Rectory Potton Self-Build

Sue & Nick Price

FINALLY FOUND THE PLOT!

Nick Price, a Finance Director, and his wife Sue, an Operations Manager, have lived in Hampshire for over 25 years, they have previously owned a new developer designed house. 

They actually thought about self-building around 15 years ago and never really stopped keeping their eyes and ears open for any opportunity that came up within a 30- mile radius of where they were at the time.

Having followed up on two plots, which they sadly lost due to the fact they were not able to sell their own house, eventually they came across a two-acre plot which had an existing two- bedroom bungalow that was already prepared for demolition. 

The plot also came with planning permission for a knock-down and new build that Nick describes as ‘a six- bedroom town house style home with a 3- car garage and accommodation above’.

Location:
Hampshire
Land Cost:
£628,000
Build Cost:
£438,000
Current Value: :
£1.35m
Completion: :
2017
Potton:
Design, Planning & Timber Frame
So as a temporary measure, the couple decided to live in the existing bungalow until they finally got planning permission for something they wanted themselves, this turned out to take two years.

Nick says, "we certainly didn't want anything so big, so in a 12-month interval we started to research different designers and suppliers.”
My Post (1)
At the beginning of this process they were suitably inspired by a local friend who had not only built three houses with Potton, but who currently lived in a Potton barn he had built for himself. 

After looking at his and the other houses, Nick and Sue decided that, as much as they liked the barn, it wasn’t really suitable for the site or what they really wanted for themselves.

During this time the couple attended a number of self-build exhibitions and then went to a Potton open day at the National Self Build and Renovation Centre in Swindon, where Potton have a show house on permanent show.

Following this they were inspired enough to make the journey up to Cambridgeshire to the Potton Show Centre at St Neots where they attended a Self-Build Academy presentation about budgeting for your build. 

It was at that time that they met Potton Self Build Consultant and Designer Sean Adams.

"He was full of advice and gave us help with layouts in order for us to achieve exactly what we wanted" says Nick.

The couple took various ideas from the Potton Ideas Book which they found more than helpful. They merged those ideas to create a scaled-down Milchester.
"We loved that house from the first moment we saw it. It was the perfect style that we wanted, we just needed to reduce the size and play around with the layouts, this was where we found Sean most helpful.


Nick and Sue's ideal home would have:
  • Large open plan kitchen and living area
  • Be open to the rear garden using bifold doors on two aspects
  • Have a large master bedroom with vaulted ceiling and a Juliet balcony to maximize the magnificent views over the Hampshire countryside
  • 4 or 5 bedrooms
  • A large dining room
  • A lounge with an inglenook fireplace

This turned out to be 2,800 square feet, but incorporated everything the couple needed.

“Sean did all of the planning work for us, so we didn't need to employ an architect and Potton themselves produced all of the building regulation, technical and construction drawings and provided a great support service whenever we needed it.

"Planning wasn't unfortunately that simple" says Nick. "We had to have an ecological survey and a bat survey before we could start to build. They even sent two representatives to conduct an overnight watch in the pouring rain! They then told us we could not demolish the bungalow between October and March, as there was a possibility that might be found roosting there during that period. However, after all that no trace of bats was found.”
 
Milchester-Price
Nick carried out most of the project management himself and some of the work on site himself, notably fixing of the insulation. He also managed all of the material purchasing and, being an accountant, managed the budget.

With 6 years’ experience in the army, where he commissioned as an officer into the Corps of Royal Engineers building roads bridges and airfields, Nick's comment was "it can’t be that difficult in principal to building a house!"

A retired local builder, acting as part-time project consultant, was able to put Nick in touch with good contractors, amongst whom where the groundworkers who  constructed the foundations and slab ready to receive the Potton frame. 

"They were really hardworking and did an excellent job; so much so that the Potton Contract’s Manager said their levels were absolutely spot on, a bit of a rarity! The retired builder was also a great help in overseeing the project and advising on some of the more technical aspects and detailing as the project progressed.” 
 

We loved that house from the first moment we saw it. It was the perfect style that we wanted, we just needed to reduce the size and play around with the layouts, this was where we found Sean most helpful

So pleased with their work, Nick decided to use them for the external brick and blockwork and the hard landscaping. "They even mitreed the corners on the brick-edging  on the patio paving" says Nick. “We also had a brilliant roofing contractor, I would recommend them to anyone."

So finally, with the slab laid, Nick and Sue were ready to take delivery of their Potton timber frame which unfortunately had been delayed due to other jobs over running. 

"However," says Nick, “the erection team that came to put the frame up were excellent, a good bunch of guys. It went up so quickly and was a real credit to Potton and their erection team.”

"I think just standing on that slab when it had been laid, then seeing the frame go up so quickly and efficiently and all of a sudden becoming a house were two of the most memorable moments in the whole project."

Nick and Sue had a budget of £1,1,00,000 for the whole project. A big saving was that the old bungalow already had services connected, was on mains drainage and had main gas supply.
"In fact, we got some sound advice from Sean when we told him that we were considering spending more money on a ground source heat pump. He said; ‘you've got mains gas supply, go out and get yourself a good quality gas boiler, underfloor heating and add solar panels and you won't go wrong’.”

“Our plumber was also in full agreement with that and since being in, we have realised that was the best decision made both heat wise and cost wise."

Sean did all of the planning work for us, so we didn't need to employ an architect and Potton themselves produced all of the building regulation, technical and construction drawings and provided a great support service whenever we needed it.

With a total budget set at £1,100,000, Nick and Sue's final cost including land, the garage and landscaping came out at ££1,066,000
£628,000 for the plot and bungalow, and £438,000 build cost after VAT refund.

The project started in June 2016, Nick and Sue moved in during May 2017.

"Our budget came in pretty much spot on" says Nick. “Although we made savings in some areas and spent on areas we hadn't originally accounted for."

The couple’s advice to anyone budgeting for a build is; 

•    Don't forget to allow for the cost of muck away, and, if landscaping, don't forget the cost of topsoil.
•    Also pay particular attention to the Potton drawings. For example; if you are considering incorporating a Mechanical Heat Recovery System, be sure your supplier is aware of any steel beams that will not allow the pipework to feed through the joist area.
•    Build in a contingency budget at each stage of between 5 -10 % of stage cost.

Nick and Sue are delighted with their new home and are currently preparing for their daughter's wedding, which will be held in the garden.

Would they build with Potton again?
"Most definitely, but probably in another county, maybe Dorset.”
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Save Price Potton Self-Build Case Study
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