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.

In the last post, we covered Day 1 of the build phase and the entire ground floor assembly had been completed. Let’s look at how the project progressed over the course of that week.

On Day 2, work began on the first floor and, though this is a SIPs house with a timber structure, some of the larger expanses of space (such as in the kitchen/diner) required steel beams to provide the required structural strength without the need for a pillar in the middle of the room.


One of the benefits of building with this type of approach is not just the inherent fabric efficiency, with external walls achieving a U-value of 0.13W/m2K for instance, but the ease and speed at which the house can be built. The stairs can be lowered into position by crane, for example, ahead of the first floor walls being assembled. Similarly, the windows, if they are not already factory fitted as part of the wall, can be slotted into position within a matter of minutes.

After 3 days, work began on the third floor – the attic and roof. An entire section was pre-prepared making up the gable ends. The workers made full use of the crane and the lack of roof to place the roof tiles onto the third floor ready for the next phase of the build.


The German team had arrived on site on the Tuesday and by the Saturday morning, they had met their deadline of finishing the roof structure in time for a ‘Richtfest’ – a topping out ceremony typical in Germany. Friends, family and build related colleagues were invited to come and witness this traditional event. The foreman put on his Richtfest attire and climbed to the top of the scaffolding from where he read out a German poem, got the crowd to raise their glasses and cheer a few times before closing the ceremony with the smash of a glass.

Now what remains is to build up the roof, the floors, render the exterior, fit the building services and decorate. We will cover this third stage in a future post.

Til next time…