Our Upcoming 2023 Online Surgeries:
From this year, and looking onwards, we are committed to renewing our focus on sustainability and increasing our range of workshops, courses and educational exhibits to assist as many people as possible to create better, sustainable, homes. We are engaging with a number of expert organisations and individuals who will work with us, as champions of the cause, to ensure we provide you with the very best advice and information.
These sessions are held in a webinar style format. You'll be able to submit your queries to the presenters via the Q&A function on Zoom.
December Online Surgery: Case Study Live!
Hear how Tom Evans and his partner, Louise, self built their energy efficient, modern lodge-style home in North Wiltshire by using Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF) blocks and renewable technologies from suppliers sourced during their visits to the NSBRC.
They sought a new lifestyle with less reliance on fossil fuels, and to relocate, becoming mortgage free in the process – and they managed to achieve all these ambitions. Join Tom for our special online surgery, where he will discuss his project from the perspective of a novice self-builder, who self-managed the project, and hear his top tips based on real life experience.
Tom will also take your questions live and provide valuable insight into what helped make the project a success, and things to avoid! Tom is now deep into his second project – a highly energy efficient retrofit of a 1960’s bungalow – and will be able to provide valuable advice to anyone researching their own self build or renovation project.
November Online Surgery: Changing buildings from Agricultural to Residential Use with Class Q Permitted Development.
What is a Class Q permitted development?
‘Class Q’ was introduced into the The Town and Country Planning Act in 2014 as a form of permitted development, designed to help ease the pressure on housing in rural areas. This type of planning permission allows the change of buildings that meet certain criteria from agricultural to residential use.
The exact wording reads: ‘a change of use of a building and any land within its curtilage from a use as an agricultural building to a use falling within Class C3 (dwelling houses)’.
This surgery is designed to explain how many self-builders are utilising this legislation to find plots and create their new homes.
Frame Technologies – Simon Orrells will explain the concept of using offsite Timber frame to build your dream home inside a Class Q Barn, the speed a project can be undertaken and what can be achieved with limitless design concepts.
Green Planning Studio – Ruth Reed will discuss some good case study she has worked on including a current project which after an initial planning rejection, subsequently gained approval and is now well underway.
Heat & Energy – David Hilton focuses on the importance of achieving an energy efficient home and how, by agreeing a ‘fabric first’ approach – early in the design process - combined with appropriate renewables, a high thermal performance can be achieved.
BuildStore – Tom McSherry will help you understand the funding options available for a Class Q project, and explain the different considerations to financing a more traditional self-build.
October Online Surgery: Plots & Planning
Our 2023 Consumer Survey told us the biggest two barriers faced by potential self builders are:
1) Gaining planning permission
2) Finding a suitable plot of land
So, we have created the perfect Online Surgery for anyone wanting to know about these hot topics – with two respected experts providing a detailed presentation, followed by a live Q&A.
The NSBRC Guide to Finding Land & Appraising a Plot – Free Course Taster Session*
Our one day course offers an extensive in-depth dive into the challenging world of plot hunting to give you the expert advice and knowledge you need to find, and determine the suitability of your ideal plot. Course presenter, Mark Stevenson, has worked as a builder and construction professional for almost 30 years, most recently as Potton’s Managing Director – and during this online surgery – he will provide a valuable ‘taster’ offering several methods to finding that elusive plot.
*Everyone who joins us live on the night will receive an exclusive 25% discount off The NSBRC Guide to Finding Land & Appraising a Plot for either 3rd November 2023 or 2nd February 2024 (both live courses, held at the NSBRC)
A Self Builders Guide to Planning Permission
Independent Planning expert, Mark Doodes, will explain the intricacies of the planning process and how you can optimise your chances of getting approval for your perfect home.
September Online Surgery: Building Systems
We will explore the choices available when building the super-structure of your self build. Our panel of experts will provide a detailed presentation, followed by an interactive Q&A session - discussing your questions live.
Our expert panel includes:
Steve Callow from the Modern Masonry Alliance (representing Masonry & Concrete Products).
Paul Newman, Potton, covering Timber Frame.
Robin Miller, Beco Wallform, covering Insulated Concrete Formwork (ICF).
Jenny Chandela, AC Architects - Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) & Design Considerations
This surgery is aimed at people in the early stages of a project, who have yet to decide what building method they are using. One of the most important decisions you will make during your project is which building system to use, as this is used to construct the superstructure of the house.
August Online Surgery: Special Eco Workshop Follow-up - Heat & Energy
Following on from our successful Eco Workshop, held at the NSBRC earlier this month, we have produced a special follow-up session. This live session allows anyone unable to join the face to face workshop to catch up on the latest advice, and for those who did attend, to continue the discussion.
We have a selected panel of specialists, each of whom will, following a short introductory presentation, join a the Q&A session – taking your questions live.
Please note; This specially produced session is a ‘live only’ event and will not be recorded.
7:00 – 7:45 – Introductions & Short (10 minute) Introductory Presentations
7:45 – 8:30 – Live Q&A Panel Session
Our Expert Line Up:
- David Hilton
David is an authority in sustainable building and energy efficiency with extensive knowledge of heating systems and renewables. David presents several NSBRC courses, including the ‘Guide to Managing your Energy Efficient Home’ and writes for various self build publications.
- Bee Solar Tech – Melissa Briggs
Award winning Solar PV tracking system, consisting of several solar panels, held on a column mounted frame that turns from sunrise to sunset to face the sun.
- Rainwater Harvesting – Tim Chantrell
Rainwater harvesting can save water and save money. Why flush toilets and water plants with drinking quality water?
- Total Home Environment – Clarissa Youden
Clarissa trained as a chartered surveyor and is an associate director at Total Home Environment who are celebrating 25 years in business. T.H.E designs, supplies and installs heat recovery ventilation, heat pump ventilation, air-source heat pumps and central vacuum systems; everything to keep your home healthy, clean and energy efficient. Her brief presentation will cover heat recovery ventilation and whether your super-insulated and airtight home can benefit from Heat Pump Ventilation instead of a formal heating system.
July Online Surgery: Electrification - Smart Energy & Heating Solutions
Electrification is the process of replacing technologies that use fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas with technologies that use electricity generated from renewable sources to produce clean energy (which can come from renewable sources like wind or solar power).
In this online surgery, we explored some of the latest options available to power our homes (and cars) more sustainably.
We are often asked about how best to manage the link between EV’s, home chargers and solar panels and Yen Dai, from Eco Energy Environment, provided his thoughts, and the latest advice, on how to take the best holistic approach.
We were also joined by Infraheat who explained how Infrared technology can provide a sustainable heating solution, and Air Craft discussed Mechanical Ventilation, Air Source Heat Pumps and Smart Cylinders – and how these systems can provide a healthier home whilst also making your home or workspace more energy efficient
Featured exhibitors include:
- Eco Energy Environment – Solar PV & EV Chargers
- Infraheat – Infrared Heating Technologies
- Air Craft - Air Source Heat Pumps & Overheating
June Online Surgery: Interior Design, Project Management & Architecture
Our June webinar featured a two hour session on how Professionals can work together to ensure they meet their clients brief .
Three experienced NSBRC exhibiting partners provided a presentation, followed by a live Q&A session.
Outside, Inside and Out of the Ground
This workshop discussed in depth interior design and project management services and how they are effectively coordinated within the architectural design service. There is a lot to coordinate with your self build, just on the design and management side of things and it can be difficult to understand who to engage and when.
Featured exhibitors include:
May Online Surgery: Sustainable Water & Energy Management
This FREE online surgery from the team at the NSBRC provided a two hour session deep dive into rainwater harvesting & home energy solutions.
Featured exhibitors included:
Rainwater Harvesting – Rainwater Harvesting
Kensa Heat Pumps – Ground Source Heat Pumps
Bee Solar Technology – Solar PV and Battery Storage
Total Home Environment – Heat Pump Ventilation
Following feedback, we knew many of our visitors wanted to learn more about rainwater harvesting. Therefore, we were delighted to be able to cover this topic, in partnership with brand new NSBRC exhibiting partner, Rainwater Harvesting Limited.
The Surgery also covered other ‘hot topic’ technologies including Solar PV and Battery Storage, Air Source and Ground Source Heat Pumps and the importance of getting levels of ventilation right.
April Online Surgery: Self Build Planning
The planning system is a complex and growing area; take expert advice upfront.
In this session, we discussed the planning system, how you can best prepare a successful application and costly pit-falls to avoid.
This online session was designed specifically for self-builders at early stages and was delivered by independent planning expert Mark Doodes. The surgery featured a 45 minute presentation, followed by a live Q&A session with exclusive follow-up access to ensure our virtual visitor's questions were answered. This was a private session, with a small charge of £4.99 per device - so if you'd like to have access to this recording, please email email@example.com for further information.
Mark is a qualified, chartered and insured Town Planner with 20+ years experience in preparing and assessing planning applications. His practice is part of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) consultants register and their role is to give you impartial advice throughout the process. Without planning permission your project hasn’t started, and this session is designed to ensure you are not wasting time, effort and capital on sites or strategies that are unlikely to be fruitful.
* MDP are Members of the RTPI, on the National Planning Consultants Directory and on the Planning Portal . Insured up-to £1M in Professional Indemnity and Public Liability for site visits and meetings.
March Online Surgery: Funding your Project
The most successful homebuilding plans are those that have been planned well from the start and this means knowing your budget and understanding your borrowing options early on. BuildStore is the UK's leading expert in homebuilding finance with access to a range of borrowing solutions, including exclusive mortgages.
This free online session featured BuildStore's finance expert and self-builder, Tom McSherry.
Tom discussed how you can fund your project, and everything you need to consider when it comes to planning, designing and financing a homebuilding project.
You can watch the free, on-demand video below (coming soon!) to find out how to set your budget and manage costs, how your choice of build and materials can affect your borrowing options, the different types of homebuilding mortgages and finance available, and how to ensure you have sufficient cash available to complete each stage of your build – your cashflow.
Tom's presentation is followed by a full 45 minutes of Q&A - where we answered our virtual visitor's questions live. Join us live next time to have your own questions answered by our experts!
February Online Surgery: The Natural Environment
The evening featured four selected experts, who all provided short, informative presentations on their field of expertise, including:
- Joanna Ferguson, The Bat Conservation Trust
- Svend Rumbold, Rumbold-Ayers (Landscape Designer)
- Antony Henn, Garden on a Roll (Wildlife-friendly Borders)
- Special guest: Merry Albright, Creative Director at Border Oak (Nutrient Neutrality)
January Online Surgery: Question Time Live!
This pre-show question time session saw five experts introducing themselves, their businesses and their area of expertise:
We' dedicated a full hour to take your questions and discuss some of the wider issues every self-builder is faced with in 2023 in this facilitated, interactive session.
- Tom McSherry, BuildStore - Funding your project
- Mark Doodes, Mark Doodes Planning - Planning advice
- Rob Bohm, CLPM – Project Management & Sustainability
- Jo Snell, Nu-Heat – Renewables & Heating Options
- Paul Newman, Potton – Design, Timber Frame & Materials
Check out some Google reviews from our recent online sessions:
Our 2022 Online Surgeries:
To celebrate 15 years of the NSBRC in 2022, we hosted a series of 12 Online Surgeries consisting of informal discussions on key self build & home improvement topics.
You can view the content on-demand below.
Special Online Surgery in December: Live interviews with real life case studies
Our website features 26 fantastic real-life case studies – highlighting the successes of previous NSBRC visitors who have gone on to complete their dream homes.
During our final online surgery for 2022 – we brought to life the pages on our website by interviewing two of our case studies live to chat about their self build experience. They shared their stories, discussing what’s worked, what hasn’t, what they might opt to do differently, along with their ‘top tips’ for people starting out on a project.
December Online Surgery: Barn Conversions
For our penultimate online surgery in 2022, we spent two hours focused purely on discussing barn conversions.
The session consisted of four live expert talks that covered the key topics, including design options (with case study examples), planning considerations (including Class Q, full planning permission and listed buildings), inserting new frames or roofs into/onto existing masonry barns and extending existing barns as well as financing a barn conversion project.
October Online Surgery: Insulation
Insulation is a topic we've been asked to cover several times. Join our selected experts as they discuss the options available and answer questions live.
We explored many areas including:
- What are the key questions to ask when choosing the correct insulation for your project?
- What are the insulation options are suitable fort older properties?
- What is the optimum thickness as a barrier against heat loss?
- If I am installing a Heat Pump in my home, should I be putting in thicker insulation?
September Online Surgery: Landscaping & Garden Design
This session focused on Landscaping & Garden Design and featured expert presentations with a live Q&A.
Your garden should reflect your own stylistic preferences, the architecture of your new home, and the characteristics of the site and it's setting in the wider landscape. However, we often hear about projects that are near completion with little or no time or effort spent considering the external character of the home. The earlier in the process you can start to visualise and plan for your landscaping, the more likely you’ll enjoy an outcome that compliments your new (or newly renovated) home.
Our experts Svend Rumbold (Rumbold Ayers), Nigel Powell (Westminster Stone) & Matthew Farrington (Eden Spaces) provided advice on supporting planning applications, conceptual design, planting plans and detailed design specifications.
You can view the session below in case you missed it:
August Online Surgery: Heat & Energy
Following our busiest ever Eco Workshop in August 2022 on Heat & Energy, NSBRC's Harvey Fremlin hosted a two-hour surgery, expanding on the key themes covered in our event held at the NSBRC. This virtual Eco Workshop follow-up featured four industry experts exploring what can be done to mitigate against rising energy costs and how we can protect our environment, by focusing on building better homes.
We covered everything from heat pumps and solar panels to ventilation; what’s new, what works and what are the practical issues you need to consider.
If you couldn't make our Heat & Energy Eco Workshop, or if you'd simply like to build your knowledge on the topic of energy efficiency, then this is your opportunity to discover the latest technologies and energy solutions. For the live event, we had a total of 444 people in attendance which shows just how topical and important the subject matter is.
July Online Surgery: Planning Permission
An important (and often stressful) part of any self build project is gaining planning permission.
During this online session designed specifically for self-builders at early stages, independent planning expert, Mark Doodes, hosted a 45 minute presentation with a live Q&A session and an exclusive follow-up access to answer your planning queries. Mark discussed the complexities of the planning system, offering his expert advice on how you can best prepare a successful application and avoid costly pit-falls.
Mark is a qualified, chartered and insured Town Planner with 15+ years experience in preparing and assessing planning applications. His practice is part of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) consultants register and their role is to give you impartial advice throughout the process. Without planning permission your project hasn’t started, and this surgery is designed to ensure you are not wasting time, effort and capital on sites or strategies that are unlikely to be fruitful.
*MDP are Members of the RTPI, on the National Planning Consultants Directory (rtpiconsultants.co.uk) and on the Planning Portal (planningportal.co.uk) . Insured up-to £1M in Professional Indemnity and Public Liability for site visits and meetings.
*Please note no video is available as this was a subscriber-only event.
June Online Surgery: Grants, Legislation and Latest News for Self-Builders
Hosted in partnership with NaCSBA (National Custom & Self Build Association)
For our June edition of our 'Online Surgeries' series, we have partnered with NaCSBA to provide a unique update on the political and legislative factors affecting self-builders today. NaCSBA’s aim is to make custom and self build a mainstream choice for all those seeking a home of their own, and shares the NSBRC’s own vision of helping people enjoy better homes.
NaCSBA’s CEO, Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, provided self-builders with an update on:
- Right to Build – A reminder of its importance, how to register, and how NaCSBA is encouraging Local Authorities to be pro-active (with a couple of case studies) and what is being done by government to ensure LAs are held accountable to their requirements (and how to complain to your local authority if they’re not delivering for you). You can find out more, and register, via NaCSBA’s Self Build Portal.
- Help to Build – A new government equity loan for people who want to self build or custom build their own home. Is it right for you, and how to apply. This is now open to applications and you can find out more here.
- Boiler upgrade scheme – The government is providing grants to encourage property owners to install low carbon heating systems such as heat pumps, through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS). These grants can help property owners overcome the upfront cost of low carbon heating technologies.
- Nutrient Neutrality – Why it is an issue, how self-builders are being caught up, and what you need to know.
May Online Surgery: Virtual Passivhaus Workshop
For our May edition of our monthly NSBRC Online Surgeries, we hosted our popular Passivhaus Workshop as an online session in partnership with the Passivhaus Trust.
Photo credit: PH15 System from Passivhaus Homes Ltd.
- Introduction to Passivhaus Principles
- Surgeries on: Airtightness, Insulation, Ventilation, Windows & Doors
- Real Life Case Studies
- Question Time
- How to improve existing buildings
5 reasons to consider building to Passivhaus standards:
- Good for comfort - comfortable temperatures are easily maintained whatever the weather using very little energy
- Good for your health - constant clean fresh air
- Good for your pocket - 90% reductions in energy needed for heating
- Good for quality - a rigorous quality control process requires craftsmanship and buildings that are built with care
- Good for your future - the Passivhaus seal of approval guarantees certainty of performance
Here are the links to each of the contributors profile pages, which allow you to request more information directly via the NSBRC website:
April Online Surgery: Live interviews with real life case studies
Our website features 24 fantastic real-life case studies – highlighting the successes of previous NSBRC visitors who have gone on to complete their dream homes.
During this free online surgery – produced as part of a series of special events to celebrate 15 years of the NSBRC - we bring to life two of our existing case study pages. Our participants share their stories, their ‘top tips’, situations to avoid and answer your live questions.
We interviewed two of our existing case studies:
Mandy & Carlton Ridd: '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.'
Clive Spencer: 'Clive successfully completed a Self Build project in Wiltshire back in 2019, creating a “healthy, uplifting and highly sustainable new home” to the Passivhaus standard, using timber frame, replacing a beyond-repair bungalow.'
March Online Surgery: Building Systems
We built on the recent two-day live workshop held at the NSBRC in March on Building Systems - with a panel discussion on the key topics that were covered over the two day live event and provided a series of short talks exploring the key superstructure options including; Timber Frame, Masonry, Insulated Concrete Formwork and more.
If you are in the early stages of a project, and have yet to decide what building method is right for your project, then this targeted session is for you.
Thank you very much to those of you who for joined us for our online surgery on Building Systems. We had 158 attendees – and we thank you all for listening and for the many questions that came through.
The contact details for the presenters are (in order of appearance) below:
- Dan Wilson, Self-Build Consultant, Potton: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Robin Miller, Director, BecoWallform: email@example.com
- Alan Budden, Chartered Architect & Certified European Passivhaus Designer, Eco Design Consultants: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Garry Dyke, Director, Point 1 Building Systems: email@example.com
We received some really positive feedback on the evening. If you can spare a minute and leave us a positive review on Google that would be hugely appreciated. It makes a big difference to our team of employee-owners. You can leave your review here: https://g.page/r/CXJLwMpDBmSmEB0/review
If you found something missing in the workshop, or have ideas for future sessions, please feel free to drop me a line – your feedback is really helpful.
A couple of events that are coming up that you might want to look at:
- Tuesday 26th April: Online Surgery – Real Life Case Studies – live! (information above)
- Thursday 28th April: Open Evening – We’ll be open until 9pm.
- Friday 13th & Saturday 14th May: The National Self Build & Renovation Show
Please see the link to watch the session recording below:
February Online Surgery: Planning
Ahead of February's Design, Planning & Sustainability Eco Workshop we discussed one of the key topics affecting self builders; navigating Planning.
In this session, we discuss the planning system, how you can best prepare a successful application and costly pit-falls to avoid.
One important part of any building project is gaining planning permission. We get a lot of questions about planning and we are aware that this is an emotive, and sometimes stressful, subject for many people!
This session features two seminars, designed for self-builders and delivered by genuine planning experts, plus a short Q&A session at the end to get your planning queries answered!
We'd like to thank our expert panelists, Mark Doodes and Kimberly Corps for their contributions:
- Mark Doodes, Planning Consultant, MD Planning
- Kimberly Corps, Planning Services Manager, Swindon Borough Council
In case you missed this event, you can watch this session on-demand below:
January Online Surgery: Materials & Energy
Back in January, we hosted the first in our series of online events, where our expert panel discussed two of the key topics affecting self builders in 2022; Materials & Energy.
Materials: We discussed the availability and rising costs of materials in the UK and what budget contingency is appropriate for a self-builder in 2022.
Energy: Will we see rising costs continue and how can self builders mitigate against this?
- Sue Dewhirst, Evolved Group: NSBRC - Evolved Design Homes
- David Hilton, Heat & Energy: Heat And Energy - Home
- Tom McSherry, BuildStore: NSBRC - BuildStore Mortgage Services
- Andrew Baddely-Chappell, NaCSBA: Self Build Portal – Part of NaCSBA – National Custom & Self Build Association
- Paul Newman, Potton: NSBRC - Potton
In case you missed this, you can view the session recording below: