A Future Proof House in North Wales
MBC Case Study: Derek and Rebecca Adnitt
10 years in the planning, and finally, a future proof house for MBC clients, Derek and Rebecca Adnitt
A Future Proof House
For MBC clients Derek and Rebecca Adnitt, moving into their North Wales future proof new build was the culmination of 10 years planning and just over a year in the build process. With Rebecca already retired and Derek heading in that direction, the couple wanted a “future with low energy costs” to look forward to, as well as a low maintenance costs too!
In Derek’s words “after endless Build It Magazines, visits to the NSBRC in Swindon, and a show in Manchester, we took the plunge and decided on a timber frame solution.”
“We chose to go with timber frame against the advice of a friend who maintained that “traditional” brick and block was the only way to build a house,” says Derek – “happily he’s changed his mind now.”
Demolition of the old house
Derek spent his working life in the printing industry and approached the self build project just as he would have approached a major printing job. He saw his working life skills project managing major print jobs as fully transferrable, and so together with Rebecca they set about finding a plot of land to buy. At the time they lived in Sidcup, Kent and found their first target plot in Saxmundham, Suffolk but quickly retreated from that option due to cost of the plot.
Family circumstances were to offer up a plot. Rebecca had an Uncle who left his North Wales home to Rebecca and her sister. A deal was done and Derek and Rebecca had their plot – and a move to North Wales.
A key decision at this stage was Derek’s appointment of Architectural Technologist Geoff Brown who supported the idea of demolition of the old house. Geoff approached the task of designing the new Adnitt house with the phrase: “I want you to have the house you want, rather than the house I think you should have.”
Open Space Communal Areas
For Derek and Rebecca that meant they wanted a house which lent itself to daytime living, a chance to spend more time in an open space communal area. A home which still had bedrooms upstairs, but was more future proof with a “ground floor snug” which would convert to a bedroom plus a shower room.
The first set of plans finally made their way to Version 18, but changes are very quick and easy using CAD technology. Armed with a pretty near final house design Derek and Rebecca started on the process of deciding who would be their timber frame supplier.
Discovering MBC Timber Frame
“We’d seen a number of timber frame specialists in the market place but it was at the Manchester Build It show that we stumbled across MBC’s stand”, says Derek.
“From the very beginning of our discussions with MBC it was clear that they understood our desire to have an “airtight” home, and when they showed us their Passive frame and slab combination their offering became pretty compelling,” he continued.
The couple were invited by MBC Sales Manager Keith Marsh to view another customer’s house, visit the Gloucester based factory of the company and to meet with MBC managing director Joe Blair.
Our visit to another MBC customer’s house in Anglesey was fantastically helpful. We noticed that although the underfloor heating pipes were not connected, the house was still very warm, and airtight.
Rebecca and Derek decided on MBC’s Passive frame solution and their Passive slab to go with it, and, with the project complete, now say that they wouldn’t change a thing.
We asked Derek to give future MBC clients a few pointers as to what they might look out for when embarking on their self build project.
He says:” For me it remains all about expectation management. Try and get an understanding of what you expect from your house build and then focus on the minutiae. In my case, I wanted to know how the various contractors would do what they had to do, I wanted to learn.”
“I also recommend doing all you can to talk to local trades people and employ local trades people. Question them and remember, plumbers and electricians will generally try and take the shortest route- which isn’t always the best route!
“Finally, I’d say don’t skimp on the things you’re going to see everyday. We had a chance to save on windows and finally decided to spend more – and now every time `I pull up at the house, I’m pleased I spent the extra!”
- Don’t necessarily accept what people (trades) say to you on the first occasion. Research what they say and push back if necessary.
- Be aware that few local contractors know about Air Tightness and that they need to be careful about how they work around Air Tight membranes and barriers.
Finally, I asked Derek if he has any comments about his MBC Timber Frame service. He replied:
“We were pleased we spent a bit more and chose the Passive standard option. The price I was quoted was the price I paid. Excellent! That doesn’t happen often when you’re building your own home!”