Self Build Guide

3D model of house design

3D house design

With 3D house design, you get a great understanding of how your house will look, both internally and externally. It’s an opportunity to play around with different internal configurations before you commit to the final floorplans. You can populate the…
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planning your build route

A route map

When I first considered building my own house, I had no route map to follow and I remember gathering huge amounts of information. It seemed endless and, for a long time, any clarity on the self-build process eluded me. I…
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package for an extension

A shell package

The Shell Package refers to a bundle of services provided by a timber frame manufacturer. The shell is the timber-framed superstructure that sits on the foundations. A factory-fabricated shell is delivered to site and then assembled within a matter of…
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a plot for your house

Acquire a plot

Once you have agreed the brief, you can start thinking about how to acquire a plot. There will be a lot of work involved in both the plot search and the plot acquisition. Be realistic about your plot searchIf you…
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airtightness of a two-storey extension

Airtightness of a house

Airtightness of a house is crucial for optimal energy performance. Your aim should be to minimise how much air can flow through gaps in the structural fabric ie walls, floors, roofs, doors, windows etc. With improved airtightness, you will need…
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checklist for an extension project

Checklist of services

If you’re wondering if you have forgotten to consider something important, here’s a handy checklist of services relevant to your self-build. Note that some services listed are only required for houses with particularly challenging sites or design briefs. DESIGN AND…
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design admin includes planning

Design admin

Design admin on a self build will include: Consideration of building regulations Co-ordinating consultations with the building control body An elemental cost plan and cash flow projection Obtaining input from the suppliers of goods and services; settling pricing and contract…
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design brief for a single-storey extension

Design brief

When completing a design brief, the client needs to consider the following: Who wants to do what in the house? What spaces are required? What spaces/facilities would be nice to have?How do the spaces link? Privacy? Communication? Materials, Quality, Textures,…
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planning the site

Evaluating the site

Once you have found a possible plot, it’s important that you run through your criteria for evaluating the site: Compatibility with your lifestyle objectivesTry and stay-open-minded as you approach a plot, even where the plot is an obvious reject candidate….
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external wall for an extension

External wall systems

There is a staggering variety of external wall systems available to self builders. It seems like every supplier has their own version, or set of versions, of the external wall system. Some provide a single-skin system that is a combination…
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financing a group build extension

Financing a Group Build

Financing a group build is just one of the many challenges faced by like-minded individuals who group together to design and construct a collection of individual self build homes. There are many reasons to get involved in a Group Build,…
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financing a self build extension

Financing a Self Build

Financing a self build usually means obtaining a self build mortgage from a high street lender or through a specialist mortgage broker. A self build mortgage differs from a mortgage that you would use to buy a house. While a…
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glulam constructed single-storey extension


Glued laminated timber, or Glulam as it is more commonly known, is an engineered wood product. Glulam technology was developed in Germany at the end of the nineteenth century and the world’s oldest glulam factory, Töreboda in Sweden is still…
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a group build of the 3-storey extension

Group Build

Typically, a Group Build is where you work with others to acquire a site to split up into plots, then organise the design and construction of your own home. The major benefit of this approach is that it is one…
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heat transfer in an extension

Heat Transfer

In order to discuss the energy efficiency of residential structures, here’s a quick revision of the mechanics of heat transfer. You may recall, from your Physics class way back in time, that there are 3 ways to transfer heat energy:…
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insulate the single-storey extension

Insulation material

The trend is for insulation material to be more environmentally-friendly. Little energy is required for the production of such materials, which are completely recyclable as well. Some of the more frequently-used eco-friendly insulation materials are listed here: ➊ Cellulose insulationInsulating…
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insurance against extension accidents


Anyone carrying out major work to their home would be a fool to ignore the need for adequate insurance. Whatever your project, make sure you don’t ignore the need for specialist self build, renovation or extension insurance. It’s unlikely that…
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project manager on extension

Manage the project

A successful self-build requires a capable Project Manager. The person who elects to manage the project requires a mix of personal and technical skills. In terms of people management, the project manager will be dealing with the architect or designer,…
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extension brick wall

New home warranties

There is a lot of confusion amongst self builders surrounding the concept of new home warranties — what are they and how do they differ from Building Control? A structural warranty, or structural/latent defects insurance, is defined as “an insurance…
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oak board cladding on house extension

Oak Framing

Oak framing offers the character that many people crave in their home. Oak framing tends to improve with age, both structurally and aesthetically. This type of framing is designed to be entirely self-supporting, allowing you to design cathedral-style roof spaces…
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sun hills


Passivhaus (or Passive House) is an advanced low energy construction standard for buildings. By using high performance insulation and making a building effectively draught-free, it eliminates heat loss to create a building with very low environmental impact. The majority of…
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structural insulated panel for extension


The Structural Insulated Panel, or SIP, is a concept that emerged as far back as 1937. It was invented when the United State Forestry Service was looking for ways to conserve forests. The SIP system is a more advanced type…
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survey for a single-story extension


A self build may require one or more of the following types of survey: Land surveyA land survey, produced by a qualified land surveyor, will describe the area that is being sold. It indicates the boundaries of the other properties…
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the route to a satisfactory house extension

The build route

The Build Route is how you will transform your dream into the built structure. The build route is about deciding who does what, under the constraints of skills, time, health, money, feasibility and desire. A self builder who wants to…
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house extensions with timber frame closed panel

Timber frame closed panels

Timber frame closed panels are constructed from factory-fabricated wall, floor and roof panels that are pre-filled with insulation. Such panels are made from studs, rails and rigid boards on both sides. Different types of insulation can be used and linings…
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write a brief for your extension project

Your solid brief

A solid brief is important In order to avoid wasting time sourcing the wrong site and/or completing the wrong self-build project. The main issues to consider are: PeopleHow long are you prepared to look for a suitable site? What are…
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