DarrenA

New member, building at Graven Hill

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I joined the forum a while ago and had a general look around. But today we completed on our plot at Graven Hill so would like to do the introductions 😀

 

We're Darren and Christine and in our 50s. We've moved house over 20 times (we don't have kids), renovating each time so are reasonably experienced with interior projects but this is our first self build. We live in Nottingham but are moving to Bicester because we liked the look of the Graven Hill project (a new build site with roughly 700 self builders working on individual plots over 10 years if you didn't see it on Grand Designs.)

 

We're building a 4 bedroom, partly 3 storey, detached, flat roofed modern white box out of brick and block with a 200mm cavity (that's causing lots of issues already - who'd have thought wall ties could be so expensive!). We aren't allowed to live in a caravan on site sadly, although the plot is so tiny there wouldn't be space anyway. So we are staying with friends who have already completed their Graven Hill build initially while we find somewhere cheap to rent for the next year or so. 

 

I'm very happy to answer any questions about the Graven Hill process and costs or anything else about the build. And I'm very likely to be back with very many questions over the next few months...

 

Here's the architects rendering of the house although it is slightly inaccurate as parts of the design are too complicated or expensive to build (we're hoping to build 185m2 for £200k so on the tight side of things). And the floor plans. 

 

Darren 

 

 

3534 06 Photomontage View 02 Rear Elevation amendments 2.jpg

3534 05 Photomontage View 01 Front Elevation amendments.jpg

3534 WD03D GA Proposed Plans.pdf

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Hi and welcome.

 

There is at least one other Graven Hill member on here. You are in good company.

 

 

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Welcome.

 

There are several here who have comsidered Gravenhill, and one who has followed through.

 

Where are you in Nottingham (ish) -several of us are reasonably close.

 

Ferdinand

 

 

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Good looking house, I’ll watch your progress with interest, obviously we only want details of the things that go wrong and the low down on your poor budgeting and extravagant over spends lol.

 

On a serious note, welcome from another serial renovator and 3rd age self builder.

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Posted (edited)

I am not sure if you want feedback, and what type, but the architect seems to have done a generally well-rounded job on room sizes etc.

 

It is interesting that the plan is relatively conventional within a modern-style shell.

 

I am interested in the office at the top. Lots of visitors will keep you very fit going up and down ! Dad had that - used to drop the keys out of the window for them.

 

Are there solar panels on top of the office ? if I have it right a ta glance the others will be shaded until lunchtime.

 

F

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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So... welcome ..!

 

I know your architect, and I know why you’re going to be challenged to build that for the budget ..!!

 

I would have a serious look at those wall specs as some are wrong (Party wall and internal stud wall) and some are just overkill. Why use sound block plasterboard on blockwork walls for example ..??

 

Firstly, seriously consider a straight render on block scheme, and lose some of the CaSil board on render detail as you don’t need it. There is a lot of cost for no benefit. 

 

Next, you do not need a party wall build up into a garage - it’s just classed as an external wall with insulation

 

Thirdly, the differing insulation types and detail will give you a headache - switching from cavity fibre to external PIR on batten is pretty pointless and will just create cold bridges on transitions. 

 

You could do some serious value engineering on that and save a lot of money and make it much easier to build and still get the same effect. 

 

Out of interest, what are the sections through the floors and roof, and what’s the roof finish ..??

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That budget is going to be a stretch with the amount and size of glass in there imo! Will be an interesting journey to follow for sure

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Nice-looking house, although I echo others' comments about budget. Much will depend on your choice of things like kitchen and bathrooms, and how much you do yourself, but the sort of sharp modern finish that would suit a house of this type tends to be expensive and/or time-consuming to achieve.

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2 hours ago, DarrenA said:

I joined the forum a while ago and had a general look around. But today we completed on our plot at Graven Hill so would like to do the introductions 😀

 

We're Darren and Christine and in our 50s. We've moved house over 20 times (we don't have kids), renovating each time so are reasonably experienced with interior projects but this is our first self build. We live in Nottingham but are moving to Bicester because we liked the look of the Graven Hill project (a new build site with roughly 700 self builders working on individual plots over 10 years if you didn't see it on Grand Designs.)

 

We're building a 4 bedroom, partly 3 storey, detached, flat roofed modern white box out of brick and block with a 200mm cavity (that's causing lots of issues already - who'd have thought wall ties could be so expensive!). We aren't allowed to live in a caravan on site sadly, although the plot is so tiny there wouldn't be space anyway. So we are staying with friends who have already completed their Graven Hill build initially while we find somewhere cheap to rent for the next year or so. 

 

I'm very happy to answer any questions about the Graven Hill process and costs or anything else about the build. And I'm very likely to be back with very many questions over the next few months...

 

Here's the architects rendering of the house although it is slightly inaccurate as parts of the design are too complicated or expensive to build (we're hoping to build 185m2 for £200k so on the tight side of things). And the floor plans. 

 

Darren 

 

 

3534 06 Photomontage View 02 Rear Elevation amendments 2.jpg

3534 05 Photomontage View 01 Front Elevation amendments.jpg

3534 WD03D GA Proposed Plans.pdf 1.27 MB · 18 downloads

Your house looks amazing 

We watched the GD program with interest 

Though I suspect the plot prices where more than on GDs to 

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Greetings @DarrenA.

 

 @Visti is our man in Gravenhill. He was last spotted looking for a temporary staircase so I guess he has the structure up and roof on.

 

Is that white brickwork with white mortar? I like the look.

 

The design has some very expensive elements, but it does show. Can you go with a 150mm cavity? If so, you could use a full fill product like CavityTherm, with much cheaper wall ties. Using separate lintels for each leaf will cut down bridging and make the insulation boards fit more easily.

 

I would need over double your budget to produce your house.

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Thank you all for the welcome. I'm very happy to hear feedback and ideas, however our foundations are finished so we are committed to a lot of the details so please go easy on us! 

 

I think a bit more information might be useful. We paid £230k for our 400m2 plot (expensive, I know). Part of the Graven Hill experience is that they build your foundations as part of the purchase. These cost an extra £45k. I realise this is outrageous and won't be surprised if Graven Hill change the process for the Phase 2 plots that haven't been released yet. However, we went into this with our eyes open and the architect made an effort to keep the build simple and minimise foundation details to get these "Golden Brick" costs as low as possible. 

We have £200k left over to build the house but we are already out of the ground and have all services. Also the professional fees come from a different pot. We are self project managing and intend to do a lot of work ourselves (including roofs and floors, carpentry, kitchens, bathrooms, tiling and decorating). So although the budget is tight, it isn't as bad as it might be. 

I'm very interested in the comments about simplifying and cutting costs. I'll reply to them another time though as its late and been a long day 😀

Here is a picture of the plot from today with the finished foundations. I've also attached the sections and rest of the plans as the feedback is very interesting and useful. 

Darren 

 

PS. We are living in Sherwood in Nottingham but have lived all over during the years. 

IMG_20190820_160748585.jpg

3534 WD07F External Services and internal Penetrations, Roof Plan.pdf 3534 WD06F Proposed SEction BB.pdf 3534 WD04G Proposed Site Plan and Elevations.pdf 3534 WD05E Proposed SEction AA.pdf

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Posted (edited)

Don't you want to know what you could have had? 😀:ph34r:

 

(We never wind anyone up ... no way, no how, no Ma'am ....)

 

(But it is usually flagged)

 

That would be a fabulous photo for a caption competition. Mine: "Oh bugger. I am sure I said "Lighthouse".

Edited by Ferdinand

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8 hours ago, DarrenA said:

[...]

I'm very interested in the comments about simplifying 

[...]

 

That word : simplifying . Seems to me to be the key. And  so hard to achieve.

It implies  knowing what really is complex and so could be simplified. This place is full of people trying to make the complex easier. So you are among like-minded people. All the more welcome then!

 

We'll get there before we die, eh? 🙄

 

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, AnonymousBosch said:

 

That word : simplifying . Seems to me to be the key. And  so hard to achieve.

It implies  knowing what really is complex and so could be simplified. This place is full of people trying to make the complex easier. So you are among like-minded people. All the more welcome then!

 

We'll get there before we die, eh? 🙄

 

 

One slightly different way to think is to apply the traditional recycling list to the building itself, building elements and finishes, then work through the cost and lifestyle implications.

 

Prevent

Reduce

Reuse

Recycle

 

eg say an Internal Wall. Just not having it there saves a chunk. Or fence -> hedge can save several £k. Or a lot here save by having a house that is well enough specced that it can be one or two heating zones, so things like boilers and much of the control gubbins just vanish.

 

BTW does that mean that ufh piping and slab insulation is already in situ or are you not that far yet?

 

Ferdinand

 

 

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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Ouch. You have paid £275K for the plot and foundations. That is more than my entire build including land.

 

While I love the principle of Graven Hill, I think they are taking the p**s with the plot prices.  That is going to be a £500K cost house at least by the time you have built it. 

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Posted (edited)

To help you get to grips to the extent you need, here are a few links. it really is all sweat sweat sweat and detail detail detail.


Our forum colleague on Gravenhill, @Visti, did a really good cost control process at the point you are at now more or less.

For a 184sqm house on Gravenhill:

 

Quote

 

Whilst we've been maintaining a budget and a rough cost plan since engaging with out Architects, it's only in the last week we completed a detailed breakdown of our build costs via a quantity surveyor.

 

We'd budgeted ~£250k to build this house (£225k with contingency) and yet we were quite stunned (as was our architect) when the surveyor estimated a whopping £400k! We were expecting ~£1500/m2, not an extra 

 

 

They ended up getting it back down to £265k or so. 

 

The ss he built he made available here.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/13-diCE3Iu8WrtFUKLe9ZNJs_pwR_ZEB7/view

 

And look at:

 

You at plot 290 seem to be somewhat close to 156.

 

F

Edited by Ferdinand
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12 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

Don't you want to know what you could have had? 😀:ph34r:

This made me smile 😀

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On 20/08/2019 at 08:49, Ferdinand said:

Are there solar panels on top of the office ? if I have it right a ta glance the others will be shaded until lunchtime.

 

The solar panels are pencilled in on the second floor terrace. Hadn't thought about shadows but I think moving them up to the very top of the house would solve this and free up more roof terrace. But to be honest, I can't see the solar panels making the cut financially so these will probably be left for another time. 

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On 20/08/2019 at 09:00, PeterW said:

So... welcome ..!

 

I know your architect, and I know why you’re going to be challenged to build that for the budget ..!!

 

I would have a serious look at those wall specs as some are wrong (Party wall and internal stud wall) and some are just overkill. Why use sound block plasterboard on blockwork walls for example ..??

 

Firstly, seriously consider a straight render on block scheme, and lose some of the CaSil board on render detail as you don’t need it. There is a lot of cost for no benefit. 

 

Next, you do not need a party wall build up into a garage - it’s just classed as an external wall with insulation

 

Thirdly, the differing insulation types and detail will give you a headache - switching from cavity fibre to external PIR on batten is pretty pointless and will just create cold bridges on transitions. 

 

You could do some serious value engineering on that and save a lot of money and make it much easier to build and still get the same effect. 

 

Out of interest, what are the sections through the floors and roof, and what’s the roof finish ..??

Thank you, loads of useful tips here. Could you please explain the party wall comment about the garage, not sure what you mean. 

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On 20/08/2019 at 16:34, Mr Punter said:

Greetings @DarrenA.

 

 @Visti is our man in Gravenhill. He was last spotted looking for a temporary staircase so I guess he has the structure up and roof on.

 

Is that white brickwork with white mortar? I like the look.

 

The design has some very expensive elements, but it does show. Can you go with a 150mm cavity? If so, you could use a full fill product like CavityTherm, with much cheaper wall ties. Using separate lintels for each leaf will cut down bridging and make the insulation boards fit more easily.

 

I would need over double your budget to produce your house.

Yes, it is white bricks and mortar. We have samples and the bricks are very bright. Have 13000 arriving soon so I hope we like them! The white mortar is proving a headache to source and store. So we are thinking about using very light building sand instead and accepting a light grey mortar instead. This will also save a few thousand pounds. 

Unfortunately it is too late to change the cavity size but I did cost PIR insulation against Drytherm slabs and we shouldn't be out of pocket our way. We are going with separate lintels per leaf though and using cavity closers to help with bridging and airtightness. 

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If you look at his plans, there is a letter in a circle next to each wall, which refers to the wall construction in the notes below. For some reason he has used a party wall build up for the garage ...?? That should just be a straight external wall build up. 

 

Those cladding details seem well over the top - you could build the whole thing in double skin block with a 175mm cavity and use blown beads and get a really good uValue on the walls. A bit of clever detailing and you will have a simple structure that can either be rendered or clad accordingly - @the_r_sole may have better numbers but from the last time I checked, 4mm CorTen steel would be about half the price of the aluminum “fake” CorTen panels he has specified. If you use it where there is no run off below, you won’t get staining. 

 

What was the architects estimated budget out of interest for the build ..??

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I would of gone underground for an extra floor - but what would I know 😎

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12 hours ago, ProDave said:

Ouch. You have paid £275K for the plot and foundations. That is more than my entire build including land.

 

While I love the principle of Graven Hill, I think they are taking the p**s with the plot prices.  That is going to be a £500K cost house at least by the time you have built it. 

Nice warm welcome there @ProDave!

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23 minutes ago, Oz07 said:

Nice warm welcome there @ProDave!

I think they've priced the plots as high as they can get away with. If you build really carefully you might end up with a small amount of equity but no one is going to make a fortune building at Graven Hill. As a guide line, a 5 bed "executive" detached new build in Bicester by a mainstream developer is around £500k. Hopefully a stylish, unique self build will be worth more. 🤞

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48 minutes ago, DarrenA said:

The white mortar is proving a headache to source and store. So we are thinking about using very light building sand instead and accepting a light grey mortar instead.

 

If you buy white sand, white cement and lime and mix the mortar on site so no storage issues. I think you should be able to produce an acceptable colour without any grey and if you shop around the cost should not kill you. I think it is important as it is so focal.  Beware idiot labourer using it for blockwork! Are you doing anything fancy with the brickwork - like stack bond or flush or raked horizontal joints?

 

Spend a bit of time and make up a panel or two.

 

What bricks have you gone for?

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