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"The UK & Irish Republic's Unique Residential Timber-Frame Design Specialists AND 'DIY' Self-Building Professionals!"

 

Professional Services

 

Professional Services 

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~ VAT Exempt Services ~

All fees payable for our professional services are quoted as being exclusive of VAT; i.e. VAT will be added to invoices at the prevailing tax rate.  It should be noted that, unlike VAT registered commercial (building for profit) clients, private 'self-build' clients cannot reclaim the VAT levied on any professional fees whatsoever; despite being able to reclaim the VAT on everything else for 'zero-rated' new houses.

To avoid the irrecoverable financial loss incurred on such VAT payments, we offer all private 'self-build' clients; i.e. clients building for their own personal occupation; the option of using our VAT Exempt services whereby the NET quoted fee(s) will be all that is payable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Our Professional Services ~

No two clients are alike; nor are any two projects ever the same!

We are always mindful that our role is to use our particular 'expertise' to help our clients achieve whatever outcome they want for the proposed project or development.  Whether you have just found a possible 'plot', have a few ideas of what you want to build or already have full planning permission and/or Building Regulations/Warranty granted; whether you want to build some/all of the house yourself or simply want to sub-contract everything; as 'Hands-ON' self-building professionals with fifteen successful projects of our own ~ we have been there and done it, so you're in safe hands!

1 : Planning Options & Development Feasibility ~ Details

 

2 : Detailed Planning Applications ~ Details

 

 

Probably the least understood but most important aspect of any self-build project or housing development.  Get this part wrong and it will have huge repercussions on your proposals; financially and/or physically!  Planning considerations and the site itself WILL directly affect every aspect of what you intend building AND impact upon both the construction costs and the 'open-market' value of the finished house(s)!  Getting this part right is the essential first step towards ensuring you have a successful project or development and that is the only option that we consider to be acceptable!

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Whether there is a valid 'Outline Planning Permission' in existence awaiting the 'Approval of Reserved Matters'; an existing 'Detailed Planning Permission' that doesn't meet your requirements or no planning permission at all; 'Full Planning Permission' is required before any work can legally start on site.  You may also require a separate 'Demolition Permission' if the project or development involves the removal of an existing building.  If you don't have, or seemingly can't get, full planning permission to build the house or development that you want to build; it is something that we will happily undertake for you!

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3 : Building Regulations/Warranty Applications ~ Details

 

 

4 : 'Bespoke' Structural Timber-Frame Design ~ Details

 

 

 

 

In theory; you don't have to submit a full set of plans or wait until you receive an 'approval' before you can start work on site; however, apart from small scale projects, most Building Control authorities will insist on seeing detailed plans and drawings so that they know what to expect!  It is also very comforting to have an approved set of drawings to work from!  Of course; it is impossible nowadays to receive an unconditional "approval" based upon the submitted drawings; as always, it is the building itself that has to comply with the statutory requirements and these days that includes several areas that can only be approved after inspection and/or testing on-site has proved actual compliance!

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It is always amazing to see how much unnecessary timber gets built into the typical timber-frame house; timber wasted that simply isn't needed!  The 'root' of the problem is the dependence of most timber-frame design-work upon standard 'industrial' design programmes which try to cover every eventuality irrespective of the actual needs and location of the houses.  There seems to be a cosy presumption that as long as customers carry on paying the 'inflated costs'; nobody need bother to actually design any individual house.  Unfortunately; such attitudes can more than double the cost of the timber-frame for the customer by the time it is erected and weather-tight on-site!               

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5 : Framing Layouts & Erection Specifications ~ Details

 

 

6 : Bespoke 'Self-Assembly' Timber-Frame 'Kits' ~ Details

 

 

Historically; over 200,000 'DIY'; i.e. 'Hands-ON' Self-Built; timber-frame houses get built every year in the USA alone; another 2,000,000+ houses get built by framing sub-contractors and commercial house-builders!  Even in Canada; the vast majority of timber-frame houses get built on-site, despite the severity of the protracted winter weather.  It isn't just the attraction of building high-quality houses much more cheaply than can be achieved by using a 'flat-pack' package-kit; it's also the sheer speed and simplicity of the work involved.  NO technical knowledge is required; NO practical experience is needed ~ just a set of 'Framing Layout Drawings' and the 'Nailing Details' that empower building workers, 'DIY' enthusiasts, etc. to do a 'professional job' of building a house quickly and cheaply.  Insulation and 'airtightness' can match or better anything 'SIPS' can do too!

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One of the perceived attractions of using proprietary products such as 'packaged-kit' houses or 'SIPS' built houses is that it only involves choosing the 'house' design; everything else is then done for you!  Unfortunately; it isn't without huge (up-front) financial risk, nor is it ever cheap!  That probably wouldn't matter too much if the end-product was actually superior in performance and/or quality or if the alternatives were even more expensive.  In fact; they are significantly cheaper and can easily match or exceed the performance of 'SIPS' and 'packaged-kits'.  Our unique service combines the huge potential to save money with the convenience of just choosing your design and sitting back; AND  there is NO financial risk involved whatsoever! (Competitive 'net trade price' quotations are obtained for materials to be supplied and delivered by Builders or Timber Merchants; usually with the option of using extended credit facilities too!)

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7 : Service Installations ~ Details

 

8 : Practical Training ~ Details
 

'Services' can be a very substantial part of the entire construction budget and yet; whilst great efforts are often made to detail the construction of a house to the 'n'th degree; a 'blank cheque' approach often gets used for 'services' with 'specialist' sub-contractors provided with little more than a 'layout' drawing indicating 'positions' and a generic 'specification'; i.e. the design of services is left to 'commercial interests' with little or no means of controlling and/or checking the quoted installation costs!  As 'Hands-ON' self-builders with a background which includes working as chartered quantity surveyors; we are very aware of how profitable such arrangements can be for the 'specialist sub-contractors' ~ even worse; we also know that when houses are properly designed, much of the need for such expensive service installations just simply disappears!  It's yet another area where our services can save clients many times more than the cost in fees!

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What price can you put on the ignorance of 'experts'?  We have lost count of the number of times over the decades that we have seen so-called 'experts' advocating evening classes in bricklaying, plastering, etc. as the best preparation for anybody thinking of undertaking a 'DIY' self-build.  Then there are all the featured self-build projects in the magazines, 'Grand Designs' type programmes, etc. where the clients have been physically 'labouring' on-site in an effort to save money.  Fortunately; we have always managed to avoid such stupidity ourselves otherwise we would never have tackled another 'self-build' project nor advocated it to anybody else; let alone undertaken the other fourteen that we have done over the years!  Huge sums can be saved by tackling some or most of the work yourself; but it isn't achieved by doing what all those clueless armchair 'experts' advocate or by busting a 'gut' working as a labourer!  When, like us, you have actually been there and physically built your own home using an efficient, sensible & pragmatic approach towards doing things; it is immediately obvious that most so-called 'experts' have never done so and haven't got a clue how to!

 

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THE NEXT STEP?

Irrespective of what point you have reached; whether you are ready to start planning your project or housing development; or want to move things forward onto the next stage; we are happy to discuss your proposals with you.  If you have 'sketched out' ideas, formal plans, existing 'DPP' drawings, etc.; please post or e-mail copies to us together with your contact details, as it is always extremely useful to be able to see your proposals before discussing your project or housing development with you!

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Our Guiding Philosophy ~

To appreciate what our clients want and to provide an unique response that will create great 'added value' for them.


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