Tony and Jane Hutchison
Seize the opportunity
• DEPARTMENT / POSITION: Site Director
• YEARS WORKED AT POTTON: 37
• AREA BUILT: Cambridgeshire
• YEAR BUILT: 2011
Having worked at Potton for 37 years and owned various homes in the Cambridgeshire area, Commercial Director Tony Hutchison 63 and his wife Jane 55, were living in a Potton timber frame bungalow previously built by one of the company’s approved builders. The design, the comfort levels and the insulation qualities set them to thinking about building something exclusively for themselves.
In 2011 they came across an opportunity via a friend who offered them first refusal on a very attractive local mature garden plot, the two then set about working alongside the late Clive Plumb an Architect who had been involved with Potton designs from the very beginning. Clive was able to interpret exactly what the couple’s needs and requirements were within the house and what it would look like externally.
Above all else it was to be an open plan layout, it needed to be bright, airy and and spacious and have accommodation for members of their family to stay from time to time.
Jane and Tony had total input into both the design and the materials used on their home and with Tony’s connections and experience they were able to source exactly the products they wanted to use both on the inside and the outside of their barn styled home.
Initially there had been a planning refusal on the design, this unfortunately took a full year to be overturned but could never have been achieved without the help and experience of local planning specialist Martin Page.
Once the Potton kit was on site, Tony and Jane self-managed the whole project themselves using known sub-contractors who they were comfortable with. They did very little of the work themselves, Jane made regular progress visits and they both visited the site at weekends.
What they now have is a finished article that is highly insulated, incorporates underfloor heating, low energy LED lighting all of which keep the running costs to a minimum.
Would they do it again?
Tony 'Yes I would do it again – it was an enjoyable and rewarding experience, the finished house is worth around 45% more than it originally cost us to build.'
Do they have any advice for future self-builders ?
'Although I planned in detail, you can never do enough pre planning this will ultimately control your stress levels, although sitting with a morning coffee by the large glazed window watching the squirrels in the willow trees makes it all just a distant memory!'
'Yes!' Says Jane, 'Building a house is much like having a baby, you soon forget the hard work and are ready to do it again!”
The self build journey..
MAIN REASON DECIDED TO BUILD YOUR OWN HOME?
'Land opportunity - attractive garden plot'
WHAT INPUT TO DESIGN, MATERIALS DID YOU HAVE?
WHO DEALT WITH PLANNING & B.REGS?
'Martin Page, D H Barford & Co'
ROUTE TO BUILD…SELF MANAGED/ PROJECT MANAGED/BUILDER?
'Overturned planning refusal
Structure - self-managed; fit-out - project managed
No Contract Manager'
HOW MUCH WORK DID YOU CARRY OUT?
'Very little - weekends only'
WHERE DID THEY LIVE DURING THE BUILD
'Rented bungalow in Gamlingay'
HOW DID YOU FIND THE PLOT?
'Offered first refusal by friend'
WHAT WOULD DO DIFFERENT NEXT TIME AND WOULD YOU DO IT AGAIN?
'Although I planned in detail, you can never do enough pre planning which ultimately controls your stress levels. Yes I would do it again - it was an enjoyable and rewarding experience.'
ADVANTAGES OF WORKING AT POTTON?
'I was able to easily amend the design ensuring that the kit detail was correct
Effectively hands-on control of manufacture and delivery
Access to supporting trades and established supplier relationships
Staff rate kit price'
ECO PRODUCTS OR RENEWABLES INSTALLED & WHY?
IN PERCENTAGE TERMS HOW MUCH IS THE CURRENT VALUE MORE THAN THE FINAL BUILD COST?
SINGLE QUOTE OJ WHAT YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR HOME?
'Many things - but having morning coffee by the large glazed frame watching the squirrels in the Willow trees'
ANY OTHER POINTS OF INTEREST OR WORTH MENTIONING?
'Initially refused planning and took a full year to overturn'