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Case Studies

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Steel Farm

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Timber Frame Home, Ventnor

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Aldcliffe Yard, Lancaster

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Walthamstow Social Rent Scheme

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Prefabricated Passivhaus bungalow

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Cookham Dean, Berkshire

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Harvest House

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Bickleigh Eco Village, Devon

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Stoke-on-Trent Serviced Building Plots

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Forevergreen House

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Housing People Building Communities

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Sülzer Freunde, Cologne

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Manor Farm, Kirton

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Straw-baling, Perthshire

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Findhorn

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Almere, Holland

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Hockerton

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Top tips

Utility Connections

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2016 Shoestring winner

Team from Bristol and Reading wins 2016 Starter Home on a Shoestring 

21 October 2016

A specialist self build cooperative from Bristol and one of the UK’s leading design and planning practices have teamed up to win the 2016 ‘Starter Home on a Shoestring’ ideas competition.

The team’s entry – called ‘modulhus’ - consisted of a number of standard modules that can be arranged in a variety of ways to create a standalone home, a terrace or even a low-rise block of flats. The design offered a menu of options; the home could be provided as a bare shell, or it could be fully finished ready to occupy. And the team’s standard 66 sq m two bedroom ‘self finish’ home would cost just £49,644.

The winning team (Bristol-based Ecomotive, and Reading-based planning consultancy Barton Willmore) was presented with its £5,000 prize by TV presenter Charlie Luxton at the Grand Designs Live exhibition at the NEC on Thursday 20th October.

The ideas competition is organised annually by the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) and this year it challenged architects, designers and others to come up with innovative ways of building a low cost ‘Starter Home’.

The Government has announced plans to build 200,000 Starter Homes between now and 2020 – and it defines a new Starter Home as any property costing less than £250,000 (or £450,000 in London).

NaCSBA Chair, Michael Holmes said: “We have always believed it was possible to build a modest new home for much less than this, and the winning design demonstrates that a comfortable two bedroom Starter Home can be constructed on a self or custom build basis for less than £50,000.”

The competition attracted entries from across the UK, and international submissions from Australia, Mexico, Vietnam and Ireland.

The winning entry set out to deliver its cost-effective Starter Homes in an innovative way. Key features of its approach included:

* Using a proven pre-fabricated structural timber module to form the core of each home. These modules are 4.5m wide by 2.7m high, and a series of them can be connected alongside each other to form rooms or to create a whole floor. The  timber I-beam walls of each module are 300mm thick and are highly insulated. And because there is no need for any internal structural support just about any interior layout can be accommodated.

* Encouraging people to work together to build their homes. The team propose setting up community based temporary production facilities, where self builders can learn the construction skills required and then build their homes in a safe and weather protected environment.

* Easy deliver to site and quick assembly. Once the modules have been built they are transported on a lorry to the site and quickly assembled. The design is very flexible, so the modules can be built as detached properties, or arranged as terraces or even ‘stacked’ to create a block of apartments or maisonettes.

* The external appearance of the homes also offers lots of options – they can be clad in timber, brick or rendered. And they can be built with a flat roof or pitched.

* To keep costs down the homes can be provided as a basic shell – or they can be part finished or fully finished and ready to occupy.

The judges included most of the UK’s TV self build celebrities - Kevin McCloud, Charlie Luxton, George Clarke and Gerardine and Wayne Hemingway. RIBA self build champion Luke Tozer is also one of the judges along with Lord Gary Porter, the former leader of the Local Government Association.

Michael Holmes said: “This was a very well thought through solution that is capable of generating almost endless possibilities for self builders. The use of a practical and proven construction system, and the range of layout and specification options this offers means you can really give people a big say in the design and finish of their home. If a basic two bedroom Starter Home like this can be built for under £50,000, is it any wonder that there are millions of people in the UK that are currently looking to organise their own self and custom build property?”

 

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