Case Study of the Month - March
Building in a friends garden!

Location: Cambridgeshire
Land Cost: £150,000
Build Cost: circa £300,000
Current Value: £650,000


When good friends of Nicola Scrivens purchased an extra piece of land adjacent to their property in a village just outside of Cambridge, they never envisaged that some years afterwards, their good friend would build a house on that piece of land and become a neighbour!

Nikki, now just 60 and a part time receptionist, had been living about 3 miles away and had been in the same house for 36 years and had never considered self build until the offer of their friends plot came up.

The plot was a mature garden and had been laid to lawn with a number of trees on it. The overall size was roughly 60 x 19 metres, so a good size to fit a reasonable size house on without losing too much garden.
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“I love my garden and enjoy working in it, so this was very important to me. When this opportunity came up, we decided that we would like the idea of self-building”

Through word of mouth and local knowledge, Nikki got to learn about Potton and liked the designs and the package they offered so the project was in motion.

Nikki’s friends who owned the plot, refused to take any payment for it until planning was granted, which was not only a very nice gesture but also helped when going forward with her idea to build.

The key requirements were that the main ground floor should be as open plan as possible but have a separate lounge with an inglenook fireplace. She worked from the basic Potton Haslingfield design and along with her self build consultant, came up with a design that would suit her lifestyle.

Having lived in the same house for 36 years, the other consideration was to utilise existing furniture and furnishings so the house could have a warm lived in cottage feel, but to also incorporate some contemporary ideas.

The planning application for the site was made in July 2013 and was finally granted in May 2014. The house was to have a mix of render, local multi bricks and be half rendered to match other houses in the area. So as agreed Nikki purchased the land for £150,000 from her friends.

 

“Things seemed a little slow to start with, Potton had to prepare the building regulations and SAP calculations. I was keen to use some eco products in the build so decided to use an air source heat pump to power the underfloor heating system. Once things got underway I found them to be very efficient’’

Nikki then had to decide which build route to take and obviously having no experience in building, chose to use one of Potton’s project managers to oversee the project up to a watertight level. She was then prepared to work with his support and use all tradesmen from Potton’s approved contractor listing.

“The groundworkers were simply fantastic they also carried out the brickwork and were always available to give me advice. Trevor from the bricklaying contractors was really helpful and I have him and his team to thank for giving me the Inglenook fireplace that I have always wanted”

For Nikki the most exciting moment in the whole build was to see how quickly the timber frame structure went up. She was in local rental accommodation for the initial part of the build, so was able to visit the site quite regularly and to meet with the project manager and subcontractors as required.

“I have been delighted with the service, they were all very professional, kind and helpful” says Nikki. "For the last three months I lived with my friends next door so even better!"

The build was almost complete by March 2015 so Nikki decided to move in and get things completed while living there. This also gave her the opportunity to move all of her belongings in and to do some work in the garden.

The final cost of the build came out to around £300,000 this excluded any garage and landscaping to the front of the house.

“The landscaping will be my next job” says Nikki. “I did go over budget on the kitchen but it was exactly what I wanted and besides this is going to be my forever home so it is worth it”

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