Rome wasn’t built in a day... but our 3-bed de­tached house was!

The amaz­ing f lat-pack dwellings that take just 15 hours to as­sem­ble... and can cost only £120k

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - Comment - By Ger­ma­nia Ro­driguez

IN the morn­ing, there is noth­ing but an empty plot of land.

But on the same spot, only a few hours later, an im­pres­sive three-bed­room fam­ily home has ap­peared.

The light­ning-quick con­struc­tion is the work of a Scots firm sell­ing homes that can be built in a day.

Pre­fab­ri­cated wooden sec­tions, built in a fac­tory on Skye, are trans­ported to building sites all over Scot­land on the back of a lorry.

By the end of the day, the walls, win­dows and roof are in­stalled, cre­at­ing a wind­proof, wa­ter­tight home in a re­mark­ably short time.

Ge­off and Diana Calvert left Ox­ford­shire af­ter 27 years to spend their re­tire­ment in Scarista on the Isle of Har­ris.

Hav­ing or­dered their home from builder R. Houses the cou­ple, both in their six­ties, watched it take shape be­tween dawn and dusk.

Mr Calvert, who pho­tographed the en­tire process, said: ‘From see­ing the first pan­els go up at 5.30am, un­til the main struc­ture was com­pleted at 8.30pm, it was a mo­men­tous day for us.

‘It was the cul­mi­na­tion of four years’ plan­ning and some­thing that we had never even dreamed of be­fore that time.’

R.Houses, based in Portree, is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween ar­chi­tect Alan Dick­son and builder James MacQueen.

The two men wanted to find a so­lu­tion to the fre­quent de­lays to con­struc­tion projects caused by the un­pre­dictable Scot­tish weather while also of­fer­ing qual­ity de­sign.

Mr MacQueen said: ‘The idea was we would con­cen­trate on building as much of the work as pos­si­ble in the fac­tory. We can’t pre­dict the weather, so we de­signed the houses to be fin­ished from the out­side in.’

Although they are built in a day, the build­ings are de­signed to with­stand the harsh­est High­land weather, and last for 60 years.

Prices range from £120,405 to £252,990, de­pend­ing on the num­ber of be­d­rooms, which varies from one to four. The cost in­cludes a choice of kitchens and bath­rooms from the com­pany’s sup­pli­ers.

Clients can also choose in­di­vid­u­alised in­ter­nal lay­outs and ad­di­tional spa­ces and up­grades, such as a porch or a wood-burn­ing stove.

For the Calverts, who run a craft busi­ness cre­at­ing hand-made leather goods, while the struc­ture of their home was com­pleted in only a few hours, it took four months be­fore they could move into their three-bed­room R.House.

The de­lay was caused by a wait for fin­ish­ing touches and the up­grades the cou­ple had

re­quested to the roof, kitchen and bath­rooms.

Mr Calvert said: ‘Although it was 16 weeks be­fore the in­ter­nal work was com­pleted and we could move in, we have nei­ther re­gret­ted mov­ing to Har­ris nor se­lect­ing R. House to build our new home.’

The com­pany of­fers a com­plete ‘turn-key’ service, tak­ing care of ev­ery­thing that goes into building the house: the plan­ning per­mis­sion ap­pli­ca­tion, building war­rant process, ground works, and ac­cess and util­ity con­nec­tions. Would-be home-own­ers only have to pro­vide the land.

R.Houses claims to of­fer a sim­ple, tra­di­tional de­sign, avail­able in many colours to match the aes­thetic of ru­ral land­scapes .

The prop­er­ties are built from larch cladding grown on the Black Isle and are fit­ted with Nor­we­gian dou­ble-glazed win­dows and doors.

The speed with which the homes are erected in one day is down to the prepa­ra­tion on each site be­fore­hand.

Mrs Calvert said: ‘You can have a metal roof which would have gone up very quickly but we de­cided to have slates.

‘We also had it dec­o­rated through­out, so at the end of the process we lit­er­ally turned the key, walked in and it was all done. It was magic.’ Now the idea ap­pears to be catch­ing on in their is­land com­mu­nity.

Mr Calvert said: ‘Some­one else we know built two R.Houses – one for them to live in and one to rent out as a hol­i­day cot­tage.’

An R.House spokesman said: ‘Peo­ple come to us with an idea, won­der­ing if they can ac­tu­ally have a new de­sign-led home within their bud­get.

‘Ex­plain­ing to peo­ple that what they would like is in­deed pos­si­ble is so ex­cit­ing. We take them right the way through to the end when their house is handed over to them, which is a lovely ex­pe­ri­ence.’

THE GREAT OUT­DOORS: Diana and Ge­off Calvert have swapped a life in Ox­ford­shire for re­tire­ment at their new home in Scarista on the Isle of Har­ris

HOME COM­FORTS: The liv­ing room is heated by a wood-burn­ing stove

ALL IN A DAY’S WORK: The Calverts kept a pho­to­graphic record of the con­struc­tion of their new home. The process be­gan with prepa­ra­tion of the site (No1). The house com­po­nents ar­rived on the back of a lorry on the eve of con­struc­tion, then the next day...

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