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Posted (edited)

We've just completed a new build "house for life" - it started as "Passivhaus Principles" as we didn't want to commit to certification during the planning process because of its challenging form, but our Passivhaus consultants (Peter Warm) felt that with a few tweaks it could make it and, as of this week, it has been certified. We also had to go through the "Paragraph 55" (now 79) route to get planning permission, where you have to go to a Design Review Panel of professionals who get to decide if your design is "exceptional architecture". They unanimously approved it while Planning rejected it and also said they didn't want any further discussion on it. However, our forward thinking local councillor took it to the development committee where Planning was over-ruled (a story in itself). To be honest we are not hands-on self-builders in that we used architects, builders, etc to do it and it was an expensive build, but we were in a position to do this because what we actually hands-on self-built was a successful software company that was then sold. We were very involved in the whole process, living 250 metres from site, and especially in selecting and pushing the eco kit and we also had a planning condition to put a photographic record of the build in the public domain, which being a keen photographer I have done: www.thewalledgardendevon.uk

 

Eileen designed the landscape and is now implementing it with muscle from local ex-marines.

 

So it's a certified Passivhaus with private water supply, a positive energy house through solar and using both electrical and thermal batteries, with an EER of 101.

We started a bit late on Buildhub as we were having problems with our Sunamp thermal batteries and we got a lot of help from @JSHarris in particular and others. However, happy to answer questions about our experiences if that's useful.....

Edited by Eileen
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Welcome ! Sounds like you’ve got a lot of info - blog is very good too !

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Looks the dogs

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Posted (edited)

Looks superb Eileen.

 

Would you comment on the Design Review Panel in relation to "Selwyn-Gummer Exception" houses?

 

I came across them in relation to Par 129 of the NPPF, which mentions "design review panels".

 

I agree that the concept is useful, however to me to DRP marketing (eg description on home page) tries to imply that they are The Specific Organisation referred to in the NPPF, and I do that the NPPF refers to "a design review panel" rather than "The Design Review Panel".

 

A private company trying to look like an official actor or an industry association is a marketing policy as old as Methuselah, and does not preclude a good job being done. The Companies House data has the look of a normal private company. 

 

Could you comment - is this the only such organisation and is officially recognised, or is it one example of potentially many?

 

The query arose from a previous question and I put it on my list of planned topics for a standalone blog.

 

Cheers

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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Thanks Ferdinand. I think, without heading off and re-reading the details in the NPPF, that a planning authority has to have an independent and professional design review mechanism in place, but no particular one is mentioned. The one that our planning area in Devon had in place at the time (along with a lot of other local authorities) was called the Devon and Somerset Design Review Panel, but I don't think they used them exclusively and they are not the only show in town. In my 3 minute oration at the development committee meeting I basically questioned the point of using such a professional panel if you then went on to decide whether or not you liked what they said, and the committee accepted this point of view 11-1, although I had been expecting them to say, as I'd heard them say in other decisions: "we pay our planners to make decisions so we have to trust what they say".

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Thank you. 

Lovely browse this morning of your photos 

All really wonderful, well done it’s fantastic 

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34 minutes ago, Eileen said:

Thanks Ferdinand. I think, without heading off and re-reading the details in the NPPF, that a planning authority has to have an independent and professional design review mechanism in place, but no particular one is mentioned. The one that our planning area in Devon had in place at the time (along with a lot of other local authorities) was called the Devon and Somerset Design Review Panel, but I don't think they used them exclusively and they are not the only show in town. In my 3 minute oration at the development committee meeting I basically questioned the point of using such a professional panel if you then went on to decide whether or not you liked what they said, and the committee accepted this point of view 11-1, although I had been expecting them to say, as I'd heard them say in other decisions: "we pay our planners to make decisions so we have to trust what they say".

 

Cheers.

 

An approximate breakdown of costs would be fascinating.

 

This is what I said elsewhere in an article entitled "How to build a house on your field" (you seem to have done better than this):

 

" Paragraph 79 is an exception allowing for high quality houses built in the open countryside. Going down that route you would perhaps need a specialist architect, and a specialist planning consultant (recruit via the architect), and a planning budget of at least 50-100k, and a time budget of 3-5 years.

 

The statistics are that approvals across the whole of England average about 10 per year, and that there are three or four architectural practices which account for the majority of those six dozen or so successes in the last few years. The practical implication of this is that the best way is to use an experienced architect, which will then give you an advantage over the probably-inexperienced Council."

 

Ferdinand

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Your house is stunning. Thank you for sharing.

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Fantastic design. The interior joinery is stunning.

 

A question: What was your driveway gravel choice? 

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Love the inside. That brick facade is imo soulless. Each to their own. 

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Congratulations. Lovely build and interior fit-out.

 

I quite like the character of the brick facade whereas I'd say the aluminium-clad / glazed section (nicely built though it is) looks more or less the same as is designed for every contemporary high-end extension/annex/winter garden I see down here in the South East.

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5 hours ago, Nick said:

Congratulations. Lovely build and interior fit-out.

 

I quite like the character of the brick facade whereas I'd say the aluminium-clad / glazed section (nicely built though it is) looks more or less the same as is designed for every contemporary high-end extension/annex/winter garden I see down here in the South East.

 

See, now I really like the ali clad / glazed bit! :) Weird what ticks for different folks. Lighting scheme inside just "works" imo, lovely spreads are a feature on their own.

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Posted (edited)

Replying to various - @Nick and @Onoff it’s black render rather than aluminium - the idea was a bit "ying-yang", the old brick look to fit in with the old walled garden, and then sleek contemporary behind the wall. 

 

@Barney12 it’s Cedec self-binding gravel, which works well.

 

The brief for the design review process was to show the “historical narrative” by which we arrived at the design for the site, and a key part was to fit in with the more than 200 year old garden wall running down the site. Also our architects say they are “home makers rather than shape makers”, and they do every aspect of the interior as well as the exterior.

 

it didn’t cost anything like that to get through approval, @Ferdinand - one of the problems was that although we fell into the category of “isolated house in open countryside” we were to any layman an infill site between two other houses (both of which supported us) but the whole parish is deemed to be open countryside. We didn’t use a planning consultant and I put together the design and access statement incorporating the architect’s designs. From kick off to approval was about 18 months, but the whole project was about 4 years.

Edited by Eileen
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