Peter and Pauline Andrews share their views from stunning reverse level contemporary home
Location: Llandudno, Wales
Plot: Replacement of one-bed brick chalet in garden of existing home
Oakworth Group’s involvement: Oakworth designed, manufactured and erected the timber frame
Home highlights: Soaking up the sea views from the open plan first floor
When Peter and Pauline Andrews visited a self-build exhibition in 2014 they were not short of offers from companies keen to help them realise their dream home.
“We showed our architectural drawings and plans to a number of different suppliers who all really enthused about the design for our reverse level contemporary home. When we visited Oakworth Homes’ stand we were attracted to the company’s ability to design, manufacture and install a high quality insulated timber frame for a reasonable price – but it was their professionalism which really stood out,” says Peter.
The couple, along with their Architect, spent a day at Oakworth’s Building Centre in Sheffield to discuss the plans in more details and tour the timber frame engineering factory. Peter explains why this was time well spent:
“Oakworth’s team of experts were able to make a number of helpful recommendations for the structure which impacted positively on the overall design and we were very impressed with the quality of craftsmanship on display in the factory.”
Oakworth subsequently visited the site in Llandudno a number of times to ensure they understood the complexities of the site before manufacturing the timber frame to exacting specifications.
“The team’s attention to detail shone through when it came to erecting the structure on site – which only took seven days,” says Peter. “It’s an efficient process – but you don’t compromise on quality.”
Other elements of the project unfortunately did not prove as straight forward as those involving Oakworth. From planning permission delays to escalating costs, keeping their first self-build project on track was no mean feat – even with a Project Manager on board. The couple were pleased when Oakworth came to their aid.
“We turned to Oakworth for advice and guidance a number of times when things didn’t go to plan – even though the issues are outside of their remit. They pointed us in the right direction and we have really benefited from their experience and commitment to customer service. They were there for us and we can’t fault them.”
Peter and Pauline’s top three self-build survival tips:
- The planning stage takes patience and perseverance. Ours is an unconventional plot and it took 11 years to get planning permission. You need to make it as easy as possible for the planners to visualise how your new home will look and understand why it is important for you to build it where and how you want to. As our plot is the garden of our existing home it was particularly important to demonstrate how the proposed new home would complement its surroundings – and our Architect achieved this with photo-realistic 3D visualisations. Make sure whoever designs your home is prepared to invest time at the planning stage.
- Flexibility is important. You might start off with an idea of what you want, but as the project evolves other options could be presented to you. We initially started off with a design for a three-bedroomed house, but once the work had been done to excavate into the hill it was apparent that we could increase the size of the property and add a garage.
- People can make or break your self-build. Take up references and look at examples of previous work. Speak to suppliers at self-build exhibitions and choose carefully. There’s a lot to be said for reliable, experienced companies like Oakworth who go the extra mile with customer care.