Many of us buy cars from Germany, some do it with houses. This is the case for one of our clients who has kindly agreed for us to share their self build project. It involves the design and (lightening quick) build of a new German house on the south coast of Dorset.

M & DAfter much research, exploration and factory visits, Keith and Christine decided to enlist Hanse Haus to create their dream self build. Hanse Haus provide low energy pre-fabricated homes, built in modular form in a German factory using Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPS), then shipped and assembled in the UK.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to keep you updated with progress on this blog, and describe the various milestones involved in making this ‘haus’ a reality. Let’s look at the journey so far…

Finding a Plot

In this instance, an existing but tired 1960’s house was bought on a promising plot with the intention of demolishing it and starting from scratch.

Creating a Design

0An architect was used to help produce the design and plans, then a construction method was chosen. Building with SIPS allows for a lot of flexibility, so the plans could be handed over to Hanse Haus with minimal changes required to the design.

Here, the client has opted for a minimalist contemporary design, in keeping with modern German architecture.

When asked why they chose to have a German house built, Keith told us “It was for a whole host of reasons, but of primary importance is the quality of design and construction, the high thermal insulation and airtightness, quality of materials and fittings and finishes. We also take great comfort from agreed cost and build time, budget control, confidence in the people, quality of the build and the rapidity to reach a built-up structure. Thermal efficiency and low future running costs are also really key to us going forward”.

Gaining the Planning Approval

The first architectural design was refused on the basis of size and position with respect to the neighbors’ outlook so modifications needed to be made to meet the requirements of the planning authorities. Once planning approval was granted and the final design confirmed, work could begin.

Preparing the Site

First of all, the existing house was demolished and the site was cleared to allow for groundworks and new foundations to be laid. The concrete base was then cast on top. Once completed and checked for accuracy, the site was ready for the German team to arrive.

Day One – Arrival of the German Team

A total of 10 lorries brought all the panels and materials necessary in assembling the house but the work is being carried out by just four chaps! A local crane was used to lift the panels into position and slot the pieces together like a jigsaw. As it was all manufactured by machine, the precision is down to a matter of millimeters.

The structure is expected to go up in just a matter of days. So far, it’s Day 1 and the entire ground floor has been assembled (external and internal walls).

To be continued…