Making Self-Build Work For You
Self-builds and custom builds can be one of the most rewarding projects to undertake. Designing a home that truly works for you from the foundations to the finishes. Self and custom builds are a major commitment and should not be embarked on until you have thought through all the details of the project.
In our self-build section you’ll find some useful hints and tips to help get you started.
Types of build
Many people choose to follow the self-build root because of the design flexibility and range of choice open to them. Not constricted by housing developers’ construction methods, materials and plot sizes, self-builders have a freedom of choice. That said, the construction option you choose will be influenced by a number of factors.
No one system of construction is inherently better than another because it depends upon the requirements of a project and the preferences and in some cases ability of the self builder, as well many other factors such as the location and constraints of the site, the budget and design preferences.
Popular UK Construction Methods
An increasingly popular option in the commercial market, timber frame builds remain a firm favourite amongst self-builders. This is in part due to its design flexibility, working on both modern and traditional homes. As with all methods there are pros and cons, which need to be considered, cost, thermal efficiency, speed of build…should all form part of the decisions making process.
Brick and Block
By far the most conventional commercial building method in the UK, comprising an internal layer of concrete blocks and an external facing wall of bricks. The cavity between the skins is filled with insulation, whilst the two walls are held together with ties, and everything sits on concrete foundations.
This method has been popular in the US for a while but has struggled to gain traction within the UK self-build market. This option normally requires a kit purchase from a manufacturer, which can limit your choice of design.
Alternative Building Methods
An ever changing field but typical alternatives include Beco, Styrostone, Structured Insulated Panels (SIPs) and timber clad.
Building Regulations, government initiatives and increased pressure on manufacturers to deliver sustainable building materials means that to some extent all building methods are becoming more environmentally sound.
However, those that are considered ‘true’ eco builds involve using materials such as straw or volcanic stone. Beware – you may find it more difficult to obtain a mortgage when using lesser-known materials
Conversions and Extensions
Self-build doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. Conversions and extensions can be equally as rewarding (and as challenging!)
Home modifications still provide you with great flexibility and opportunity to improve the value of your home and the comfort of your living space, whether extending up or outwards it’s about making your home work for you.
Careful planning, consideration for what the space will be used for and attention to how it will blend with existing materials and design is vital when planning any home improvement project.
Through the Saint-Gobain building distribution network we offer a range of self-build services, including the Jewson Self-Build Advice Service