Self Build Dormer Bungalow with Outstanding views over the Cheshire Plain

What was your main reason for wanting to self-build?

Quite simply – To get what we wanted out of a house. To design our own house to match our requirements and lifestyle.

How did you manage to find your self-build plot?

My mother lived in a house on this plot, so in a sense it fell into our lap. We decided to demolish the house and to build a replacement dwelling.

What was your financing route?

We used private funds for the build only as we had inherited the plot from family.

How did you find the design process with CB Homes?

We had the full turn-key service offered by CB Homes which we found worked extremely well and was very effective. Combining the design and build through one company was easier than involving several companies and was a good way of managing the overall cost of the project through CB Homes fixed fee approach. We didn’t have a very strict budget but we knew what we could afford overall so the fixed price was very important to us. We found it very easy to contact and communicate with the architect and most importantly the architect listened to what we said and designed our house around our requirements.

Did you have any specific design requirements, how were these met?

In terms of the type of house we wanted, this may sound odd to any potential self-builders but we wanted something just ordinary – a comfortable liveable house that wasn’t too showy or flashy. We were asked right at the beginning would we prefer a traditional or a modern design and we opted for the traditional which suited us.

The home is well designed and built and the finish is great, Ultimately, we got what we wanted when we first set out on our self-build journey.

What was the planning process like for you?

The very first meeting we had with CB and the architect, we discussed what we wanted and the architect went away and came up with the design. We took it to the planners but they were not entirely happy with certain aspects of the design mainly the height of the house which had to be dropped by 1 meter. CB Homes and the architect then had discussions with planning to find out exactly what they would accept. CB Homes and the architect then re-designed our house with the planner’s comments in mind and submitted a revised application which was successfully approved.

How did you find the build process with CB Homes?

Well organised, good communication and effective. There were some minor delays with suppliers rather than CB Homes. However, once they started building it was pretty quick for the style and size of our house– approximately 9 months.

How involved did you get in the build process?

Appropriately involved. The monthly meetings which we attended every month were very helpful. The Construction Director made suggestions with certain things which we would not have thought of like choosing black facias instead of white for maintenance and aesthetical purposes. That kind of wisdom throughout the build was very helpful. Also, the anticipation of the construction director was excellent, he would inform us that by the next meeting we need to be thinking about other choices like what kitchen we wanted or to think about the style of doors we wanted etc. This gave us plenty of time to consider different options so we didn’t feel rushed or pressurised.

What were your high and low points of your project?

Low points; The planning was our low point – the time it took and the back and forth with the planners.

The high point was moving in. There is a certain amount of anxiety you have when you are going through the build process so to finally see our home come together and to move in was definitely the high point for us.

What are your home’s best features?

The home is well designed and built and the finish is great, Ultimately, we got what we wanted when we first set out on our self-build journey. The architect has used the plot well and made the best use of it for features like the position of the windows for great views and light. We also opted for larger apex windows as we like to have as much light in the house even in winter.

What was your biggest extravagance?

Having additional en-suites for our guest bedrooms and also, the fireplace – which really is quite high tech.

The monthly meetings were very helpful. The Construction Director made suggestions which we would not have thought of. That kind of wisdom throughout the build was very helpful.

What are your home running costs like?

The fuel bills are less than our previous house, as are the electricity costs. This is mainly due to the extensive light we get through our home due to the design and position of the windows. It also has got a very good energy certificate and SAP rating.

What are your ‘Top Tips’ for Self-Builders?

I would recommend to any potential self-builder a fixed price contract and full turnkey service which combines design, planning and the build into one. The fixed fee means no hidden financial surprises or extras which is great for managing budgets and setting expectations.

Finally – go to a builder with a proven track record.

Please sum up your self-build home.

We are extremely pleased with the result as we got what we wanted and we love our home. I would just like to add that although we did have a few little snagging issues at the beginning (nothing serious) we contacted CB Homes and without exception they came and fixed any issues and were very obliging, so I would like to compliment CB Homes and especially the subcontractors.

Would you self-build again, if so, do you still feel a Turn Key option is the best solution?

We do not regret self-building. The only reason we would not self-build again is due to our age but I would recommend it and definitely a Turn Key Option is the best way to go.

Key project facts

Sundawn

Self Build Dormer Bungalow with Outstanding views over the Cheshire Plain

Location

Beeston, Cheshire

Land Source

Replacement Dwelling

Estimated Current Value

£850,000

Floor Area

2818 sq.ft / 261m2

Funding

Self-Funded

Completion Date

2014

Build Time

9 months

Build Route

Full Turn Key Service

Interested in Self-build?

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