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Mandy & Carlton Ridd

Mandy & Carlton Ridd's finshed self build project

After completing various renovations and extensions, Mandy & Carlton self-managed their new build in North Devon using ICF to create a bespoke, modern and energy efficient home.

Mandy & Carlton Ridd - Case Study

What is the floor area of your project in sq ft or sq m?

Approx. 180m2 (GIA, not inc. car port or garden office).

Could you tell us any interesting facts or remarkable features about your project?

The house has an amazing view from the back, across the fields to the estuary and the hills beyond, so we have our living area and covered balcony upstairs to take advantage of that.

Mandy & Carlton's Experience at the Centre

How many times have you visited The National Self Build and Renovation Centre before?

At least 4 times.

What would you say is the most helpful feature or resource at the NSBRC?

I’ve attended the Guide to Project Management course with Charlie Laing and both the Guide to Finding Land & Appraising a Plot and Guide to Managing Money courses with Mark Stevenson. All three were good value for money and very comprehensive – sufficiently detailed, but not so technical as to be bewildering. They provided practical, usable information that I think all self-builders (and some developers) would find really useful. And it was so nice to attend a course and not be faced with constant upselling of other products!

Did you use any exhibitors at the NSBRC? If so, who?

Nudura (ICF) and Nu-Heat (via our local Jewsons). We also had quotes from other exhibitors.

What did you enjoy most about your visit to the NSBRC?

Seeing the different technologies and construction methods as well as talking to exhibitors.

Would you recommend the NSBRC to a friend, and if so, what aspects of the Centre would you recommend and why?

Yes – we have already recommended Charlie’s Project Management course and Mark’s Land Finding course - as well as the Centre itself.

Mandy & Carlton's Self Build Journey

What first inspired you to undertake project – what did you hope to achieve? We have done various extensions and renovations, and for a long time we’ve wanted to build our own home. It’s a great way to move up the property ladder and create a bespoke modern energy efficient home with a layout designed for our lifestyle.


What was the size of the land? 847m2.


How did you find the land - do you have any tips for others currently searching for a plot? Try to find land before the estate agents get involved – go direct to vendor if possible.


Did you have any issues getting your planning permission granted or with building control? If so – why was this? The planning officer had personal opinions about the design – he didn’t ‘like’ it (e.g. the flat roof on the car port; the cladding etc.). He even suggested we should withdraw the application.


Why did you choose your method of construction? ICF: speed of construction; cost; noise reduction; longevity; strength; energy efficiency; the back-up and support we received from the supplier (The Fell Partnership).


Did you use a project manager, or did you choose to self project manage? Self project managed.


Did you reclaim the VAT, and if so, how much were you able to reclaim? HMRC have had our VAT reclaim for 5 months, but they haven’t processed it yet! The reclaim is for £21k.


What aspects of the process did you find stressful – and do you have any tips on how to avoid the pitfalls you encountered? Our warranty provider was a nightmare from start to finish. They were meant to work hand-in-hand with JHAI (a private Building Bontrol specialist); they used reports and photos from JHAI and never came to site. Whereas JHAI were happy with the build, the warranty provider issued us with defect notices at every stage. Often the notices didn’t arrive for up to 2 weeks after JHAI had approved the stage and the build had already moved on. We ended up having to deal directly with the warranty provider as JHAI washed their hands of it.
In future, I would prefer to either keep the warranty and the Building Control providers separate, or make sure the warranty provider carries out their own inspections, and in a timely manner (so their surveyor will need to be local to the site).


What did you find most enjoyable about working on your project? Realising all of our plans, and seeing all of our choices and decisions come together – and the incredibly positive feedback that we had from the neighbours and even complete strangers over the course of the build.


What is one of your favourite features about your project? The light and the views upstairs and the large sliding doors leading to the undercover balcony.


How did you tailor your home to suit your lifestyle? We have a large open-plan space upstairs, and we included an office at the bottom of the garden where we can work from home.


Is there a possibility you would ever undertake another project in the future? We are currently looking for land as we’d like to build again – this time between 2 and 10 houses. We would love to work with other self-builders if the opportunity arises as we’re passionate about creating homes that are designed with the individual as well as the environment in mind.


If so, is there anything you would do differently? Our choice of warranty provider will be different, as described above.


What would your top tip be for other NSBRC Visitors about to embark on their first self build or home improvement journey? Plan well ahead, especially if you are project managing. Set up spreadsheets for quotes and to keep a check on your budget, and have some way of monitoring progress (e.g. a Gantt chart or similar). Build in breaks to the schedule so there’s some catch-up time for when things run over. Always have a plan B in case of materials shortages or delays with trades starting. Do Charlie’s project management course!