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Patrick

Timber Frame Stick Build

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Hello everyone,

 

I came across this great Forum through JSHarris Blog (which was quite an amazing read to me). The first time ever that I found really usefull information in bulk, as a lot of the Info about so called "self building" is really just customised building (I tell the architect what i want and how it should look like at the end and then just empty a wheelbarrow of cash in front of his office every week) .

 

My approach to building my own home is a little different, as I am German and as far back as I can remember I never heard about anyone buying an off-the-shelve home ( whats the point of someone else building YOUR house ) . That s until I moved to the UK, where it is the other way round (why would anyone go through the stress of building their own home if you can buy it off the shelf) .

 

I hope I can learn bits and pieces here and also ask a few questions, as a few of you seem to be quite experienced and knowledgeable. It is always good to have advice from people who have done similar projects as there is a chance of avoiding costly mistakes here.

 

So here I am , bought myself a plot of Land (came across it by accident, driving through the countryside in Wiltshire) with an old Timber Shed on it.(Shed is not quite the right word, as its footprint is around 130sqm)

Wanted to renovate the Timber buidling (It s an old Assembley Hall ) and planned everything until I discovered that the foundations are too poor.

So now  I will have to knock the old down and build  new.

Which is an advantage somehow as I dont  need to stick to any restrictions from the shape of the old building , but unfortunatley this will cost a fair bit more money (apparently Foundations are really expensive  😄  🤔 )  .

The House going to be a 1 1/2 Storey Bungalow-Type 3 Bedroom with approx. 160sqm which we will try to build as energy efficient as possible on our tight budget.(We meaning Wife and Kids , although not planning to use the Kids as Labourers just yet 😛.

 

It will be Timber frame, but unlike so many of you, I do not have the option to use a Kit (or SIPs )  , as there is no access for a Lorry, Crane or even a Van within 50-60 meters from the site. 

So it will have to be built on site (oldschool) . I am now looking into the details of how to get construction Plans together (not really Building regs, as this is not that difficult to figure out) for the actual building to start.

Most guys here that have done a House themselves have used a Timber Frame KIT and where provided with Construction Plans by the company or, alternatively had these done by their architect.

The Problem with Architects is(as discussed elsewhere) , that they are quite expensive and on top of that rely on others to work with them (Structural Engineer) to make the plans work.

 

 

Quite a bit of information for an introduction post so i stop here and just leave it with some

drawings and models of the House .

 

 

 

 

 

 

FRONT 2.jpg

FRONT 4.jpg

FRONT 6.jpg

Side1.jpg

TOP  1.jpg

TOP  2.jpg

First Floor Plan.jpg

Ground Floor Plan.jpg

Landscape Plan.jpg

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Welcome Patrick, and thanks for the kind words about our blog - I must get around to updating it soon!

 

You're not far away from us, either, if you wanted to visit and have a look around.

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@JSHarrisThanks a lot for the kind offer, i realised that you are in Wiltshire as well reading your Blog. It is inspiring reading it as you are one of the few guys out there who tried to do a lot/everything on your own , which is basically what i am doing (or at least planning to do) .

I will certanly be in touch with you the coming few months to take you up on your offer 😉

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Looks good - have you got a section through it?

Before you discount the kit route have you looked into hiab/forklift access? you'd be amazed at where they can get a timber kit into!

for such a tight floor plan, you've got a lot of space used on circulation, what kind of views have you got out of the place, some of the glazing looks a bit standard - as you say yourself, you are in a position to do something that you want to do so why restrict yourself so much?

 

now, off to check the front of the office for the wheelbarrows being emptied...

 

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😀. No offence with the little comment about the Architects. I used one and he was excellent to do the Plans , but I feel like that architects use there time better in doing big projects then small self-builds. Not really a market here in the UK for this and therefore quite expensive(often) .

 

In regards to the section-I do not have quite that- but got Elevations (see in this post) .

 

We abandoned the Kit route not only for access - it is price as well . We will be sourcing our own Materials as Friend runs a Sawmill in Poland (quite a long  transport-but then there is  roughly a 50% discount compared to UK prices 😉)

 

Views are none existing. It s in  the centre of a Town within a Park -Trees around it everywhere that can t be removed (TPO) and the restricitons to the building come also from Conservation officers and the location. So not quite "do whatever we like" but I m happy with the result .

Also important - "Standard Glazing" cost standard money ;) , while large Glass Fronts, windows  and sliding Doors cost a fortune if you want them triple glazed with decent U-Value (already the Standard Size Windows with Triple Glazing make me cry whenever I see the quotes from UK suppliers)

Main thing is that I will have a nice cosy, warm house not a drafty carboard paper box like the houses that your average Developer builds.

North and East Elevations.jpg

South and West Elevations.jpg

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the porch could do with being a bit bigger no?

re the standard windows comment, there's not really such a thing in the uk market any more as "standard" windows, they are all made to size, the way to get a discount is to order lots of area...

For me, the top hopper arrangement on the windows isn't a good one - I've had a few clients who used them and you miss being able to fully open a window on a nice day...

Maybe you could introduce some kind of hierarchy to the window design, so windows of x height by x width to all bedrooms, bigger ones to public rooms etc, then you start to get a bit of visual interest on the elevation and you get light where you need/want it

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2 hours ago, Patrick said:

Most guys here that have done a House themselves have used a Timber Frame KIT

Welcome to THE forum for self builds. Not all of us are kit builders, we are very much like you - stick building but with engineered timbers I-joists. This gives us 300mm thick insulation between the I Joists and then another 40mm on the outside to give us great U values. 

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@MikeSharp01 Thanks for the welcome. I will check that out, sounds really good . Great U Value is what i'm aiming for

@the_r_sole you are absolutely right with the windows, they already are redesigned as a full opening window(tilt&turn) , I just didnt have the ammended plans handy ;)

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44 minutes ago, Patrick said:

they already are redesigned as a full opening window(tilt&turn) 

 

I have some tilt turn.  They are useful to me as they can be cleaned from the inside but curtains, rails and poles need to be out of the way for them to open.  You can fit external shutters though.

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47 minutes ago, Patrick said:

@MikeSharp01 Thanks for the welcome. I will check that out, sounds really good . Great U Value is what i'm aiming for

@the_r_sole you are absolutely right with the windows, they already are redesigned as a full opening window(tilt&turn) , I just didnt have the ammended plans handy ;)

 

Worth comparing the long term airtightness performance of tilt and turn versus casement windows.  I looked into this when we were looking at windows and decided that casement windows looked a better bet.  They were also a bit cheaper!

 

The majority of our windows have two opening casements, and all those are 1200mm high and vary between 1600mm wide and 2000mm wide.  All our glazing is triple glazed, with 4mm - 20mm - 4mm - 20mm - 4mm argon filled units, with an overall average Uw (the whole window U value) of around 0.7 W/m².K.  They are aluminium clad timber frames, so we have the look of varnished timber inside and the maintenance-free powder coated aluminium outside.

 

As mentioned above, access may not be as big an issue as you think.  Our plot is tight for space and accessed via a single track lane, yet we managed to get a crane and lorries to the site with only some slight difficulty.  There are one or two people here who have had more restricted access and have still managed to get kit frames delivered and erected OK, often using a telehandler to move the frame panels and components.  One major advantage of having a kit built frame is the speed of erection, which saves money in several areas, like less scaffolding hire time, less toilet hire time, and the ability to get on with work fitting out the inside without having to worry about the weather.  Our frame went up in 4 1/2 days, from having a passive slab to a weather tight house, which I'm sure saved us a fair bit of money by not having delays at that stage of the build.

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@JSHarrisIn regards to the windows I don't see this as a problem, we are getting ours from passivhaus window manufacturer in Poland and they practically don't do any other windows in new houses there.

With access I didn't quite clarify how restricted the access is.  The house/plot is in the town centre next to a park and a river (stream). There is either houses to each side with backgardens bordering the plot or the park which has a historic Wall around it. The only access way is through a narrow lane (1.5m) with walls left and right. This lane is around 50meters long and the  ends on a small road where you maybe get a Van in (around 2-2.20meters wide).

The plot is really nothing you would find in the papers or on rightmove. I discovered it by pure accident and never thought it would be available but out of pure boredom looked into more details and ended up buying it. Obviously nobody before ever wanted it as the access is a tiny problem 😋

 

So basically we will have to carry (or wheel) in every piece of timber by hand and then it will have to be build there. Foundations are a bit tricky with this, but a micro digger is able to access and pumping concrete over 90-100meters is also not a big problem.

I also looked into the possibility of getting a massive crane with a reach of 50-60 meters and lift it over neighbours houses, but the price of this plus the timber kit will without a doubt will be a lot more expensive then doing the frame in place. Bringing the material in is already sorted so our 1st fix framers will just need to put it together like on any regular building site.

 

My real headache at the moment are more the foundations  because I haven't sorted them out yet. They will most likely be pile and beam but I am currently unsure which system to use and also still not sure who would put the construction plans /blueprints together.

I have quite a bit of time to organise everything and would like to think that I'm not completely useless in managing/paperwork but just not loaded with cash.

 

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What parking will you have when complete and will this satisfy the planners?

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Yes. There is parking nearby. Around 100 meters away. Planners are happy with it as the whole area has not got parking. Plenty of old cottages with no parking, and as there are 2 spots provided they agreed to it (it s already approved)

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Hi Patrick and welcome.  I will watch your progress with interest as I am thinking of doing something similar.  It would be good to hear the actual cost of some of your Polish materials later once you have exact figures.  I hope you will do a blog on here....

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12 hours ago, Patrick said:

My real headache at the moment are more the foundations  because I haven't sorted them out yet. They will most likely be pile and beam but I am currently unsure which system to use and also still not sure who would put the construction plans /blueprints together.

We used Advanced foundation Technologies system for our passive slab which I was very pleased with but there are loads of passive slab companies out there.

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You may find the JCB 516 would fit down that lane and if it does it will be a godsend. They are the agri-spec telehandlers but can be fitted with a variety of front attachments including a bucket, forks and a short crane jib. They also have a 4m reach so would be able to sling (with care) 6m timbers from the forks in bundles. 

 

 

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@PeterW I will give that a measure. Sounds like something I could really use.Thanks

@MikeSharp01 I am really not sure on how the Foundation is going to be done as a Raft is not the right thing in our place. What is recommended by SE is Pile and Beam and tbh it makes the most sense to me. Then it would make sense to me to fill the "middle "(the slab) with a passive slab but havent seen anyone do this(like the combination) . Maybe missed it as I am just beginning to look into all details of Foundations and options available . I would prefer to drill holes for the piles with a digger, rather then using a piling company .

Problem always is the price, as we cant really spend a lot on Foundations.

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If you want a piling rig then the JCB has an auger that may work but won’t go deep. You could go with ring beam and then beam and block but use Jetfloor EPS inserts for the insulation. 

 

The easiest if you can’t dig - and sounds like you can’t - has to be a passive raft as it should need the minimum amount of spoil removed. 

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Have you looked at mini piles?

I have them in my build and were well priced, not to mention much quicket than reduced dig and muckaway, etc.

 

I have 34 mini piles for the some 200 sq m of ground floor (includes single storey garage and much smaller upstairs) and it all came to about 14.7k. They will also do the piling layout design in the price.

 

I used Advanced Mini Piling who are in Westbury on Trim, not that far from you.

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@vivienzThanks. that sounds really interesting, yes , we looked into mini piling , and i am tending in that direction. I will make sure to read through your blog in regards to that.

A stupid question , maybe already answered in your blog, but did they cost 15K just for putting the piles in? or did you mean the whole foundation?

 

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That's only for the piles. My foundation was done by MBC as part of the timber frame package.

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1 hour ago, PeterW said:

JCB has an auger that may work but won’t go deep

 

I read recently about their new Pilingmaster - can go 14m and 600 dia!!

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You can get piling rigs that are less than 1m wide.  The problem will be getting all the gear to the  site if you can't get a van and trailer close. 

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1 hour ago, Declan52 said:

You can get piling rigs that are less than 1m wide.  The problem will be getting all the gear to the  site if you can't get a van and trailer close. 

 

True. Our piling rig was very compact but it needed to arrive on a trailer. You also still have to be able to get a concrete lorry up close to fill the holes.

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Concrete can be pumped by a Pumping contractor for up to 100meter as a standard (they do 500-1000meters as well but that is really  a specialist job)

Indeed-bringing in all the equipment will always be the problem with this build .

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