Waxham, Norfolk Holiday Home

“Beattie Passive combined new ways of working with traditional values of good

The 130m2 single storey 4 bedroom home is based in a secluded seaside location off a private track in the idyllic Norfolk countryside.

1. What led you to choose Passivhaus as the construction method?

For us the question became not why would we build to the Passivhaus method but more ‘why wouldn’t we?’ As we looked at the costs, there wasn’t really much difference between a more traditional method of construction and Beattie Passive’s. At the start of
the project we imagined a fairly well insulated house, coupled with something like a heat pump, but then it occurred to us that systems like heat pumps, while interesting, are aimed at fixing an issue i.e. heating the house, that doesn’t really need to exist in the first
place. We concluded that the investment should be in the super-insulated fabric and not questionable eco-gadgets, such as heat pumps, or long term costs like fuel. The other important aspect was keeping the architect’s original design and the Beattie Passive
system doesn’t dictate the design – it fits in with yours. 

“The air tightness result was really impressive although not unexpected given the rigorous approach applied by Beattie Passive”

2. How and why did you approach Beattie Passive?

Beattie Passive was recommended by Mole Architects as they had worked with them on
a project previously. Although a first hand recommendation is valuable we still wanted to know more about the company. We found the company to be really open. In the first instance we visited the offices in Hethel and met the team. While the house was being fabricated, I went to the production facility and met the team there. While this isn’t a ‘hands-on’ build I was keen to see the process in action and to meet the people involved. I appreciated the open approach and it was re-assuring to meet the team.

Simon Fenn
The family outside the completed structural thermal envelope, ready to be finished.

3. What has been the most interesting aspect of having both a Passivhaus and the system from Beattie Passive?

We think the most interesting element is to see the gulf between a traditional build and what is a more modern approach. Now it almost seems quaint that you would want to built a ‘traditional’ house with bricks and mortar, especially knowing that the end result is going to be way behind a Passivhaus in terms of running costs but more importantly in
terms of comfort. The Beattie Passive approach, with the emphasis on air tightness, super insulation and the elimination of thermal bridges, is really the way forward. It is also better to have as much done in the factory as possible because the time on site is
kept to a minimum and the level of quality can be far better controlled.

4. What has been the best/most surprising aspect of the build?

Perhaps the most surprising aspect was to see how quickly the structure went up. It was very quick once the groundworks were done. The other surprising thing is, if it is so easy and cost effective to build houses that essentially don’t require heating why isn’t it mandatory? Given the emphasis on complex and expensive solutions to climate change, why are obvious ones like this not given more prominence?

5. Have there been any downsides to the project?

The only downsides are quite minor. Because the fabric has to be kept airtight there are elements like a stove where you have to put in pipes very early and this has involved a fair bit of coordination. Of course you don’t actually need a stove to heat the house but
we wanted one to give the house a cosy feel.


6. How has the process been on site?

The process on site has been very smooth. Beattie Passive provide a single point of contact, in our case Benedict, the Project Manager. This made the process very straightforward because we could go to Benedict with any questions or concerns. On site there was a site foreman, Steve, who led a small team. On site visits Steve was always available to talk us through what had been happening. We felt that Beattie Passive combined new ways of working with traditional values of good workmanship and actually caring about what they were doing.

7. Which aspects are you looking forward to most once the build is completed, due to it being a Passivhaus?

We are looking forward to the low running costs. We anticipate that it will be an extremely comfortable house to live in.

8. Air tightness result

The air tightness result was really impressive although not unexpected given the rigorous approach applied by Beattie Passive. If the house was built to current Building Regulations standards then the house would be leaking around 20 times more air. That says a lot about this type of construction method but also the current Building Regulations!

Technical Specifications:

Wall U-Value: 0.11 W/m2k

Roof U-Value: 0.11 W/m2k

Ground Floor: 0.11 W/m2k

Air Tightness: 0.309 m3/h/m2@50pa, 0.52 ach, n50

The Toolshed Case Study

Beattie Passive are passionate about skills development and training

Training and skills development is central to the delivery of Beattie Passive. The system has been designed so that it is very simple and can be built with semi-skilled labour. Local labour can be sourced and trained locally, which results in both social and economic benefits for the local community.

Working with The Toolshed


The Toolshed is part of a social enterprise education provision managed by The New Meaning Foundation, part of a not-for-profit organisation. The Toolshed teaches and encourages young people to learn new skills and help them develop confidence, self-belief and to gain life skills.

Beattie Passive has provided training for 5 young people at their Training Academy in Norfolk on a workshopbased training course to learn how to manufacture and construct the timber frame structure to the exacting standard of the Beattie Passive build system.

Following on from the workshop based training, the trainees developed their skills on-site though erecting units at the Graven Hill Custom Build project in Oxfordshire.

This has provided them with the skills and knowledge to erect their own Beattie Passive homes for their clients. From early 2019 The Toolshed will be manufacturing and erecting homes for the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust.

Q+A with The Toolshed supervisor and two of the trainees

Andy (A): Supervisor, Dennis (D): Trainee, Mason (M): Trainee

What made you decide to get involved with training in construction?

A: I have been working in the Construction Industry for 28 years, so I was keen to volunteer to support the team and help the youngsters progress and develop new skills.

M: I was naughty at school and was the class clown. I went to college to do brick laying but I got bored quickly. I was then referred to The Toolshed due to my interest in chippy work and it all started from there.

Why did you choose the Beattie Passive system?

A: The college saw it as a fantastic opportunity to feed our students into a system with a growing business. Beattie Passive was selected for its innovative build system and incredible potential in the construction market.

M: I was interested in this specific training as I saw it as a new opportunity and a new system that I could get involved in.

How did you find the training at the academy in Norfolk and the on-site training at Graven Hill?

A: The course gave a fascinating insight into how the system works and its importance of reducing heating costs. John (Beattie Passive Trainer) was a fantastic teacher and has a great work ethic of always striving to do it better. All the students enjoyed the training in Norfolk. The course was really informative and a fundamental part of the training. John also taught the students how to communicate with teams on a construction site, which is always a key skill.

D: John was excellent, he is a very good teacher, the training covered everything on the build system and key details. It was great to see the training through to completion at Graven Hill – a great sense of achievement.

M: The training manuals are really good, I always look back at them to refresh my memory.

How easy did you find the Beattie Passive system to build?

A: The team all found the system fairly easy to build despite their lack of previous experience. John took time to show us how and why the system works.

M: Before the training I would have struggled. I can now understand drawings, understand the principles of the system and have learnt a great deal about not just Beattie Passive but building in general.

Did you feel that you and the other trainees had the correct skills to be able to complete the course?

A: : I have been in construction industry for 28 years but there is always some fine tuning and new things to learn, especially when delivering Passivhaus.

D: I previously had very limited and basic joinery skills, but with the training and guidance I have received I can now build a Passive house – this feels like a great achievement. I am very proud of what I have learnt.

How do you think you will take what you have learned forward in the future?

A: By encouraging trainees to carry on what they are doing and develop their knowledge in the future.

D: I’d like to carry on building Beattie Passive houses and hopefully one day be able to train others to do so.

M: Build more Beattie Passive houses in the future.

Would you recommend this system to others?

A: Yes, the system is easy to follow, uses less tools and is a cleaner trade. I would highly recommend the training, which explains why the process works and crucially how to create an airtight structure.

D: Yes 100%, as I had no background in construction, I would say it’s been a great help and I now feel confident that I could build more Beattie Passive homes.

M: Definitely! The training made building so simple but to the highest standard. I couldn’t have done it without the training but now I’m really confident in what I am doing. If I can do it anyone can!


Ever wondered how you can future-proof your self-build home?

This week, Ron Beattie looks at how more and more self-builders are looking to the future when they build their home.

In 2017 a consumer survey of 500 self builders, who had either just completed or were about to complete their project, was conducted by Homebuilding & Renovating, which found that the average age of self builders had risen by 5 years over the past decade and now sat at 51, with the most common age group for self builders being between 55 and 64.

This is perhaps not a huge surprise given this age range usuall20190426_122611y has accumulated equity over time and would be in a good financial position to undertake a self build project with an expectation of spending around 20-30 years enjoying life in their dream home.

Considerations in design at this stage of life can centre around layout and aesthetics as well as using the latest technology and innovation to create bespoke energy efficient homes which are totally unique but it also begs the question of should a home at this stage of your life be future-proofed?

We have many clients who are looking to build their dream home, on the perfect plot with notions of staying there for as long as possible. So this inevitably leads to making conscious design decisions that will allow them to stay in the home, combining creative design with the necessary practicalities.

Lift installOne such client has recently moved into her two storey Passivhaus and took future proofing very seriously as she has no intention of moving any time soon! The design stage was very thorough, working closely with her architect to incorporate stylish yet practical elements into the home, which would not look out of place in a striking new build. Key elements included the all important lift, as the house is primarily focused on upstairs living to take advantage of the fantastic views, so being able to access both floors very easily was paramount. Also, the living / dining / kitchen area is open plan allowing for plenty of space between each area, with doors wide enough for a wheelchair, should one ever become necessary. Furthermore, the downstairs accommodation includes a guest bedroom and bathroom which is perfect for visiting family and friends, yet could easily become self-contained for a live-in carer in later years.

The design options for future proofing run into the hundreds so there are many to choose from depending on your own circumstances, but incorporating a few key elements from the start of the design process will of course eliminate any major restructuring in later years should accessibility become an issue. This is the joy of designing your own home, every possible outcome can be considered and incorporated if required, and all adds to the ease of living long term in your dream home.

Read the blog on the EDP property website.

Ramsay Heights – Forever Home

Ramsey Heights – Forever Home

Project Description

A modern 135m2 two bedroom future proof home ready for retired living. The downstairs bedroom, currently for guests, can convert to a carer’s accommodation in future. Upstairs is open plan with kitchen, living area and master en-suite bedroom, together with a balcony providing wonderful views of the Cambridgeshire countryside. A wheelchair lift has been installed ensuring that the owner will still be able to enjoy the views in future years.

Interview with Joan Morters

What has led you to selecting Passivhaus as a construction method?

I had always planned to Self Build. As a retired Head Teacher I knew I would remain
active and over the past few years I’ve also become more conscious of the environment
and living in a more eco-friendly way. I used to watch Grand Designs and saw how new
technology and design innovation could reduce the need for electricity and fossil fuels
whilst allowing for modern design and creativity, and this interested me hugely.

How and why did you approach Beattie Passive?


I attended an event at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon back in June 2016 and met Ron Beattie at their stand. We talked through the Beattie Passive system and I was struck by how efficient it was and how their system made perfect sense when building an energy efficient home. I was also swayed by the fact that they are a British manufacturer as I am passionate about supporting the UK market!

How were the early stages of design and working with Beattie Passive?

This went really well and Beattie Passive actually introduced me to an architect they had worked with before so he was not only well versed in the Beattie Passive system but also passionate about Passivhaus living.

He had a great understanding of how I wanted to future-proof the house and we spent a lot of time discussing ideas to ensure the layout would work for me in the coming years.

Then the process of transforming the design into the Beattie Passive system to create the structural thermal envelope went smoothly as both teams had worked together in the past.

Future proofing – what elements did you consider during the design process?

This was always designed to be my forever home so I was keen to ensure that I could cope living here as I get older. So the key design criteria for me was accessibility and an easy layout. I have a downstairs bedroom which acts as guest accommodation for now but could also be for a carer in latter years and the installation of a lift will allow me to continue living on the top floor to enjoy the fantastic views! All doors are wide enough for a wheelchair so I’ve covered all bases, just in case, as I wanted to ensure this was both a beautiful and practical home to live in during my retirement.

Have there been any downsides to the project?

Managing other contractors has been a challengebut no more than I expected with a self build project! Also, with using other contractors who are not familiar with the Beattie Passive system meant I had to guide them through the installation of various fixtures and fitting, for example telling them they couldn’t simply drill a hole in the external wall for wiring or the outside tap as this would adversely affect the integrity of the structure and therefore its performance. However they soon learned how to work with the building and the air tightness test of just 0.358 hm2@50Pa shows it’s performing as it

How has the process been on site?

All in all it has gone relatively smoothly. Planning took longer than expected and I was grateful to my neighbour who is a builder/developer who was able to recommend various trades I needed prior to Beattie Passive arriving on site. When the structure arrived it all went up so quickly, it was amazing to see my house take shape. The Beattie Passive team worked really well together and they were always helpful and took time to explain the process as it happened.

20190426_120542Which aspects are you looking forward to the most once the build is completed, due to it being a Passivhaus?

The reduction in utility bills will be fantastic not only with it being a Passivhaus and therefore super-insulated, but I also have 6 PV panels on the roof generating my own
electricity. Even though I live in a quiet area, the noise quality afforded by the high-spec triple glazing and super insulated structure will be another bonus along with it being less dusty which is not just better for my health but also less work to clean!

Passivhaus home on the Isle of Man

Four-bedroom Manx Vernacular Cottage


Project Description

To develop a unique Passivhaus standard residence with the external appearance of a typical Manx vernacular cottage in an elevated, conspicuous location with breath-taking views overlooking the south coast of the Isle of Man.

Having been approached by a client with planning permission to build a house using traditional construction methods, Complete Construction Services (CCS) offered the Beattie Passive Build System at a comparative price, even providing a developed roof space. The client embraced the idea and the revised Building Regulations were fast tracked through by Building Control within a week, such was their delight at the
specifications of the system.

The build progressed quickly and smoothly with the structure being manufactured on the Isle of Man by CCS operatives who had undertaken the course at the Beattie Passive Training Academy.

Interview with the client, Kevin Kniveton

1. When and why did you start planning to build your own home?

C751-0130We have always wanted to build our own home and we were fortunate enough to have land in the south of the Island where there was an existing ruin, which was knocked down and replaced by a Passivhaus.

2. What was your first impression of Passivhaus when suggested by James Vickers at Complete Construction Services?

Having an engineering background I was very interested in the idea of Passivhaus and the potential benefits. Initially I had to convince my wife but she is a convert now!

3. How did you find the initial Beattie Passive design process and working with SNX and James Vickers?

It worked very well as the original construction drawings were changed from a traditional build to Passivhaus but took no longer and we had no concerns about the change in construction method.

4. What impressed you most about the build process?

We were struck by the attention to detail such as every joint and seal is 100% accurate throughout the entire build. The speed of the on-site manufacture and delivery was similar to a traditional build but the quality and level of detail provided by CCS was

5. What were you most looking forward to about your new home?

As this was a Passivhaus project we were most looking forward to seeing just how much energy savings we would enjoy. This was our family’s first proper home (having lived in a small flat previously) and as an engineer, the technical side interested me from the outset.


6. What has been your experience of living in a Passivhaus and how does it compare to a traditional house?

Minimal level of external noise is noticeable; we live in a windy spot overlooking Port St.Mary and the triple glazing and overall insulation has been a revelation! Furthermore, the solar panels provide us with very hot water and we’ve noticed a better level of air quality within the home.

7. Is there anything that has been a surprise about living in a Passivhaus?

The overall performance and warmth of the house stays constant throughout the year, regardless of seasons. Despite being a traditional style of home, the Passivhaus element takes it to another level.

“My experience of my new passive system home has surpassed all my expectations. I knew that my utility bills would be a fraction of what I would ordinarily pay in a traditionally built home, but even I was surprised at how low my quarterly bill over 3 of the most demanding months up to the end of December has actually been. Knowing that future bills will decrease much further still when the solar thermal takes over the domestic hot water production and with lower demand generally, I just can’t understand why all homes are not built this way.” Kevin Kniveton, client


How to improve your self-build experience by being more hands-on

When it comes to the growing number of self-build projects, there is still a huge variation in the extent of how ‘hands-on’ people are willing to be.

For many, self build is about designing your dream home, totally bespoke and tailored to your every design whim and desire, and the pleasure comes from seeing it rise from your carefully selected plot to become a beautiful forever home.

But for those on the other side of the coin, the dream is much bigger and that involves going beyond the project management side of self build and getting truly stuck in and building it yourself.


The level of which depends on your own skill set but also the type of property you’ve chosen and the way in which it is to be constructed. Most self builders tend to be good at DIY rather than qualified builders however they have the drive and passion to learn, so how do you go about this?

Many look to the internet for guidance and this can of course be a very useful place to start. There is no end of ‘how-to’ videos but the core construction elements should always be done by a fully qualified person- otherwise this will end up being very costly indeed, and often not meet strict building regulations.

But for many, putting up some walls, tiling, or fitting a kitchen is the extent of their hands-on capability and will satisfy the need to be part of the build process. Some self build companies offer classroom based training as part of a package, with courses covering elements such as managing a build effectively, planning and regulations, build systems and stages and even snagging, testing and completion certificates. All such courses are invaluable to ensure your self build project runs as smoothly as possible –
after all, knowledge is king!


Going that bit further, there are various courses you can attend to learn about the basics of foundations, construction, plumbing etc. but rarely do you have the
opportunity to learn about the entire build process in a short space of time that will allow you to physically build your own home.

At Beattie Passive we like to go that one step further and have helped many selfbuilders to build their own homes from scratch.

Our Training Academy courses help self builders to understand the fundamentals of
Passivhaus construction and be confident on the delivery of the Beattie Passive Build
System. And uniquely, you will manufacture and assemble a two storey, 27m2 Passivhaus structure in just five days – enabling you to take these newly acquired skills directly onsite to your own Beattie Passive Build. Now that’s hands-on.

Find out more about our training academy at www.beattiepassivetrainingacademy.com

Read the blog on the EDP property website.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council Case Study

Gt Yarmouth 1

Project OutlineGt Yarmouth tenants

Location: Great Yarmouth, Norfolk

Client: Great Yarmouth Borough Council

Brief: To build 12 much needed homes as in-fill developments across three (former garage) sites on existing borough council housing estates

Build Certification: Passivhaus Certified

System Provider: Beattie Passive

Project Deliveredgt-yarmouth-view-3-e1570094805204.jpg

Successful development of 12 much needed homes; these were the first new council homes in the Great Yarmouth borough for 20 years. Great Yarmouth Borough Council selected the patented Beattie Passive Build System as the innovative construction method enabled the delivery of a Passivhaus timber frame structure affordably and efficiently. This delivered social, economic and environmental benefits for the residents and the

Technical Details

  • Ground Floor: U-value 0.09W/m²K
  • External Walls: U-value 0.11W/m2K
  • Insulated Ceiling: U-value 0.09W/m2K

“I am impressed. I’d heard about this form of construction; it’s a very cheap way of building but you’re going to have a very high quality house.”

Eric Pickles, Former Secretary of State for
Communities and Local Government

Benefits Delivered

Social benefits:Gt Yarmouth College 1

  • Up-skilled construction students from Great Yarmouth College to manufacture and build the houses
  • Local suppliers and businesses were intrinsically involved with the local building programme. 80% of contractors were local (within Norfolk and Suffolk) and small to medium enterprises (SMEs). The majority of materials, apart from a few specialist items, were supplied from local merchants

Economic benefits:

  • Over £4 million economic benefit as result of the multiplier effect from the 12 Beattie Passive houses: Construction work is especially good for generating local jobs and local economic activity. According to Shelter every £1 spent on construction generates £3.51 of total economic activity (CBI: £1: £2.84). Assuming 90% of £1 of construction was spent locally, this results in an economic benefit of £4,135,530 from these Beattie Passive projects
  • Energy bill reduction: Due to the high performance of the Beattie Passive
    buildings the tenants have also benefited positively with a significant
    reduction in their energy bills (by as much as 90%)

Environmental benefits

  • Beattie Passive developments deliver up to a 100% reduction in carbon emissions
  • Limited site waste due to 3D modelling and a detailed cutting list of materials

The site received high levels of press and political attention, with the previous Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles alongside Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis (Also MP Housing and Planning), Cllr Trevor Wainwright, the Borough Council’s Leader and Cllr Penny Linden, the Cabinet Member for Communities spent time visiting the Caistor sites.

Case Study – Fife Housing Association


Project outline

  • Location: Inchkeith Drive, Dunfermline, Scotland
  • Client: Fife Housing Association
  • Brief: To find a build system that satisfies both Passivhaus requirements
    and provides high quality, economic homes, allowing clients to
    address fuel poverty.
  • Build Requirement: 4 x three bedroom homes – 86m2 each
  • Build Certification: Passivhaus Certified
  • System Provider: Beattie Passive

Aims of the project

Economic conditions and a dramatic slowdown in the construction industry have led to a shortage of good-quality, energy-efficient social housing in recent years. Much of the existing social housing stock suffers from minimal or no insulation, and combined with spiraling energy costs, hefty fuel bills often impact hardest on people who can least afford it.

Beattie Passive were instructed to design and build two pairs of 3 bedroom semi-detached homes to meet the needs of the local community. Using traditional and readily available construction materials Beattie Passive’s innovative and unique construction method ensures each home exceeds existing code 4 and Passivhaus standards. This is achieved by creating a super-insulated and continuous void around the floor, walls and roof, offering numerous environmental and cost savings. Project Outline.

Each house was certified to Passivhaus standards and reached the Government’s new Gold Standard, the first time this has been achieved in Scotland.

“The Beattie Passive Build System offers us the opportunity to achieve
Passivhaus certified homes for the same costs as traditional build methods. Using this method of construction will provide our clients with high quality homes which don’t
cost the earth to maintain.”

Michael Creech, Fife Housing Association

Technical details

  • Ground Floor: U-value 0.09W/m2K
  • External Walls: U-value 0.11W/m2K

Passivhaus Plus – Testing


Beattie Passive builds beyond even Passivhaus standards through its rigid inspection of vital build elements, such as air tightness, sound migration, cavity insulation and U-values. Stringent testing using independent partners, ensures each Beattie Passive build is fully tested and verified before certification can be issued.

Benefits delivered

The Fife Housing Association was the first Beattie Passive project in Scotland, through working closely with the Skills Development Centre the project was considered a huge success and an example of delivering low carbon homes as well delivering social benefits to the community.

Social benefits:

  • Through the project Beattie Passive worked with the Skills Development
    Centre, Fife to improve the skills and employability of young people and
    adults in the local community
  • The scheme aimed to introduce them to the renewable build sector and
    equip them with the necessary skills to gain long term employment as
    this market sector grows in the future
  • Two young people worked full time on the project, which also involved
    up to ten others on an ad hoc basis. The full time workers were overseen
    by Beattie Passive and the Skills Development Workers to ensure they
    received practical training with a view to grow and widen their skill set
  • Each participant began with making the individual build components
    in the Skills Development Centre, and subsequently followed the build
    process through to completion by assembling those components on site.

Economic benefits

  • Tenants received a dramatic reduction in their energy bills (average bill
    £140 for 14 months).

Environmental benefits

  • Reduction in CO2 emissions by up to 100%.

“Our key objectives are to bring people back into employment
and equip them with the skills to future-proof against changes in
construction methods. Through this scheme, our participants have the
potential to benefit from long term employment and ultimately, become
the house builders of the future.”

Lucinda McAllister – Skills Development Centre


Why a Passivhaus should be on your self-build list this year

In this week’s article, we take a look at the very essence of what makes Passivhaus so great – and why one should be on your self-build list this year.

Extremely low heating and cooling costs, despite rising energy prices – Passivhaus buildings use up to 90% less heating / cooling energy. Just 10 tea lights or even the body heat of four people could keep a 20m2 Passivhaus room warm in the middle of winter, even in extremely cold climates. In reality of course, Passivhaus buildings are not heated with tea lights; they use energy efficient building components and draw on the Heat Recovery and Ventilation System.

Passivhaus made simple

High levels of comfort – Passivhaus buildings are characterised by consistent indoor temperatures without temperature swings or draughts during cold winter months
as well as hot summer periods. Summer heat is controlled through shading, window orientation and passive ventilation to prevent overheating. The Beattie Passive highly insulated structure combined with high-performance windows also helps dampen unwanted noise generated from outdoors.

Consistent fresh air throughout the building – Passivhaus buildings’ superior ventilation system ensures acontinuous, consistent supply of fresh air at room temperature and ensures high indoor air quality. The filters remove airborne pollutants such as pollen reducing allergies for residents.

Affordability – As there is no requirement for radiators or other h

eating / cooling systems, the running costs for the building are a lot less than an equivalent building constructed to current building regulations. Passivhaus is now being recognised in the market with a higher asset value than traditional construction.

Perform as designed – Passivhaus buildings perform as designed. In an industry where there is often a discrepancy of as much as 100% between the drawing board and as-built performance, this is crucial.

High quality – Passivhaus standards require a high level of quality in building materials and construction methods to achieve the levels of air tightness and insulation required.

Sustainable (up to 100% reduction in CO2) – As no heat escapes from a Passivhaus and very little, if any, extra energy is spent on heating, carbon emissions are minimal. Some Passivhaus buildings are also fitted with solar panels to provide electricity and hot water, making them completely carbon neutral.

Flexibility for design features – Despite the high-energy performance of the building meaning you shouldn’t need a fire to heat the house, some owners install either electric or wood burning fires for aesthetic reasons. We certainly allow for the design and installation of fireplaces into any Beattie Passive building, allowing Santa to still make his grand entrance in the most traditional manner!

Find this blog on the EDP property website

London Self-Build Project

Four-bedroom Passivhaus family home in Clapham

Project Description

Nestled in the heart of a conservation area in South London, construction is underway on a self-build project to create a stunning three storey four-bedroom family home. The detached property is approximately 119 sqm with a brick façade which conforms to strict planning regulations for the area. Given its location in a busy part of Clapham, access to the site could have proven challenging for the delivery and erection of the timber frame panels, as no mechanical lifting gear could be used. This usually  problematic situation merely highlighted the simplicity, flexibility and scalability of the Beattie Passive Build System as we have been able to manoeuvre the frame, panels and all other elements by hand.

Interview with the client, Daniel Springer

When and why did you start out planning to build your own home?

I had carried out a previous renovation project and given the work involved, thought that if I ever I went down this route again, it would be for a new build only. The plot is the end of a family owned property in South West London with a large garden.

What led you to choose Passivhaus?

I had visited an open house in London which had been built to Passivhaus standards and was really impressed with the concept and performance, particularly for energy efficiency, in comparison to a traditional build. I have a young daughter and wanted to offer the best living environment for her and believe Passivhaus was the way to do this.

How did you hear about Beattie Passive?

I went to the EcoBuild event and visited the Passivhaus Trust stand. I spoke with a few of the representatives and having outlined the type of property I wanted to build, was recommended to contact Beattie Passive. I have been very impressed with the communications from the outset.

How have you found the Beattie Passive design process?

The house is being built in a conservation area so there were tight restrictions and  criteria imposed on the house design, all of which Beattie Passive could easily accommodate in their design and build solution.

What has impressed you so far with the build process e.g. speed of frame delivery and erection and the way the frame is manufactured (e.g. using the prison service)?


I’ve been very impressed with the speed and simplicity of the system. I believe the manufacturing process is definitely the way forward. This combined with the accuracy and testing of the frame when delivered, adds real value to the system.

I have also been impressed that Beattie Passive takes such a proactive approach in bettering lives within the community, from teaching important life skills, for example, to training people how to manufacture and install the structure.

Is there anything that has been a surprise about the project?

Flexibility of the build – I originally thought some of the curved walls would be a problem for the system but Beattie Passive had a solution for all options and any challenges were resolved swiftly.

What are you looking forward to about your new home?

Sound quality – even though the house is detached, it’s in a busy part of London so it will be interesting to see how quiet the inside of the property will be. I’m also curious to see the new level of my energy bills each month as I expect them to reduce significantly which in turn will reduce my carbon footprint.

Why did you decide to take holiday to be involved with the project and what have been the main benefits?

The team on-site has been great, as has Ron who has been to London on many occasions and even joined in on the build. I’ve been really impressed with the overall team effort and everyone made an excellent contribution to the whole process. Having these builders’ experience plus the flexibility of the Beattie Passive system makes a great combination!

“I have been impressed that Beattie Passive takes such a proactive approach in bettering
lives within the community.”