Bringing a 1950s bungalow into the present

The project

When I (Oliver) bought a derelict 1950s bungalow, as a personal property development project, I wanted to transform it into a modern, contemporary house. Eventually I managed to get planning approval, during the Plan It stage, but it took time, because the council wasn't initially happy with the height and bulk of the proposed house, nor the modern materials I wanted to use. However, by providing evidence that similar materials were used on the same road, and by reducing the pitch of the roof, the council was satisfied, and permission was granted. But then another hurdle arose. I had to carry out a bat survey, at the council's insistence. Bat surveys involve many hours of monitoring and observation by experts. The survey found that bats were indeed present - both grey long-eared and pipistrelle species - which was great news for the conservation of wildlife species in the area but meant a delay to my project as bat protection is a very important legal concern. On this occasion, we had to install temporary bat boxes, and use the services of a licensed bat handler when it was time to remove the old roof.

How the homebuilding essentials team helped

Bats taken care of, we could then really get things underway. Working with my trusted design team, who now provide their services through homebuilding essentials, the next step meant fully designing the project. We started with a timber frame company, who worked on the design, supply and fit of the frame as a whole package. It was duly checked by building control, and plan check approval was given. This was a significant milestone, because it meant I could draw-up a scope of works for each trade to be involved with the project and use it to tender and agree the best prices for the job. This was a lot of work, but it saved me literally thousands of pounds on building costs. I visited the site daily, managed all the work, solved issues that arose, and carefully managed costs and budgets.

homebuilding essentials says

Managing a project like this yourself can be enormously rewarding, but be realistic: it is a big role, so you must be aware of all the factors involved, and Plan It well. As a so-called 'self-builder' in this kind of scenario, it will be up to you to source, negotiate and supply most of the materials for the project, and that's where you can really save money. Whatever you do, make sure you plan methodically, focusing on all the details, stay on top of everything during the Build It phase. And that's where homebuilding essentials' step-by-step guidance can really help.

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