A contemporary and energy efficient 4 bed home

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

We wanted something that was going to be a little bit different from what you would usually get in the UK. We looked at large development new builds and we didn’t see the quality behind the build. My husband is from an Austrian background and wanted to bring some of this into the build. We wanted quality, light and has eco features. In Austria most of the houses are self-builds – it is a different culture there so being able to self-build in the UK meant a lot. You can achieve your dream rather than just buying off the shelf.

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

It took about a year to find something. We initially looked around where we were living at the time but there were not many plots and what we did see were in the wrong location or too expensive or not the right size, so we decided to widen the search. We looked on the internet and came across a plot with an existing house on it, we thought this was perfect so we did some research on it and decided we should demolish and build new.

What was your financing route

We sold our property before so we used that to buy the land and used private funds to build. We felt the Self-Build Mortgage rates were too expensive so we built to what you call a live-in level (without all the finishing touches) so we were then eligible to get a residential mortgage which meant the rates were very low. So, we used the mortgage funds to finish the house to completion. Also, if you get a self-build mortgage at the beginning then after a year switch to a residential mortgage this can save you money.

We are very content with what we have achieved and with no regrets. We felt CB Homes really do care, and were very proactive, we were not just a number. We would definitely use them again and recommend them to any self-builder.

How did you find the design process with CB Homes? (how was the design led, architect, budget, client ideas?)

We initially used software which you can use to design your house yourself, an architect will then check it meets regulations and sign it off. This 3D software enabled us to visualise and show CB Homes how we wanted our home to flow, look etc. which was great as this helped CB Homes understand our goals and to make tweaks or changes to suit our end vision.

What was the planning process like for you?

This was the most frustrating part. When they opened the planning for the neighbours to comment we did come across some objections – the house looked too modern and had some potential privacy issues due to balconies. Also, the Planning Officers have their own personal opinion about things which in some cases means design elements have to change without giving a valid reason for saying no which is a frustration with the UK planning process. This does sometimes put you off before you even start.

How did you find the build process with CB Homes?

Very good and smooth. The Site Manager, Andy was great, as was the Construction Director Carl who was a great person to work with, just down to earth and giving invaluable advice along the way. They were hard working, transparent, very honest and trustworthy. We had regular meetings, everything was put in writing, very professional. The only issue we did have was with the tiler. The tiler CB had used before had retired and they were trying out a new contractor, there were a few teething issues but not the fault of CB Homes and nothing major.

How involved did you get in the build process?

We got involved with the finishing touches and cosmetics, like the kitchen, bathrooms etc but the day to day running was handled by CB Homes who overlooked everything which was invaluable.

What were your high and low points of your project?

The low was obviously the planning and also when I first saw the foundations, I thought they looked a lot smaller than I imagined however as the build went on, I realised this wasn’t the case. It is important for people to know that the foundations always look smaller than the end result. The high was seeing the house progress through the build and of course moving in at the end!

What are your homes best features?

The windows and all the glass in the house, making it so light and open. Also all the floors are solid so they are excellent at sound insulation. We have also installed solar panels for hot water production and electricity production so we are quite carbon neutral which means our running costs are really low.

What was the best buy on your self-build project?

The stairs… they are beautiful!

What was your biggest extravagance?

The windows were expensive. They came through a UK agent but were made in Austria. They are triple glazed with a flush design and very easy to open. Because they are triple glazed you cannot even hear when it is raining.

What are your home running costs like?

Our maximum costs are around £1,500 a year for heating and electricity which excludes any government incentives for renewable energy.

The Site Manager was great, as was the Construction Director who was a great person to work with, just down to earth and giving invaluable advice along the way. They were hard working, transparent, very honest and trustworthy

What are your ‘Top Tips’ for self-builders?

Budgeting!!! Don’t be a fool and think you can bend your figures; you have to do your research.

Preparation and planning is really important otherwise you can be overwhelmed and it can be very stressful.

Put in plenty of sockets everywhere it’s worth paying a few hundred pounds more to have extra, you find you never have enough.

Also be aware of the size of your build –houses with big rooms that don’t get used so it is just wasted space.

Please sum up your self-build home.

Quality, Comfort, Light. We are very content with what we have achieved and with no regrets. We felt CB Homes really do care, and were very proactive, we were not just a number. We would definitely use them again and recommend them to any self-builder.

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

If we were to move again, yes we would self-build again rather than buy, and yes a turn-key service would be the best option because anything else is just putting a burden on your life.

Key project facts

The Woodlands

A contemporary and energy efficient 4 bed home

Location

Delamere, Cheshire

Land Source

Replacement Dwelling

Estimated Current Value

£795,000

Floor Area

2818 sq.ft / 261m2

Funding

Self-Funded

Completion Date

2015

Build Time

7 months

Build Route

Full Turn Key Service

Key Feature

Air Source Heat Pump, Solar Panels, Triple Glazed Austrian Manufactured Windows, Handcrafted bespoke stairs.

Interested in Self-build?

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