Leelou

Hi from Devon

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Hi everyone, just joined the forum and wanted to say hi. We've just bought a bungalow in North Devon and are hoping to add a storey to make it a great family home that we've needed for so long. This will be our first project of this kind and I'll no doubt be looking to the forums for advice on many occasions.

 

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8 minutes ago, Leelou said:

[...]

I'll no doubt be looking to the forums for advice on many occasions.

 

Morning! Welcome.

You realise we charge for advice don't you... 😏.

(My God, we'd be rich if we did that.....)

 

Adding a storey: can't recall any posts or threads about that - should be interesting. Plans? Images? Help us get our heads round it......

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Thanks 😁

 

No plans etc done as yet as we only picked up the keys a week ago. We've done our own drawings by plan to give the architect an idea of what we'd like to achieve but at the moment we're unsure whether to engage them now or after getting a survey done by a structural engineer to find out if/what work needs doing to the footings etc. I've created a separate post in the foundations section for it (hope that's the right place).

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Welcome to the forum.

 

Sounds like an interesting project. How old is the bungalow, what's it made of? Might be easier and cheaper to demolish and start again?  That's what we did!

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Welcome to sunny Devon (at times), not sure where you are but I am near Bude. This is a great forum full of great ideas and a LOT of knowledge. If you did demolish and start again you can claim the VAT back, or, not pay VAT if your builder supplies materials and labour like mine did.

Edited by joe90

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Welcome & lucky you are to be living in North Devon!

 

25 minutes ago, recoveringacademic said:

My God, we'd be rich if we did that....

Probably not after we had paid all the claims for Ethically Relative advice!😊

 

PS We used screw piles to strengthen the foundations of a single story building we built on the top of. Much easier than digging out and backfilling with concrete.

Edited by MikeSharp01

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Welcome!

 

I live in Bournemouth at the moment which has a large number of bungalows.  Adding extra storeys to them is a very popular pursuit around here, particularly as the bungalows are often on good sized plots.

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Thanks everyone, what a great community. The bungalow is in Barnstaple and is a 1930's build, made from block. I've not come across screw piles so will get reading, thanks for that advice. We've not considered demolish and rebuild as we think it might blow the budget but that all depends on the footings, we'll have to wait and see 😁

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Not wanting to cause any alarm, but have you considered if the property contains any hazardous building materials, such as asbestos-containing floor and ceiling tiles, sofit board or lagging to old boilers etc. Removing such items all adds to the cost.

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On ‎18‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 10:54, A_L said:

hello and welcome,

 

I think @pdf27 was thinking along these lines but is now going for knockdown and rebuild, maybe he will be along shortly.

 

https://forum.buildhub.org.uk/topic/4184-in-a-bit-of-a-dilemma/?tab=comments#comment-66331

It's turning into a bit of a headache:

  • Plan A was to extent and refurbish. It's possible to do, but by the time we did everything we wanted there was very little left of the original structure. Worse, any refurbishment attracts VAT at 20% while a knock down and rebuild doesn't. Essentially if you're trying to refit to a high standard there is a strong possibility that it will be cheaper to knock down and rebuild than to refurbish.
  • Plan B was to knock down and refurbish. That's the current problem - the architects (who have build a number of Passivhauses locally) are of the view that we should be budgeting at £2,000/m2 of internal floor area given that we aren't able to do much of the work or project manage ourselves. That's a mix of things - prices going up 10% in the past year, the fact that we're in easy commuting distance from London, there is an existing structure to demolish, etc. We can afford a reasonably sized house that meets our needs OK, but which is really a bit on the small size for the plot which will hurt the resale value - if we were going to stay there forever that wouldn't be a concern, but there is a strong possibility we will want to move. That means we need to maximise the ratio of cost to resale value - and so need to push for a bigger house than we can really afford right now.
  • Plan C doesn't exist yet!

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@pdf27 You said Passive House to the architect, that immediately added 15% to the fees and the build cost, particularly if your going for a turnkey option.

 

You should read some of the blogs on here and look at the low energy, fabric first option.

Edited by Triassic

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On 18/09/2018 at 10:13, Leelou said:

Hi everyone, just joined the forum and wanted to say hi. We've just bought a bungalow in North Devon and are hoping to add a storey to make it a great family home that we've needed for so long. This will be our first project of this kind and I'll no doubt be looking to the forums for advice on many occasions.

 

 

Welcome, best of luck with the project. Team work makes the dream work.

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16 hours ago, pdf27 said:
  • Plan B was to knock down and refurbish. ... We can afford a reasonably sized house that meets our needs OK, but which is really a bit on the small size for the plot which will hurt the resale value - if we were going to stay there forever that wouldn't be a concern, but there is a strong possibility we will want to move. That means we need to maximise the ratio of cost to resale value - and so need to push for a bigger house than we can really afford right now.

 

It depends on how long you plan to stay, but are you able to design a house that will have everything you need right now, but be easily extendable in the future (ideally under permitted development) to give a house that is more appropriate to the plot?

 

One approach would be to go for something L-shaped, with provision to extend by filling in the internal corner with another room downstairs and a bedroom above, and perhaps going out on the ground floor with a single storey extension. You could get an awful lot more space this way in the future while having something perfectly liveable and affordable today.

 

You should be able to bring a larger house in at less than £2000/m2 with some careful planning. A nice, simple floorplan is easier and cheaper to build than something "interesting". With careful planning and buying, kitchens and bathrooms (both major expenses) can be done a lot more cheaply than some end up paying.

 

You may not be in a position to project manage, but even being involved in purchasing can help bring the costs down. Builders aren't that interested in saving every last penny by shopping around, so there's definitely a few bob to be saved if you do some of the running around on big ticket items yourself.

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I'm quite a way through my build in so far as being clear on prices is concerned and I'm still on track for i.r.o. £1500 per square metre. That is helped a lot by the fact that it's only 3 bedrooms with 2 bathrooms upstairs but the design has been trickier to build than I anticipated, due to clay soil and some architectural details. It's not a passive house but is being built to passive standards and has will have a good quality finish.

I wouldn't describe myself as a project manager but i am organising the sequence of main contractors.

I would be cautious about giving zn architect a target budget of 2k per sq m at the outset as they will rarely underspend and your build will always throw up unanticipated costs.

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On 19/09/2018 at 16:13, pdf27 said:

the architects (who have build a number of Passivhauses locally) are of the view that we should be budgeting at £2,000/m2 of internal floor area given that we aren't able to do much of the work or project manage ourselves.


Are the architects working on a "percentage of cost" basis? Asking for a friend cynic.

 

As above, I'd be nervous with that as my starting point. Its unlikely that many self-builders come in under their initial m2  target.

Edited by AliMcLeod

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tbh £2000 /m2 whether they are working on a percentage or not is still quite hard work when you're doing significant alterations and extensions

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Apologies for the delay in replying - I got hit with a combination of a dead motherboard, crazy busy-ness at work and my eldest starting school all at the same time.

 

On 19/09/2018 at 16:47, Triassic said:

@pdf27 You said Passive House to the architect, that immediately added 15% to the fees and the build cost, particularly if your going for a turnkey option.

 

You should read some of the blogs on here and look at the low energy, fabric first option.

I have, and am not at all convinced that it's a significantly better way to go - costs seem to scale fairly linearly with the amount of work involved. PH requires a lot of detailed design and quality assurance, and that puts up the price - but from bitter experience I know it doesn't necessarily save anything in the long run.

 

On 20/09/2018 at 08:27, jack said:

It depends on how long you plan to stay, but are you able to design a house that will have everything you need right now, but be easily extendable in the future (ideally under permitted development) to give a house that is more appropriate to the plot?

 

One approach would be to go for something L-shaped, with provision to extend by filling in the internal corner with another room downstairs and a bedroom above, and perhaps going out on the ground floor with a single storey extension. You could get an awful lot more space this way in the future while having something perfectly liveable and affordable today.

 

You should be able to bring a larger house in at less than £2000/m2 with some careful planning. A nice, simple floorplan is easier and cheaper to build than something "interesting". With careful planning and buying, kitchens and bathrooms (both major expenses) can be done a lot more cheaply than some end up paying.

 

You may not be in a position to project manage, but even being involved in purchasing can help bring the costs down. Builders aren't that interested in saving every last penny by shopping around, so there's definitely a few bob to be saved if you do some of the running around on big ticket items yourself.

We're in a nasty corner of circumstances which make all of the alternatives that bit harder:

  • We're on a plot ~15m x 50m, with the south facing side being the short one facing the road at the front and houses right up against the boundary on either side. The current building is L-shaped, but anything not on the front or the back tends to get awfully dark for much of the year. That means the final building really needs to be a rectangle across the width of the plot - so any side extensions would need planning not PD as I understand it.
  • Prices appear to have gone up significantly (~10%) in the past year, most likely Brexit-related. Housing associations are apparently talking about bringing in projects at no less than £1,800/m2 - so less than £2,000/m2 is feasible for a bigger house but the 10% price increase translates to a smaller house on a fixed budget. We're right on the point of very nearly but not quite working - and that budget includes everything, with no contingency.
  • Kitchens, bathrooms, etc. we can certainly save a bit on, beyond that we're very time limited. We've got two young kids (2 and 4), both work - I'm in a fairly high pressure job and likely to go up a grade soon, my wife is less so but I know from experience on the renovation we did to our last house that she'll offer to do something and it won't happen.
  • We're in a nice part of the world on the outer edge of the London commuter zone - which will push the cost of everything up a bit.

 

On 25/09/2018 at 14:19, AliMcLeod said:

Are the architects working on a "percentage of cost" basis? Asking for a friend cynic.

 

As above, I'd be nervous with that as my starting point. Its unlikely that many self-builders come in under their initial m2  target.

Nope, fees are broken out separately. This is actually the architect saying "I don't think you can afford to do what you want, so I don't think you should pay me to start working on the design".

 

On 25/09/2018 at 14:32, the_r_sole said:

tbh £2000 /m2 whether they are working on a percentage or not is still quite hard work when you're doing significant alterations and extensions

It's mostly based on the total spend for a number of similar projects that they've run locally - all of them came in quite a bit over this, and they've shared with me the rough cost breakdown and reasons why. I think he's being as open as he can with me about likely costs given what we want to do.

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30 minutes ago, pdf27 said:

Housing associations are apparently talking about bringing in projects at no less than £1,800/m2 - so less than £2,000/m2 is feasible for a bigger house but the 10% price increase translates to a smaller house on a fixed budget.

 

Someone is making a massive profit then as that’s a mental number for a HA property that is most likely standard developer spec. If they are much over £1200 I would be surprised - unless the plot prices are significantly higher than average (unusual as HAs don’t care about location normally) then there is some price inflation going on. 

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25 minutes ago, PeterW said:

 

Someone is making a massive profit then as that’s a mental number for a HA property that is most likely standard developer spec. If they are much over £1200 I would be surprised - unless the plot prices are significantly higher than average (unusual as HAs don’t care about location normally) then there is some price inflation going on. 

 

I agree, and housing associations are now often building to much better standards than building regs, apparently.  It's interesting to note that the first three near-passive standard houses that MBC built in the UK were housing association homes - we walked around the coast in South Devon to see them whilst taking a Christmas break, in 2013.  I'm in touch with a couple of local housing associations, as they've come along to some of the local energy-saving gatherings over the past few years.  Apparently they are trying to decrease energy usage by building homes to higher standards, for commercial reasons.  Tenants that don't have high energy bills are usually less likely to default on rent payments.  I can find out the current cost per m² they are paying for new builds next time I talk with them.  I'm inclined to think it's unlikely to be as high as £1200/m², even after the recent hike in materials cost. 

 

Apart from anything else, I'm pretty sure that the materials don't make up the largest cost for a new build, so improving the fabric build standard doesn't add a lot to the cost.  Our own build illustrates this.  When a local (commercial) architect came and had a look around he asked me if I'd mind sending him our cost breakdown.  He reckoned our passive standard structure was around 10% less than the normal cost for a brick and block new build, largely because of the much reduced on-site labour cost, with no wet trades.

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I was recently in a small flatted development which is destined for social housing.  Certainly a fabric first approach in terms of the levels of insulation and airtightness.  Room size also very generous.  Finish spec however, very very basic which is where they claw back the outlay spent on the fabric.

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