The Green Self-Builder
• For use by people who want to design and build their own ‘Green’ or ‘Eco-Home’.
• We provide advice about buying land, raising finance, setting a budget etc along with expert guidance to designing a low energy home with low environmental impact building materials and systems.
• Though aimed at those who want to use the services of an architect in the design of their home, a lot of the advice is appropriate for self-builders who would like to do more to be in control of the building work themselves.
1. Why Build a 'Green' or 'Eco' Home?
Green Building is a holistic idea that starts with the understanding that a building, such as your home, can have a profound effect on our natural environment and we who are part of it.
2. Green/Eco Design Principles
Modern energy-efficient design is encompassed by the ‘Fabric First’ concept. This means that what matters above all, is to construct buildings that use as little energy as possible whilst using materials that have the least environmental impact.
3. Finding a Building Plot
Finding and buying land can be the most difficult task faced by the self-builder. Rigourously addressing the myriad of variables is key to getting the process right.
4, Arranging Finance
For self-builders, a conventional mortgage won't be appropriate. Instead, you'll need to apply for a specialist self-build mortgage. It sounds forbidding, but it's not too onerous once you understand the requirements.
5. Setting a Budget
A vital part of the project to build your house is both knowing how much you can afford as well as how much the construction of it is likely to cost.
6. Writing a Brief
Communicating what your house is to be is an essential part of the design process. The key is to get as much as you can down on paper whether it's your thoughts or reference to houses you like.
7. Finding an Architect
To get the absolute best design for your home, the use of an architect is highly recommended. This is particularly so when dealing with the high quality, high spec, Green / Eco building you’re setting off to construct.
8. Making a Planning Application
Making a successful Planning Application is as much about understanding what will prove to be acceptable to the Planning Committee as much as getting together the correct documentation.
9. Choosing a Building System
As a Green Self-Builder, the building system and materials you choose is the key departure you take from the volume house builders. There’s plenty to choose from and all have a proven track record.
10. Select Products & Materials
Use this section to browse and 'shortlist' building products you like using our 'Select and Save' app.
11. Select Renewable Energy Products
Use this section to browse and 'shortlist' renewable energy devices you like using our 'Select and Save' app.
12. Building Regulations
Unlike Planning Permission which deals with the broader aspects for example, of how your house will appear, Building Regulations deal with the ‘nuts and bolts’ of how your house will be constructed and serviced.
13. The Main Contractor
The Main Contractor acts as the Project Manager and is responsible for building your home. He will also likely hire trades and subcontractors to undertake elements of the project.
14. The Building Contract
You will need a contract with anyone who you employ to build your house. Contracts dedicated to home-building are readily available - but ensure your documentation is thorough and complete.
15. Building Costs and Control
Cost control is important in keeping your house within budget. Tools include using competitive tendering at the outset along with complete and detailed contract documentation.
16. Retrofitting an Old House
Often 'new-build' isn't an option - our existing housing stock far outweighs the number of current new-build homes. Through careful design and specification we can successfully improve the houses most of us typically live in.
18. About Building Materials
Getting an understanding of building materials can help you make better functional and environmental choices.