FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to frequently asked questions about Potton. The Potton package consists of various services to help you build your dream home, from plot hunting tips in the Self Build Academy, right through to the design and erection of your timber frame superstructure. The bet way to get your questions answered is by booking an appointment with one of our Self Build Consultants, but we've covered a few areas of our services below.

Are all of your designs in your brochure?

Some people think that Potton's home styles all come from a catalogue. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is a fact that of the thousands of designs we have created, no two are the same.
Our brochure provides a range of houses for you to browse for ideas, yes you can select a design from our existing range or back catalogue and change it to suit your needs, but you can also start with a blank canvas and let us develop a design specifically to suit your lifestyle and budget.

Visit Downloads

Are your designs flexible?

Yes. All of published our designs can be modified to suit your specific requirements, both internally and externally. Many of our customers chose to do just that.
Our architectural team also provide a bespoke design service and now well over half of the homes we create are completely bespoke.

Discover Our Design Services

Will you supply a timber frame to customers who have their own design?

Yes, subject to an appraisal of your requirements.  We can also provide a bespoke design service. Potton Select is a new service specifically intended for the self builder who has used an architect or other specialist to create the design for their home and obtain the necessary planning approvals.
Potton Select offers a range of options, all backed by our many years of experience and unmatched product quality and service levels.

Discover Our Design Services

Can I include a basement?

A basement can be an easy addition to a timber frame property and in most cases, the timber frame will sit on the sub structure in the same way as it would if there was no basement. The important thing when considering a basement is to get professional advice and carry out the correct investigation work so you are not faced with any nasty surprises during construction.

Are there completed houses that I can visit?

Yes, we have 5 show houses at our Show Centre in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. From traditional homes through to a contemporary barn, there is something for all tastes. In addition, we also have the Ruskin show house within the National Self Build & Renovation Centre at Swindon. Please look at the Show Centre page for information and opening times, no appointments are necessary, and our expert staff are always available to answer questions and provide advice.

Discover Our Show Centre

Who will be my point of contact within Potton?

Your Potton Self Build Consultant will look after you during the design and planning phase of your project, after which your project will be allocated to one of our Contracts Management team. They will coordinate the delivery and erection stage of your project with you. The Contracts Manager will also be available to provide advice and guidance until your build is completed.

Meet the Team

Do you sell land?

We don’t sell land, however, we do advertise some self build plots and custom build plots that are available to purchase through a 3rd party.

Also, through our Self Build Academy we provide an excellent seminar that will provide you with detailed advice on how to go about finding and appraising a plot of land. Once you have found a plot of land the another of the Self Build Academy workshops will provide you with site specific advice on how to make the most of your plot.

Plots for Sale

Do you put the frame up?

All our frames are provided on a supply and erect basis. This has some advantages with VAT (its zero rated at source with supply and erect, so reduces the cost and hence eases cashflow in the early stages of the project).
By erecting we ensure there are no areas of argument with the frame, such as “the frame was designed incorrectly” or “it’s been constructed poorly.”

Manufacture, Build & Erect

Do you do the full build?

We can offer a turnkey solution on a regional basis for those customers who do not have the time or confidence to manage the project themselves. This service is provided through our network of recommended builders, project managers and subcontractors who can be employed to undertake a full or part project, tailored to suit your specific requirements.

Do you build extensions?

We offer an extension service to previous Potton customers but not for extensions to other buildings. Extensions require several decisions to be made on site and through the progression of the build which is not best suited to a pre-fabricated design. A local builder is the best solution for this type of work as they are on site throughout the build and able to make decisions as they go.

What are your U-Values?

This will depend on which of our build systems you choose. As an example, our 2 variations of Kingspan ULTIMA panels have a U-Value ranging from 0.15 to 0.13.
It’s important to note that U-Values are only one small part of what determines building envelope energy efficiency. Providing an airtight structure, minimising thermal bridging, and having a sensible heating and ventilation strategy are equally important. We can provide thermal bridging calculations as part of the Potton package.

What wood is used for the frame?

The structural timber used in the wall panels is generally European whitewood which is strength graded and kiln dried so that it is appropriate for construction purposes.
The exposed large timber posts and beams are Douglas Fir from North America. Almost all of the timber we use is independently certified by the FSC® (C109304) or PEFC to be from sources with genuine sustainability credentials.

Do you supply oak frames?

No. Oak, which is normally provided green in timber frame applications, requires specialist design and manufacturing skills that are different to those we have developed. Because of this, green oak structures are typically provided by niche manufacturers. However, we do offer oak joinery items such as stairs and doors etc.

Do we have to have exposed post and beams?

No. The exposed posts and beams are a feature in around 20% of the houses we construct. It’s up to you. If you want them, we can provide them as an integral and essential part of the structure. If you don’t then we’ll design your house without them. The choice is yours!

The design of our house incorporates post and beam elements. Do we have a choice on the finish?

There are a number of finishes available for our posts and beams. You can view samples of these at our Show Centre.

Show Centre

Will you come and check the base before delivering the frame?

It is the responsibility of the sub-contractor to verify (using documentation that we will provide) that the base is built to the correct dimensions. Our erectors will check the base as they lay the sole plate but expect it to have been handed over to us constructed accurately. Your Contracts Manager will be happy to advise further on this part of your project if required.

My plot is not very accessible, will you still be able to deliver?

Yes, our contracts team will visit your site to determine the access arrangements prior to commencing manufacture of your timber frame so that components can be adjusted where necessary to allow them to be delivered and erected. We have built on islands in the River Thames, in the middle of woodlands in Hampshire, and down tiny lanes in Cornwall.

Do all components arrive at once?

No. We will organise our deliveries to site with loads to suit the frame erection schedule i.e., we wouldn’t expect to send the roof trusses out on day one.
The second fix components such as stairs and internal doors will be delivered to suit your build timescales and we will arrange this in consultation with you. 
Please remember that supplier lead times can vary and may be extended particularly for bespoke items. We need a minimum of 8 weeks’ notice to arrange delivery of second fix items.

When does the plasterboard arrive?

Plasterboard is not included in our package and would normally be supplied by your dry lining subcontractor.

What heating system can be installed in your buildings?

All common systems can easily be accommodated within the structures we provide. In very simple terms if there is a gas supply to your site then you should probably be using it. If there is not, then air source heat pumps are the most popular choice. Several of the workshops provided through the Self Build Academy will help you decide the best heating system for you.

Self Build Academy

How long will my build take?

Using our detailed build programme, you can expect to complete the construction element of your project in 6-8 months. Remember that prior to this, you will need to have your planning permission and building regulations approval in place, which may take up to 12 weeks.

Planning Permission & Building Regulations

Do you do small houses?

Our architectural team can design a wide variety of styles and size of home. There are some smaller designs in our Ideas Book and these have often been created to suit particular requirements, mainly tight site restrictions. The smallest we’ve designed was around 80m², with a footprint about the same size as a double garage.

Can I use a screed to the first floor?

A number of products are available to screed at first floor level, however you must take this into consideration at the design stage of your house as the floor joists will have to be designed to take into account the additional loadings that this type of floor creates.

As you are part of the Kingspan Group, I assume you provide all the insulation?

At Potton, we provide the insulation to your external wall panels; there are several specifications available including Structural Insulated Panels. All remaining insulation to floors, ceilings, internal walls etc. is provided by Potton as part of our package.

Why don't Potton provide the scaffolding if it is necessary to erect the frame?

Scaffolding will be required by a number of trades that follow on from Potton such as the roofer, bricklayer, plumber and decorator so it makes sense for the scaffolding to be provided by an independent scaffolding contractor rather than one employed by Potton.

Does Potton help with contractors and project managers?

Yes, we maintain a list of project managers and sub-contractors with experience of working on Potton projects.

What happens if it rains when my frame is on site?

The timber used in our products is kiln dried to low moisture levels. Exposure to rain during erection will not have any adverse effect as the timber will quickly dry out once the roof has been felt and battened. However, to ensure that exposure is kept to a minimum, we recommend that roof coverings are fixed immediately following completion of the timber structure. Damage to membranes should also be repaired as and when necessary.

Why don't you include felt and batten in the package content?

It is normal for the felt and batten element of roof construction to be included within the roofer's package. The main reason for this is that the roofing specialist will want to set the battens out to precisely match the tiles they will be using.  If we were to fix the battens, we would inevitably set them out slightly differently and this would cause problems.

Do Potton check and 'sign-off' the timber frame?

Your Potton contracts manager will visit the site on completion of the timber frame to give it a final frame check. If necessary, a certificate can be provided in conjunction with your warranty provider to sign off this stage of the build.

What happens after the frame is erected?

Following the Potton Frame Check and handover, the first trade to follow the frame erection will be the roofer who will fix the waterproof membrane and battens to keep the house dry inside so internal work can commence (plumbing and electric first fix).
If the house has a chimney, construction of this can also commence at this stage. We also provide all our customers with a comprehensive guide to help you successfully complete your project.

Can any cladding be used on a Potton timber frame?

Potton timber frames can be finished externally with most forms of cladding. In fact, almost any form of cladding can be accommodated provided it has a drained and vented cavity behind it. So, you can incorporate anything from facing brickwork to render to timber boarding, tile hanging or even metal panels.

Do we have a choice on second fix joinery?

There are numerous options available for all of the second fix items supplied within the Potton package.

Can you provide triple glazed windows?

Yes, as part of the many joinery options, triple glazing can be included.

What are Potton's payment terms?

Our standard terms are 10% deposit on placement of order, so we can prepare information for Building Regulations approval, with a further 10% required to secure a delivery date.
Payment of the balance in cleared funds is required prior to delivery. A pro-forma invoice will be sent six weeks before your delivery date which will show the outstanding payment required.

Will I pay VAT on the Potton package?

VAT will be charged at the prevailing rate on all the supply only items in the Potton package. VAT is zero rated for the main part of the frame provided this is erected by Potton.

How to Reclaim VAT For Your New Self-Build

Does the house come with a guarantee or warranty?

As part of the build, a ten year structural warranty is normally required if you are using a bank or building society to fund your project, and it is normal that you arrange this. A number of specialist providers can arrange this for you including LABC Warranty, Premier Guarantee and Self Build Zone.

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