I have the land...

Anything to do with environmental building projects.
thecornflake
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I have the land...

Post: #146316 thecornflake
Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:21 am

...but no money. So I'm thinking can a house be built for free? Here's some background -

My parents have a large garden, and have been in talks with a developer about selling him the land if planning permission was granted. They were going to give the proceeds to us to help us buy a house (we rent at the moment, having sold our previous house at the height of the housing boom).

I've always wanted to build my own house and have spent several years reading up on it.

The developer drew up plans, etc but has gradually stopped responding to letters - my parents think he has probably gone bust. Planning has not yet been applied for, it would need to be done carefully as it's an 'area of landscaped significance' and a 'landscaped approach'. The house could however be hidden with trees, (it would have to be a bungalow) and I'm thinking could be earth sheltered on the road side (also extra insulation).

Anyway, it seems silly not to carry on where he has left it and at least give it a go to see if PP can be obtained. However then I would need to fund building the house, hence the idea of doing it for free (or at least very cheaply). My main idea at the moment involves getting people (plumbers, bricklayers etc) to help out in return for advertising, and as I do IT Support maybe trading some of my time for theirs.

I also want it to be a very green house, so looking at solar thermal, ground source heat pumps, etc etc.

Firstly - does anyone think this plan has any merit whatsoever or am I completely mental? :drunken:

Secondly - Any ideas of novel building techniques that would save money/the environment would be very welcome. I'm looking at Beco Wallform, Straw Bale, etc etc. Also well aware of Ben Law's house and planning on buying the book soon.

TheGoodEarth
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146321 TheGoodEarth
Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:47 am

Sadly you won’t be able to build a house for free or we would all be doing it. It is also highly unlikely that a builder will work for free in return for advertising or IT support. Particularly in the current climate when they are desperate for cash.

In addition to labour costs you will also have to purchase materials which can account for a large proportion of your build cost. Look at £100k plus for a 3-4 bed house.

You can build economically if you do a lot of the work yourself and carefully source your materials. Building with straw bale can be inexpensive http://www.strawbalefutures.org.uk/ and extremely green but things like GSHP’s are very expensive and you need quite a bit of land.

There is also a lot of debate about how green they actually are. You still need quite a bit of electricity to power a GSHP. Based on expected future gas and electricity prices, a gas condensing boiler is probably more efficient and economical than a GSHP for space heating and DHW.

Green building can also cost more than a conventional build as a lot of the technologies can be quite costly.

Have you thought about getting OPP for the plot and then selling it on and using that money to buy a smaller less expensive plot somewhere else and use the rest of the cash for the build?
No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery

thecornflake
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146327 thecornflake
Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:29 am

TheGoodEarth wrote:
There is also a lot of debate about how green they actually are. You still need quite a bit of electricity to power a GSHP. Based on expected future gas and electricity prices, a gas condensing boiler is probably more efficient and economical than a GSHP for space heating and DHW.

Have you thought about getting OPP for the plot and then selling it on and using that money to buy a smaller less expensive plot somewhere else and use the rest of the cash for the build?


Yes, I've just been reading up on gshp and discovered that - unless you produce the power from a wind turbine they cost a lot to run.

The plot could be sold with OPP, yes, but then I would have to buy another plot and still build a house, I already have this plot.

I was already thinking about doing a lot of work myself (plus a few friends)- hence straw bale, Beco etc.

EDIT: I'm being suitably vague about certain aspects because I have a few ideas that have not been tried before and these could mean the benefits to the suppliers/tradespeople could make them providing work/materials in return worthwhile, even more so in the current climate. Suffice to say it's a little more than just offering advertising or IT support or whatever and obviously as it's a new idea as far as I know I don't want to say too much.

Anyway, the main aim is still to keep costs right down to a minimum, especially for materials whilst still having a green build. Living costs after the build also are important so certain things could be worthwhile investments. There would possibly be some funds available, but definitely not as much as it would normally cost to build a house. So for example saving on one area could help pay for solar panels or better insulation.
Last edited by thecornflake on Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

TheGoodEarth
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146329 TheGoodEarth
Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:38 am

thecornflake wrote:The plot could be sold with OPP, yes, but then I would have to buy another plot and still build a house, I already have this plot.


Yes, but if you can sell the plot you have for say £200k and buy another one for £100k then you will have £100k free to fund the build.
No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery

thecornflake
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146334 thecornflake
Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:58 am

TheGoodEarth wrote:
thecornflake wrote:The plot could be sold with OPP, yes, but then I would have to buy another plot and still build a house, I already have this plot.


Yes, but if you can sell the plot you have for say £200k and buy another one for £100k then you will have £100k free to fund the build.


Fair point, I will definitely get a valuation once (if) OPP is granted and consider the option. It is on the edge of a town and i suspect would be worth a lot of money with PP, but then it's relative - I'm not sure if I would be able to find anything better at a lower price. The other option would be to then buy a property for renovation using the profits (e.g. either old house or barn), this might be cheaper than buying land and then building.

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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146408 rockchick
Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:37 pm

A huge amount hinges on being able to get PP. Would highly recommend trying to get an informal meeting with a planning officer to discuss ideas before you invest too much effort into your plans. If your local authority doesn't do informal advice (some of them can be buggas about it!) then you could try Planning Aid http://www.planningaid.rtpi.org.uk/ and Planning Portal has a lot of useful info too http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/

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contadina
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146413 contadina
Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:57 pm

Could you not use the funds from selling your previous house?

thecornflake
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146414 thecornflake
Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:02 pm

contadina wrote:Could you not use the funds from selling your previous house?


No, it was all used to pay off debts.

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contadina
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146418 contadina
Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:15 pm

Well at least you are debt-free. The guys who built the earthship in Brittany (as discussed in a recent thread) managed the get free labour owing to the allure of doing an interesting green build and they got some materials for free, but they still had to pay out in excess of 100K for things like roofing and windows. You could maybe go down this route or maybe consider the flat-pack timber-frame housing options which are relatively cheap.

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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146424 Ellendra
Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:55 pm

I'm planning to build a cob house, and my soil has enough clay in it to just use that. By getting windows and doors and such from other people's remodeling projects I think I could build a nice house for around $500, not counting the permit fees.

For free, its possible to build a shelter, but it wouldn't pass modern building codes for a house.

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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146445 dave45
Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:24 pm

Some ideas and inspiration here, maybe http://thatroundhouse.info/

thecornflake
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #146455 thecornflake
Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:18 pm

I've been looking at cob. Very interesting. And I didn't say I was debt-free, just that I paid SOME of them off! I have 5 years till they're all paid off, which is probably how long it will take to aort out planning permission and deciding what to build if it's accepted.

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naturalhomes
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #147817 naturalhomes
Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:09 pm

Hi,

I don't think you are mad but...

If you plan on offering advertising you need a channel that has some traffic in it. Like 1,000's of cars passing the house each day that will see a sign of adverts or a website with lots of hits per day.

On the latter I can help you. My website http://naturalhomes.org gets about 1,500 visitors per day and I'll give you some free 100x100px add space for your 'workers' if they are eco-based. I'll do the graphic work for you too.

I'd also recommend you run a course that people will pay to attend if you have an experienced builder/teacher. I can possible help you with that too via http://earthhandsandhouses.org who run courses in Poland but might help you out at your plot.

What do you think?

Oliver

thecornflake
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Re: I have the land...

Post: #148015 thecornflake
Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:32 pm

naturalhomes wrote:Hi,

I don't think you are mad but...

If you plan on offering advertising you need a channel that has some traffic in it. Like 1,000's of cars passing the house each day that will see a sign of adverts or a website with lots of hits per day.

On the latter I can help you. My website http://naturalhomes.org gets about 1,500 visitors per day and I'll give you some free 100x100px add space for your 'workers' if they are eco-based. I'll do the graphic work for you too.

I'd also recommend you run a course that people will pay to attend if you have an experienced builder/teacher. I can possible help you with that too via http://earthhandsandhouses.org who run courses in Poland but might help you out at your plot.

What do you think?

Oliver


Interesting. I've only come online for a few minutes to check my emails, so I'll check out the links and reply better when I've got some more time.


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