Hello, This is my first post and I hope to build my first home once I’ve found the right plot etc.

My question is:

We like the idea of a Potton timber frame home but wondered if there are other companies that do a similar product that has the same reputation as Potton? Or would it be safer and easier to build a brick and block the traditional way? This always seems so long winded before it can be made watertight. Then there is always the question of costs…

Any advice and personal experiences would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Comments
  • Richard Mitchell

    Personally, I’m looking into Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF) as my construction method when I am able to build in the next couple of years.

    It may be slightly more expensive than other methods per m2 however this cost is more than recovered over the duration of the project in reduced labour, insulation, site, material costs etc. It can be built and be watertight a lot quicker than other methods as well as the opportunity to create complex shapes cheaply if you wish. High thermal mass, airtightness and pre insulated are other points to note. Feel like a salesman selling it but from what I have seen, heard and read (currently discussing it as part of my dissertation) it makes so much sense!

    Here is some more info:

    https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/insulated-concrete-formwork-icf/

  • veronica creaney

    Thank you very much for your reply Richard. I will definitely look into this build method before deciding. Good luck with your dissertation and your future build project. Btw, have you found a plot yet? This seems to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks…!

  • Richard Mitchell

    If nothing else it is something to consider!

    Thank you, no I haven’t yet due to uncertainty as to where I will build with jobs etc. Keeping my eye open though. It certainly does seem to be and unfortunately even the ideal plot may still be wrong with planning constraints or unknowns. Fingers crossed but I know its not going to be a simple job when im ready to commit!

  • Judith Smith

    Veronica. We are building in the next few months and are using a ‘kit’ timber framed house from Scotframe. It’s the most cost effective way for us to go as we have spent a small fortune on the plot in Kent and have to cut back on build costs. I’m going up to the factory next week in Scotland to choose doors and finishes but even with the cost of an assembly team (7-8k) we will still be only spending less than 75k on a 4 bed detached, and the vat is reclaimable after the build is finshed.

  • Judith Smith

    I should have added that once the kit is up then the external covering and the roofing are on top of that price. Price includes doors and windows etc.

  • Judith Smith

    Oh and should have said that getting finance was the worst part of self building. We could only get up to 65% of land costs and had to remortgage existing property for the rest. Silly really as we could have had up to 450k for a house purchase but less than a quarter of this to buy land and build.

  • veronica creaney

    Thanks for the info on Scotframe Judith, their homes certainly look very attractive and we shall definitely look into that route, do they erect the house for you or do you have to get a contractor to do that? Also you mention the high plot costs which I have noticed too (arghhh!) but was it very difficult to find a suitable plot? Good luck with your build.

  • Judith Smith

    They recommend that a team they know from Scotland erect it and this costs 7000 plus about another 1000 to hire a crane from a company nearer where the site is. Just make sure when you look at a site it has access space for a lorry and a crane to deliver any kit house.

  • Judith Smith

    A plot is much more expensive in the south east but is very reasonable in the midlands and the north east. It depends on where you will want to live. We are moving from Essex to Kent and have spent a year looking for a correct plot which is flat and near services. London, Surrey and Sussex were out of any sane person’s price range. We were lucky as our plot came with planning permission for a house almost what we wanted and Scotframe are doing the house in the exact way the planners want which is why ours is a bit dearer than their catalogue range.

  • Judith Smith

    Sorry forgot to say that the ‘gold closed panel’ ranges come with the internal walls on and they also supply the skirting boards.

  • veronica creaney

    Judith, thanks once again for all the info. How funny you are from Essex as Colchester is our home town – small world! Although we live in Barcelona at the moment and our build won’t probably take place for another 2 yrs plus, so just trying to gather as much knowledge and info as I can do from the internet. We fancy Suffolk or maybe Norfolk for a plot, but really now the kids have fled the nest it could actually be anywhere in the south of England…! Btw will you be keeping a blog of your build process as would love to see some photos? Bfn.

  • Richard Addenbrook

    Whilst ICF is a great product, you need to be aware of the potential pitfalls if you use it when building a complex structure. The placing of the blocks is generally straightforward however, complex structures are likely to need reinforcement and this needs to be positioned as the walls are built. Very complex structures may need more reinforcement than the system is designed to accommodate and this is when ICF becomes problematic, particularly if your structural engineer doesn’t understand the limitations of the system. One way around this is to use fibre-reinforced concrete as we have on the project on this page http://senseofspace-update.net/completed-large-residential-projects/eco-friendly-dwelling . Have a look at this page on our website which shows another ICF project http://senseofspace-update.net/current-projects/luxury-new-eco-friendly-dwelling . The placing of reinforcement on this project was much more difficult and required the ICF blocks to be broken down during construction, negating the benefits of using a system-build. So, ICF is great and we continue to use it but make sure you have an engineer on board who knows the system.

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