Could you tell us any interesting facts or remarkable features about your project?
In addition to the building regulations, these days new builds have to meet a whole raft of targets designed to demonstrate the efficiency of the building. Coming to grips with these can be quite bewildering. The achievement of the required standard must be demonstrated in documents such as a SAP report, Energy Performance Certificate, MCS certification, Air Permeability Certificate, Water Efficiency Report. And in our case to add to our endeavour the Planning Department made it a condition that we had to achieve a saving of no less than 10% above the level set in the Building Regulations. Fortunately the NSBRC came to our rescue with a very useful 'Heat and Energy' course which went a long way to providing some of the answers.
I think it must be fairly common for a building project to be off the gas grid and also with no access to a mains sewer. In order to meet the requirements we had to turn to either an Air Source or a Ground Source - Heat Pump for water and central heating. We chose an ASHP with underfloor heating throughout. We also installed a Biological Treatment Plant for the effluent. These were major considerations which required quite a bit of research and had quite an impact on the project. The time spent doing the research and the extra work paid dividends in the end because our total electricity cost is only £150 per month and we get a grant towards the cost of the heat pump.
What is the floor area of your project in sq ft or sq m?
External floor area 292m2.
Experience at the Centre
How many times have you visited The National Self Build and Renovation Centre before?
When we started this project we lived in Devizes and used to visit the National Self Build and Renovation Centre regularly. In 2007 my book, 'Planning and Fitting Kitchens' was published and I gave a couple of presentations on kitchen design at the Centre.
Did you use any exhibitors at the NSBRC? If so, who?
The NSBRC is great place to find suppliers. It is very helpful to be able to see the actual products and make comparisons between different manufacturers. When you are spending a lot of money on a product you need to be able to explore their features. We used: The Folding Sliding Door Company, Norrsken windows and The York Handmade Brick Company.
What did you enjoy most about your visit to the NSBRC?
It is like going to an exhibition but without the crowds.
Would you recommend the NSBRC to a friend, and if so, what aspects of the Centre would you recommend?
I definitely would and have recommended the NSBRC to people. If someone is contemplating a self build I think a visit is a must. Also, it is one of the few places that offer courses such as the Heating your Home Course that I attended. Without this introduction I would have been very bewildered.