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Findhorn

Background:

  • A terrace of three eco self-builds (two couples and one single person) at The Park, Findhorn, Moray.
  • The three houses were built as part of a 44-unit housing development where most of the homes were self built by individuals.
  • This development is the most recent stage in an evolving eco village, the first houses of which were built in the late 80s and early 90s.

Delivery:

  • The homes are timber-framed, two-storey houses. Some fire-proof cladding has been applied on external party walls and walls facing adjoining properties.
  • The three home are modestly sized – one is 92 m2; one is 105 m2; and the third provides 115 m2.
  • All three homes are timber-framed (200 mm walls, 300 mm roofs),timber-clad, steel roofed, and use recycled cellulose insulation. They have solar thermal panels with oversized (300 litre) thermal stores, and a district heating system powered by wood pellet boiler.
  • One of the owners did quite a bit of the construction work and managed various subcontractors; another project managed the subcontractors and the third used a main contractor. One of the individuals was already a carpenter/joiner with project management experience and he project managed the overall project.
  • The homes are very eco friendly and have provided a much better lifestyle for the owners.

Finance:

  • The land – it was originally set out as two plots - was purchased for £ 36,000. Typical plots in the area would have been about the same. The plots were bought several years before the build began. One of the owners managed to secure a 95% mortgage.
  • The budget was based on previous experience of building eco houses at Findhorn and the build costs were approx. £ 1,200 per square meter.
  • The owners monitored the budget closely as the project progressed. Two of the homes were completed quite quickly; the owner of the third took four more years to complete his house himself once it was wind and weather tight, insulated, and plasterboarded.
  • One of the homes was sold in early 2011 for £210,000 and another is up for sale for £295,000.

Timescale:

  • Purchased: 2002.
  • Planning granted: October 2004.
  • Building work started: 21 March 2005.
  • Completed : Two in 2006, one in 2010.

Learning Points:

  • Building three houses together allowed economies of scale to kick in, so the owners got good discounts on many materials, and saved money on scaffolding, shipping costs, etc.
  • Don’t commit the classic “Grand Designs error” of having someone without experience project manage the project. This is a demanding job, and it pays to hire someone who knows what he/she is doing.
  • Get a copy of Architect’s Pocket Book by Charlotte Baden-Powell; it’s great on details, esp.how to size rooms, furniture, etc.

Related Links:

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Findhorn Ecovillage

 

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