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Speed is the decisive factor, as timber frame proves the perfect build solution for family dream home

Timber Innovations client Dave Powell became a self-builder by default – but is delighted he took the decision, and now putting the finishing touches to his lovely new timber frame home near Stafford he shares with his family.

“To be honest, I wasn’t looking to do a self-build initially,” said Dave. “We looked at a number of properties, nothing top of the range, just something I could improve to our own desires, and when we found somewhere, we couldn’t get the planning permission for the changes we wanted to make, so we demolished it, and started from scratch.

“So that’s how we became self-builders, but you could say we were lucky in that we avoided the first stage of hunting for a suitable plot of land; we just happened to find a plot with a house already on it, and the self-build just happened as a result of circumstances.”

Another pre-build stage of a self-build process is finding an architect to work with, and again, Dave was one step ahead when he suddenly became a self-builder. He explained: “I was working with an architect on ideas for the redesign of the original house on that site, and he’d already come up with some designs for me.

“So, when I decided to demolish the property and start from scratch, he came up with more designs, and we went from there.”

The next part of the process for Dave was deciding on the method of build, and the merits of timber frame soon muscled their way to the top of his thought process. “Then I found Timber Innovations at the Homebuilding and Renovating Show at the NEC in Birmingham,” he said. “I liked what they had to say, what they offered, and it went from there.

“I knew all about timber frame because I run a specialist air-conditioning company (www.multi-temp.co.uk), and therefore I have lots of experience of buildings and construction,” he said. “The Timber Innovations team then linked up with my architect to complete the design process, and we went from there.”

As they started the build process, Dave and his family were living in a static caravan, having sold their previous property, and what gave timber frame the edge was speed of construction, one of the most common reasons for going down this route.

“Price-wise, there wasn’t too much in it, but speed was a big factor for me – I wanted to be moved in sooner rather than later,” he said. “Timber Innovations were very helpful throughout their contribution, and though there’s still work to be done, we’re now living in it, and that’s great.”

Dave’s best advice, from his own experience, to those about to start on the self-build route, is to hire a private planning officer. “I really recommend this – we had to get planning permission for the new build, after demolishing what was already on the plot, and there were lots of hurdles we had to overcome.

“We’re in a semi-rural area, so we had to consider flood risk, do a bat survey, a tree survey, and more – and though South Staffordshire Planning were very good, hiring a private planning officer to help with the process made a big difference, not just with the planning process, but during the construction phases too, because they do all the inspections.”

So, a self-builder by default, but delighted he went down that route. “Yes, very pleased; it’s a learning curve, it’s hard work at times, but ultimately it’s very rewarding, and I highly recommend it to anyone considering taking the plunge.”