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Thread: Bungalow self-build advice

  1. #1
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    Bungalow self-build advice

    I'm looking at possibly building my own house in the next year or so. Basically, I have the opportunity to acquire a decent sized plot of land in Suffolk (no planning permission yet) and I want to give someone about £150K and let them competely design, build and fit a house out for me so I can just move in at the end without any messing. Probably a small 3 bed chalet bungalow or something. I have absoutely zero knowledge or experience of the subject or even the costs so if you're a builder or you've built your own house I'd be grateful for any advice.
    I've also been looking at pre-fab houses such as the ones here: https://www.dan-wood.co.uk/en . Has anyone here used a built a pre-fab house? Any down/upsides? Especially when it comes to resale.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    I cannot offer a shred of advice on self-building, but I do think those Dan-Wood houses look very interesting.

    Years ago a neighbour of ours imported from Canada a complete log cabin home, complete with a gang of Canadians who arrived to install it. The finished product looked first class to me and the owners were delighted with it.

    R
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  3. #3
    Grand Master mart broad's Avatar
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    Ralph

    Any insurance issues with a wooden building that you know or have heard of?
    Last edited by mart broad; 29th December 2019 at 20:28.
    I FEEL LIKE I'M DIAGONALLY PARKED IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE

  4. #4
    Master
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    Iím sure itís not the case here but the words Ďpre fabí got me thinking - make sure the construction will be mortgageable in the future. You might not need one but any future buyer might do it may be hard to sell.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devonian View Post
    Iím sure itís not the case here but the words Ďpre fabí got me thinking - make sure the construction will be mortgageable in the future. You might not need one but any future buyer might do it may be hard to sell.

    This , Check before starting obviously . It will be cheaper to build

    Huff ( I think thats right ) houses are nice !! Any modular building will be cheaper but the problem is as above . I think there are schemes/ mortgages for Commercial but NOT domestic

  6. #6
    There's a Dan-wood built house on my commute to work recently been built. It went up really quite quickly and it looks good! IMO a good alternative to self building.

  7. #7
    Master Pitch3110's Avatar
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    Built mine 16 years ago and the best and most exhausting thing I have ever done.

    Get a pre-app on the land and budget about £2k per m2 in the build. I develop throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and into Cambs and happy to have a chat.

    Pitch

  8. #8
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    15 yrs ago I built a 3 bed detached as a self build for 65k + the land. Nowadays 150k doesnít seem to go far especially if you hand the project over to a builder to do everything. Although a new build usually works out cheaper and quicker than a refurb and extension project.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbo12 View Post
    .........

    Huff ( I think thats right ) houses are nice !! Any modular building will be cheaper but the problem is as above . I think there are schemes/ mortgages for Commercial but NOT domestic

    They showed a Huff ( pronounced ĎHoofí) on Grand Designs few years ago, which made really good viewing.
    See if you can track the programme to get an idea of the build.

  10. #10
    Hereís the Huf Haus

    https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2go24n

    We looked into it a number of years ago and went to a couple of self build exhibitions in Germany since my wife is German and it happens a lot more out there.

    Our problems was we could never find a suitable plot within a realistic budget

    As has been said the budget may need to be refinded

    Good luck

  11. #11
    Craftsman
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    I remember seeing it on Grand Designs , there was recently a follow up/re visit program and they were still very happy, with no problems !

  12. #12
    I'm looking at Dan-wood myself. Have looked at a lot of their youtube videos and catalogue, and will take my plans further with them in the new year.

    MW

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by mart broad View Post
    Ralph

    Any insurance issues with a wooden building that you know or have heard of?
    Hi Mart,
    I think you would see a higher insurance premium than of a comparably-sized bricks & morter build.
    We owned a timber-built holiday home a while ago and there was a clause in the property insurance that a full electrical survey was required every 5 years (the same requirement as a thatched cottage I once had) and the premium we paid was about the same as our (larger) main home.

    R
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    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Personally, if I was starting with a blank sheet of paper I would stay traditional build.
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  16. #16
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    Go traditional block and brick construction, I have built in both. Didnít rate those pre fab jobs either. You wonít have any issues getting money lent against traditional bricks and mortar builds or any resale in the future. I know some lenders donít like timber frame builds and pre fabs


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    I'm about to start building a bungalow very soon after new year. I got a price from Dan-wood and it was going to cost more than what the house would have been valued at for them to build. I'm in the north east of Scotland and they said they were more suited to builds further south where homes were more expensive.

    I opted to have an architect designed home and timber frame built on site.

    Bungalows usually have a larger footprint & roof which can be quite costly I'm told compared to building a 2 storey.

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  18. #18
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice guys. A lot to think about...

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitch3110 View Post
    Get a pre-app on the land and budget about £2k per m2 in the build. I develop throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and into Cambs and happy to have a chat.
    That is a lot more than I was expecting. I was looking at about £1.5K per m2 max to be honest.

  19. #19
    Master Guz's Avatar
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    RIBA house of the year as featured on TV for a relatively modest budget (I couldnít afford it). Stuck me as being good value compared to others Iíve seen.

    https://www.dezeen.com/2019/11/13/ho...use-year-2019/

    Iím an old school structural technician with about 25 years experience and deal with architects on houses every week. IMO the simpler and more standard you can keep it (this does not distract from flare or feature) the more you can keep the costs down.

    Good luck !!

  20. #20
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampoc View Post
    Thanks for all the advice guys. A lot to think about...

    That is a lot more than I was expecting. I was looking at about £1.5K per m2 max to be honest.
    This is a realistic psm cost. Itís when you start adding hi spec glazing, electrics, lighting and underfloor heating etc. If your on a budget 1.2k - 1-5k psm is basic finish costs. Expect this to jump up if you start piling on luxury sundries.


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  21. #21
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    My advice would be to find a local company with experience of self builds that can either make/build your house. m2 in my area is £1300 but this will change throughout the country. Join the buildhub forum, it's a wealth of knowledge.

    Agree with previous post that if you stay away from complex designs and expensive windows, gadgets etc you will get a well built home within budget.



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  22. #22
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    I recently built a 2 bed bungalow for £120k that rose to £130 as they wanted a few extras. Iíll post the pics and plans etc so you can see what specs we used. I have a glazing company and Iím a roofing carpenter so keeping things in house saves us a small fortune but as previous post says PSM costa vary with location of build.


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  23. #23
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    I think your figure of £1.5k/m2 is do-able, providing your site is straightforward, basic design is kept straightforward and you donít get carried away on spec. Iím in Northern Ireland (involved in the building industry) where self-build is very common, and would suggest that traditional construction should be seriously considered, with 200mm full fill cavity.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomGW View Post
    I think your figure of £1.5k/m2 is do-able, providing your site is straightforward, basic design is kept straightforward and you donít get carried away on spec. Iím in Northern Ireland (involved in the building industry) where self-build is very common, and would suggest that traditional construction should be seriously considered, with 200mm full fill cavity.
    You mean 100mm cavity?


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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by fordystar View Post
    You mean 100mm cavity?


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    No, I do mean 200mm bonded beads.

  26. #26
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    All of the timberframe and kit-build can sound attractive price wise, but donít include the site preparation, services etc which are traditional construction skills. Also, if using a brick or block outer leaf this is a traditional trade too. On a one-off you lose any cost advantage and overall time saving, as you have the traditional trades at both ends of the job. Itís difficult to see this until the job is completed.

  27. #27
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    Bungalow self-build advice

    Quote Originally Posted by TomGW View Post
    All of the timberframe and kit-build can sound attractive price wise, but donít include the site preparation, services etc which are traditional construction skills. Also, if using a brick or block outer leaf this is a traditional trade too. On a one-off you lose any cost advantage and overall time saving, as you have the traditional trades at both ends of the job. Itís difficult to see this until the job is completed.
    Agreed. Definitely go down brick and block standard construction.
    Timber frame can be cheaper and time efficient on bigger jobs. Smaller build one offs stick to traditional methods.


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    Last edited by fordystar; 2nd January 2020 at 12:19.

  28. #28
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    I'd disagree, in my experience timber frame is far quicker to build and if buying from a package builder can be made in a factory and erected very quickly on site allowing internal works to be carried out while the external blockwork & render is carried out. Cost wise there isnt much difference between brick & block and timber frame now. I worked for a timber frame house builder in aberdeen and worked opposite a barratt homes site building blocks of flats, barratts were traditionally block built while we were timber built frame. The site I worked on had the roof on and finished by the time they were framing out inside the blockwork.



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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agd47 View Post
    I'd disagree, in my experience timber frame is far quicker to build and if buying from a package builder can be made in a factory and erected very quickly on site allowing internal works to be carried out while the external blockwork & render is carried out. Cost wise there isnt much difference between brick & block and timber frame now. I worked for a timber frame house builder in aberdeen and worked opposite a barratt homes site building blocks of flats, barratts were traditionally block built while we were timber built frame. The site I worked on had the roof on and finished by the time they were framing out inside the blockwork.



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    I fully accept that timber frame is cost and time effective for house building companies, where there are a mix of trades on a building site. For the one-off self builder this is difficult and costly to achieve and manage. Firstly he has to prepare the site, install services and provide a baseplate to precise dimensions, using traditional trades, then bring those trades back on site after the structure has been erected. He has to have a brick or blocklayer build around finished openings with windows and doors already in place, something that they donít traditionally do. In my 40+ years of experience it is much easier for a one-off, first time, self builder to complete a house, more or less on the anticipated budget, via the traditional build route, particularly if the budget is tight.

  30. #30
    Craftsman namzo's Avatar
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    Also make sure you budget for any planning conditions that may impose additional requirements.

    For example:

    Code for sustainable homes (residential equivalent of BREEAM),

    Surveys

    Consultants Reports

    Drainage (design can be affected if not allowed to drain in to a mains sewer)

    You will only know the full extent of these once you are awarded full planning permission.


    During the build, most of your risk will be Ďin the groundí, as final design of foundations will be dependant on knowing exactly what the ground conditions are. Bad ground can mean piles etc.

    I recently did a self build and it can be quite stressful but also very rewarding. You will learn so much doing it yourself (sometimes the hard way).

    Employing an experienced builder with a good reputation should be the easiest option, it will obviously cost you a bit more, but should save time as oppose to having to arrange all the various bits of work yourself.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampoc View Post
    Thanks for all the advice guys. A lot to think about...

    That is a lot more than I was expecting. I was looking at about £1.5K per m2 max to be honest.
    Isn't there some VAT you can reclaim for self build materials, have you factored that into your budget.

  32. #32
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    You can reclaim the VAT on a new build.

    Advice as above stick to traditional construction. 150k seems a bit light to me.what size is the bungalow you are thinking to build?

    Going through a project a couple of years ago I found things soon add up. When doing it to live in what is an extra 5 or 10k here or there!? Things like the garden and driveway - often not thought about up front but expensive to get them done at good quality.

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  33. #33
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    I have a spreadsheet for build costs I can send if it's of any interest? It's for a timber frame build but buildhub also has a spreadsheet with brick & block available.

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  34. #34
    Master Maysie's Avatar
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    £150k really doesn't go far nowadays, particularly for a single storey property as there is a greater area of foundations and roof for the equivalent floor space.

    Beware of nearby trees on a site in Suffolk, as a lot of the subsoil is shrinkable which would potentially impact on your foundation design, so you could easily lose a few £k's in the ground if there are trees around and shrinkable soils present.

    CIL may come into play too, so you could lose a few more £'s on that too if it is found to apply. It seems to be a bit inconsistently applied by planners in these parts nowadays I have been told.

  35. #35
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Agd47 View Post
    My advice would be to find a local company with experience of self builds that can either make/build your house. m2 in my area is £1300 but this will change throughout the country. Join the buildhub forum, it's a wealth of knowledge.
    Quote Originally Posted by Agd47 View Post
    I have a spreadsheet for build costs I can send if it's of any interest? It's for a timber frame build but buildhub also has a spreadsheet with brick & block available.
    Love to see the spreadsheet and I'll take a look at that forum, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by fordystar View Post
    I recently built a 2 bed bungalow for £120k that rose to £130 as they wanted a few extras. Iíll post the pics and plans etc so you can see what specs we used. I have a glazing company and Iím a roofing carpenter so keeping things in house saves us a small fortune but as previous post says PSM costa vary with location of build.
    Definitely interested in seeing your plans, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Boss13 View Post
    150k seems a bit light to me.what size is the bungalow you are thinking to build?

    Going through a project a couple of years ago I found things soon add up. When doing it to live in what is an extra 5 or 10k here or there!? Things like the garden and driveway - often not thought about up front but expensive to get them done at good quality.
    The budget is what it is. May be able to add an extra 10K tops depending on the sale price of my current home.

    Thanks again to all who have replied. Build speed is also of the essence as the cash for the project will involve selling up everything and probably living in rented accomodation or possibly a mobile home on site during the build.

  36. #36
    Master
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    The key to making this work on budget is designing a house which not only suits the site but is budget conscious in its design.
    GET YOUR DESIGN RIGHT. This is the one thing you really cannot change if you find you have made a fundamental mistake. Do not opt for an Ďoff the pegí plan, but make sure you have a design that responds to the site and itís constraints (sun, views, overlooking, sheltered outdoor space with sun etc etc).
    Remember that simple steel beams are not expensive in themselves, but even basic engineered structures are. Where practicable, use standard window and door sizes, make wall lengths and heights of openings match brick/block sizes. Do not be sucked into overly high spec sanitary or kitchen fit outs - very easy to do as you tend to make these decisions at a stage where you can seem to have plenty of funds left.
    Can I suggest an open plan living/kitchen area, which will give a greater sense of space in a smaller home and obviously less walls and doors to pay for? Also consider a 2.6 or 2.7m ceiling height to add to the roominess.
    A £150k budget should deliver a decent bungalow of 100-120 m2, providing you have a good buildable site and all services are at hand at reasonable connection cost. The key is in site characteristics and the design.

  37. #37
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Danwood looks good - not only on a pic, but IRL as well. Huf and Danwood are popular brands here in the part of the country, close to Germany. And the quality is A+. Even under strict Swiss regulations (sustainability etc) a Danwood house is allowed to be built.

    Mind you, Danwood homes are prefab'ed in Poland and shipped to the building site - and there put together. Some people on German house forums complain about the high costs of 'extras': if you want the plan changed, it will cost you (relatively) a lot of extra money. But the consensus is that people are happy with their Danwood homes.

    Menno
    Last edited by thieuster; 4th January 2020 at 14:36.

  38. #38
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    Thanks Menno. It does seem to be almost an exclusively English "thing" to be wary of kit homes.

  39. #39
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lampoc View Post
    Thanks Menno. It does seem to be almost an exclusively English "thing" to be wary of kit homes.
    I think there's a 30% kits vs 70% traditional built houses overhere. As said, especially along the German border. Building parts of the house inside an controlled environment does a lot for the quality of the build! Exact measurements, solutions that really work (they've tested it) and often the use of standarised materials. Mind you, less issues with rain or storm. Yes, I've seen numerous episodes of Grand Designs as well...

    The downside of a Huf house is (imho) that it's too transparent. In a way that's good when you have a lot to look at from the inside out, but it can give you the feeling of being 'exposed'. Dan-Wood is less exposed. I noticed that their website is in German. If you need any help translating, just let me know! And we have a few German forum friends here as well.

    Dan-Wood refers to Danish homes. I will try and see if there are Danish manufacturers as well. If you've been to Denmark, you'll know why you should have a look in Denmark for a bungalow! They more-or-less invented the concept, I think.

    One single search on google brought this up: https://qhaus.eu/qhaus-timber-products/ A Baltic company. They deliver and build homes as far as China and Iceland and they have the latest German RAL Quality Mark. So... surely, building in Suffolk wouldn't be a problem then!

    Personally, I bungalow-wise, am a great fan of the US architect Cliff May (google his homes) and the Alexander Houses of Palm Springs. Something I haven't seen on Escape to the Country, I'm afraid!

    Whatever way you go, it's going to be an interesting time. Key words have to be 'stress free' for the ultimate enjoyment. Keep us posted.

    Menno
    Last edited by thieuster; 4th January 2020 at 19:07.

  40. #40
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    I'm just about finishing up a 1.5 storey Self Build.

    I chose to use a Timber Frame structure, despite it being clad in brick to match the local style.
    My reasoning was about speed & fixed costs when considering the Manchester weather, but also the fact that I've more experience in renovations & with a Timber Frame I felt I'd be at a point I was much more comfortable, with a watertight box very quickly.

    Next time, I will do a LOT of things differently but the biggest one is probably finding & making full use of a better Architect.
    As such, next time the construction method decision will more likely be a result of the design & Architects recommendations.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulpsz008 View Post
    I'm just about finishing up a 1.5 storey Self Build.

    I chose to use a Timber Frame structure, despite it being clad in brick to match the local style.
    We considered the following "big" timber frame companies
    https://www.mapletimberframe.uk/
    https://www.potton.co.uk/
    but ultimately choose to go with a relatively local Bespoke firm called Stonewood Timber Frame

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