• Q:Why are the majority of self-builds using timber frame construction and what are the advantages?
  • 70% of all new homes built worldwide use timber-frame construction and this is the method of construction preferred by the NHBC, the UK’s largest house insurers.

    Some of the advantages of the Scandia-Hus timber-frame construction are :-

    By manufacturing the timber frames under factory-controlled conditions, a consistently high quality can be maintained, and the exceptionally high levels of pre-fabrication of a Scandia-Hus frame ensure speed of construction and provide a cost-effective build.

    Scandia-Hus timber frames are produced using high-tech Swedish technology and quality Scandinavian timber and components, providing extremely low maintenance homes.

    All Scandia-Hus homes are supplied with triple glazed windows and near Arctic levels of insulation which, coupled with their airtight construction, provide some of the most energy-efficient houses available today.

    Lower running costs are yet another benefit of a highly insulated timber-frame structure.

    Timber-frame construction is based on the use of sustainable resources, which helps protect the environment by reducing harmful emissions to the atmosphere.

    In brief, energy saving, reduced maintenance, low running costs, speed of construction and superior quality are but a few of the advantages offered by timber-frame construction.

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  • Q:What does Scandia-Hus actually do?
  • Scandia-Hus was established in the early 1970s and now, over 45 years later, we are the largest designer and supplier of Swedish timber-frame homes in the UK. Our services incorporate all aspects of planning and design, including the preparation and submission of planning and building regulations. Our quality timber frame structures are erected by highly trained teams on sites throughout the UK. We also provide assistance with your chosen build route; self build, project management, main contractor, or turnkey, offering site support and technical back-up throughout your project.

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  • Q:Will building my own house save money?
  • There is no doubt that you will save money by self-building your new home. A figure commonly quoted is a saving of in the region of 30%. However, this will depend on the build route you choose and your personal level of involvement in the build.

    If you decide to manage the build yourself, you will be the one who buys materials, runs the site, organises work schedules and finds and engages each specialist contractor. This method will bring the greatest saving, but ideally requires previous project management experience, plus a great deal of time to spare.

    Or you can employ a project manager on your site full time; a skilled professional who will hire sub-contractors, purchase materials, supervise the work, approve stage payments and run the project for you. A good project manager can help you make economies, which in most cases will cover their fees.

    Finally, you may decide to appoint a single contractor to build your entire house. Working with the builder will still keep you closely involved while at the same time taking a lot of worry away from you, thus making the project less of a task and more of a pleasure.

    Selecting any of the above options, or a combination of all three, allows you to choose whatever degree of involvement in the day-to-day running of your site you prefer, and will obviously determine the final degree of savings you make on your self-build project. However, there will always be a saving compared to purchasing a finished house from a developer, who will obviously have included an element of profit for themself in their asking price.

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  • Q:How do I locate possible locations for my building plot?
  • Local Estate Agents

    The most obvious way to find a plot is through an estate agent. Up to 80% of building plots are bought and sold through estate agents, who may either already have plots for sale on their books or may be willing to negotiate to find one on your behalf.

    Ask the estate agents also to notify you about sub-standard houses and bungalows that come onto their books. It may make better financial sense to demolish these to create a building plot, rather than renovating them.

    In Scotland, solicitors virtually act as estate agents when it comes to selling land and many issue regular lists of plots and other properties for sale.

    Auction Sales

    Plots are frequently sold at auction. Check with local papers and estate agents for announcements.

    Newspapers and Magazines

    Local newspapers often advertise building land for sale, so ensure you buy all local publications. You could also try advertising yourself under ‘Land Wanted’.

    Other good sources for plots are publications like Exchange & Mart, Country Life, Build-It, Home Building & Renovating and Self-Build & Design .

    Local Councils and Other Land-Owners

    Local Councils and other public bodies as well as major industrial conglomerates also own land. You may therefore extend your search for a building site to include your Local Authority, the Church of England, Railtrack, British Coal or any of the utility companies as well as industry giants who may have land to sell. You could ask your solicitor or surveyor to make an approach on your behalf or simply write a letter direct to the Estates Department, Chief Executive or appropriate Area Manager.

    Local Authorities sometimes also sell serviced plots.

    Developers and Other Professionals

    Developers and local builders may also have spare single plots. However, beware that they do not offer to sell you the plot only on condition that they undertake the build, unless you feel comfortable with this.

    It may also be worth contacting local surveyors, solicitors, architects and other property professionals asking if they know of any building plots for sale.

    Local Plan

    All local councils have a Development Plan and from this you may be able to see where planning permission is most likely to be granted. You will be able to inspect the Plan at the local council offices.

    Self Help

    Self-builders frequently track down land for themselves:-

    Once you know the area you would like to live in, talk to the locals. Visit the pub and the post office and chat to people. Drive and walk around and keep your eyes as well as your ears open.

    It may also pay to knock on doors asking if owners of large houses have ever considered selling off parts of their gardens.

    Place your own advertisement in the local paper of your selected area specifying that you are looking for a plot with outline planning permission.

    You might also consider putting up a reward for information leading to the acquisition of a plot.

    Search Internet property sites for building plots.

    Land Finding Agencies

    There are a number of land-finding companies, such as BuildStore (CLICK HERE), who operate nationally and specialize in searching for building plots. These can be found on the Internet, in the self-build magazines and at the self-build exhibitions.

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  • Q:I have found a plot of land that looks suitable but how do I trace the owner?
  • Should you find a suitable site, but be unable to uncover the owner, you will be able to find out to whom the land belongs by checking with the Land Registry: The Information Centre, HM Land Registry, 32 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH. Telephone: 0207 917 8888.

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  • Q:What should I do when I have located a likely plot?
  • Ascertain the exact position of the boundaries, find out the exact dimensions, check that all the services you may require (gas, electricity, water, sewage) are available within a reasonable distance. Check with the service providers. Find out the situation with regard to planning and ascertain whether any restrictive covenants are applicable to the site. Contact Scandia-Hus for further advice and guidance.

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  • Q:What is OPP as opposed to DPP?
  • OPP = Outline planning permission. This means that the site has permission from the Local Authority, which establishes the principle of erecting a dwelling within a given site.

    DPP = Detailed planning permission. This means that detailed plans and elevations as well as a site plan have been submitted for the construction of a specific house design, and that these have been approved and permission granted by the Local Authority.

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  • Q:Can Scandia-Hus design any home?
  • Yes – we offer a complete bespoke design service. Amongst the homes we have designed and built can be found every conceivable blueprint and style. 

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  • Q:Do you cover the whole of the UK?
  • Yes. And further afield if requested.

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  • Q:How should I draw up my budget?
  • On completion of your final design, we will prepare a detailed costing for the supply of your building set. We will also provide a guideline budget cost for the actual construction work to help you plan your overall budget.

    We appreciate that finding the ideal site and obtaining planning permission can take some time, so when we present costs, we guarantee to hold our price for nine months from the receipt of a Reservation Order.

    If required, we will also provide advice on how to finance your project and we can assist in arranging mortgages and insurance cover.

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  • Q:Will I have to build the house myself?
  • There would appear to be three preferred build routes. These are:

    Self-build/manage the build yourself.

    Engage a professional Project Manager to manage the project for you.

    Appoint a single contractor to undertake the complete build.

    For further details see above under the section headed ‘Will building my own house save me money?’

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  • Q:How long will it take to build my dream home?
  • If you decide to use a main contractor to construct your new home, the house should be completed and ready to move into in approximately 26 weeks. However, this will of course depend on the size and complexity of the design.

    A slightly extended time frame is to be expected with a project-managed build. However, for a true ‘self-build’ project it is impossible to estimate the total build time, as this will depend entirely on the speed at which you yourself will be able to move the project ahead.

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  • Q:Can I get the same energy efficiency by using brick and block?
  • It would be virtually impossible to achieve the same energy efficiency as that of a timber-frame dwelling. Indeed, endeavouring to get anywhere near the same efficiency from a brick & block constructed house would dramatically increase construction costs.

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  • Q:How are timber frame houses different from a masonry house?
  • In simple terms, the ‘breeze-block’ structure of a typical masonry house is replaced with an engineered timber frame structure, which is insulated with foil-backed rigid insulation board as well as mineral wool insulation and finished with plasterboard to the inside. The outside of the frame is then clad in brick, block and render, stone, tiles, timber or proprietary boarding to match the surrounding properties.

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  • Q:Will a timber frame house look different?
  • No. Timber-frame houses can be clad in any of the materials listed above – brick, block and render, stone, tiles, timber or proprietary boarding – and can be given a Traditional, Cottage, Contemporary, Victorian, Tudor or any other style of appearance to suit its owners and the surrounding properties.

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  • Q:Will my timber frame house be as strong as a brick and block house?
  • The answer is emphatically “yes”. Each house is meticulously manufactured to extremely exacting standards and computer aided design, coupled with hundreds of years of practical experience, mean that in many ways timber frame homes will out-perform brick and block houses. Brick and masonry construction was after all introduced only some 100 years ago, prior to which timber-frame was the ‘traditional’ construction method for all homes.

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  • Q:How long can I expect my timber frame home to last?
  • Remember that timber-frames have been around for centuries and there are many examples of houses going back to the 12th Century. These structures didn’t have the benefit of pressure-impregnated timbers, galvanised fixings, DPCs and plastic vapour barriers, etc. like we do today, so you may rest assured that your timber-frame home will still be there for your great grandchildren to enjoy, and beyond.

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  • Q:What happens if my timber frame home catches fire?
  • Contrary to some people’s beliefs, timber performs well in fire. Unlike other forms of construction – e.g. masonry and steel – it doesn’t deflect at high temperatures. As a result, break- and flash-points can be carefully calculated, and all Scandia-Hus structures exceed current building regulations requirements relating to fire.

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  • Q:Are timber frame homes quiet?
  • Yes, modern timber frame systems enjoy better acoustic insulation qualities than masonry or steel systems and fully conform to, or exceed, the latest Building Regulations requirements.

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  • Q:Will I be able to obtain a mortgage or take out insurance on a timber frame house?
  • Yes. Insurance companies generally draw no distinction between modern timber frame and brick and block construction, provided the external roof covering consists of clay or concrete tiles, or natural or mineral slates.

    If required, we can also assist in arranging mortgages and insurance cover.

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  • Q:How can I see examples of Scandia-Hus homes?
  • You can visit our show centre in West Sussex, here we have three show homes – one contemporary style home, a traditional build and a chalet bungalow design.

    The show centre is open Monday – Saturday, with additional Open Days throughout the year.

    If you would like to make an appointment to visit, please contact us:
    01342 838060 or alternatively email sales@scandia-hus.co.uk

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