What do we actually do?

24 November 2017 Paul Newman, Self Build Director

Working with Potton

Potton contemporary self build home in Devon

I guess like many businesses, we are frequently asked by potential customers “What do you actually do?” Also, I suspect like others we think it’s obvious what we do! Apparently, it’s not and inevitably, we’re too close to see the wood for the trees.

At its core, what we do really is rather simple:

  • We design bespoke houses for our customers, make planning applications for them and normally secure permission.

  • We prepare and submit Building Regulation applications and then take the design forward to a point where we can manufacture the customers chosen timber building system.

  • We supply a package of products including the building superstructure, windows, doors, stairs, joinery and a whole house insulation pack.

We are often described by self build magazines as a ‘Package Company’ and whilst I bristle with irritation at the term I also acknowledge that it is usefully descriptive because in essence we provide our customers with a package of services and products that help them construct their new home.

At this point it’s probably helpful to try and explain what we do at each stage in a bit more detail.

Potton Self Build CGI of a contemporary home

In 2017 well over half of the houses we designed were completely bespoke. The remainder of our customers will have taken something that we have designed previously as a starting point and then developed a unique version of it from there.

In 2018 and beyond, I expect that even more of our work will be completely bespoke; the days of customers selecting designs from a catalogue are well and truly drawing to a close.

By all means, take inspiration from our previous work but there is no need to be constrained by what we’ve done in the past – we’re certainly not.

Of course if you’ve fallen in love with one of our show homes and it works on your plot – then go for it.

Potton Brochure Download hi-res

Download Our Ideas Book & Budget Guide

  • Your journey with us
  • Show centre map
  • Show house floor plans
  • Guide build cost table

Access the brochure here

Creating a Design Brief

House design bubble diagram and floorplans

Did you know that we can design you a bespoke home to suit your needs and the layout and size of the plot. Our Ideas Book is not a catalogue of designs, but rather a tool to help and inspire you when making design and layout choices at the start of the process.

Perhaps surprisingly, one of the things we really struggle with is getting customers to produce a clearly articulated design brief.

At the moment, I find that a prioritised bullet pointed list that runs from “must have” through “we’d really like” to “it would be nice if” works very well alongside simple bubble diagrams showing how you’d like us to link and configure spaces along with a few photographs of other houses and features you like.

It’s worth noting that if you start drawing for us then you’ll get back a refined and regulatory compliant version of what you’ve given us – so try to resist the temptation.

Building Control

The information that we provide to Building Control is comprehensive and includes everything that they need to give a plan check approval except for the design of the foundations and ground floor.

We have well-trodden paths to external consultants who have designed foundations for literally thousands of Potton customers over the years and a wonderful partnership arrangement with our Local Authority Building Control which streamlines the checking and inspection process wherever your site is in the country.

The timber frame (Kingspan Logic+ / Ultima™) and structural insulated panel (Kingspan TEK®) systems we provide to our customers have excellent sustainability credentials and unrivalled thermal characteristics because of the high performance Kingspan insulation products they utilis.

You can see our build systems on display at our Self Build Show Centre in St Neots.

Our systems are manufactured / fabricated in our own factory and where appropriate are tested and/or certified by independent external agencies. See article on Proving our performance for more information on our building systems.

We always construct the building structure that we have manufactured and if we supply windows and external doors then we fit these as well.

The insulation pack and internal joinery items are supply only, because of construction process phasing and because their installation is within the competency of most site teams.

However, in situations where the staircase design looks particularly complex we will fit that as well.

Building & Project Management

Self-builders on site
We are not builders and do not directly provide a complete construction service.

However, we have a network of independent Project Managers and Main Contractors who have worked with us and our customers previously, in many cases for a long time and are happy to provide introductions to them if their services might be of interest.

About 40% of our customers decide to manage the build themselves and we provide a comprehensive guide and training course, along with the support of a Contracts Manager, to help them deliver and complete a safe, cost effective and good quality build. We also maintain a list of sub-contractors recommended by previous Potton customers.

So, in essence, we're an architectural and planning practice linked to a manufacturing facility that provides a range of third party construction and installation services and signposts our customers to products and services provided by others. Simples!

Work with us

Potton self build home twilight shot
If you have a building plot and want to find out more about our design and planning services then email us or call 01767 676400 to dicuss your project with one of our expert Self Build Consultants.

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Potton Head Office

Eltisley Road

Great Gransden


SG19 3AR

441767 676400