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  1. @LnP+1 for use of planning consultant. I found a great planning consultant locally by looking through planning applications and seeing who was writing D&A statements. They offered up excellent advice free of charge when I first contacted them and I've now got them in the back pocket if we encounter problems further down the line. Value of pre-app definitely questionable. And cost of app could pay a few hours work with a planning consultant.... However, in my area, the planning rules aren't all that clear for my particular situation. And we only get several single detached new builds approved each year, so there's little precedent to go by. So pre-app is the only way you'll have a chance of actually speaking with planning officer to get some clarity before forking out on the full app process. I agree, average buyer wouldn’t value building performance all that much… Though I think this is changing and there’s a market for this, albeit a much smaller one.
  2. @Iceverge Interesting experiences. A shame that building performance not more of a consideration amongst the trades. I definately envisage using an architect with previous Passive experience and fully expect to enlist services of heating and energy consultant, who can work with us to refine designs based on software and past experiences.
  3. @Dave Jones I've seen every £/m2 number posssible! hehe. We're hoping 2-2.5k/m2. Modest finished with lots of internal fitting DIY-ed. @pocster Good idea. Have trawled local planning apps extensively and learnt alot. That's how I came up with my shortlist of local architects. All 10-15 years experience. All suggesteing pre-app as sensible starting point. Their reason for pre-app being for a relatively small fee, you can mitigate falling foul of something come full app, and avoid the extra costs and delays that involves. @IcevergeYep, good point. Will cast the net wider in search for architect. RE passive being difficult to achieve - yes. But building performance is paramount for us, so got to be getting close to passive performance.
  4. Bit of an update… Visits to the site by three local architects have been really informative. First, we learned that local planning regulations/policies are often used as guides as no hard-and-fast rules exist in our area. In our case, exact rules on spacing between existing and new builds doesn’t exist… so we’ve some wiggle room so long as the overall proposal is palatable. Second, architects are busy! At least a few months wait to begin commissioning one of them. And another surprise was the range of prices in taking me through to full planning application. 5k cheapest - 15k most expensive (excluding surveying)! All recommended making a pre-app (with a similar range of costs). As we liked but didn’t love any of these local architects, we’ve gone ahead and put in the pre-app ourselves. We’ll keep searching more options in the meantime. Anticipating a long wait on the pre-app feedback…. but hopefully some useful pointers come back.
  5. Thanks for the input. Fair points on either side! As it turned out, I'll likely do a bit of both of what has been suggested here. Search and instruct my own consultants for the less specific, tick-box surveying (eco, flood risk assessement) and coordinate with the architect for the bits that might require a more specific knowldge of the proposed build (topo, ground survey). Few £'s saved hopefully.
  6. Got an architect’s quote for taking me through to full planning app that’s reasonable in most respects. However, they want to charge me a fair amount for soliciting each survey (topo, measured building, eco as a minimum as a minimum at this stage). I’ve email/called all of these various surveying professionals myself to get quotes for my particular plot, all of which I’m happy with. My question is, what value is my architect going to add by tracking down these quotes and instructing the work themselves? To my mind, my plot isn’t that special or complicated, so I can’t see what’s wrong with having surveyors show up and get on with it. But perhaps I’m wrong and some oversight from an architect is required. I’m being a bit pedantic, as these soliciting costs are small in the grand scheme of things and I’m very happy to pay for professionals to do things I can’t. But I’m also trying to be pretty tight on all costs to stop the total ticking up and up… Together with shopping around surveyors and avoiding soliciting fees, I think I could avoid over 1k of costs. Any experiences or suggestions on this?
  7. I’m currently finding/commissioning an architect to get my own self-build project underway. A couple of thoughts based on my experiences so far. As well as web searches and word of mouth, I used my local planning authority’s website extensively to track down which local architects have been used for detached new builds in my area. Searching through applications was a bit of work. But it gave me a feel for which local practices were consistently successful and which kept getting planning applications refused. It also gave me an eye for which types of designs I liked and which architects were doing these. From this search, I found three local practises that I liked and whose drawing work and planning submissions I had already been able to scrutinise. One of the local practises is actually a surveyor with zero architectural training as far as I can tell! Though they have dozens of successful planning applications for new builds they have drawn themselves. Personally, I feel more confident with a fully qualified architect leading my design work. Though having said that, my research on the planning applications identified many qualified and RIBA certified architects putting out pretty average designs that got refused. Of the three local architects I found, all were very happy to make site visits (the advantage of being local) and give an initial appraisal and quote for next steps. Two did this for free and another invoiced me for 2 hours work. I’m aiming for a modest 2-3bed detached house and one thing that surprised me was the range of prices in taking me up to the planning stage for such a project. 5k cheapest - 15k most expensive (excluding surveying). Personally, I’m still unsure whether to commission an architect to design me something bespoke or whether to use a turnkey design/supply/build company. Though every bit of research I do definitely provides peace of mind such that when I do finally decide, I’ll be sure it’s the best route for me! So, I would highly recommend to keep going with your research into all aspects of design, planning and construction. Also, the more knowledge I gather, the more I’m able to query what professionals are telling me, or see when a quote is out of line. For example, I’ve gone and got quotes for all survey work independently, which allowed me to push back on initial quotes for topological survey and drawings from a prospective architect. Another comment. Don’t underestimate how much time it might take you to get from initial ideas and finding an architect, through to getting planning, finding a main contractor, getting hold of materials, dealing with mishaps on site etc. I started my planning in earnest September this year and have already pushed back my target for break-ground by 6 months based on the advice I've recieved so far.... My favoured architect, for example, isn’t available until summer next year! A random tip. Try googling “Bolero Gardens graven hill”. The architects that did that build look good. And I think are in your area.
  8. Great suggestions in that post @jonM Thanks for sharing! The brief for your Shropshire self-build is actually remarkably similar to what we have in mind for our own self-build... I have two local architects and a surveyor now lined up for a walk around the site and a chat about what might be possible. Hopefully a step forward.
  9. Many thanks for the suggestions. @JohnMoOur idea at present is to get a main contractor to supply and erect the frame. If budget allows, a broader package with foundations, internal walls, windows and external doors would be great. Like the offering from MBC, for example, who we’re 30 mins up the road from. PYC, Frametechnologies, not too far either. As for the rest, we feel just about able to handle it with subcontractors and tradespeople we have within the wider family. We’ll be living on-site for large portions of the build. @IcevergeGood idea. The Passive House open days have been and gone. None quite close enough for a visit unfortunately! I’ve also snooped Local Authority planning websites to track down the architect for a particular new build close by. And certainty keen to assess performance and energy demand in the design stage. Not fussed about exact numbers nor certification. All the more reason to have a designer on board who is versed in PHPP or Passive house design such that they can assess the trade-offs between building performance and cost. @recoveringbuilderIt’s a great question. Why not just build to Regs and keep it looking and functioning like a ‘normal’ house ready to sell on in a few years? If building cost keep climbing, then maybe we’ll have to do this. But my current thinking is that the cost difference between a ‘normal’ house and something a fair way to Passive-type performance is not tremendous (at least not for walls/foundation, more so for windows and MVHR). Plus, we're just really keen on having a relatively low-impact, high performing house for the time that we are living there. Though, I totally agree that the vast majority of house-buying public have little interest in these aspects… I hope it changes in time (at least in time for when we get round to selling!). Future Homes Standard seems like a modest shove in the right direction....
  10. Wow, @Iceverge, what a project. If I understood correctly, the walls used in that project are 1.3m thick! Considering my budget, I may well heed the adivce of @SteamyTea and keep it boxy... And I hadn't considered the extra cold bridging at junctions... Thanks for the ideas.
  11. Hi there! I’ve been perusing BuildHub these last week’s, gathering up informative titbits and receiving a few helpful comments to a couple of my questions. Why the interest? Well, I’m in the fortunate position of having a family member with an oversized/unused garden who has agreed to sell me a modest chunk of the land, should we manage to get full planning permission. We have in mind a 3-bed detached, 1 or 1.5 storey design. The idea is to be fairly involved with the project management of the self-build, eventually becoming owner-occupiers (we being myself, partner and our young son). The main constraints we’re working with are a fairly narrow plot (34mx14m) and existing detached houses on north, east and west sides. On the other hand, most other aspects such as planning history/access/services/flooding all seem very favourable. This won’t be a ‘forever home’ and we’re open-eyed about the need to design something that’s readably saleable and attractive to lenders. Over the last months, I’ve filled my head with self-build resources, (particularly from BH). I’ve done plenty of research on build methods, planning considerations etc., and have even made several simple Sketch-up models of possible designs. However, I’m well aware that to progress to the next step (likely getting some drawings down and testing the water with a pre-application to the local authority), I’m in need of an architect! We are aspiring to Passiv-like performance, though are realistic about what we might achieve with our tight budget. I’ve done a fairly thorough internet search for possible designers, though am struggling to see any practices/architects leaping out from my shortlist! I find many ‘low-energy’ architects and quite a few passive house certified designers, though frequently they’re part of larger practises and I doubt we’ll be able to stump up their fees! Otherwise, when I do find smaller businesses that look a bit more within our ballpark, they lack an actual finished example of a Passive house spec’d self-build project… Perhaps this expertise is a little regionalised too, as I feel we’re in a bit of a blackspot here in Worcestershire! I’d be keen to find a designer somewhat local (say up to an hour away) such that a site visit isn’t too onerous and so that they may have connections with proven local-ish builders and tradespeople. Looking forward to digging around BuildHub a bit more to hopefully find some tips on this. I would particularly welcome any advice or experiences on architects. How did you find and choose yours? Cheers James
  12. I’m in the early stages of planning/designing a Passive house inspired 3-bed self-build (plot already lined-up and planning looks favourable). I’m trying to understand the importance of building form factor for energy performance. I understand that the optimum building shape would minimise external envelope area compared to internal volume or floor area. What I don’t understand are the implications of a less compact form on insulation requirements and building costs. They would go up. But prohibitively so? I’ve been looking at this really good blog that has a useful graphic on form factor (http://elrondburrell.com/blog/passivhaus-spreadsheet-phpp-design-tool/) In the graphic example, going from a box to an L-shaped box increases the area/volume by less than 10%. So to my mind, increasing insulation performance by 10% could offset this. Something like going from an average U-value of 0.12 to 0.105 for example. Does that make sense? I’m keen to do a moderately complex form, like a T or and L-shape. Would that make it really expensive to achieve near Passive House performance? Any ideas or wisdom appreciated!
  13. Thanks for the ideas @Ferdinand Point (c) for sure. The old reports are a great starting point for my pre-app / outline planning stage. I can back-up what's necessary then with some recomissioned reports.
  14. Thanks for the ideas. Perhaps I was being a bit hopeful to recycle all that many of the original reports @saveasteadingGood idea to mention existing reports for adjacent plot and at least enquire as to a discounted cost for a new report. I found two local council websites referring to the acceptable age of ecology surveys. One suggesting no more than one year, the other up to three years. Fair enough to redo an eco-report, as they actually get their boots dirty and inspect the plot in detail. But the Flood Risk Assessment I had commissioned last was entirely desk based, using exclusively public datasets. And the FRA was also the most expensive! So I guess I’m a bit sour about potentially having to redo that one! I’ll do as you say @jamieled and try to wing it with existing FRA.
  15. I understand that full planning permission is valid for 3 years. But what about the various consultant reports that support a successful planning application? Do these have a sell-by-date? I couldn’t find a definitive answer on the web and was hoping someone might be able to offer some clarification. My reason for asking is that I wanted to recycle some of the consultant reports that I had commissioned as part of a successful planning permission application made back in spring 2017 for 4 detached dwellings in a plot that now sits adjacent to my garden. The current plan is to seek planning permission again for an additional single dwelling within the remaining space within my garden/grounds. For reference, I attach a rough outline of the plot for which the original consultant reports relate to, as well as the prospective new plot. As you can see, they’re right next to each other, so to my mind, some aspects of existing consultant reports could be shared? From memory, the reports made were flood risk, ecological, archaeological, geotechnical, perhaps one or two other typical reports that I could dig out. Might be worth redoing some reports, such as the geotechnical to be sure were not building on made ground. But I’m certain the prospective site is of lower flood risk and it seems mad to spend another 1-2k on a new report that presents practically the same geographic assessment. My first post on BuildHub. Any ideas/comments much appreciated. I’ll share the eventual outcome in case it’s of use to others.
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