise damage by keeping the kit in its packaging until you are ready for installation. Make sure it is stored

No nonsense. The BWF Stair Scheme

O is for…

Our aims. Overall, the Stair Scheme’s aims are to stop stairs being supplied that do not meet the standards, to protect and increase the UK timber market for stairs, and to give confidence to building control inspectors, other regulatory bodies, and ultimately the building occupants. This beautiful staircase is from Bisca Designs.

June 2014 I Self Build Homes



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A Portland stone staircase at a house in Henley on Thames, from £30,000 + VAT excluding the balustrade work. Balustrade and handrail by other suppliers. The Stonemasonry Company.

This stunning glass staircase is available from IQ Glass.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS: Riser – the vertical component of a step Going – the horizontal distance between the nosings of consecutive steps Tread – the horizontal surface of a step (the bit you stand on) Nosing – the front edge of a tread (that may overhang the riser) Newel Post – the post into which a string or handrail is a affixed Handrail - a handhold to support safe use Balustrade – guarding formed by a series of balusters which are usually fixed between the handrail and the string or landing String – the structural component into which the treads and risers are fixed Winder flight – a flight formed by tapered treads allowing a change of staircase direction

P is for…

Pitch. The Building Regulations give strict guidance covering the pitch (steepness) of your staircase to ensure it is safe to use, they also look at headroom and other critical safety factors. A BWF Stair Scheme member will be able to provide advice on designing a staircase that meets the Regulations.

Q is for…

Quality. Stair Scheme members work

to a high standard of quality for the stairs they manufacture and every stair they produce is sealed with a badge proving their accreditation and quality.

R is for…

Raising Standards. The regulations

Badge on stairs. BWF. 92

and standards that apply to stairs are a mishmash and make it difficult, particularly for building control, to ensure stairs are up to standard. The way in which Stair Scheme stairs are tested make it easier to check.

S is for…

Squeaky stairs. Two-thirds of homes

suffer from squeaky stairs, which is highly irritating for those using the stairs. This is due to problems with timber joints, caused by cheap manufacture, poor design and shoddy installation. The noise comes from components rubbing together, such as the treads rubbing against the risers and stringers.

T is for…

Timber. As pressure mounts for housebuilding to become more sustainable, choosing timber stairs is a worthy choice as they are made from the most environmental sustainable and natural material.

U is for…

Use the guidance and resources available. The Stair Scheme is constantly

looking to the future and updates its publications accordingly. These resources have been designed for designers, manufacturers, installers, specifiers and customers. Members

Wrought iron and wood make a stunning combination. James Grace Staircase Renovations.

of the Stair Scheme contribute to the resources and all guidance issued is verified.

V is for…

Valuable advice. There’s nothing more

frustrating than needing some technical advice and not knowing where to go for it. As part of its service, the BWF offers members, specifiers and customers a technical helpline to ensure they receive the most up-to-date and relevant technical information about timber stairs.

W is for…

Winders. The steps that allow you to change the direction of the staircase. Appropriate winders can ensure that the pitch of the staircase makes it safe, but don’t forget to consider the walkline, ensuring feet can be safely planted.

X is for…

X-factor. With the right team, designing,

creating and installing a staircase can add a real design feature to a home. The shapes and styles available for staircases are vast and varied to fit in with the most traditional

or the most contemporary home.

about also having stairgates installed.

Y is for…

Z is for…

the most vulnerable when it comes to using stairs, so ensure that the correct measures are taken to provide them with additional safety. If you have young children talk to the installer

relax knowing that it is built to the highest standard and has become a real feature within your home. It’s time to climb up the stairs and have a well-deserved rest.

Young children. Young children are probably

Zzzzz! The staircase is finished and you can

THE BWF STAIR SCHEME The BWF Stair Scheme is the only accreditation and certification scheme of its kind in the UK. The benefits of third-party accreditation include evidence that the design and manufacture process has been independently verified and relevant standards have been met. Members receive an audit visit on application and are audited biennially from then on. Stairs to this standard will receive one of three BWF Stair Scheme badges, depending on its purpose: The ‘Accredited Domestic Stair’, the ‘Accredited Common Stair’ and the ‘Certificated Protected Stair.’

June 2014 I Self Build Homes


Building in Brick

By: Mike Faloona, Regional Sales Manager of Northcot Brick Ltd


CHOOSING THE RIGHT BRICKS FOR YOUR SELF BUILD PROJECT Choosing the right type of brick is one of the most important decisions you will make when building a new home. 94


tructurally, there are many advantages to owning a brick built home. As well as being a highly durable solid product, brickwork is ideally suited to the UK’s damp climate and requires minimal on-going maintenance.In addition, it has excellent thermal, acoustic and fire resistant properties and remains sustainable for the whole of its lifecycle. However, its appeal stretches far beyond its structural benefits. The beauty of fine brickwork is that it can add long lasting value, character and kerb appeal to any kind of property.

A bit of history…

As a material, clay bricks date as far back

as 7000BC and have been an important part of the UK’s built environment since Romans times. Originally, brickmaking was very much a local affair. Every town would have had its own brickworks or brick maker and the clay from the local quarry was moulded by hand into a sanded timber frame mould and then ‘coal fired’ to enhance its richness of tone. Each region tended to have its own blend of colours, textures and local characteristics, which can be still be seen today. Then, with the introduction of new technology and the growth of mechanisation in the nineteenth century, larger brick factories started to emerge, which were able to manufacture more economically and in much larger quantities.

The Types of Bricks

These days, there are predominantly two types of facing brick, (bricks that are designed for the façade of a building): the volume manufactured wirecut brick and the more traditional handmade variety. Common bricks, though generally cheaper, are not usually used as facing bricks, but are more suitable for garden walls and out buildings. Engineering bricks, being highly durable and moisture resistant, are generally used for below groundwork and damp-proof courses. When choosing their facing bricks, selfbuilders are often drawn to the distinctive aesthetics of handmade bricks with their unique character. Being individually made, no two handmade bricks are the same, with June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Building in Brick

each having variable tones, texture and creases or ‘smiles’, which can make a home look truly stunning. However, if you are working to a tight budget, there may be economic advantages to specifying mass produced wirecut or pressed bricks. These are now available in a wide choice of consistently produced colours and textures, but the very precision of modern automated processes does make them more regular and uniform in appearance. Some manufacturers, like Northcot, not only produce genuine handmade bricks in the age-old fashion, but have also developed highly sophisticated weathering techniques, which have enabled them to replicate some of the characteristics of handmade bricks across their wirecut range.

of water into the brickwork. Northcot Brick offers specialist brick matching services that can replicate many of the brick types in the country (in both standard and the old imperial sizes). The company also produces new reclaim ranges, which are ‘tumbled’ in order to replicate the worn irregular edges and weathered look of the genuine second hand reclaims. Whatever your preference, it is important to work with a knowledgeable merchant or directly with a manufacturer, who is sympathetic to your requirements and prepared to go the extra mile. Then, once you have made a short list of possible matches, liaise with your local planning office, sending them sample boards for approval if necessary.

Planning and the Local Environment

The Practical Considerations

Before deciding on a specific brick type, it is always important to take inspiration from the local architecture of the area. For instance, when building in a conservation area, planners will often insist that a local handmade brick, or at the very least a local looking brick is used. One option is to visit local reclamation yards, but the quality of genuine second hand reclaimed bricks is not guaranteed, so it is often worth looking into to those ‘simulated reclaims’ which are made to modern European building standards, including F2 Frost resistance, and supported by a manufacturer’s guarantee. However, even when using F2 quality assured facing bricks, it is still advisable to incorporate ground-level damp-proof courses and overhanging copings to minimize ingress 96

It is easy to underestimate the number of bricks required for any building project. So, when placing your order, remember to take into account potential wastage – which can be anything from 5% to 7% - as bricks may be damaged in transit or even on site. It is also worth considering any additional work you may wish to undertake at the end of the project, such as the construction of garden walls, driveways or garages to avoid having to make potentially expensive additional orders with their associated haulage fees. Lead times for bricks can vary, but if you have special shapes and bespoke options in mind, these will usually take more time to manufacture.

Why Compromise?

Building a new home is inevitably about

balancing cost with quality and aspiration with practicality. It’s easy to compromise on things you can change later, such as the design of the kitchen or the layout of the garden, but be mindful that the brickwork you choose will remain for the whole life of the building!

Ten top ten tips:-

• Look for characterful bricks that meet your aspirations. • Be mindful of the local architecture and built environment when choosing your bricks. • Check out a completed project in your preferred brick before taking the plunge. • Make sure the bricks meet quality standards – F2 Frost resistance preferred. • Liaise with the planning office and send a sample board for approval. • Order your bricks early – give extra time for specials to be made! • Remember to factor in wastage (typically 5% to 7%) and order extra bricks for any additional work you might want done. • Make sure your site has adequate (articulated lorry) access for delivery. • Maintain good onsite practice – make sure bricks are covered up at the end of the day. • Finally, don’t compromise. Buy the very best bricks you can afford – remember they can’t be changed at a later date!

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT: Northcot Brick Ltd or 01386 700551 Brick Development Association

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


Entering the Self Build Age


The fear of embarking on self-build projects is now a thing of the past, as more than half of UK households want to build their own home. By: Jacquiline James


ot only is the government aiding the growth of this sector in a bid to bridge the housing gap in the UK, as Housing Minister Grant Shapps declares that “the age of selfbuild has come”, according to the Building Societies Association, more homeowners are increasingly attracted to the ability to have control over their homes design and layout. It’s not surprising as Vanessa Brady, President of the British Society of International Design (SBID), the UK’s leading accrediting

body for the Interior Design profession, notes that from her ‘years of experience as an interior designer, a prominent trend is the greater consciousness of design in homeowners and the fact that far less people are prepared to settle with not only their grandmothers old coffee table but rather the very structure of their homes, demanding to live in an environment more suited with their personalities and lifestyles’. According to a report published by The Department for Communities and

Local Government, in 2012 to 2013 alone almost 11,000 new homes were self-built. This propelling market, currently worth approximately £1.9bn in the UK, has not only sparked a national interest but also and perhaps more interestingly, has been responsible for driving careers into existence. We get acquainted with two Interior Designers, both accredited members of the Society of British and International Design (SBID), about their very different journeys from brave homeowner to established designer.

CASE STUDY I Designer: Sophie Stevens I Company: SGS Design Ltd I Website:

Sophie, now an experienced residential interior designer from SGS Design, tells us about her first commercial self-build project she undertook, converting an old bank into a café and office space to expand her business. She too developed a flair for the industry while experimenting with her home, later retraining at KLC whilst working part-time. “I have to confess this wasn’t the self-build project I had anticipated undertaking. I have a theory we grow up either aspiring to wear couture versions of our dolls fabulous dresses, or to live in adult size versions of our childhood dolls houses. For me, it has always been the latter; I envisaged using my passion for design to develop the full-size version of my double-fronted dolls house, complete with antique chandeliers and wisteria climbing 98

across the portico door; instead we were selling our family home and investing in an old bank and car park. Having worked as a residential interior designer with experience of high-end new build and refurbishment projects undertaking a commercial self-build was an intimidating process but came with a sweetener; the building provided an opportunity for me to create a studio space for me to grow my business. We found the property details whilst on holiday and I left my husband in the Alps with his bicycle, to attend the open view. Along with a number of experienced developers, I trailed across the wiry carpet tiles and nosed through endless blue and orange fire doors to explore the bank’s original vaults, bullion

lift, bank manager’s office and shiny beige corridors leading to numerous cubicles of staff toilets and two further floors of back-offices. It was larger than anything we’d considered previously but the high ceilings on the ground floor, charming sash windows, steel vault doors and flag pole immediately excited me and within a couple of months we had the keys. Fortunately I have developed a network of skilled and very patient trades, essential in this industry; Julian Mills of Charles Mills Construction was my obvious choice of builder and Duncan Bruce of Duncan Brice Fine Furniture for all the joinery/shop-fit work. My husband’s vision, after he retired from the city, was to covert the space into a bike shop and café with my office located in one of the rooms at the top of the building, along with a back

office for the bike shop business. The brief was to create a homely space as a welcoming clubhouse for cyclists but not intimidating to non-riders. We stripped the layers of the bank off to uncover areas of woodblock parquet, original terrazzo flooring, grey plaster walls and shuttered-concrete ceilings. These original features influenced our design direction and we embraced the scale of the building and its industrial feel. Other than repairing and painting walls, we retained the original fabric of the building and the only new surface installed was an Armourcoat polished plaster Velodrome wall. We sourced reclaimed factory light fittings to compliment the building proportions, prepared the raw, mixed flooring and sealed it for use and reinstated the missing

original staircase with a steel powder-coated replacement. My one regret was that I failed to source Crittal windows for the workshop and retail doors within budget but the extratall, internal glazed joinery door worked well with the original pair of hardwood bank front doors. The garage doors were adapted to form the entrance to the new bike workshop, located in the old bank manager’s office and laminate ply and scaffolding poles have been combined with map tables in the café and shop fit to create an interesting and robust space ideal for heavy traffic. Sitting here now in my new office, with MAC’s recently installed for my two members of staff, bespoke joinery shelves and cabinets for my material sample boxes, books and files, I can smell fresh coffee and hear the chatter

of cyclists and local café goers and I feel immensely proud. It was a build that wasn’t without disagreement and change but our lack of commercial experience was compensated for with a fantastic team of tradesmen and vision for the finished product. It was an emotional moment to see the reconditioned flagpole being repositioned to the building façade and our new flag hung for the first time. Whilst I was delighted to see trading commence, I must confess I miss the daily builders walk through and project managing the build. We will just have to start looking for self-build number two”.


June 2014 I Self Build Homes



Entering the Self Build Age

CASE STUDY I Designer: Ann Marie Hess I Company: AMH Interiors I Website:

Ann Marie, from AMH Interiors, talks briefly about her first introduction to the world of interior design and how this developed into a business she runs today. “I did not always know that was what I wanted to do, however, it’s a skill that organically developed over time. Whilst I always had my eye on fashion and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology for University in NYC, my introduction to interior design was not ignited until I left my career to raise my children; that was when the aha moment happened for me. At that time, I was not aware of how I was transferring my passions and developing my skills in Interior Design. It all began with the purchase of our first home. We were on a very tight budget, but I had a vision of how I wanted my home to be. As soon as our first home was complete, we put it on the market


and made a profit. I was hooked. The first few properties we purchased were small. In those homes I learned my first lessons on how to make a small space work. I learned how to use colour to make a space feel larger and how to use every space available for much needed organization. I mastered painting finishes and refinishing furniture. A hobby that was created to fill time was now getting a lot of attention from family and friends. Each subsequent home was bigger than the last. The projects I started to tackle expanded from just being interior finishes to full on construction including exteriors and landscaping. With each and every respective home I always highlight the character of that particular property. Approximately 7 years ago, an opportunity arose for my family to become expatriates from the US and we have lived in Europe and

the Middle East. By embracing life as an expat little did I know this was honing in on another skill. The ability to set up homes very fast and efficiently and how even a temporary space can feel like a family home. After all the years and numerous properties in various countries it was now clear to me this was no longer a hobby but a driving force I was actively pursuing in my life. That is when I decided to go back to school to get the professional qualifications I needed to take my passion to a professional level. Whatever your budget is or how temporary your space may be, there always are things you can do to your space to make it personal to you while still adding value for resale potential. As I think back to how my career started it is so rewarding for me to not only share my passion about property development with my clients but to watch them become hooked as well�.

UFHS SelfBuild Homes Full page





Free to enter competitions

Win a Basin Mixer in Brushed Stainless Steel


sleek, unassuming yet sophisticated design in a choice of two finishes, bright chrome or smart brushed steel and with many technologically advanced features, the new Mike Pro range from Crosswater is an ideal choice for anyone looking to replicate five star hotel luxury in their bathroom at home. As well as an effortlessly timeless design and high quality performance, the Mike Pro range satisfies any number of water saving and safety criteria, meeting the high demands of a family bathroom. Elegantly simple in shape with gently curved spouts promoting outstanding water delivery and with responsive easy-to-use levers, Mike Pro is a complete basin, bath and showering collection. Mike Pro includes a full range of products to provide a solution for any type of bathroom set up. Basin taps include mini, tall and wall mounted, in one, two or three tap hole. Bath options feature the classic Crosswater over flow filler and bath handsets, while the showering offer features one, two or three outlet recessed thermostatic shower valves. At the heart of each shower valve is one of the world’s foremost temperature regulation cartridges that provides smooth and precise control over the water temperature in everyday showering.

Pr iz e value of


Pr iz e value of


Win a Mira Virtue Bath/Shower Mixer


o celebrate the launch of their stunning new Aspects tap collection, Mira Showers are offering one lucky reader the chance to win the Mira Virtue Bath/Shower mixer worth £329. Boasting refined features that are perfect for bathrooms with a more traditional look, the Mira Virtue taps bring all the qualities of a modern tap whilst retaining a classic style. With authentic Victorian features such as crosshead blade handles and ceramic glazed markers for both hot and cold sides, Mira Virtue not only looks good and feels great but also brings a genuine sense of time-honoured style to the 21st century. Designed to complement any bathroom beautifully, the entire Aspects tap range is built with the exceptional quality and reliability synonymous with Mira Showers. Combining on-trend designs with technological excellence, the Aspects range provides the perfect finishing touch to any bathroom. With aerators integrated into the design of the tap body, the taps are not only more aesthetically pleasing, but also far easier to clean. All the taps perform well at all water pressures – a flow regulator means allows a smooth consistent flow on high pressure systems whilst on low pressure systems the taps operate well. The lever operated bath/shower diverter includes a 1.75m hose and features a two mode handshower with a handset holder.

How to enter competitions



Which new range is Crosswater launching?


Which collection is Mira Showers launching? Email your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number to with the phrase ‘Mike Pro Crosswater Competition’ or ‘Mira Shower Competition’ in the subject line. The winner will be drawn by the editor after the closing date of 07.07.14 and notified via email. 102

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 will be accepted. Competitions are only open to UK residents aged 18 years or over. Winners will be notified via 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.

A Kind of Revolution Robert Adam, architect 1728-92

THISTLE & ROSE The classically authentic fireplace surround The neoclassical mantelpiece, a design icon of Georgian Britain and Federal America, was first popularised by the Adam brothers in the late 18th century. At THISTLE & ROSE we make the world’s finest facsimiles of originals, using only traditional materials and techniques. Contact us at 5 Orrock Place Hawick TD9 0HQ, Scotland

Tel +44 (0)1450 376928 Web-site E-mail United Kingdom 5 Orrock Place Hawick TD9 0HQ, Scotland

United States 425 Peachtree Hills Ave. NE Suite 30B, Atlanta GA 30305

Tel: +44 (0)1450 376928

Tel: 404-948-1111

Web-site E-mail

Web-site E-mail


June 2014

Contact details and websites for this month’s stockists:




AMH Interiors 020 7788 7767

Design & Materials www.designandmaterials. 0484 40 40 400

Lapicida 020 3012 1000

Stone & Ceramic Warehouse 020 8993 5545

Loft & Ladders 01271 858698

Strutt & Parker 01392 215631 24

Mira Showers 0844 571 5000

TapcoSlate 01482 880478

Music in Every Room Ltd 01943 870395

The Big Picture Ltd 01922 623000

NIA 08451 636363

The Stonemasonry Company www. thestonemasonrycompany. 01476 247 049

Amina 01480 354390 Aqua Platinum Projects www.aquaplatinumprojects. 01489 896 438 Arbor Deck 01469 532 300


Bathrooms Direct 2U www.bathroomsdirect2u. 01252 511080 Bisca Designs 01439 771 702 British Woodworking Federation 0844 209 2610


CEDIA 01480 213744 Contech Buildings Products 0162 92963 Crestron 0207 352 0028 Crosswater 0845 873 8840


EnOcean GmbH (0)79 40039328


Grahams HiFi Ltd 020 7226 5500


Inspired Dwellings 020 7736 6007 IQGLASS ROOMS 01494 722 880





Northcot Brick Ltd 01386 700551

James Grace Staircase Renovation www.staircase-renovations. 0845 190 1009

Olive Audio Visual Ltd 020 8347 8202


Rio Pool Construction Co Ltd 01453 521101


JMC Green 01386 831710 John Preston Pool & Spa Services 01772 882500 Just Add Popcorn 01424 870763


Konnectiv 0114 299 7986



Rockingham Swimming Pools 01922 455 520

Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) 020 3205 0032

West London AV Solutions 0844 692 1001

XL Pools 0845 20 60 420


SGS Design Ltd 01892 554509 Stairways 01922 728600

PUBLISHED BY Success Publishing Limited, Crown House, John Roberts Business Park, Pean Hill, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3BJ Tel: 01227 378390 Website: Air Source Heat Pumps

use basic thermodynamic principles to convert latent heat contained within the air we breathe into heat energy that can be used to provide heating and hot water. This ‘ambient heat’ is replenished by the sun making our heat pumps both effective and environmentally friendly.

Starting from

How they work There are two basic types of air source heat pump – ‘air to air’ and ‘air to water’. Grant Aerona heat pumps use an air to water system which utilises heat energy captured from the air in ‘wet’ heating system radiators or underfloor heating. The process uses the same vapour/ compression cycle that extracts heat in a domestic fridge. A refrigerant with a low boiling point is exposed to external air temperatures in an evaporator. The liquid boils off to a gas and absorbs the latent heat energy of the air. This gas is then compressed increasing the heat content in the refrigerant, before passing through a heat exchanger where it condenses back to a liquid state while transferring the heat to the water of the heating system. The liquid refrigerant is then re-circulated through the evaporator and the cycle is repeated.


Fit for the future Grant has two ranges of single phase heat pumps with outputs up to inc VAT 21.5kW – the Aerona and the Aerona HE. With the recent fluctuations in price and supply of fossil fuels, Grant air source heat pumps offer both an environmentally and economically sustainable alternative. Home heating in the UK accounts for approximately 30% of CO2 emissions and the heat source used by Grant Aerona heat pumps is entirely renewable which helps reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere and, in so doing, lowers the carbon footprint of the household.

The full Grant Range is available from ABGO

ABGO now have the product ranges available of Nordica Wood & Pellet Stoves, AGA, Cashin & Chilli Penguin Stoves, Grant Biomass & Oil Boilers.

For all your Home Heating Solutions call ABGO on 01902 790 900

Self Build Homes Magazine June 2014  
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