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About Me


Found 15 results

  1. Hi everyone, really excited to be here. I'm Axel. After a long process of deliberation between ourselves, me and my partner decided to finally go down the route of buying property in the UK. A bit of background. We are both Spanish from Barcelona, and we came to Solihull 5 years ago now looking for an adventure. The last couple of years we wanted to leave the UK and try going nomad for a while, but in the end we were undecisive. Finally, we have decided that before doing that, we want to create our first base camp somewhere, and that somewhere we prefer it to be the UK. Now, we don't have a lot of specifications, and we are EXTREMELY unfamiliar with all of this. Things we know/wish for are: We don't have a specific location in mind, but location is important. Having a large international airport nearby is key for us. Birmingham has worked well for us so far, and while we know going norther would be cheaper, the airports are not any better, plus we get further away from London options. So ideally, we would be looking anywhere from Birmingham to the South (we know that's the most expensive part though, but still evaluating the options). We don't have a car (we sold it 2y ago as we didn't need or want it) and ideally we would like to live without one. We use Uber and public transport as needed. Meaning it's sort of important not to be fully isolated, even when we like it. Although if the location was amazing cost-wise, we can consider the car no problem. We want a base camp. Not a fully fledged house. And this is key. Our dream about this started when, after traveling a lot and staying at lots of different places, we realised we really didn't need much to live in. 50sqm were quite enough for us, maybe tight, but 70sqm definitely enough. We currently live in a 3 bedroom semi attached house, and while we love it, we could perfectly live in just the base floor if the bedroom was down here. That is including our entire extension/dining room is a huge office. This is a must for us, the office. We work from home, and have 3 screen setups. We have all this on a full sized board table (2440x1220mm). We are happier to have a tiny main bedroom, but a massive office instead. Linked with the previous, we are looking at a less UK standard house. We are European, and while we love our current UK traditional house, we prefer another style. More northern, modern. Here come the wishes: We have been looking at pre-fab houses, and realised they are really cheap. £25k-£75k we should be able to perfectly find something that suits us. With that in mind we thought: "That's actually cheap for a house! How cheap can we get a plot?" And looking a bit, we started seeing plots that ranged a LOT in price. From £10k-£20k all the way to £100k+. This idea of a base camp makes sense for us if we think of aiming at a total cost of around £100k. With some margin. Up to £130k I'd say. Now you might say (what my mum said to the plan) "Well you're not getting a house for that price". Ok... We just want a tiny dog house. Really, don't think based on normal standards. We could definitely live in just our garden space. Think of a container house. You don't need lots of meters for that plot. Can't we get that plot type for up to £30-£70k? That's our mind picture. Is this feasible somehow? We are not in a rush. But we wouldn't like to leave it for a year either. We have been looking at plots at Zoopla, but as I mentioned earlier, we are extreme newbies. They don't teach this in school. We don't know what to look for in a plot. For example, one of the latest I found was this one. In Reading, 1h from London, between 2 houses. Super well connected, perfectly residential area, seems large enough for our case... No idea what's wrong with it for £10k really. Sure, it's an auction, not final price, but... idk. Maybe? What am I missing? We don't know if we need to ask for a mortgage before or after. Or how a self build mortgage (or any mortgage) works at all, or what good rates are. I'm financially literate though, just not familiar with mortgages. (Worried about this as we are both directors of our own LTD. Salaries are set arbitrarily low for tax purposes, and we get paid in dividends. Not sure if that's easily accepted.) We don't know what the process looks like. In my mind it looks like this. Find plot. Find lender and ask for mortgage. Buy plot. Find ??? that checks with Council (?) that you can build what you want in there. Wait until Council approves. Find ??? that designs/plans what you want to build. (If it's the pre fab I guess they directly do this). Pay. Wait for it and oversee every tiny detail as I want it perfect (and the contractors we've had in the UK so far haven't left great impressions). As you can see, no idea of the agents involved in the process, or even their names. Please correct me as much as needed, this is what I came here for. One thing I know I did right. I already opened a LISA for me and my partner and maxed contributions. And I think this is basically it! Being migrants in the UK, we don't have a large acquaintance circle here, and the ones we have are young. So we don't have who to ask for advice on all these processes really. That's why I went to look for an online community and start learning from kind strangers. And here I am! Thank you so much for sticking by this huge wall of text, and I will be super grateful for any help or guide or anything you can share that helps me step forward even just a bit.
  2. Hi all, I have read this forum many times whilst searching for information relating to my build and its been incredibly useful, so thanks all. I am building a room in my garden which i hope will also serve as a small art gallery. A few interesting(ish) facts about me: a) I love bricks and collect them. Particularly, wire cut, gas fired bricks, that have purple headers i guess you would call them multi stock in the trade. b) I love drawing things with straight lines. Building plans are right up my street. c) I am training to be a gardener and would like to work in horticulture one day. d) I love drum and bass and jungle and plan to build a massive sound system one day so the whole neighbour hood can enjoy it too. See you around C
  3. Hi Many thanks for accepting me into your wise comunity!! I fear I am going to be picking your brains for advice as I have (to me) a difficult challenge plus I have never had to oversee any building work ever! SHORT VERSION: So, where do I start, the original plan was to do a single storey 5m by 4m rear extension (kitchen/diner/lounge bog standard) and a small 3m by 1.5m front extension (extra wc/wet room) to dad's 1963 semi detached 3 bed bunglow (90 feet by 40 feet plot) in a small cul de sac in Stratford upon Avon. Great location, quiet & close to town so extension seems good investment plus quality of life improvement etc etc. However the property is now being monitored for subsidence (studs with inspection pits to follow) due to diagonal cracks, bathroom tiles beng pushed off walls, walls moving off damp course where adjoins property next door (which was piled in 1990 and has moved at least further one inch since!!!) Interestingly, Dad's then Insurance said there was no subsidence on the bungalow in 1989 - instead citing lack of sufficient reinforcement in the lounge floor, which desoite not being an insured peril they paid to be corrected!! I should add that the original buildig work was of a very poor standard - the back corner (lounge) appears to have at least one brick course more than rest of bungalow - I suspect that the1989 insurer focussed on this & fobbed off my trusting Dad with a new lounge floor, anyways......................... So, whilst we await the current Insurance verdict, I am planning the extension and rework of existing kitchen/hall/only bathroom/current lounge/diner) as I hope to be able to combine this with the expected building repairs following subsidence repairs. I have shared this with Dad's current insurers who have indicated this would be possible (caveat of claim progression etc etc) Adjacent & Opposite identical properties secured planning permission for very similar rear & front extensions so I am not envisaging any issues. (never say never) So I have engaged an architect (foll numerous quotes & recommendations) to: Im not planning on a "Grand Designs" statement merely to make the existing property more useable for Dad (88 years). We are fortunate that we can decamp to my house whilst work is carried out. I would be grateful for any suggestions re: "Must Read" guides or books on how to approach a building project - my partner is a project manager (although in automotive) Managing Insurance Claim & additional building projects If you're still with me, Thanks, Michele
  4. I am new to self building and stumbled across your forum. I have spent a few days browsing various topics and am impressed by the quality of the advice, information and the kind manner in which it is given. Being new to self building at this stage I'm unlikely initially to be able to offer much advice to others but as my knowledge and experience grows I look forward to being able to contribute to others. I have chosen to start a blog ("Garden Escape") that records the journey of my first self build; a single storey building at the bottom of our garden that is intended to fulfill a number of functions - home gym, workshop, bicycle store and bolt hole - located in London I am completing the build under permitted development and in order to get an internal ceiling height in the range of 3 to 3.25m I am excavating to allow the building to start underground. This introduces additional complications and along with the building being close to the 3 neighbouring boundaries this seems quite a challenging project to undertake. I have plenty of time available to work on the project and along with a friends son I am aiming to minimise the amount of involvement of others to keep build cost down. I do recognise that I will need to pay for some skilled help and through this forum I will look for guidance on when that may be the case. The project started in the summer of 2020 by the removal of 2 trees and the excavation of a hole 12.5m by 6.5m by 1.2m deep, which is now shuttered up with plywood ready to restart in Spring 2021. I have appointed a Building Regulations inspector and had an initial site visit from a structural engineer (not yet appointed). The decisions I have so far made are: 1. Build using ICF either Isotex or Logix 2. Foundation to be Isoquick raft 3. Build in the principles of Passive housing but am not looking for cerification. 4. To build as close as practically possible to the neighbouring boundaries to maximise the building space. 5. The building is to include a toilet, shower and small kitchen facilities - mains drains approximately 40 meters away at the front of the house. I have done alot of reading up online in the last month and on this forum in the last couple of days but as you might expect I have a ton of questions. For now I would like feed back on the best way to get advice through the site. Should I post seperate questions into specific forums, put the queries through the blog, an initial post with all my current queries or message individual members whom appear experienced with the specific queries? Kind regards Andy
  5. mtnash


    Hi everyone, Another new member here. Only came across these forums the other day but they look great with so much interaction, advice and information. I'm looking to build/have built a new property with no previous experience and have all sorts of questions and thoughts running through my head so no doubt you'll see me posting in various topics. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks, Ash
  6. Hello, SoI’ve been dreaming up a small home on a small plot. Sadly the neighbour has encroached to prevent (its a complicated story) but they have essentially pinned my little garage in and taken 2 feet of my land and is essentially attempting to force a sale. ...for now I need to repair the garage before everything in in is ruined. What can I do without planning permission for now until I have resolved the boundary situation? This is a case of someone with money taking of advantage of someone without....very frustrating! Please help. Thanks, Micc
  7. Hello everyone, first post and just wanted to introduce myself as you all seem like an extremely informative and helpful bunch - I hope one day to provide the same level of contribution and advice when we finally get to build our dream! We are hoping to build a 4 bed Passivhaus in North Somerset, about 8 miles south of Bristol. We are still in the very early stages of planning, as in, not sure if the plot in question has any potential for planning as yet, so have been spending a considerable amount of time reading about the Local Plans, NPFF and what the implications are of trying to build a village washed over with the Green Belt and is outside of a settlement boundary. The plot is part of a large garden, so might be considered a windfall plot but the two issues I mentioned are obviously very difficult to overcome, if at all. We do not have the sort of budget for a Paragraph 79 house but nevertheless given the location, we felt it was an avenue worth exploring further. In any case the research we have been undertaking generally won't be a wasted effort, since I feel it is helping us understand the build process and makes us better informed clients. In terms of build systems we are very keen on ICF, and going through the process now of trying to understand what the pros and cons are of the various systems - of which this site has proven very helpful already! We have also started to try and make a short list of architects that meet the following criteria: have demonstrable Passivhaus experience, have ICF experience, and can provide a Passivhaus design beyond just a box (yes I know that it is the most efficient design in terms of energy efficiency, but hey, its our dream :). this has proven difficult to say the least, the vast majority of architects who are local who have Passivhaus experience seem to only have experience with timber frame or seem so fanatical about the concept of eco design that I wondered whether we would be chased away with pitch forks if we even broached the idea of a monolothic concrete house. :). The other type of architects we found with lots of Passivhaus experience seem to be based in London, and frankly I wonder whether they would be so fancy that our fairly modest budget just wouldn't be of interest to them. If anyone can recommend an architect who meets the above criteria that would be great. So anyway, that's a brief synopsis of where we are, I sincerely hope to be able to contribute further to this site with updates!
  8. Hi everyone, Very happy to join this community. I own a flat in East London, which I want to sell to move to the country-ish. I'm looking to self build but have no experience in it whatsoever. I'm currently researching how to acquire a plot and the legalities around it, no idea whether my expectations are realistic at this stage. I've registered to PlotBrowser and other such databases and also enquiring with some estate agencies. I want to build a small-ish house and I'm very much interested in ready made houses (such as the Manta North ones) or house kits (such as the HebHomes). Has anyone got any experience with these? If I understand correctly with the Manta North houses, I would "only" need to get services connected and the foundation and slab done. Are foundations for small houses like this expensive to do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm looking forward to interacting with you all. All the best, Sandra
  9. As the title suggests I am lost! I am a mother of 2 soon to be 3 kids homeschooling and a husband who dropped this idea on me roughly a month ago! We are looking to build a 2-2500 sq ft 4 bedroom 1.5 story family home with double garage on a green site in Northern Ireland. We have full planning permission For a 3000sq ft 5 bedroom modern home (plans from seller of site) but we want to build something to suit out taste and budget so will need to redo plans. But here is where the problem lies. We had a brief meeting with an architect and my husband is too easily swayed by modern looks but it’s not to our taste. i would love to be able to view houses with plans before going to an architect so we can show him what we like not the other way around but I’m really struggling. Pinterest isn’t great as when you click into view most are gone or not available to view in any detail. We are complete novices to this and a lot of it is being left to me as my husband says I’m the artistic one! There’s one thing being creative and a whole other thing designing a family from scratch with literally no experience. We have started to watch channels 4 building the dream for inspo. Has anyone got advise or tips on what they have learned from experience. My list is short and sweet: * 4 bedrooms all with walk in closet (nothing too big or fancy needed) * master bedroom downstairs with walk in shower en-suite (open to pros & cons of this being down stairs) * open plan kitchen dining living area (walk in pantry) * family bathroom * W/C downstairs * Utility * plenty of light and storage space Any advise would be greatly appreciated as I am pregnant and home schooling a 6 & 4 year old so really want to get started on this so we can get things moving. Thank you
  10. Hello all, Hope everyone is well. Sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere on here, I searched but couldn’t find anything - but I have limited knowledge of technical building terms. A year ago we brought a Victorian property that had been empty for around 20 years. We had traders come and do the main jobs but are currently doing the smaller jobs and making the place in to a home. I want to build a small workshop - roughly 14 ft x 9 ft. The area I want to put it has three existing walls - two ‘garden’ walls and the other being the exterior wall to our kitchen. In the one corner there is also an old privy, I am unsure if it would be best to knock down or try and integrate it into the plan, it is a solid build. The garden walls are two bricks in width and around 6.5 foot high, in good shape other than needing to be re-pointed. It would be great to get some advice on areas before trying to move forward with attempting this, so thanks in advance for any help. Would it be possible to tie in to these walls and use them for part of the structure, and would I just use a wall starter kit? (The brick is accrington brick) The garden walls would need more height, I take it I could just add more brick to that to increase the height? Would I have to dig down and see what the foundation is like on the garden walls? I would be digging down to put a foundation for the new front wall, would I lay a new foundation around all sides? As they are walls built at the same time as the house (1901) I would presumably have to put in a DPC, and then build block internal walls? I know I will need to check with my local council but presumably I could build it as high as the privy? I’ve included a photos so people can see what the area and walls look like. One last question (for the moment) - a foolish project for someone with minimal amount of building experience? Cheers for the help and advice. Dave
  11. Hi all, I'm about to embark on a timber garage build (3m x 5.5m) on a concrete base that has just been laid on our drive, which is 3.2m x 5.7m. The concrete base isn't perfect (long story on this one but there is some pooling of water on one side of it when it rains) and so I've been told to lay a layer of engineering bricks and a DPC on top and then build the garage on top of this. I'm a complete newbie and was hoping for some advice on this. What type of brick? is this a DIY job or do I get a brickie in? Any more tips to stop moisture reaching the bearers of the garage? Any advice or tips would be really appreciated!
  12. Good evening everyone, My name is Vaughn and I live in Sussex. I've joined the group, both as an aspiring home builder (in the future), but also to offer advice, where I can. I specialise is heating controls (and employed by one of the world's largest heating controls manufacturers). I also ran my own plumbing and heating business in the South East for 9 years, installing gas, LPG, and biomass boilers, heat pumps, solar thermal and a little solar PV too. I have particular interest heating controls, and renewable energy sources for domestic properties. I am active on other social media platforms, mainly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I look forward to participating as and where I can, and learning as well as sharing knowledge within the community. Regards, Vaughn.
  13. Hi Everyone, We're doing a self build in near Ascot, Berks. It took us a while to get planning but we finally got it and we're hoping to start on our new house towards the end of the year. We're hoping this forum will provide some great advice and support and will help us avoid any nasty pitfalls. Our tender pack has gone out to a few builders, but we also want to put it out to a few trades to see if it's worth moving away from a main contractor, taking on more of the build responsibility to save on cost. If anyone has any advice or recommendations on tradespeople who cover E.Berks/S.Bucks/NW. Surrey we'd love to hear from you. Thanks
  14. It’s a 1939 mid-terrace sandstone house with cavity filled walls, floating floors and an avocado kitchen and bathroom which will be going, going, gone soon! The Aim: to eliminate draughts and add an extension for a wc/wet room and kitchenette for a sink and the electrics including the washing machine because there seems are too many issues putting it in the bathroom where it was in our previous house. Most kitchen units are in the dining room. The application for planning permission is underway and the disagreeable architect will soon be a ‘thing’ of the past. I found this site while looking for information about Positive Input Ventilation because condensation is an issue. Cold windows are the cause but there’s probably no draught-proofing in the window casings. Plan of Action with a limited budget: (1) Improve window seals to create an air-tight fit: Foam or caulk or what? (2) Invest in secondary double glazing: Yes/No? (3) Install continental-style roller shutters in the extension. We had fab wooden roll shutters but they are not fashionable in the UK. Would there be issues installing them in the extension? Yes/No? (4) Install a PIV system in the attic (5) Use reflective eco foil under the carpet underlay on the ground floor. Yes/No? - The crawl space is home to hundreds of spiders. (6) Add an extension with sun tunnels and ignore the architect’s disdain for them. Yes/No? I failed to visualise the extension layout until the architect provided plans that I changed many times until I understood what the layout should be but with builders it won’t be possible to simply send plans back to the drawing board. I’ve never dealt with builders before but I crossed swords too many times with the architect so he won’t be overseeing the project. As I’m going it alone because Mr DIY has early onset dementia but I don’t want builders to pull the wool over my eyes so here I am looking for support. Thank you.
  15. MrsB


    Hello, just a quick introduction from me. Female with an offer accepted on 2 acres of land with a derelict barn on site with planning permission granted. I have lots to learn to guide me through this process of checking this barn is viable before I exchange contracts. Finding a decent builder to guide me through the process of the rebuild and hoping to gain support for all those decisions along the way within this forum. I'm hoping then to be able to help others with my gained knowledge. Julie
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