This section is about all the inspiring information you can find, much of it on the net. Collect all the best ideas you can -
- Remember how past experiences felt. For instance on holiday or when you were a child. Try to remember specifically what made you feel good about certain houses and places, and what to avoid
- Read A Pattern Language and The Timeless Way of Building to get at the basics of what makes a building ‘alive’, truly functional and beautiful. Visit their website. (It has a small monthly subscription charge for the parts of it dealing with the patterns.)
- Collect cuttings from magazines and newspapers. Collect photographs of houses and aspects of houses that inspire you. Do this as a memory prompt, not as something to slavishly emulate
- Get hold of videos, e.g. Grand Designs
- Visit houses you like and photograph them. Talk to the people.
- Visit exhibitions and shows
- Go on courses
- Inspirational books
With all this, create a kind of scrapbook visual presentation so that when your architect asks you what you want you can come up with your most important ideas.
check out the following organisations and web sites
- The AECBthe Sustainable Building Association - the Sustainable Building Association ebuild.co.uk is a useful set of self build forums including ‘Designing Energy Efficient and Sustainable Homes’
- The Self Build Portal - a government / building industry initiative to promote self build
- NaCSBANational Custom & Self Build Association
- Ecomotive in the Bristol area
- The Findhorn FoundationThe Findhorn Foundation is a large community near Inverness. There is a strong emphasis on sustainable building. – in the North East of Scotland
- SEDA the Scottish ecological design association
- The PermaculturePermaculture is the practice of a sustainable way of living in all its forms. In the UK the coordinating body is the Permaculture Association Association
- The self build Guide
- ebuild.co.uk is a useful set of self build forums including ‘Designing Energy Efficient and Sustainable Homes’
- Passive house plus
- The Guide to Sustainable Homes
•Planning and Building Regulations differ greatly between the UK and the US. Building methods also differ greatly, with the US having a long tradition of building in timber and the UK only recently getting into it seriously.
•The general approach to aesthetics diverges considerably
•The high density of population in the UK contrasts with that in the US and this creates a different use of space.
•The green movement in building is proceeding in a different manner in both areas
We offer a number of books through Amazon.
Although there are plenty of American selfbuild books on the market they tend not to be of much use in the UK context for several reasons.
Having said that, some of the US literature can be quite inspiring in freeing up the imagination. Most of the books on this web site are chosen for being relevant to the UK.
There is an excellent range of green build books in Germany for anyone with the language.
There are a few books which are ‘standards’ on selfbuild in the UK
- All About Selfbuild by Robert Matthews is an excellent book and with well over 500 pages of dense information is excellent value at a little over £20
- The Housebuilder’s Bible by Mark Brinkley is also a stalwart. It is aimed at small building companies first and foremost but is excellent for self builders because it goes into costings quite thoroughly.
- Building Your Own Home by David Snell. A very good introductory book to Self build.
- The Green Self-Build Book by Jon Broome. An excellent book for the self builder by an architect who has been involved with green self build for as long as the concept has been around.
- The Self-build Book: How to Enjoy Designing and Building Your Own Home by Jon Broome, and Brian Richardson. It documents the building of a timber frame, Segalrefers to a simple self build timber frame form of construction pioneered by the architect Walter Segal. (see Walter Segal self build system) method, house and also goes into some community self build initiatives. There is very little written about self build timber frame in the UK (unlike say the US where it is usually the starting point). This book is a little out of date now but the principles in it are good.
There are lots of books to get your creative juices flowing though many of them may not be entirely appropriate to the UK context.
- Living Spaces: Ecological building and design A good one to find out what is happening with eco-housing on the continent.
- Homework – Handbuilt Shelter This is a beauty in terms of inspiring photos of imaginative, often eccentric self built houses. Rather Californian hippy but no worse for that. By Lloyd Kahn.
- A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander et al. This book explains in depth what makes for long lasting, effective and creative design in buildings.
- The New Natural House Book which manages to combine being pretty in a ‘coffee table’ sort of way with also being very informative and ethical.
- Green Building This is one of the best magazines available for green self builders. While not exclusively about houses it is the best available reading for keeping abreast of new developments. It usually comes out quarterly. They also publish material on the web which can be purchased as individual articles. There is also an excellent Green Building Forum
- Low Energy House have a very informative web site.
- Clean Slate - The Practical Journal of Sustainable Living published by CATCentre for Alternative Technology. CAT also do courses on self build
- Self Build & Design
- Build It
- Home Building & Renovating
Always good to see what others have actually done and there are some excellent blogs on the net (though not all these are especially green). If you would like to include your blog please contact us below.
Timber framed house on the Isle of Skye. Heating via a GSHPground source heat pump. A heat pump which extracts heat from the ground and borehole
Virtual rebuild of a semi derelict rural house.
Only as far as retaining walls to date (14/08/14) but a lot of interesting detail about the process so far, especially design, planning and finance.
An Edwardian retrofit partly based on the Enerphitthe Passivhaus standard as applied to refurbishment of an existing house. It makes allowance for the difficulty of bringing older properties up to a high thermal standard. see Passivhaus refurbishment standard using phenolic internal wall[for the purposes of part E of the Approved Documents] - Any wall that does not have a separating function. insulation
A house designed to CSH Code for Sustainable Homes. A standard for eco-houses developed by the Building Research Establishment. It covers a wide range of criteria level 3.
A large timber framed, masonry clad house on quite a steeply sloping site. Quite well documented.
Neil Grimshaw documents the building of a 3 storey[for the purposes of part B (fire) of the Approved Documents to the Building Regulations] this includes - (a) any gallery[for the purposes of part B of the Approved Documents] - A raised area or platform around the sides or at the back of a room which provides extra space. if its area is more than half that of the space into which it projects; and (b) a roof, unless it is accessible only for maintenance and repair. stone house in Huddersfield. Laced with dry humour.
An excellently humorous blog about the building of a large solid timber house in the north west of Scotland.
A three storey traditional brick/block cavity wall construction with concrete beamSubstantial, usually horizontal structural member. and block floors and a part attic truss roof. This blog is outstanding for being a slide show of 647 pictures detailing the building process.