Mischiefsmum

Mischiefsmum saying hello

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Hello all,

i stumbled across this forum whilst researching the possibility of self building. A little back story to explain why I’m here. My husband died earlier this year after six years of trying to treat his brain tumours. He left me and our little girl. I am now planning to move within a 20mile radius of Plymouth to be near my parents as apart from mother in law there is no other family. Money is tight and I’m selling our home to fund a small rental and a place for me and Mischief. We had always wanted to build our own place but staying close to our amazing medical team prevented us.

I’m at the very start of my information gathering journey and trying to figure out if a timber cabin is an economically sound way of obtaining the home I want for us and facilitate the lifestyle I’m pursuing. I’m aware that it’s probably going to cost a lot more than I expect but wondering if in the end it will be a little less than buying a square box among other square boxes

Thanks for reading and I look forward to chatting to you all. 

Mischiefs Mum

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Welcome. 
 

Not sure where to start with this, but that’s a background which I’m so sorry to hear. It sounds like you’ve had a lot of challenges, and self building somewhere for a future is an amazing goal. 
 

Purely on the practical basis, timber or log cabins rarely meet building regulations without a lot of work, and when compared to the costs of a more traditional build, you’ll find they don’t stack up well. 
 

There are a few members in the south west who may be able to help on the practicalities - plots and budgets will be where you need to start first. 

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Hello and welcome, sorry to hear of your trouble. I think maybe your biggest problem would be the cost of land to build your log cabin unless you have already identified somewhere you’d be able to build. I have looked at the price of land down there and anything under£100k seems to be in a street of residential properties where I think it would be unlikely that you’d get permission for a cabin.

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Hi

 

Welcome to the forum and so sorry to hear about your loss.  

 

Self building is very rewarding but it is stressful, all-consuming and not for the faint hearted.  Even if you are not physically building it yourself, you cannot over-estimate how much of your time it will take. 

 

Land is always the the biggest hurdle for self builders - you will normally need to be able to buy the land outright as getting a mortgage on just land is not easy.  It is why self builders are typically older (generalising of course) as we have built up savings over the years - even if we have to sell our house to live in a caravan, releasing capital whilst we build.

 

Not sure what type of log cabin you are intending to build but you need to be sure that once it is built, it is mortgageable so that you can sell it on.  The house we are currently living in, was built and lived in about 5 plots away from us.  We believe it was a built on site rather than a pre-fabricated building that arrived and was put together.  When they completed their permanent build, the previous owners of our plot, bought the house and they transported it in two halves across the various plots in between (it is too wide to fit down the lane).  

 

It is perfectly liveable and when they first decided to sell, it went on the market at a value assuming it was mortgageable.  After several prospective purchasers pulled out when they could not secure a mortgage, it was placed back on the market for over £160k less.  As we were cash buyers, we could buy it, but we’re only interested because there was also

planning permission for a replacement dwelling.

 

Good luck and I truly hope you can make this work for you - you deserve some luck after everything you have been through.

 

 

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Welcome

As most people say, land is the hard bit.

Around Plymouth is also a restricted I think, Cornwall is not so bad.

Have you considered find a wreck of a house, but in a location that you like, then either refurb, or in a few years knock down and rebuild.

It is very easy to get locked into detail at the very beginning i.e. I must have XYZ.

You could also go looking for an existing log cabin or even a static caravan (old girlfriend of mine had one just outside Moretonhampstead), then look at doing things on the site.

 

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1 hour ago, Sue B said:

Self building is very rewarding but it is stressful, all-consuming and not for the faint hearted.  Even if you are not physically building it yourself, you cannot over-estimate how much of your time it will take. 

 

Some really good advice, but really take in that part because it's so true, it really does consume your every thought - but hopefully worth it :)

 

I'm sorry to hear for your loss. One of my best friends has just been diagnosed with 5 of them in his brain and even with treatment, it's 12-18 months. It's even more reason to try and go for a self build if your hearts desires it :)

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@Mischiefsmum sorry to hear of your loss, I too have had a similar loss some time ago. I too was warned about stress during our build and I got cancer twice during our  build and my consultant firmly believed my cancer was caused by stress, not the build but past history. Personally my build kept me going, gave me a focus in life but I was lucky to have a brilliant builder who became a very good friend. Perhaps I am lucky, I refused to let problems get me down but considered them challenges (I am a retired builder so had a good insight on what was going on.) best of luck and keep us informed, this is a great place for information and very friendly.

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2 hours ago, joe90 said:

keep us informed, this is a great place for information and very friendly.

Just to add to this, @joe90 knows a thing or two about dealing with Devonshire planning people.

Probably mentioning his name will get you whatever you want.

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7 minutes ago, SteamyTea said:

Just to add to this, @joe90 knows a thing or two about dealing with Devonshire planning people.

Probably mentioning his name will get you whatever you want.

 

Ha, or not, I have very little respect for planners as we were buggered about fir a couple of years, totally incompetent more like. Our local authority has a reputation for being difficult but I got great satisfaction in taking them to appeal (myself) and winning hands down with a caveat from the government appeal officer that our district planners were not abiding by their own policies. (Smug face).

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Thank you all so much for the warm welcome and advice already. I’m flexible and open to ideas. I’d love a round log cabin but sooo expensive. Second to that I have fallen for A-frames but struggling to find any uk suppliers. I like the look of Avrame but too polished a finish for me. I used to work in a straw bale building and we talked seriously for some while about that or cob but I don’t have the physical wherewithal for that anymore as it’s just me. I guess my vague idea is a kit house and a builder to put it together. 

But I'm also toying with the idea of community or co-housing to build an extended family for us. Or even a place for us and my folks. So so many options, just trying to put some facts to ideas to help with decision making. 

Is it naive to not worry too much about future mortgagebility (is that a word?) as this will be cash and I don't plan to sell on?

I'm so sorry to hear of others effected in similar ways to us. Cancer is cruel and indiscriminate. I count us fortunate as he could have died at diagnosis as it presented violently or any one of several near misses after but we had six years so my little girl has memories of daddy. I’m now determined to make the life for her we always wanted her to have. 

I'll post some other specific questions in the timber frame section unless anyone tells me a better suited place.

thank you all again. 

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Welcome to the Forum - you will get all sorts of advice, and not just about Building.  It is a genuinely friendly place, as you have found out already. 

A while back I saw a Dragons Den episode with a couple of women who wanted to set up a straw building company here in the UK.  They were already building straw bale houses but wanted to join up with an Eastern European (I think) company who produce cassette type builds using straw as the insulating material within wooden frames. That sounds just the thing for you.

It may be an idea to speak to Barbara Jones of Straw works to see how the idea developed and if anyone knows how to help you acheive your dream, it will be her.

http://strawworks.co.uk/dragons-den/

 

Good luck!😊

 

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I wired a straw bale house several years ago.

 

It was a timber frame, twin stud a bit like a larsen truss with the bales between the inner and outer frame as the insulation.

 

My recollection was getting the straw cut, dried and baled, then keeping the bales dry ntil needed was a major logistical exercise. 

 

I think you need to have a very good reason to want a straw bale house.  All I could see was it was a lot of extra work and cost, and ended up with thicker walls, just to get a house you could build with better modern insulation for a lot less cost and with much thinner walls.

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10 hours ago, Mischiefsmum said:

[...]

But I'm also toying with the idea of community or co-housing to build an extended family for us.

[...]

 

Welcome.

Have you seen this? Probably in the wrong place for you but it's 5 minutes from the M6 (J32). If you are ever planning to go to the Lakes in Cumbria, it's well worth an hour or two.

They are a very welcoming lot - I understand they also offer advice to others considering co-housing  (but I haven't checked that recently). 

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27 minutes ago, AnonymousBosch said:

 

Welcome.

Have you seen this? Probably in the wrong place for you but it's 5 minutes from the M6 (J32). If you are ever planning to go to the Lakes in Cumbria, it's well worth an hour or two.

They are a very welcoming lot - I understand they also offer advice to others considering co-housing  (but I haven't checked that recently). 

M6 (J34) Ian

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13 hours ago, TheMitchells said:

Welcome to the Forum - you will get all sorts of advice, and not just about Building.  It is a genuinely friendly place, as you have found out already. 

A while back I saw a Dragons Den episode with a couple of women who wanted to set up a straw building company here in the UK.  They were already building straw bale houses but wanted to join up with an Eastern European (I think) company who produce cassette type builds using straw as the insulating material within wooden frames. That sounds just the thing for you.

It may be an idea to speak to Barbara Jones of Straw works to see how the idea developed and if anyone knows how to help you acheive your dream, it will be her.

http://strawworks.co.uk/dragons-den/

 

Good luck!😊

 

 

This company do a hybrid straw/timber frame product.   It might be the "Eastern European" company mentioned above?

 

http://www.ecococon.lt/english/straw-panels/

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yes, that certainly looks like the one.  I would love to build a house with the straw panels - warm, healthy and natural.  and the panels look easy enough to build ourselves. 

May be ideal for @Mischiefsmum.

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I have volunteered on two straw bale builds and loved it but it’s very labour intensive, these panels look great and very DIYable, I would be very tempted to use them if they were about when I started my build.

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8 hours ago, TheMitchells said:

warm, healthy and natural

Thick walls to make up for lower R Value, so that steal space.

I suffer from very bad hayfever, so construction is anything but healthy.

Radon gas is natural too.

7 hours ago, joe90 said:

these panels look great and very DIYable

They are covered in a clay layer, so probably need a crane to place them.

 

If straw was such a fantastic material for house construction, we would all have it.

Best to stick to TF or traditional construction.

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2 hours ago, SteamyTea said:

If straw was such a fantastic material for house construction, we would all have it.

 

I would certainly entertain using straw, downside is wall thickness to get a good U value. Also it needs to stay dry during construction which most others materials do not. My original plan to build a straw bale house was to buy my own scaffold and make a “cacoon” (tin roof and sheeted sides) so I could build whatever the weather. (I chickened out 😞).

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11 hours ago, TheMitchells said:

[...] I would love to build a house with the straw panels - [...]

 

And that's what matters most.

Starting with an emotionally and technically informed connection between you and the build material.  It means you understand  it at a deeper level.

But it was a mistake on my part to assume that  such a connection might be shared - at least in part -  by key trades.

 

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31 minutes ago, Mr Punter said:

In the 90s in Brighton they did a budget self build community scheme. 

Isn't there someone on here doing a similar thing in Dorset.

Found them

@tonybythesea

Edited by SteamyTea

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Welcome @Mischiefsmum

 

Having spent the last 15 years working amongst people going through just what you've been going through, I understand your pain but I also feel your strength, determination and positivity. They are traits that have got you through the last six years, and they'll serve you well as you (literally) build a new life with your daughter. Listen to advice, but trust your instincts - and try to keep a smile on your face 😊

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