Squirrel Wood brings custom homes choice to Hampshire

Squirrel Wood self build homes

A new Customer Choice Centre has opened at Squirrel Wood, Design Your Home’s large custom build development in Hampshire, on a Homes England site. The centre includes a range of products, design solutions and options for people to choose from, giving them first hand experience of the choices on offer for their Custom and Self Build homes – a first for the UK. Customers can choose from a range of doors, skirtings, kitchens and bathrooms, as well as external cladding and bricks choices.

Situated just 10 minutes from Basingstoke, Phase 2 of Squirrel Wood is now on the market, offering Self Build, Custom Build or ‘Custom Choice’ opportunities, marketed through Custom Build Homes.

Starting from £260,000 for a Custom Build and £350,000 for a Custom Choice, the plots are part of the larger 122-plot site, where all planning is agreed in advance with Basingstoke Council for the range of design options on offer. This is pre-approval contributes to faster delivery, especially in comparison to going through the planning process individually, meaning homes can be delivered in a six month timeframe.

Self Build Choice

With its range of approaches, Squirrel Wood offers a vision for how customised homes can be delivered in the future, with customers have a series of choices to reflect their needs and circumstances, allowing them to balance choice with knowledge, time and budget.

Custom Build: At Squirrel Wood the Custom Build option gets you a fully-serviced plot with the choice of an internal layout from a wide range of pre-approved options. Once the plot is purchased customers enter into a contract with Design Your Home to build the property.

Using the Customer Choice Centre customers can select their internal and external preferences, giving them a truly personalised build, without the need for any construction knowledge.

Custom Choice: With the Custom Choice option the structure of the property is constructed prior to marketing, and customers have freedom to tailor the interiors. Unlike the Custom Build route, you pay for the property on completion, meaning you can choose a regular new build mortgage, or access the Help to Buy scheme. Custom-choice homes at Squirrel Wood can be completed within just four months.

Self Build: There are also a select number of Self Build plots on offer, with a Design Code establishing the rules around what is allowed in build terms.

Squirrel Wood aerial shot
New homes under construction at Squirrel Wood, with serviced plots laid out

For the custom options, there’s a range of house types to choose from, including 2-3 bed and 3-4 bed options, with further choices available depending on the plot type and route you choose.

What’s on offer:

Type A House: a 2-3 bedroom, terraced Custom Build home, with the option of a closed- or open-plan ground floor. Upstairs the space can be configured as two large bedrooms or three bedrooms with space for a study.
Type B House: a 2-3 bedroom, terraced Custom Build home with either a closed- or open-plan ground floor. Customers can have two large bedrooms, or three beds with an en-suite.
Type D Self Build Plot Only: a building plot with permission to build a detached 4 bedroom home. The Design Code sets the parameters of your design and, providing you satisfy these criteria, then you don’t need further planning consent.
Type F House: a 3-4 bedroom detached Custom Build or Choice home, with the choice of the kitchen at the front or the rear, and the option of an extra room with an extension. Again you can choose a two or three bed option upstairs.

The first custom homes on the site are now in their build phase, with first completions expected in the new year.

Kim Slowe, managing director of designyourhome.com said,“For far too long purchasers of new build homes in the UK have been given very little or no choice on both the layout and fitting out of their home. This makes little sense given that a home is likely to be the biggest purchase that an individual will ever make. designyourhome.com changes that. It gives homebuyers real choices whilst keeping the purchase and build process very simple. designyourhome.com has been designed to put the consumer in control for the very first time.”

Squirrel Wood is one of the Government’s original pilot scheme for innovative new Custom and Self Build housing, as set up by Homes England. The Homes England development is on the site of the Park Prewett hospital, with Design Your Home set up to bring Custom Build housing into the mainstream, as part of the vision of Places for People, the company behind it.

 

Design Your Homes next development, Marlborough Park in Swindon, is due to launch in September, bringing custom homes to Wiltshire.

 

NaCSBA Member Message

Get timber frame assurance with Structural Timber Association members

STA Website

There are many considerations when embarking upon building your dream home, but one of the most important is choosing the build system and making sure you have all the relevant information prior to making the decision. Should you choose a timber frame, then a member of the Structural Timber Association offers a level of reassurance that you’re choosing a reputable and reliable company for what is, probably, the single largest purchase on your project.

With impressive environmental credentials, combined with delivering cost and programme certainty – intelligent, integrated timber systems are now driving innovation in the self build sector – offering more choice than ever before.

Achieving Best Quality and Value

With assurances being of primary importance, there are a host of reasons why self builders should partner with a member of the Structural Timber Association (STA).

The STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme assessment creates a clear distinction in the expected performance levels of STA members and non-members.

Only STA members undergo the rigorous independent audit, providing transparency, credibility and accountability, thereby safeguarding the interests of end users and enabling them to partner with reputable member companies to harness the multitude of inherent benefits that structural timber offers.

Timber frame confidence

Working with an STA member means you can build with confidence knowing that your main project partner achieves the highest levels of quality across a range of industry standards. To provide qualifiable evidence of excellence, STA structural timber building system supplier members must all:

  • Undergo an independent audit for the STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme on an annual basis
  • Operate Site Safe procedures to ensure timber construction is both safe and sustainable
  • Receive regular updates on the latest building regulations and legislation
  • Fully support sustainable construction and quality standards

 

Advice guides

The STA also has some useful documents in its self build section that can support consumers, including:

  • Stick Build v Pre-Manufactured: Making the Right Choice
  • Mortgage Advice for Self Builders
  • Timber; the solid choice for your self-build

Visit the STA’s Self Build section for more information.

STA Assure is recognised by the NHBC and seven of the industry’s leading structural warranty and building control bodiesNHBC, LABC Warranty, Premier Guarantee, Protek Warranty, Build-Zone, Self-Build Zone and ABC+ Warranty.
The Structural Timber Association’s website has a wealth of information including a specific self build zone, together with a document library and a ‘find a member’ facility.
For more information visit the STA website  or follow them on twitter or linkedin.

 

NaCSBA Member Message

SME builders show dip in workload for first time in six years, reports FMB

FMB State of Trade Survey

Research by the Federation of Master Builders has pointed to a dip in the workload for small and medium-sized(SME) construction firms for the first time in six years. The FMB’s State of Trade Survey for Q1 2019 has found that SME firms have now moved into negative movement in terms of construction, following a years of uncertainty around Brexit, with materials rising in cost and a skill shortage continuing to take its toll.

The key results are as follows:

  • For the first time in six years SME workloads declined – with lower workloads of 29% compared compared to 13% over the last three months of 2018;
  • However, expectations for future work increased with 41% of construction SMEs expecting higher workloads over the next quarter, up from 33% the last quarter of 2018;
  • Equally good news was that skills shortages eased slightly for some professions.However, this was attributed to less competition due to lower workloads. Bricklayers remained in demand, with 64% of firms struggling to source them;
  • A massive 88% of firms expect material prices to continue to rise in the next six months;
  • At 71%, nearly three-quarters of construction SMEs expect salaries and wages to increase over the next two quarters, up from 66% in the last survey.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “This dip follows three years of political uncertainty, which have taken their toll on the SME construction sector. A perfect storm of diminished consumer confidence, rising material prices and increases in wages and salaries has resulted in the construction SME sector detracting for the first time in six years.

“These results are also very much in line with recent stats from the ONS and PMI data, all of which point to a wobble in the construction industry. Consumers and businesses alike are understandably putting off large investment decisions while the never-ending Brexit negotiations rumble on.

“Worse still, our latest research reveals record-breaking results for expected material price rises with almost 90 per cent of firms predicting that they will increase further in the coming months. This is bad news for builders and consumers alike as construction projects, large and small, become more expensive to deliver.”To support the industry and stimulate growth, the FMB is campaigning for the Government to cut the VAT on home improvement work. This would see a reduction in VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent on all housing repair, maintenance and improvement (RM&I) work. The FMB believes that reducing VAT on RM&I work could boost the UK economy by more than £15bn over a five-year period, which is supported by independent research by Experian.

Berry concluded: “The Government must do what it can to boost the economy during this time of political uncertainty and that’s why we’re calling for a reduction in VAT. Such a VAT reduction has the backing of more than 60 charities, trade associations, business groups and financial firms as there is no other policy that would achieve so many of the Government’s economic, environmental and social aims with so little cost to the public purse. At a time of continued political uncertainty and a dip in construction output, a VAT reduction for RM&I is exactly what the UK economy is crying out for.”

How Experian compiled the FMB’s State of Trade Survey

The report was compiled by Experian in Q1 2019 from 289 construction SMEs that responded to the survey. The results reflect balances – ie the number of firms reporting a rise in workload against the number of firms showing no change or a fall, giving a qualitative, as opposed to quantitative, overview.

Border Oak wins planning for six-home West Sussex Custom Build site

Border Oak Threals Lane

Working with property agent Fidẽlitãs to secure the land, Border Oak Design & Construction is bringing Threals Lane to market, offering six large, Arts and Crafts bespoke custom build homes near the West Sussex village of West Chiltington.

The 5.43 acre site has recently received planning permission for the new homes, which range in size from 3,000-6,000 sq. ft. All the homes will be designed and built by award-winning Border Oak with traditional, handmade oak-framed construction, and the secluded plots range in size from 0.25 – 0.91 acres. Guide prices expected to start from around £500,000 up to £1 million per plot.

Set on ‘no through lane’ close to the popular conservation village of West Chiltington, the homes will be built to the detailed planning permission, to buyer’s bespoke design and finish specification.

The Custom Build route offers an opportunity to create a made-to-order family home, and is perfect for would-be builders, as the guidance and design expertise of Custom Build professionals simplifies and de-risks the process.

Custom build as a route to market for landowners

Fidẽlitãs worked with the landowner to get to point where the plots were awarded planning permission, and the property agent recommends any landowner looking for a route to market to consider Custom Build as a viable way forwards, not least because it offers a more palatable form of development for councils and communities.

Alan Thompson, managing director at Fidẽlitãs, said: “Landowners may wish to sell their land but do not always want to see an estate-style development of identical homes that often attracts much opposition from their neighbours; the opportunity to deliver homes on a plot-by-plot basis for Custom Builders is an attractive alternative.”

While the external layout and design of the development is subject to the approved detailed planning permission, the buyer of each home has creative freedom of choice in terms of the internal specification of all fixtures and fittings. The bespoke nature of schemes like the one in Threals Lane is more likely to find favour and support from local authorities – and the wider community – and can unlock land for development more quickly than high-density schemes.”

A Border Oak home
Border Oak creates stunning homes using traditional oak building techniques, such as this manor house home. The designs at Threals Lane will take this traditional design route.

Border Oak home

Oakley Orchards brings custom build vision to Essex

Custom Build Homes is marketing Oakley Orchards, a 51-home custom build scheme on the edge of Great Oakley in Essex.

The homes are designed around a scheme that’s car-free at its centre, with parking and garages arranged around the edge of the development, creating a pedestrian-friendly scheme interspersed with communal spaces and orchards. The organic approach to the design gives the development meandering paths and streets, with plenty of adjacent parking close by.

Village Makers, the company enabling the site, have created a series of serviced plots that come with Detailed Planning Permission (DPP), with an agreed build contract to provide a customisable home built to Passive House standard. Building to this standard ensures that the homes will be extremely energy efficient, helping to ensure low running costs.

Buyers have almost complete freedom internally to design their home’s layout and finishes, with six house types to choose from, ranging between 2-5 bedrooms.

Designed with the concept of community in mind, the smaller properties are expected to appeal to a mix of first-time buyers and downsizers. The scheme offers a vision of quiet village lifestyle combined with extremely energy efficient homes that are ideal for a future-proof retirement.

The custom build element also enables purchasers to choose from a palette of exterior materials to personalise their home, such as coloured render, brick or timber cladding. The planning consent for house types ensures that, regardless of these personal choices, the scheme will read as a single coherent design.
Oakley Orchards house type 1Oakley Orchards house type 2Oakley Orchards house type 3

Three of the six house types available

Purchasers benefit from only paying stamp duty on the plot, as opposed to the finished house, which can generate savings of up to £15,000. Buyers have 18 months to complete the construction of their house from purchase, to ensure the scheme is built on in a timely manner.

The project has been enabled by a local farmer, Pete Thompson, in joint venture with Village Makers, in a great example of how custom build can connect local landowners with quality development that values placemaking.

Ryan Blair, Head of Operations at Custom Build Homes said, “Oakley Orchards is a great example of a residential development which has been designed with a complete focus on improving the lifestyle of all those who will live there.

By adopting a custom build process, the developer has ensured residents will benefit from both a house that works for them and a well-considered new neighbourhood with community at is core. Custom Build Homes are excited to be working with Village Makers to promote Oakley Orchards and we look forward to supporting buyers throughout the sales process and beyond.”

Custom Build Homes are the sole selling agent for Oakley Orchards, with plots ranging from £55,000 to £310,000. Build costs vary depending on spec and the size of the build, but Village Makers anticipate build costs to range between £1,400 to £1,600 per sqm.
Find out more at Oakley Orchards website, or visit Custom Build Homes to find out more about purchasing a plot at this unique development.

As an estate agent, Custom Build Homes also has a range of other developments that it is marketing across the UK.

Teignbridge District Council brings on a range of Custom and Self-build opportunities

Thanks to its percentage rule for serviced plots, Teignbridge District Council is permissioning a range of opportunities for Custom and Self-builders in the South West.

Teignbridge District Council has a percentage allocation rule for serviced-plots, and through this it’s permissioning a range of developments, bringing on more opportunities for anyone in the area wanting to create their own home.
The percentage rule is a policy that requires sites of 20 homes or more to provide at least 5% of housing plots to be set aside for Custom or Self-build, usually through a serviced-plot model.
When combined with a wider overview of demand for serviced plots, this percentage approach can provide a viable route to land for anyone interested in owner-commissioned homes.
The biggest recent project to receive Custom Build allowances is a proposed 1,350-home scheme on the outskirts of Exminster.
The scheme, covering over 220 acres of land between Alphington Village and Exminster, will include new housing, a surgery, community centre and school, as well as a minimum of 30 Custom Build plots.
The scheme is the largest housing project approved by Teignbridge District Council, and it has taken developer Bovis Homes almost 18 months to finalise the details with the planners.

Teignbridge District Council has also approved plans for a second housing development at Station Hill, Chudleigh (pictured).
This scheme will deliver 229-homes, built by Linden Homes, including a foot and cycleway, allotments and playground.
Of the 229 homes, 46 will be affordable housing and 11 will be custom build plot opportunities.

Although a long way from coming to market, with planning permssion granted at these locations anyone considering an owner-commissioned home in the South West should be keeping an eye on these sites as possible plot opportunities for the future.