Scandia-Hus Case Studies -

Happy in their Hus for Forty Years

Bob had always been a keen DIYer and in the early 1980’s he decided that he wanted to embark on the ultimate DIY project, to build his own home, alongside his wife Jenny.

Timber Frame Bungalow

The couple began by looking at several options through exhibitions and in the press. They came across an advertisement for Scandia-Hus in a self-build magazine and proceeded to visit the company’s show site in East Grinstead.

Bob was aware of the advantages of timber frame homes including the ease and speed of construction, but the couple found Scandia’s Swedish design, superior quality and advanced energy-saving features particularly impressive and way ahead of other companies. They also felt that Scandia’s timber frame system and flexible build package lent itself very well to their limited construction skills.

In 1983, after two years of searching, countless visits and constant contact with local estate agent offices, they finally found an ideal quarter-acre plot in the village of Blackham. Located in a rural area of East Sussex, close to the border with Kent, a short drive from where they lived in Royal Tunbridge Wells, the property was within easy travelling distance to work and family.

The site was heavily overgrown but benefitted from outline planning permission for a single dwelling. Following consultations and site visits, Scandia prepared plans and submitted the detailed planning application on the couple’s behalf, which was approved with no major problems to overcome.

One of the main issues Bob and Jenny encountered during the process of their self-build was the struggle for finance. They had some money available to them but had to rely on additional funds from the bank, which at that time was charging over 16% interest on financial products. Consequently, accurate costings and economical purchases were critical throughout the project.

 

Unfortunately, when the groundworks commenced early in 1984 the building inspector demanded much larger footings than specified owing to the clay subsoil. This nearly doubled the amount of ready-mixed concrete required in the trenches, ultimately doubling the cost and exceeding the budget for the foundations.

Bob and Jenny did much of the manual labour themselves, with the assistance of family and friends, however, they had a huge amount of continuous support from Scandia who were always available with useful advice and practical help. And when later in the project Bob fell from the roof and broke his wrist, leaving him unable to progress with the bungalow, Scandia sent one of their timber frame erectors back, who worked long hours for two weeks to keep the pair on target, saving them from real problems.

The couple moved into their new home in October 1984, but with mortgage interest rates increasing nationally the Bank Manager insisted they couldn’t afford the payments and would have to sell the property. However, they were determined to keep their dream alive and as a result of a very hard year living on an extremely limited budget, they managed to make it work. Bob and Jenny secured an affordable mortgage and thankfully were able to keep their hard-earned home.

Bob and Jenny built Scandia’s ‘Onsala’ bungalow which is a typical representative of the 1980s style. The design provided everything they wanted, including three bedrooms, two reception rooms, a kitchen, utility and two bathrooms. Incorporating triple glazing, high levels of insulation and a low energy heating system, standard for Scandia but innovative at the time, means that their home is environmentally friendly and economical to run.

Looking back, despite all the challenges they faced, Bob and Jenny found their experience great fun; from finding and clearing the site to seeing the timber frame being delivered on the back of a large articulated lorry and watching as the house grew. Forty years later, their home is still loved as much as the day it was built. The couple wholeheartedly endorse Scandia and thoroughly enjoyed the adventure of the self build process.