Finance- How to Work it Out

Ron
Ron Beattie

Set the budget Although self-building offers a more affordable route to your dream home, it’s important not to underestimate how much this figure will be. The key is to do your research, set realistic expectations and boundaries, and most importantly, stick to them. It’s easy to get carried away with the planning  of your unique home by adding every conceivable luxury and gadget on the market, but the reality is that it’s vital to plan and calculate, in detail, exactly what you need and how you will be funding the project.

A good old fashioned spreadsheet can work very effectively to keep costs in check across the key areas of: land, labour, materials, finance/professional fees, insurance, utilities, contingency, applications and VAT. Getting accurate figures for these at the very start can make all the difference to the overall project.

Slide1
Budget Tracking is an important part of a build project

Need a mortgage?

When it comes to self-build mortgages, there are two types available – arrears and advance. With an advance stage payment mortgage, it may be possible to borrow up to 90% for the land with just outline planning permission. This is an added bonus as some lenders will only lend with detailed planning permission which can take months to arrange and may then consequently restrict the plot opportunities you have. An advance stage payment mortgage also makes buying at auction a possibility and speeds up the process of acquiring a plot, whilst also reducing the deposit required. Further funds are released for the build costs – again up to 90% and money is released ahead of each build stage.

An arrears-based mortgage on the other hand, allows you to receive payments, in stages with each payment being transferred after confirmation that the stage has been completed. But whichever mortgage you select, pinpointing those initial planning and budget costs should ensure you get the best deal for your project.

VAT or no VAT?

Luckily for the majority of self builders, new builds are zero-rated, which means that a VAT registered builder or subcontractor must zero-rate their work and not charge VAT on any labour-only or supply and fix contracts. However, you will have to pay VAT at full rate for the purchase of any materials that the builder makes on their own account with this being largely recoverable at the end of the project.

When it comes to the overall financing of your project, it may seem a minefield of spreadsheets and paperwork but thorough planning and detailed budgeting at the outset will pay dividends in avoiding any nasty surprises along the way, and ensuring you benefit financially from what is likely to be your most valuable asset.

 

logo-in-rgb-72dpi-web-version

Find us!

Facebook logo https://www.facebook.com/Beattie-Passive-Self-Build-1818128395125478/

Twitter Logohttps://www.twitter.com/selfbuildpassiv

08456 449 003

enquiries@beattiepassive.com

 

 

Going for Gold

Ron
Ron Beattie

When it comes to the construction industry and advancements in technology, few can disagree that the ability to build a super energy efficient home is now widely available. But how far do you go? Straw bales, solar panels, underground heat pumps…all have their uses but there is one concept that still holds the gold standard.

Passivhaus (or Passive House) is an advanced low energy construction standard for buildings and by using high performance insulation and making a building completely draught free, it effectively eliminates heat loss to create a building with very low environmental impact. With 90% of your home’s heating coming from ‘passive’ sources such as sunlight, body heat, and even heat from a microwave or hairdryer, it means that traditional heating systems are a thing of the past.

The five key elements of Passivhaus combine good quality design and craftsmanship, superior windows and doors, high levels of insulation, air tightness and mechanical ventilation – all of which set Passivhaus construction apart from standard building regulations.

Superior health and comfort as standard

A Passivhaus is continuously supplied with fresh air via the mechanical ventilation and heat recovery system, which does a far better job of consistently bringing fresh air in than simply opening windows. This has advantages: unlike just opening the windows, fine filters in the ventilation system eliminate humidity and associated mould problems, as well as keeping dirt and pollen out – a blessing for those who suffer from allergies and respiratory problems.

Common myths dispelled!

Yes you can open a window and yes you can have a wood burning stove…and many more traditional features in your Passivhaus, but you’ll probably find the living environment of your home to be just about perfect. Some people are worried about the possible risks of over heating but with good quality design and construction, you will have a very comfortable and consistent ambient temperature, all year round.

We hear from an increasing number of self builders who have looked at all different types of construction methods but having done their research, can’t see why they wouldn’t want to have the best living environment available for their family to enjoy…which Passivhaus provides.

 

logo-in-rgb-72dpi-web-version

Find Us!

Facebook logo https://www.facebook.com/Beattie-Passive-Self-Build-1818128395125478

Twitter Logohttps://www.twitter.com/selfbuildpassiv

08456 449 003

enquiries@beattiepassive.com

 

 

Studies Continue at the Gressel Lane Retrofit

Fig 7.0

The TCosy retrofit in Gressel Lane was completed on 25th January 2017 Instrumental monitoring was in progress already before, and it continued together with occupant studies after the retrofit.

The monitoring system consists of a wireless data logger installed on site, measuring internal temperatures and energy consumption. Wireless sensors send information to the logger once every minute, and the data is then periodically downloaded over the Internet. A scientific weather station located on the roof of the University building provides complementary weather data, measuring external air temperature, relative humidity, horizontal total solar radiation, wind velocity and direction, and rainfall. The instrumental measurements are complemented by data from smart meters installed in each house by two different utility companies.

From this information, energy consumption chart has been created. As it can be seen from this figure, energy consumption after the retrofit is considerably lower than before the retrofit. This needs to be seen in the context of weather data , where external air temperature is generally lower in the winter period after the retrofit, coinciding with very low solar radiation.

Internal temperatures after the retrofit fluctuate much less than before the retrofit, demonstrating that the houses depend less on external conditions, even when external conditions start increasing in the spring.

Fig 8.0
Energy consumption before and after the retrofit

 

Fig 9.0
Internal room temperatures before and after retrofit
Fig 10.0
Weather data before and after retrofit

You can see that the data shows increased comfort levels in regards to temperature in the rooms, while there is a marked decrease in the gas and electricity usage for both houses.

User experience

The user experience has been very positive. Here are some remarks that the occupants made:

“I did not need heating when outside temperature dropped below freezing yesterday”
“I switched heating on for 20 minutes and it became too hot”
“The house feels like home now – no damp, not dust, no noise.”

Detailed occupant studies are being conducted with periodic questionnaires, and the analysis of results will be released in due course.

 

These are only initial results, and the work on performance analysis will continue as we gather more data and more information on user experience from the project.

 

Professor Lubo Jankovic

The Best Route for You

Ron
Ron Beattie

The plot is purchased, your designs are ready, but what’s the best route to actually build your home? Fortunately, the beauty of self-build lies in its flexible process, allowing you to choose not only the build method, but also how involved you want to be in the construction of your home.We are seeing a growing number of true self builders who are making the most of self build construction courses which offer an enthusiastic individual the chance to develop the necessary skills to live and breathe the installation of every joist, roof tile, floorboard and window frame in their home. However, whilst not everyone is a proficient DIY fanatic, many still wish to play some part in its construction to enjoy a real sense of self achievement.

Build Route Options:

Route 1 The hands-on approach: project manage and build yourself

Self Build
Project manage it all

Route 2 Half and half: part build or take delivery of the structure to then finish off yourself or with the help of contractors

Half and Half
Work with contractors

Route 3  Full Turnkey: employ a project manager to coordinate the build team and deliver the finished home to you, ready for occupation.

Project Managed
Leave it all to a project manager

However involved you choose to be, the key focus of any self build project remains on creating a unique home that meets your lifestyle needs, and to a large extent your desires, in the most energy efficient way possible.

‘Passivhaus’, ‘Eco homes’, ‘zero carbon’ are all terms that will be familiar regardless of the style and size of home you plan to build, and with limitless energy efficient products such as triple glazing and mechanical ventilation heat recovery being readily available, it’s little wonder that the self build homes under construction both now and in the future, will be the most energy efficient in the country.

When choosing the best route for your own self build, it’s important to consider a build or construction method that will not only meet the criteria of a beady-eyed Building Inspector, but one that offers testing and certification by the company itself.  At Beattie Passive, we test and certify all our weather proof and air tight structures to ensure they are built as designed, to the highest Passivhaus standards, which in turn provides the home owner with a smoother build process and peace of mind at every stage…something of great value during any self build project!

cropped-cropped-logo-in-rgb-72dpi-web-version.jpg

Find Us!

Facebook logo https://www.facebook.com/Beattie-Passive-Self-Build-1818128395125478/

Twitter Logohttps://twitter.com/selfbuildpassiv

08456 449 003

enquiries@beattiepassive.com

 

Designing Your Perfect Self Build

 

Ron
Ron Beattie

At a recent self build showcase event we hosted in Norfolk, it was clear to see the enthusiasm and sheer number of self builders in the East Anglia region, with over 100 visitors attending. Our 1:1 sessions allowed people to bring along their designs and industry experts were on hand to offer vital advice, creating a really positive buzz.

Many had already put together their design plans but for those starting out, when it comes to designing your ideal home, it’s all about getting the right balance between what you really want, with what you can actually have. Naturally there are limits to any self build project usually due to planning, budget, or building regulations but that doesn’t mean you must compromise completely, just adapt here and there to maximise the potential.

Good design is about how your home performs, how the spaces interact and flow together, and also how it meets your needs. We always recommend working with architects, architectural technologists and similarly qualified professionals to help you to achieve the right results. They will also save you time in the long run regarding building regulations and they know what is likely to pass the planners!

Although we regularly work with architects to provide self builders with the complete flexibility on the design for their bespoke homes, another option allows self builders to work with companies such as Beattie Passive who offer a design ‘package’ from a selection of pattern-book designs, most of which have been built before and are customisable to suit your needs.

Wants vs Needs  Start with your physical requirements and let the stylistic decisions flow from here. Number of rooms, sizes and shapes, plus any special features such as a large window to maximise the view. Then decide what you can live without as it’s easy to run away with notions of a cinema room or indoor pool! Think laterally, too, such as do you need space to accommodate audio equipment or a wine cellar?

What are the restrictions? Building Regulations will influence your home’s design but it’s the local planning authority that will have the biggest say in what you can and can’t build. Planners can dictate the materials, size, shape, height and orientation of your home, all of which have a great bearing on its design, so making a first port of call to the planning office will pay dividends to ensure your time is spent on creating a realistic design.

Sympathetic style  a design that is sympathetic to its surroundings is more likely to be approved, so take account of the street setting and vernacular, and whether or not the house is visible from the road. Scale is very important in this aspect, as it can make the house dominate or recede from the neighbouring properties.

Cost effectiveness  Your budget will probably be the main factor that controls what you can and can’t have. Try to make a connection between design features and cost. Over-designed homes are expensive to build and the results sometimes questionable, so be prepared to edit the plans. Conversely, having a limited budget doesn’t have to mean a poorly designed house, but it will require careful planning to make the most of what you have.

Designing your home is the most exciting part of the whole build process and time will be well spent researching your ideal layout to ensure your dream home is exactly that.

cropped-cropped-logo-in-rgb-72dpi-web-version.jpg

Find Us!

Facebook logo https://www.facebook.com/Beattie-Passive-Self-Build-1818128395125478/

Twitter Logohttps://twitter.com/selfbuildpassiv

08456 449 003

enquiries@beattiepassive.com

Elisabete’s View

Slide1
Elisabete and her daughter

We’re here with Elisabete who lives next door to Catherine in Gressel Lane and also had her home retrofitted. Today we are going to ask her how she thought the process went.

Beattie Passive: Good morning Elisabete, how are you today?

Elisabete: I’m good thank you!

Beattie Passive: What was your perception of your home before the retrofit?

Elisabete: Well, before the retrofit my house was cold all the time, even with the heating on! We did not feel comfortable living here in the Winter at all.

Beattie Passive: So, after the retrofit, did your perception change?

Elisabete: Most definitely! We have a great atmosphere in the house now and we don’t need to have the heating on unless it is very cold outside.

Beattie Passive: How would you rate the overall performance of the house now, including comfort and energy use?

Elisabete: The overall performance of the house now is excellent! The house is really warm now and we don’t hear the planes anymore, even though we are under a flight path. We sleep well and are very comfortable. With the MVHR we have fresh air all the time with no mould or bad smells. I can’t ask for more!

Beattie Passive: As the Retrofit was completed while you were still living in the house, how did you find it?

Elisabete: I felt very comfortable. I didn’t have to move out and the workmen didn’t disrupt me much at all.

Beattie Passive: What was the best thing about the project?

Elisabete: Having a warm house and reduced energy bills for sure! Energy is now not lost from the building and I have started to save money already which is very important to us. Also, the fact we basically have a new house with new triple glazed windows, new door new roof and new walls. There are many good things that have happened to us. Thank you for giving us this opportunity. There are so many changes for the better.

Beattie Passive: How about the worst thing?

Elisabete: Nothing! Only little minor things like dust and noise, but what building project doesn’t have that?

Beattie Passive: Are there any matters you wish to tell us about?

Elisabete: I don’t have any problems. Thank you so much for letting me be part of your project. I am so grateful for everything that has been done. I’m so happy to live here now.

Beattie Passive: Thank you for your time Elisabete, we’re glad that you love your new home and hope you enjoy it for years to come.

Elisabete: You’re most welcome.

 

cropped-logo-in-rgb-72dpi-web-version.jpg

Find Us!

Facebook logo https://www.facebook.com/Beattie-Passive-Self-Build-1818128395125478/

Twitter Logohttps://www.twitter.com/selfbuildpassiv

Insta https://www.instagram.com/beattiepassive

08456 449 003

enquiries@beattiepassive.com

 

 

 

How to find the perfect plot for your self build

Ron
Ron Beattie

It’s an exciting time for self builders. Projects are on the increase across the UK, with the number of self built homes up 6% in 2015, and set to rise again this year. Furthermore, a recent survey commissioned by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) identified an encouragingly large number of people in the UK not only interested in self build, but actively pursuing their dream:

  • 53% who would like to build their own home
  • 1 in 8 currently researching a self build project
  • 1million+ actively looking for a plot or already involved in a self build project

Source: Ipsos MORI Poll for NaCSBA April 2016

These positive statistics were echoed recently when I attended NaCSBA’s ‘Right to Build Summit’ at the House of Commons to find out what the Government is doing to make self build easier for all of us. The Housing Minister Brandon Lewis was one of the key speakers and commented: “We are committed to helping people build their own home and have ensured councils now have to keep a register of aspiring self and custom house builders when planning for future housing and land use”. Positive signs indeed, but where you do you start?

Finding Your Land

Richard Bacon, MP highlighted at the Selfbuild Showcase at Hethel last week, that the national Self Build Register, as a result of The Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015, is bringing local councils and self builders together.  Websites such as Plot-Search feature thousands of land listings and general property-hunting portals allow you to refine your search to ‘land’. Registering your interest with estate agents (especially independents) in your chosen area remains an effective approach as well as contacting local surveyors and architects.

Ron Article

 

Plots suitable for single houses are regularly sold at auction and it could also be worth tactful leafletting in your chosen area as an owner may not have considered selling an area of their land, but could be more interested in doing so if there is already a buyer ready and waiting.

Planning Permission

It’s vital to consider planning permission in tandem with your choice of plot. Land is available with one of two types of consent in place – outline planning permission (OPP) or detailed planning permission (DPP). OPP is consent in principal for development to occur, leaving some or all of the particulars to be established in a later application for DPP. However, don’t dismiss a plot just because the permitted design doesn’t suit you.  Even if DPP is in place, you can submit a new application for a different design without revoking the existing permission. However, you should avoid buying land without any permission so resist the temptation to buy a cheap plot in the hope that ‘we’ll get planning one day’.

And last but by no means least, talk to the local Planning Department and try to establish a good rapport – an understanding of local planning guidelines and a good relationship can help make the planning process a whole lot smoother!

Catherine’s Retrofit

We’re here with Catherine who lives in one of the homes that we retrofitted in Gressel Lane, Birmingham. Today we are going to ask her how she thought the process went.

 

Beforeafter
Catherine’s home before (left) and after the retrofit

Beattie Passive: Good morning Catherine how are you today?

Catherine: Yes, I’m fine thanks.

Beattie Passive: Great! Let’s get into some questions.

Beattie Passive: What was your perception of your home before the retrofit?

Catherine: We used to use the heating a lot and were very cold. The heating didn’t stay in the house for long and we often ended up in the living room with loads of blankets to keep warm.

Beattie Passive: So after the retrofit, did your perception change?

Catherine: We don’t use much heating at all now. The rooms stay warm for much longer. We used to have to top up the gas all the time. Now we don’t. We are much happier living here now.

Beattie Passive: How would you rate the overall performance of the house now, including comfort and energy use?

Catherine: Before the retrofit every room in the house was a different temperature. Now, they are all the same and we have a nice temperature throughout.

Beattie Passive: As the Retrofit was completed while you were still living in the houses, how did you find it?

Catherine: Yes, it was alright. The workmen were always nice and friendly and kept me up to date with what was happening.
Works being done
The works are undertaken with little disruption to the residents

Beattie Passive: What was the best thing about the project?

Catherine: I think the best thing is that the house looks nicer on the outside and it is warmer.

Beattie Passive: How about the worst thing?

Catherine: Nothing at all!

Beattie Passive: Are there any matters you wish to tell us about?

Catherine: No problems whatsoever!

Beattie Passive: Thank you for your time Catherine, we’re glad that you love your new home.

Catherine: Happy to help! People need to know how good this system is.

Catherine
Catherine

 

January Event

We held a Retrofit Event in January to provide interested parties with the opportunity to understand more about the Retrofit system. The event started with presentations from Ron Beattie, Managing Director at Beattie Passive and Lubo Jankovic professor from Birmingham City University. Ron Beattie’s presentation provided an overview of the Beattie Passive Retrofit System and its benefits. Lubo Jankovic, who was involved with the project from the start, gave a presentation on Building Physics and Monitoring. Visitors where provided with an opportunity to visit both of our latest completed Retrofit projects a block of six flats in Grandy’s Croft in Solihull and 2 semi-detached homes in Gressel Lane in Birmingham. The event was well attended by over 50 people including those from Housing Associations, Consultants, and Academia.

We hope to hold more events like this soon so you too can come along and see the merits of retrofit.

Slide3

Slide1

Slide2

 

Find Us!

http://www.beattiepassive.com

08456 449 003

enquiries@beattiepassive.com

Facebook logo https://www.facebook.com/Beattie-Passive-Self-Build-1818128395125478/

Twitter Logohttps://twitter.com/selfbuildpassiv

The Appeal of Self Build

Ron
Ron Beattie

If you’ve ever watched the ultimate self-build projects transform from owner’s dream to splendid reality on ‘Grand Designs’ wishing you had the opportunity to do the same, then there’s never been a better time to take that step.

Here in East Anglia, the region has long been a pioneer and promoter of self and custom builds. Thanks to key figures, including our local MP Richard Bacon, taking the matter to the higher echelons of power and the ongoing work by The National Custom and Self-Build Association (NaCSBA), support is ever-growing with self and custom build homes now being included in the Government’s ‘National Planning Policy Framework’ for the first time. This places a duty on local authorities to keep a register of those seeking an interest in bringing forward self and custom build projects.

It remains to be seen whether this will significantly change the attitudes towards land supply, however it is certainly a step in the right direction with more and more councils looking to launch and pilot such schemes in their areas.

The beauty of self-build

According to NaCSBA there are six million people across the UK who want to build their own home, with one million having already started the planning process. The reasons behind why people choose to self-build are numerous; some focus on the practical side, while others emulate from a more personal level, but which all drive the unique outcome to the process.

  • Total Flexibility
  • Bespoke Design
  • Sustainable Living
  • Budgeting & Affordability
  • Long-term Savings

Up there as many people’s top reason to self-build is the ‘Total Flexibility’ that such a personal project allows. Not only can you individually tailor your initial designs, incorporating the very latest in design styles, fixture and fittings (which usually involves the latest in high tech ‘Bond’ gadgetry), but, and equally important, is the choice of construction as well as how involved you want to be in the overall process.

Other key drivers for self-builders include sustainability and energy efficiency which feature prominently across the design spectrum, from cosy country cottages to imposing sea-view villas. With fuel bills only ever going in one direction, many self-builders are looking to take advantage of the dramatic improvements in building construction methods and materials, such as Passivhaus, to ensure their high quality home performs super efficiently yet still retains all the bespoke elements they desire.

Whatever design and style of building you are looking for and however involved you wish to be, the majority of self-builders that we work with say that it’s been an enjoyable and fulfilling experience, full of highs and lows, with the end result being a home that they not only enjoy living in, but undeniably fills them with a sense of pride and makes the hard work and effort all the more worthwhile.

cropped-cropped-logo-in-rgb-72dpi-web-version.jpg

Find us!

Facebook logo https://www.facebook.com/Beattie-Passive-Self-Build-1818128395125478/

Twitter Logohttps://twitter.com/selfbuildpassiv

08456 449 003

enquiries@beattiepassive.com