The whole project is really coming together with the windows now fitted and sealed with air tightness tape for maximum energy efficiency.
The roof joists are on and roof tiles in place, and we’ve even managed to install our all-important PV panels. Combined with the MVHR system, the panels will provide us with all our energy requirements with enough to spare to sell back to the grid. Win-win on fuel economy!
The garage is also under construction with roof on and is now tiled and timber clad, which blends in beautifully with the surrounding village and house styles as well as our new Passivhaus.
As the final element of the external finish process, the house will shortly have the render applied which will really make the house look like a home.
Internally things have been moving at such a pace! The first fix plumbing and electrics are complete as well as the MVRH system installed. The plasterboard is fitted across both floors and the stairs are in!
A critical part of the Passivhaus system from Beattie Passive is their thorough testing processes and we have now undertaken the air tightness test which was an amazing 0.46. Considering the average traditional new build is 10.0 you can see why we chose Passivhaus!
Now our focus has moved onto the fencing surrounding the property and external drainage, progress for which has all been helped by a very dry Spring.
Over the past weeks the site has been transformed! The ground workers arrived to construct the foundations, including a damp proof membrane incorporating a radon barrier which is fitted by Beattie Passive as standard. Radon and the health issues it can cause are not widely known but having researched this it’s a great comfort to know we are protected from any potential problems now and in the future.
The workers then cleared an area ready for the delivery and erection of the Structural Thermal Envelope consisting of the main timber panels we saw being manufactured in the Beattie Passive Factory.
The team then installed the insulated ground floor element (sub structure), consisting of T-beams that sit on top of the block foundation walls over a standard damp proof membrane. Then on top of the T-beams they used 4×2 timbers and then laid and temporarily fixed oriented strand boarding to create a working deck.
The panels duly arrived and these were put in place starting with the ground floor with a ring beam around the house to support the first floor. The membrane was fitted behind the ring beam to ensure an air tight seal can be made at this important junction and is always carried out at this stage as it will be the only time access is possible during the build process.
Then it was on to the first floor easy joists and flooring followed by fitting the first floor panels. Then they laid the easy joists for the flat roof and lastly, the roof was boarded inside and out. The whole building was wrapped externally with a breathable membrane, taped and held in place with batons whilst internally, the house was wrapped with an airtight membrane held in place by batons which created the internal service void. So after just 3 weeks, the building is up and completely weather tight
Beattie Passive are starting to have regular open days on site. Please get in touch with them if you would like to book a visit: email@example.com
Although we love the hands-on approach of building and renovation and had considered attending the comprehensive self build course at the Beattie Passive Training Academy, due to our busy working lives in London we thought that the fact that Beattie Passive manufacture the frame at their factory and deliver and erect on site would be perfect for us. Not only would it mean the structure of the house is onsite very quickly, we would also have the assurance and gurantee that our home has been manufactured as designed and achieves the performance of Passivhaus. Beattie Passive also offer a full project management service but we are keen to be as involved as possible even if we weren’t able to build the frame ourselves. So have decided to project manage the rest of the project to completion ourselves – exciting!
It’s all moving at quite a pace! The frame manufacture is well underway and it’s been really exciting to get the chance to visit the factory and see our very own home taking shape. We even helped put together some of the panel sections ourselves (under supervision of course!) so it really feels like a proper self build. It was also special to meet the team working on our home and they enjoyed seeing how interested we were in the whole process.
Image above – Our Panels Ready to be loaded
The frame is almost complete and we are now waiting for it all to arrive on site when it really will start to become a self build reality. Imagine a fully tested and quality assured thermal insulated timber frame structure, complete with windows and doors, arriving on the driveway! We can’t wait.
Taking our design for our four-bedroom house, we met with Gareth, the lead Architectural Technologist at Beattie Passive. Gareth sat down with us and went through all the design details of our new house, including discussing a variety of elements including windows, Mechanical Ventilation and Heat Recovery and hot water provision. This was a really useful meeting as Gareth spent time with us explaining the Beattie Passive design, the technical details of the high performance building system and answering any questions we had.
Following the meeting, Gareth modelled the structural frame based on the architectural design, completed the structural engineering, provided window and door specifications, applied for Building Regulations and liaised with PHPP accessor on specification. We were in regular contact with Gareth as our 3D modelled house was finalised. It was exciting to see the house in 3D for the first time, as it enabled us to see the dimensions of the rooms and the house from different angles. This really bought the house alive.
After final review of the structural designs, the designs were then sent to the factory ready for manufacturing.
Having found our perfect plot it all came down to what we were going to build, and how. Having attended many self build shows around the UK, and spent our weekends on the internet, we looked at various different options for construction. The more we researched about energy efficiency, the more we started to lean towards Passivhaus and how this method of construction could provide all the quality and performance we dreamt of, in a style that would suit our pretty Suffolk village. Who wouldn’t want extremely low energy bills, no dust home and consistent temperatures all year round. When you have the chance to build from scratch why not build the best!
Once we were on the road to the Passivhaus way of thinking, we researched and spoke to a number of firms, however the system that proved to be the most flexible for our design and would deliver all the Passivhaus standards we were hoping for, and more, was the Beattie Passive Build System.
The system has certification from the Passivhaus Institute in Germany – one of the few companies in the UK that has this and has delivered many Passivhaus buildings that have all reached the standards required. So this gave us the confidence that our dream of reaching Passivhaus would be delivered. One of the other key elements beyond Passivhaus that particularly appealed to us was the complete flexibility, there are no restrictions in terms of style, size and design and with no internal structural walls within 6m span, the home will have the ability the evolve over time. As our aim is to sell the home, we want to provide future homeowners with the ability to live in the home the way they want to and not how we envisage. Why doesn’t everyone build like this? We should really be thinking about the future and not just today.
The list goes on for what Beattie Passive deliver beyond just Passivhaus – fire, flood, radon protection, superior sound etc etc…. we can’t wait to experience the finished product.
The idea behind building our own home started with a conversation with my grandmother who wanted to help my husband, Henry, and I onto the property ladder. She has lived in the quaint Suffolk village of Chediston for nearly 30 years and her current cottage enjoys a large garden. My grandparents applied for planning permission on the top section of their garden about 20 years ago as a nest egg. Whilst they never had any plans to develop the plot whilst still living in their cottage, as my grandmother is now reaching 90 she is finding the garden too much for her. It seemed a logical solution to build a house together. She would much prefer to do the project with us, where we all have input into the style of house, rather than sell the land to a developer.
Myself and my siblings have spent many a summer in Suffolk enjoying the countryside and the coast which is just 20 minutes away, so it seemed a perfect spot to build a new home.
Nearly a year of research, attending homebuilding events (including the Home Building and Renovating Show, Build It, and NSBRC) across the country, and many hours spent in coffee shops pouring over self-build and lifestyle magazines led us to the beginning of our self-build adventure. Over the next 6 months or so, the project team (myself, Henry and Grandma) will share our self-build journey through regular blog updates. Providing an insight into the build system, the process, the complications and issues which we may stubble across and the end result.
Can’t wait to get started!
Isabel and Henry Badger
Full design flexibility – from Self Build to Social Housing
The Beattie Passive system has no limitations, whatever the build project’s size, style, shape and finish you want to achieve. We take your architect’s plans and provide a design technology that simplifies the delivery of Passivhaus, with significant cost, time, health and environmental benefits for all.