Sean and Jackie Adams
Life changing re-location
• DEPARTMENT / POSITION: Sales – Planning & Self Build Consultant
• YEARS WORKED AT POTTON: 15
• AREA BUILT: Devon
• YEAR BUILT: 2007/2008
When Sean 44 and Jackie Adams 37 made a life changing decision to move from Bedfordshire to Devon with their 2 daughters, Holly and Niamh they just couldn’t manage to find a house nice enough for them to live in, at a price they could afford.
So Sean who had 15 years’ experience in sales as a Potton self-build consultant and a very good knowledge of planning matters decide they should practice what they preached and build their own home.
“The knowledge gained from working at Potton meant the whole process was very familiar to me. Having designed and built over 500 houses for my clients, I had a good understanding of planning, building regulations and the construction process. That said the day the diggers arrived on site was a very nervous day!"
Sean and Jackie actually found the plot purely by chance, in 2007 Sean had been to a meeting with a land sourcing company with a view to setting up an affiliation with Potton, on the drive to the meeting Sean was feeling really frustrated at not being able to find a suitable house when he decided to call Jackie and get a reaction to the idea of them building their own home, Jackie’s answer was “if you can’t do it no one can“
At the meeting Sean asked if they actually had any plots in mid-Devon, and it transpired that they site for 3 houses near Crediton which needed detailed planning permission and were owned by a developer who wanted to sell them off as serviced self-build plots. In exactly one day Sean and Jackie had met the developer put their house on the market and found a place to rent in the adjacent village to where the plots were!
As it turned out Sean actually ended up handling the planning application for the whole site on behalf of the developer who agreed a 10% reduction in the price for his particular plot as Sean had managed to get him approval for much larger houses, he also handled the building regulation application.
With his obvious experience Sean was able to do the design work for the house and choose the materials which were to be in the typical Devon vernacular of render and slate.
In order to keep the costs down as much as possible Sean had to be realistic about his competency but amazingly carried out all of the following work himself…
- Assisted with groundworks
- Carried out all 1st Fix Carpentry work
- Installed the underfloor heating, Insulation and vapour control layers
- Felt and battened the slated porch and garage roof
- All external decoration
- Fitted gutters and down pipes
- Fitted skirting and architraves
- All internal decorating
- Ceramic tiling
- Fitted the kitchen
- And all the garden fences and landscaping
“I would definitely build again” says Sean
“But I would never ever decorate a new house again, it was never ending!"
“I still can’t believe that when I pull on to my drive that this house is mine, it was totally worth all the hard work and it’s worth half of much again as it cost us to build, and that’s a real bonus for anyone self-building”
“Before I built my own home I thought I knew all there was to know about self-build. I discovered though that there was another side to it that I wasn’t aware of. The emotional side of it, having now achieved it I can fully empathise with my clients during the whole process and believe I am all the better for it."
The self build journey..
MAIN REASON DECIDED TO BUILD YOUR OWN HOME?
'Couldn’t find a nice place to live that we could afford'
- WHAT INPUT TO DESIGN, MATERIALS DID YOU HAVE?
'I did all of the design work and choosing of materials myself. The house was designed around the typical Devon vernacular of render and slate.'
WHO DEALT WITH PLANNING & B.REGS?
'The site was part of a site for 3 dwellings. I did planning permission for all 3 houses as part of a deal to reduce the purchase price of the plot. I reduce the purchase price by 10% but managed to get the vendor planning permission for much larger houses than the original outline planning permission suggested. I did the building regulations submission as well.'
ROUTE TO BUILD…SELF MANAGED/ PROJECT MANAGED/BUILDER?
'We self-managed the build.'
HOW MUCH WORK DID YOU CARRY OUT?
'In order to reduce costs as much as possible I did as much as work as I was able/competent to do. I did the following myself:-
- Helped with groundworks
- All 1st fix carpentry
- Installed the underfloor heating
- Insulating and vapour control layers
- Felt batten and slated the porch and garage roofs
- External decoration
- Fitted gutters and downpipes
- Fitted skirtings and architraves
- All of the decorating
- Fitted the kitchen
- All of the fences, hard and soft landscaping.'
WHERE DID YOU LIVE DURING THE BUILD?
'We rented a small house in the adjacent village.'
HOW DID FIND THE PLOT?
'By chance!! I was having a meeting with a land sourcing company in Devon to see if an affiliation would be beneficial to Potton. On the way down to the meeting I was thinking of how frustrating it was that we couldn’t find a nice house and so rang my wife to see if she would be interested in us building a house. Her answer ‘well, if you can’t no-one can’ set the wheels in motion. At the meeting, I asked the land-sourcing company if they had plots in mid-Devon to which they replied they had a site for 3 houses near Crediton which they had just sold to a developer who wanted to get detailed planning permission and sell them off as serviced self-build plots. I met the developer the next day, agreed terms, found a place to rent, went home and put our house on the market.'
WHAT WOULD DO DIFFERENT NEXT TIME AND WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?
'I would definitely do it again but I would never, ever, EVER, decorate a new house again.'
ADVANTAGES OF WORKING AT POTTON?
'The knowledge I have gained working a Potton meant the whole process was very familiar to me. Having designed and built over 500 houses for my clients over the years, I had a good understanding of planning, building regulations and the construction process. That said, the day the diggers arrived on the site was a very nervous day.'
IN PERCENTAGE TERMS HOW MUCH IS THE CURRENT VALUE MORE THAN THE FINAL BUILD COST
'The house is worth about 50% more than the cost of building it.'
SINGLE QUOTE ON WHAT YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR HOME?
'I still can’t believe that when I pull on to my drive that this house is mine – it was totally worth all the hard work'
ANY OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST OR WORTH MENTIONING?
'Before I built my own home, I thought I knew all there was to know about self-build. I discovered though that there was another side to self-building which I was wasn’t aware of. The emotional side of it. Having now done it, I can fully empathise with my clients during the whole process and believe I am better for it.'