pdf27

House model for costing

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Garage being placed for the best light is unfortunate but unavoidable if I'm going to have one - if self-driving cars ever become a thing then it's getting converted into another living room!  I think it's pretty much unavoidable, and since the plot isn't all that wide it pretty much has to be in front of something if we're going to be able to get either car out on demand. That's a major irritant at the moment.

 

Initial design had the kitchen and lounge swapped, with the utility behind the garage and shower. Problem was that only worked with a significantly deeper house - otherwise the kitchen is just "too small" according to my wife. We also want the house facing towards the garden so far as possible - it's a choice of light+road view or a bit dim+garden view. Like anything else, you can't get everything you want. I'll have a think, but I suspect a kitchen/living room/diner combined is what you'd need for a dual aspect and that probably wouldn't suit the way we live.

 

Modification to upstairs shown below based on suggestions so far - push the front wall forward ~700mm bringing the design closer to a square (excuse the not-to-scale lines). That evens out the size of Bed 3 and Bed 4 and allows a ~2 x 1m space to be created - initially that would probably be wardrobes for each room, but it's above the downstairs shower/store so providing water and drains should be a doddle in a few years if needed. I've flip-flopped a few times about flipping over which of Bed 1 and Bed 2 is the master - at this stage it doesn't really matter because shifting a partition wall slightly is really all that is needed to change over, if that, and that will have no cost impact.

 

 

image.thumb.png.21c0543650ec499bda8a62bd36350948.png

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Is there a reason you're so tied to the square floor plan? If it was me looking at the plot layout, I'd be tempted to look at an L shape or even a T to maximise the light and views - every single one of my clients wants "light and airy" homes and I think building a new house with such a deep plan isn't going to maximise any pay back you'll get, the first thing someone buying that house is going to do is to look to see which walls they can drop to lighten it up... tbh I thought it was 4 bed at first and bedroom heavy at that, never mind the 5th bed!

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  • Partly because I'm an engineer so naturally try to optimise surface area/volume ratio, partially because the current house is an L shape and utterly disfunctional. I suspect that is leading me to design it to solve a particular set of problems, but those problems might well be the wrong ones
  • Views are really only front and back, but light is potentially from the side. 
  • Next door is an L-shape (sideways garage at the front, with a room over) - it's a bit smaller, a 3 bed Potton kit from memory. Only real difference is that it's shorter front to back, otherwise they're built up to the sides of the plot.
  • 2 doors down is much larger, upper floor is only Velux windows to the side though so much more light but no views at all.

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Don't design your house like an engineer 🤣 

Design it to make the most of the plot, views and light and make it work as a house that fits your lifestyle, just because one layout is dysfunctional doesn't mean they all are. 

I'm all for rational, efficient floor plans but there has to be some delight too, you want to exploit the opportunity you have 

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1 hour ago, the_r_sole said:

Don't design your house like an engineer 🤣 

Design it to make the most of the plot, views and light and make it work as a house that fits your lifestyle, just because one layout is dysfunctional doesn't mean they all are. 

I'm all for rational, efficient floor plans but there has to be some delight too, you want to exploit the opportunity you have 

Sadly there's a problem with that. As an engineer, there is delight in a rational, efficient solution and you're extensively trained to think in a particular way. That spills over in all sorts of ways - including lifestyle to some extent.

 

<example of engineering thinking>

The bit I think I'm struggling with is that there are views to the front (on the upper level anyway - on the lower level it's whatever I can salvage of the garden from being turned into a car park) and a big garden to the back, but nothing to either side.

That means the glazing needs to be orientated towards the front and back (anything to the side is looking at a fence or a blank wall), and the house needs to use as much of the width of the plot as it can (currently I've left 1m to either side). That then means scaling the volume is a matter of making the house shallower or deeper.

</example of engineering thinking>

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29 minutes ago, pdf27 said:

Sadly there's a problem with that. As an engineer, there is delight in a rational, efficient solution and you're extensively trained to think in a particular way. That spills over in all sorts of ways - including lifestyle to some extent.

 

<example of engineering thinking>

The bit I think I'm struggling with is that there are views to the front (on the upper level anyway - on the lower level it's whatever I can salvage of the garden from being turned into a car park) and a big garden to the back, but nothing to either side.

That means the glazing needs to be orientated towards the front and back (anything to the side is looking at a fence or a blank wall), and the house needs to use as much of the width of the plot as it can (currently I've left 1m to either side). That then means scaling the volume is a matter of making the house shallower or deeper.

</example of engineering thinking>

 

But surely even an engineer mindset would concede that having a lot of the floor plan not getting natural light doesn't have any delight?

Use windows for views and for light, you don't always need to have a great view to have a window... there's nothing at all to say you have to use the full width of the plot or that you have to have a set of rooms looking one way, a room looking the other way and bit bit in between looking no way!

(Or that there is only one place the garage could possibly go)

Just thinking of it as being shallower or deeper is your problem! 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, pdf27 said:

 

<example of engineering thinking>

That means the glazing needs to be orientated towards the front and back (anything to the side is looking at a fence or a blank wall), and the house needs to use as much of the width of the plot as it can (currently I've left 1m to either side). 

</example of engineering thinking>

 

Disagreeing with that. No it doesn't.

 

It means that you need to find ways that work getting light in from the sides, whilst not giving you a boring view. 


A blank wall - what a wonderful opportunity ! Also I assume there is space the other side so the next house is 2m or 4m away. 

 

Examples:

 

- In the 1910s and 1930s they used all those wonderful part translucent, part stained stair windows. They did similar things where path was against path between pairs of semis. You get a nice bright glass design, no actual view out, and light in the dark part of a room.

- In the 1970s they used glass brick panels. My dad on one occasion built a glass brick clerestorey (one row below a flat room) right up against a public footpath. I have a couple of "windows" made from these in my garage which are right on the boundary against the neighbour garden.

- In yours there is nothing to stop you having a textured glass window at fence height, or as a horizontal window high enough up to get the extra light from the  2-4m to the next house.I have one in my conservatory.

- It may be that etched glass, or a mosaic of leaded lights in different colours, would be interesting.

- Equally you can put in a normal window (full height narrow say 2.2m high by 450 wide might be interesting), and do something interesting outside, which could be planting, a design on the wall, a bed of hostas or a climber, or similar. I know of one where the outside level is at 2'6", so they planted it up to have the feel of houseplants on a windowsill, but outside.   

- Or do something interesting inside to add interest to a blank-ish view, and distract from it.

- If you Kevin McCloud you might get an external light well that looked like a chimney flue.

 

I'm not saying think outside the engineering box ... I'm saying the box is actually quite a strange shape. 

 

Will try and find a couple of piccies.

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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We have some nice glazing design (courtesy of our architect) that we would not have thought of ourselves.

 

We have an east / west aspect so north and south look onto neighbours gables.

 

On the north wall we have floor ceiling windows on the GF that are only 600mm wide, more than enough to let light in but you never really look out of them.

 

On south wall in bedrooms we have high level horizontal slot windows that are 2 long and 600 deep, again, let loads of light in but you'd need to stand on the bed to look out of them properly.

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Posted (edited)

Five photos just taken in my house. Mine is built right on the boundary both sides.

 

I was responsible for the conservatory .. the PP would have gone right up to the boundary but I did not want to get complicated with neighbours so left a gap which also means my middle lounge has a small strip of wall accessible for wiring, ducts etc on outside wall on my property.

 

The test was done bŷ the previous owners who extended the bungalow in approx 2008.

 

Personally I would not have the nerve to put those glass blocks in the garage wall.

 

Translucent high window in conservatory. 2m garden wall 18” behind it. Next door house 3m beyond that.

 

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Panel in front door .. Edwardian style. For privacy bu5 that green bit is a peephole.

 

B8C1F79F-8D9C-4F74-9EC8-AA4EE84BE3C8.thumb.jpeg.c9e0eb311de7d97cecabb4dba03e50b6.jpeg

 

Glass block window in garage. This is on the boundary.

 

D602B25F-D121-4079-B57A-87F25E05CDE7.thumb.jpeg.42f3f9b403c4e9c0ad2abd914f67a297.jpeg

 

Roof window. Has stick on design as it would look onto next door.

 

CC93826E-70FF-4801-A61A-1981D52D6A2D.thumb.jpeg.ff020e7fadcb5e02fe1214ab7fcc884a.jpeg

 

Tall window with permanent arrangement to provide a near field point of interest.

 

A320B81C-AD3E-42D9-B335-AF1DB445F3B0.thumb.jpeg.c594a6f0362d23560bf49e2dc8980e72.jpeg

 

Ferdinand

 

 

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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Something more like this, with the extension being ground floor only, possibly with a skylight over? That would give the dining area a SW facing window and make the lounge a little less dark as it wouldn't be quite as deep. Would also allow me to open up the staircase a bit wider to act more effectively as a light well from the skylight. It would also potentially concentrate the patio area in front of the lounge, tying everything together a bit better and not increasing the intrusion of the house into the garden. The NE wall would be facing an ugly concrete garage and an old shed (both right on the boundary), so unlikely to be an issue.

 

I've not really even started thinking about glazing yet, assumption so far is that rooms which need natural light on the end faces can have obscured glazing (en suites and probably the utility) but that I'd prefer to use it for light only as the view out is pretty fugly by comparison with the front and rear.

 

image.png.e053d92dd344f6e3ed938358a51d4510.png

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21 minutes ago, pdf27 said:

I've not really even started thinking about glazing yet, assumption so far is that rooms which need natural light on the end faces can have obscured glazing (en suites and probably the utility) but that I'd prefer to use it for light only as the view out is pretty fugly by comparison with the front and rear.

 

 

 

There's a learning point there.

 

You are doing a sequential process - to fit your normal way of thinking / working.

 

That is fine, but the risk is that you lose the links eg between the plan and how it can vary with different glazing types and positions etc.

 

An architect might work more from a sketched network of room links and positions relative to the aspects etc, and then evolve it as an overall vision.

 

Be sure that you go forwards and backwards enough times to make the links. If you are just a few feet in front or behind your neighbours for part of the width that means that you can get beams of direct sunlight much later or earlier in the day through a tiny bit of side aspect exposed round the end of next door.  

 

Ferdinand

 

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5 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

 

There's a learning point there.

 

You are doing a sequential process - to fit your normal way of thinking / working.

 

That is fine, but the risk is that you lose the links eg between the plan and how it can vary with different glazing types and positions etc.

 

An architect might work more from a sketched network of room links and positions relative to the aspects etc, and then evolve it as an overall vision.

 

Be sure that you go forwards and backwards enough times to make the links. If you are just a few feet in front or behind your neighbours for part of the width that means that you can get beams of direct sunlight much later or earlier in the day through a tiny bit of side aspect exposed round the end of next door.  

 

Ferdinand

 

 

Good post here from @Ferdinand

 

You want to work out which rooms/spaces/functions you want to use and how they suit different scenarios in your lifestyle then work it into a floor plan, rather than starting with a box and making spaces fit - a smaller, better, more light filled house will be much more valuable than a bigger dark box, and it will be a much nicer place to live too! (which is really the most important bit|)

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44 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

There's a learning point there.

 

You are doing a sequential process - to fit your normal way of thinking / working.

 

That is fine, but the risk is that you lose the links eg between the plan and how it can vary with different glazing types and positions etc.

 

An architect might work more from a sketched network of room links and positions relative to the aspects etc, and then evolve it as an overall vision.

 

Be sure that you go forwards and backwards enough times to make the links. If you are just a few feet in front or behind your neighbours for part of the width that means that you can get beams of direct sunlight much later or earlier in the day through a tiny bit of side aspect exposed round the end of next door.  

Hmmm... I've done that at a fairly high level: the rooms link to each other as we want them, more or less, and are mostly biased towards the garden which we also want. I've not really done anything to link them to thinks beyond the house though (patio area, where the other houses are, etc.).

One thing I'm wary of is that I'm not trying to be the architect here - I've got the wrong mindset, frankly. What I'm trying to do is - cheaply - generate a design which from a size and complexity point of view roughly matches what we would end up with. I can then cost it out to see if what we want to do is feasible or not.

 

35 minutes ago, the_r_sole said:

Good post here from @Ferdinand

 

You want to work out which rooms/spaces/functions you want to use and how they suit different scenarios in your lifestyle then work it into a floor plan, rather than starting with a box and making spaces fit - a smaller, better, more light filled house will be much more valuable than a bigger dark box, and it will be a much nicer place to live too! (which is really the most important bit|)

Thing is, I've already done that - or at least I thought I had. From the reactions, I'm starting to suspect that either my requirements are non-standard (entirely possible - my wife for instance will happily work all day long in a darkened room) or that my translation of the sizes on the plan to the real life experience of living in them is flawed.

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29 minutes ago, pdf27 said:

Hmmm... I've done that at a fairly high level: the rooms link to each other as we want them, more or less, and are mostly biased towards the garden which we also want. I've not really done anything to link them to thinks beyond the house though (patio area, where the other houses are, etc.).

One thing I'm wary of is that I'm not trying to be the architect here - I've got the wrong mindset, frankly. What I'm trying to do is - cheaply - generate a design which from a size and complexity point of view roughly matches what we would end up with. I can then cost it out to see if what we want to do is feasible or not.

 

Thing is, I've already done that - or at least I thought I had. From the reactions, I'm starting to suspect that either my requirements are non-standard (entirely possible - my wife for instance will happily work all day long in a darkened room) or that my translation of the sizes on the plan to the real life experience of living in them is flawed.

 

Fair enough, I can see that you're not going to be convinced that you can achieve way more with a design that you want to.

If it was me I'd start with my budget, then get a  prioritised wishlist of spaces, then work it into a design, you seem to limiting yourself deliberately before figuring out what you actually want the house to do.

No matter what the projected cost of that floor plan would be to design, I'm 100% sure that a better design could be had for the same cost.

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Posted (edited)

I think that one of the points of self-build that you don’t have to give a hoot if your requirements are standard or not.

 

I think what I’m saying is just take enough time to be reasonably sure that you develop your ideas enough that you will get something good and you will not have any real Doh! Type regrets later.

 

This thread is a very good thing to do, as you are getting lots of different opinions that you can adapt or consider then set aside.

 

If you are dealing with a designer or architect at some stage, you will have that much more background to ask the right questions.

Edited by Ferdinand

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28 minutes ago, the_r_sole said:

Fair enough, I can see that you're not going to be convinced that you can achieve way more with a design that you want to.

If it was me I'd start with my budget, then get a  prioritised wishlist of spaces, then work it into a design, you seem to limiting yourself deliberately before figuring out what you actually want the house to do.

No matter what the projected cost of that floor plan would be to design, I'm 100% sure that a better design could be had for the same cost.

It isn't that I don't believe that more could be done with the site - I'm quite certain of that. What I'm struggling with is what **I** could do with it. We had an architect involved first time around (with the refurbishment/extension) and the process of finding out that we couldn't have what we want was pretty painful, both emotionally and financially.

What I'm trying to do here is slightly backwards: work out what we want, and then decide if it would fit into the budget or not. If it doesn't, then it isn't going to happen - given that the whole process would be both expensive and painful then it isn't worth doing for us if we end up with something more than slightly compromised to fit our budget, we'd probably just move house and end up with a different set of compromises.

 

23 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

I think that one of the points of self-build that you don’t have to give a hoot if your requirements are standard or not.

 

I think what I’m saying is just take enough time to be reasonably sure that you develop your ideas enough that you will get something good and you will not have any real Doh! Type regrets later.

The shape of the design in my head has certainly changed noticeably during the thread, albeit not massively so. A lot of it is reconciling what we want with what others are likely to want in future if we ever need to sell (e.g. if moving jobs) so that we don't build something nobody else would want. The upstairs/downstairs balance of the house is a good example of this.

 

23 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

This thread is a very good thing to do, as you are getting lots of different opinions that you can adapt or consider then set aside.

 

If you are dealing with a designer or architect at some stage, you will have that much more background to ask the right questions.

That was the intention, and all the comments are certainly massively appreciated even if I'm not necessarily adapting to them yet. I tend to spend quite a bit of time mulling things over before I act on them, and we don't have a drop-dead date to make a decision by.

I was once described by a crusty old RAF Flight Sergeant as someone who "could tell you the square root of a jar of pickled eggs but couldn't get the f***ing lid off". I think that's quite apt here - what I have is a design that I know inside out, but the lid is still on...

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You're going to circle around this forever if you don't make a decision on how to proceed, I've had clients like this before and 6 months go by then they come back with more thoughts and ideas but still don't want to pay anyone to progress, then another 6 months later repeat...

 

The way I see it is you either:

 

Set the budget, get a wishlist and then get a designer to show you how many of the things in the wishlist are achievable.

 

Or set the wishlist and get the design which incorporates it all and get that priced.

 

What you need to think about is the quality of the spaces, not just the floor areas - the two rooms which have direct sunlight and views on the ground floor are a study and a garage, the lounge and kitchen are both North facing but have a view of the garden.

Think about what spaces you would like morning light in and locate them accordingly, where you might want light through the day and early evening and spaces where light isn't important.

If you are working from home could you have a North facing home office which gets diffused/constant light, does it need to be shut-off from public spaces or could it be open to a bigger space etc etc 

It doesn't matter how unusual your requirements are as long as you know what they are...

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If you're looking to do some basic budgeting, assume £1750/m2 for SE England for demo and rebuild, assuming you're not doing anything too exotic.

 

I agree that if you're just advancing the design to better estimate the cost, then once you have a basic footprint then probably stop there and take your budget to an architect to get some fresh thinking.

 

Sounds like the garage requirement is the one you need to focus on, you have a requirement for storage but it feels that that element is driving the design.

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2 hours ago, the_r_sole said:

The way I see it is you either:

Set the budget, get a wishlist and then get a designer to show you how many of the things in the wishlist are achievable.

Or set the wishlist and get the design which incorporates it all and get that priced.

I'm attempting to do both sequentially -

  1. This thread is part of the wishlist -> design -> price loop, which I'm trying to do myself as a reality/sanity check. Accuracy isn't critical, but I want to ensure that the wishlist is a sensible one (i.e. cut out the things we can't have early) and that the budget is realistic for the wishlist. Essentially this is a GO/NOGO decision and the costing can be quite approximate.
  2. If (1) is a go, we then set a budget and a wishlist and go to an architect with it to get as much as we can of the wishlist.
2 hours ago, the_r_sole said:

It doesn't matter how unusual your requirements are as long as you know what they are...

This is actually proving to be a very valuable exercise in showing me that I don't necessarily know what my requirements actually are ;)

 

19 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

If you're looking to do some basic budgeting, assume £1750/m2 for SE England for demo and rebuild, assuming you're not doing anything too exotic.

 

I agree that if you're just advancing the design to better estimate the cost, then once you have a basic footprint then probably stop there and take your budget to an architect to get some fresh thinking.

That's more or less the plan, the only difference is that I'd like to do a slightly more detailed cost breakdown so that I understand what is the main cost drivers are - I'll bet that there are several things on the wish-list that are far more expensive than I currently appreciate, but unless I go through this exercise I won't really know what they are.

 

19 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

Sounds like the garage requirement is the one you need to focus on, you have a requirement for storage but it feels that that element is driving the design.

It does rather. I'll have a think about that - 95% of the stuff can happily go to the loft (with a proper staircase) or a large shed in the garden (much cheaper than a garage), it's really about the cars. Having them in a garage is something I want, but it isn't necessarily something that it's a good idea to want.

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1 hour ago, pdf27 said:

It does rather. I'll have a think about that - 95% of the stuff can happily go to the loft (with a proper staircase) or a large shed in the garden (much cheaper than a garage), it's really about the cars. Having them in a garage is something I want, but it isn't necessarily something that it's a good idea to want.

 

TBH unless its a very expensive car (like my neighbour's £250k Ferrari) I think most cars live happily outside, especially in the SE. Can count on one had the number of times I needed to scrape the car on a cold day in the last year. Plan for 16A power to be available in the vicinity of the parking bay and you're covered for future EV needs.

 

I think what you've identified is a need for storage and you can address that many ways.

 

While it's blunt - the per m2 approach is not a bad way to see how far your money goes. Flesh that out with site prep costs (demolition, services relocation, passive slab  preliminaries). The rest is very discretionary, kitchens, finishes etc.

 

 

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Your situation is remarkably similar to ours. The plot, the current house, the light, the plans. 

 

Have you planned your kitchen already? We have found that we couldn't fit everything we wanted into a 4m wide kitchen. 4.5 is generous for some configurations but I personally feel uncomfortable for some others (say, U-shaped) and simply not sufficient for U-shaped with an island. Light means windows, windows mean no tall units, no tall units mean not enough storage. We ended up redrawing the plans completely because of that, but obviously this is based on our preferences. 

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I'm rather less detailed than you, really just trying to get an understanding of roughly what we can afford to build and if we'd be happy with it. Tweaking walls and the like isn't a major issue once it's roughly right, and to be honest I don't think I've really got the skills needed to do it well. At this stage that isn't really an issue though.

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