Built to “Passivhaus” /
‘Code’ Level 6 standards?
Well YES actually; it
is perfectly practical to simultaneously achieve time and cost
‘targets’ AND to meet or exceed even the most stringent thermal &
‘airtightness’ standards on any*
‘DIY’ self-build project that we
That is equally true whether you are a 'DIY' enthusiast OR
a professional builder!
*NB: We are already doing affordable 'zero-carbon'/'Code
6' self-build projects for clients; so "2016" won't be a problem!
~ Advanced Timber-Frame Design, Construction & Erection ~ The
is fully EuroCode compliant!)
>>> See How Simple ProFrame®
Is To Build On-Site! <<<
'link' above; please allow time for video
It's The 'Low Cost
/ Zero-Carbon' Solution for 'Self-Builders' & House-Builders Alike!
Physically building your own home is still quite rare in
the UK so people never seem quite sure how to react. Are you
some sort of freaky ‘eco-warrior’ determined to return to ‘nature’ and
build a ‘straw-bale’ or ‘rammed earth’ dwelling in the depths of the
forest somewhere! The idea that you actually intend building a ‘normal’
home on a ‘normal’ plot of land will often leave them questioning either
your sanity or believing they must have totally misheard or
misunderstood what you actually said!
We have lost count of the number of times over the decades that
we have seen or heard "evening classes" in
bricklaying, plastering, etc. being advocated as the best preparation for
anybody thinking of undertaking a 'DIY' self-build. Then
there are all the featured self-build projects in the magazines
'Grand Designs' type programmes, etc. where the clients have been
physically 'labouring' on-site in an effort to save money.
However; when a ‘DIY’ enthusiast simply wants to build a
‘normal’ house; that causes an enormous problem because none of the
so-called 'self-build experts' seem to
realise that ‘normal’ houses must be designed totally
for efficient construction by a ‘DIY’ builder! Architects totally lack
training for, or experience of, undertaking ‘DIY’ ‘Hands-ON’
self-build projects; they seem totally oblivious to any need to approach the
design work differently, naively assuming that the only
difference when handling a ‘DIY’ project is that a ‘DIY’ enthusiast will
do the work instead of a builder! Strangely enough; that naivety
seems to persist even amongst those who have carried out their own
personal 'self-build' project!
Unfortunately; ‘DIY’ enthusiasts rarely know that anything is amiss; so
they get ‘saddled’ with doing a load of unnecessary extra work;
so everything takes much
longer, costs more to do and, due to the dirty and heavy work
involved, it is much more difficult for the ‘DIY’ builder to
tackle all because, in their ignorance,
‘designers’ are merrily creating projects that are guaranteed
incapable of ever
being truly successful for the "hands-ON" enthusiasts.
Fortunately; we have always managed to avoid such stupidity
otherwise we would never have tackled another 'self-build'
project nor ever advocated it to anybody else; let alone
undertaken the other fourteen that we have personally built over the
years! The good news is that 'huge sums' can be saved by tackling some or most of
the work yourself; but it isn't achieved by doing what
all those clueless armchair 'experts' advocate on 'TV' or in glossy
'self-build magazines'; nor by trying to 'mimic' how the building trades
traditionally build houses or by busting a 'gut' working as a labourer!
When you have actually
been there and physically built your own home using an
efficient, sensible & pragmatic approach towards getting
things done successfully; it is immediately
obvious that most so-called 'self-build experts' have never done so
and haven't got a clue how to!
Of course; the UK’s ‘self-build industry’ has very little
interest in ‘DIY’ enthusiasts because they simply won't be
splashing out huge 'upfront sums' on expensive 'package-kits' or 'SIPS'
packages; virtually everything the 'industry' does is targetted at
getting hold of the financially well-endowed ‘people’; i.e. the people with
plenty of "cash to splash" on having their ‘self-build’ project created and built
for them by the 'self-build industry'!
‘self-build’ magazine or book, watch
‘self-build’ TV programme, attend
of the ‘self-build’ shows or exhibitions, talk and/or listen to the
country’s ‘self-build experts’; virtually
you see, hear and/or read will be about
people have had or can have a traditional or ‘package-kit’ house
built for them
with all the latest fancy, expensive, ‘must have’ gizmos included;
to success being the possession of extremely
'pockets' to meet the 'huge' financial cost!
Unsurprisingly; the 'industry' has absolutely
interest in saving any 'self-builder' money; so very little, if anything, appears
in the media about how to reduce
costs, how to avoid the need for expensive ‘add-ons’ or about economic
house construction methods; conversely a great deal of 'marketing
effort' is put into encouraging
people to believe that they ‘must have’ all manner of invariably
expensive items; regardless as to whether
they actually need them or whether there are cheaper and/or better options
So it isn’t just your friends and family, neighbours and
workmates who won’t understand what a ‘DIY’ project involves because;
irrespective of professional qualifications, ignorance about ‘DIY’
projects is widespread within the so-called ‘self-build industry’ too.
The typical (professionally qualified) 'expert' is almost invariably limited to working
within what the house-building industry normally 'does' and totally oblivious to practical
alternatives that could serve their clients' interests much
That’s also the reason why (mainstream) ‘DIY’ projects aren’t actually designed for a
'DIY' approach, and automatically guarantees that the projects are pre-destined to
‘fail’; i.e. they will take too long to build and/or cost too
much and/or the ‘DIY’ builder will struggle to achieve the desired
standard of thermal performance and/or ‘airtightness’; as proven
by all the ‘DIY’ projects featured in the media year after year.
Having started 'life' as an enthusiastic 'Hands-ON'
self-builder first and foremost; even before becoming an industry 'insider';
the "Self-Build-Pro" uses that practical knowledge and experience to
serve our clients' best interests
being constrained or inhibited by what the industry normally
Which makes "Self-Build-Pro" rather unique because; with
over 40 years experience of designing AND physically
building timber-frame homes ourselves; we have a wealth of ‘Hands-ON’
practical experience to back-up our unique professional design and
‘support’ services for clients!
How To Design & Manage Successful ‘DIY’ Self-Build Projects!
Reason For Doing It "Hands-ON"!
completing a successful 'DIY' (Hands-ON) self-build
project is one of life's greatest experiences. The sense
of achievement and fulfilment is truly immense and beyond
anything most people will ever experience from anything
else in life, (a) because it stems from an unique achievement
and (b) it is something that will constantly be with you for as
long as you live in the house. Nothing else can match the
unique combination of an immense sense of achievement &
fulfilment and the longevity of the 'after-glow of satisfaction'
that follows ~ fuelled by the pleasure of knowing that the house
you are enjoying living in, isn't just your creation;
it's also a creation that has saved you a great deal of money
and has probably transformed your financial well-being too.
What makes the
whole thing so special is that; unlike having great pride in
our children, passing exams and/or qualifying to do something,
winning at sport, accumulating wealth and assets, even doing
'life-saving' work, etc.; which are things that most people
can experience in one form or another as a natural part of life; it
takes a totally different 'mind-set' to choose to get so far out of
most people's 'comfort-zone' by personal choice!
Of course; there are
numerous possible reasons why any of us choose to embark upon a 'DIY'
(Hands-ON) 'self-build' project; but that doesn't detract from
the perceived achievement of completing a successful 'build'. The
general perception 'sees' such an achievement as making you worthy of
respect, even envy; because it is one of the few things in life that
people will freely acknowledge isn't something they could ever envisage
being able to face having to do themselves!
isn't a perception supported in many other countries; where 'DIY'
house-building is often quite common, almost traditional; in fact, it is
an almost uniquely British reaction of admiration for anybody capable of
'bucking' the usual 'system' for doing things; i.e. pay somebody else;
which is exactly what most 'self-builders' do AND
what the 'self-build' industry wants everybody to do!
It Helps If You
Understand Why Most 'Self-Builders' Won't Do It!
There have been
'self-build' books and monthly magazines around for decades; even 'Grand
Designs' and other similar TV series have been around for many years;
yet despite the many superficial impressions to the contrary; I have
been reluctantly forced to conclude ~ there is NO
'self-build' industry in this country and never has been!
What does exist is a substantial number of people
who want to create new 'one-off' houses, primarily for their own
occupation, people who have been collectively labelled as being
Consequently; a whole industry 'sector' has grown up around
the very profitable 'retail'
business that those relatively numerous and affluent,
'self-builders' can provide for both the 'mainstream'
building industry and all the sundry manufacturers,
suppliers and installers that have jumped onto the
band-wagon 'hyping' all manner of 'must-have' expensive
'goodies' via glossy magazine advertising and/or brochures!
It is over forty
years since I started on my first 'self-build' project; but I have
never seen, heard or read anything advocated by any
of the self-styled 'self-build' experts; that has ever been about doing
or trying anything that wasn't simply an expression of the
'mainstream' house-building industry ways of doing things;
even though some of these 'experts' claim to have
done their own 'self-build' projects!
what these so-called 'experts'
have done very successfully; is to delude thousands
upon thousands of 'self-builders' into believing that they
have learnt all they need to know about how to do a
'self-build' project successfully, whilst in reality; all
that they have 'learnt' is how and where to 'throw' their
money at an 'industry' all too eager to get its hands on it;
with the inevitable result that most 'self-build' projects
have become ridiculously expensive compared to commercial
A quick look
at how most of the 'successful self-build' projects featured in
magazines, etc. have astronomically expensive 'build' costs (£/m2);
clearly demonstrates just how successful that whole
process has been! Reality is so distorted that a
'no-expense spared' approach is portrayed as somehow being
completely normal; with the definition of a 'successful project'
generally dependent upon the self-builder's ability to spend huge
amounts of money rather than anything else!
successful projects don't happen by chance; but they don't
cost a fortune either!
Ironically; under the media inspired delusion of thinking that they know what
they are doing, many 'self-builders' no longer feel that
professional consultants can add 'value' and quibble over paying even
'modest' fees ~ totally oblivious to the thousands of pounds they will
be 'blindly' wasting elsewhere! Unfortunately when people simply
follow the industry's 'normal' way of doing things it does become a
self-fulfilling reality when 'throwing money' at a project becomes the
However; even employing the best consultants cannot guarantee a truly successful
project if people are reluctant to go the 'extra mile' and have all the
necessary 'design' work carried
out properly. There are
huge cash savings to be made when tackling a 'self-build' project as
a 'DIY' (Hands-ON) build; but it is a false economy to put those
savings at 'risk' by seeking to save money on the 'design' work that
will ensure that things are capable of being
done properly. Good 'design' work may look expensive; but it will
always be demonstrable that the 'savings' achievable will significantly
outweigh the fees involved!
projects don't just happen, they need to be planned and
executed 'professionally'; i.e. being a 'DIY' project,
doesn't mean that it can be treated in a 'slap-dash' manner;
success comes from good planning and organization, with the project specifically designed to facilitate a 'DIY'
approach. After all; it is far easier and more
satisfying to do any 'DIY' self-build when it is properly
designed and tackled in a 'professional', organized manner; the
alternative will inevitably take more time and effort and cost more
too. It was never down to 'luck' or by chance that we
achieved such 'quick' builds AND slashed
normal 'build' costs by 50% or more in the process! The
projects were always thoroughly planned and designed to achieve
precisely that outcome and the end-results were equally
achievable by any keen
'DIY' (Hands-ON) self-builder following our design and
successful 'DIY' house-building comes down to also
remembering that the 'objective' is to build a house that gives
NO indication of having been a 'DIY' build; otherwise the
finished property, literally and metaphorically, won't end-up worth
the time, effort and money put into building it ~ no matter how cheaply
We have the
knowledge and experience; do you have the inclination?
Our 'specialism' is
to provide the best possible way to build superb quality
'mainstream' houses; i.e. a way that is quick, cheap and
practical; allowing anybody keen to build a house with their own
hands a realistic and practical opportunity to match anything achievable
via 'package-kit' or 'SIPS' based construction; irrespective of the type
or style of property required or what the external claddings will be!
We will also
'sit-down' with you to discuss everything about your proposed project with
you and help you find the right balance of involvement for you
relative to your available time, budget, overall project completion
date, etc. We will also continue to advise you upon any
adjustments that may become necessary to maintain your objectives.
single method is ever going to be universally agreed as the only way of doing
anything; it is essential that the method that is used has been
tried and tested and proven to be better than the rest! There are
numerous proprietary 'systems' being marketed; none have
yet proven to be financially OR environmentally
cheaper and/or better than using site-fabricated timber-frame ~ that is
the SOLE reason behind why WE
carry on using it and advocating it ~ because we know it is also in our
'DIY' clients' best interests! Blithely adopting some
"construction method" because it appeared, or worse was advertised, in a
magazine or on TV; isn't the way to guarantee the success of any 'DIY'
We have always
striven to keep everything as simple, quick and straightforward as
possible for undertaking our own, frequently single-handed, 'DIY'
(Hands-ON) 'self-build' projects. That also meant
designing them accordingly in order to facilitate and simplify the
We have looked at and analysed how the rest of the World manages to build houses
quicker and cheaper than here in the UK; we took the best method we could find and
the last 35 years developing and evolving it through our 'Hands-ON'
experience, taking full advantage of practical 'hindsight' to refine
things as well as periodically checking up on the rest of the World
for any viable, new ideas that may have appeared; whilst tackling
a succession of 'self-build' projects for our ourselves and with our
As mentioned above;
it is never by 'luck' nor by chance that we can
achieve such 'quick' builds AND slash
normal 'build' costs by 50% or more in the process! The
projects are always thoroughly planned and designed to achieve
precisely that outcome and the end-results can be achieved
by any keen
'DIY' (Hands-ON) self-builder using our design work and
following our assembly & erection methods.
purely by chance that our choice of construction
(timber-frame); originally made purely upon the basis of cost and
efficiency; has actually turned out to use the only
truly sustainable 'mainstream' construction material; i.e.
timber ~ the 'green building' material par excellence; much to
the chagrin of manufacturers desperate to keep selling other
building products, methods and/or materials!
reading mentioned above for anybody thinking about
building high-quality timber-frame houses and/or wanting to
achieve 'super-insulated', airtight homes to 'Passivhaus' standards
(and beyond) are our unique 'FREE' e-Guides. Keep on reading and
re-reading them because they are packed with information that
could transform how you go about designing, building and insulating
any new house; potentially saving you £10,000's, possibly £100,000's
in the process! If you haven't already discovered them; simply
click on the 'blue' highlighted 'links' immediately above!