Thursday, December 14

Building A Self Build Green Home.

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More Britons are now being encouraged to build their own homes, Housing Minister Grant Schapps has promised us that he will make it easier for us to build as planning constraints will not be as severe.  On average about 10,000 of us self build every year and it requires tenacity and a drive to complete the project.  Of course the end result is your dream home which is everything that you want in a home.  All fixtures and fittings are to your taste and you can make your home as green as you want it to be because it is a new build.  All of the green credentials can be incorporated into the design from the beginning stages of the drawings.  Best of all is that at the project you will have probably made a profit if you have not gone overboard with your designs.

Later this year The Localism Bill is likely to come into effect which will give communities greater powers and take away the powers from the councils in regards to how our neighbourhoods are formed.  Neighbourhood groups will be able to approve developments without having to go through the usual channels of gaining planning consent from the council.  So it looks as though next year more and more of us will decided to venture into self builds as planning laws will be more lenient, well that it what self builders hope. 

Marcus Copeland is a mortgage broker from Cwm in North Wales.  He built a five storey, six bedroom house which has panoramic views of the valley stretching down to the coast and the house is only a 30 minute drive from Chester.  The house is fabulous and costs Mr Copeland around £1million to complete which includes land value and build costs.    He admits that if could do it all again he would curb his spending.  He used a stone for the exterior walls from Scotland when he could have settled for a cheaper option but he admits that this house was going to be his dream home and so he spared no expense.  He has now decided to put the house on the market for £1.5million, so he is still in profit. 

It took 18 months for him to complete the build.  He has included highly insulated windows, two mechanical ventilation and heat recovery (MhVr) systems and of course under floor heating on each of the five floors of the house.  He grew up in the area and managed to persuade a local farmer to sell him a plot of his land.  Once this was agreed then obtaining the planning permission was very straight forward.  The land that he had purchased already had planning for a small house and so the revised plans that Mr Copeland submitted had all the necessary eco-credentials that planners like and he also communicated with all of the neighbours.  This meant that there were no objections to the plans and the planning permission was granted.  The plans included rainwater recycling, solar panels, green roofs and ground source heat pumps.  So it seems that the more green credentials in your proposed home the better.  In June self builders can also earn an income via Feed-in tariffs whereby you sell surplus electricity back to the National Grid. 

Many believe that green homes are a better quality because they are built with extra care.  The finish of the houses tends to be superior to traditional builds and of course because they are much more energy efficient the energy bills of these houses is much lower.  So for self builders beginning at the design stage, the more green credentials included in your new home the cheaper it will be to run in the long term.

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