Made in Ger­many, de­liv­ered to your plot in York­shire

This eco-friendly home was made in Ger­many and erected on its York­shire plot in just un­der four days. The re­sult Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - FRONT PAGE -

FANS of Grand Designs will know that build­ing your own home is of­ten stress­ful and fraught with un­cer­tainty.

The weather can cause de­lays, trades­men can let you down and bud­gets spi­ral out of con­trol as you tackle un­forseen prob­lems.

Hav­ing con­structed a tra­di­tional bricks and mor­tar house, Stephen and Fiona Ver­rill were keen to find an al­ter­na­tive when they came to tackle a sec­ond self­build.

“We built our own house 20 years ago, but with this prop­erty we wanted to try some­thing dif­fer­ent and most of all we wanted to try and cut down on heat­ing bills,” says Stephen.

His so­lu­tion now stands on a plot in Bishop Monk­ton, near Ripon. It took just un­der four days to erect.

A team of Ger­man builders ar­rived on Tues­day last week along with a lorry car­ry­ing the prop­erty that had been pre­fab­ri­cated in the Meis­ter­stueck Haus fac­tory in Ham­lin.

There was a slight hic­cup when the lorry proved too big for Stephen’s drive, but within a few hours the Ger­man team, had or­gan­ised a smaller wagon to trans­fer the com­po­nent parts to site.

These in­cluded the floor, the non-por­ous roof and the in­su­lated and clad ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal walls fully-fit­ted with win­dows and a front door along with duct­ing for electrics and plumb­ing and pre-drilled sock­ets.

These were put to­gether and the ex­te­rior given a final coat of ren­der to cre­ate an air and water tight shell that is now ready for its first fix of plumb­ing and electrics.

To say Stephen is pleased with his new home is an un­der­state­ment. He’s over­whelmed and strug­gling to find enough su­perla­tives to de­scribe it.

“It’s amaz­ing. I can’t tell you how de­lighted I am. The at­ten­tion to de­tail is phe­nom­e­nal.

“Plus they are so or­gan­ised and ef­fi­cient. Even when the lorry couldn’t get to us they sorted it out im­me­di­ately. As for the builders, they wouldn’t even let us make them a cup of tea. ‘There is no time for tea,’ they said. ‘We are here to work’ and they did from 6.30am to 8pm ev­ery day, non-stop.”

The cost to de­sign, make and erect the four-be­d­room, twobath­room eco-friendly house shell com­plete with bal­cony off the mas­ter be­d­room was £120,000. The con­crete base slab, which Stephen in­stalled cost £10,000.

As adept Diyers, the Ver­ill’s are plan­ning to do most of the in­te­rior fit-out them­selves from plumb­ing and wiring to kitchen fit­ting and skim­ming the Fer­ma­cell plas­ter­board.

This should cost be­tween £40,000 and £60,000 bring­ing the whole project in at be­tween £170,000 and £190,000.

“It’s not that much cheaper to build this way. I had a price from a con­ven­tional builder for £230,000, but it is an in­cred­i­bly ef­fi­cient way of build­ing.

“On a con­ven­tional build, you have builders sit in their van be­cause it’s rain­ing, they go off on other jobs and then they tell you it’s go­ing to take an­other three weeks and it’s go­ing to cost you more.

“There is none of that when you buy a pre-man­u­fac­tured house. You get the house on a fixed day and for a fixed price.”

The qual­ity con­trol is also sec­ond to none, thanks to the off-site man­u­fac­tur­ing.

“The Ger­mans are per­fec­tion­ists and that shows,” says mo­tor en­gi­neer Stephen, whose An­glo/ Ger­man build started with a trip to a prop­erty ex­hi­bi­tion.

“I saw the Meis­ter­stueck stand but I was very cau­tious and went out to Ger­many to look at the fac­tory and check them out. I’ve got to say I was im­pressed.”

The com­pany, which now has an of­fice in Ox­ford­shire, of­fers a be­spoke op­tion but also has a num­ber of set designs on its books.

They are all made from sus­tain­able tim­ber with high lev­els of in­su­la­tion and can be clad in dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als to suit lo­cal plan­ning re­quire­ments, which in the Ver­rill’s case was cru­cial.

Plan­ning per­mis­sion to cre­ate two more houses on the fam­ily’s farm­stead was hard-won and took 12 years.

Though the plan­ning of­fi­cer was en­thu­si­as­tic about this en­ergy ef­fi­cient prop­erty, a num­ber of vil­lagers weren’t, even though they have been spared months of noisy, messy con­struc­tion work.

“It’s far less messy than a con­ven­tional build. There are no ce­ment mix­ers, se­cu­rity fences or equip­ment.

“No buy­ing build­ing ma­te­ri­als. Ev­ery­thing is done in the fac­tory.

“That’s an­other huge ad­van­tage.

“On a nor­mal build you are faced with end­less ques­tions about where to put ev­ery­thing from light switches to sock­ets. With this, we went through all that on the plans,” says Stephen.

The fac­tory con­di­tions also en­sure max­i­mum air tight­ness. The hard­wood win­dows are triple glazed and the front door, says Stephen, is “like open­ing a safe. It’s that solid.”

Heat­ing costs are ex­pected to be min­i­mal es­pe­cially as Stephen isn’t installing cen­tral heat­ing or a boiler.

In­stead he is re­ly­ing on a wood burn­ing stove and an elec­tric water heater.

“I don’t think we’ll need heat­ing as it is so air tight but if we do, the house is all set up to take one.”

Les­ley Gross, of Meis­ter­stueck Haus, says: “That’s one of the great ben­e­fits. The house has fan­tas­tic u val­ues which means it needs min­i­mal heat­ing. Re­sale val­ues are equiv­a­lent or bet­ter than a con­ven­tion­ally-built house be­cause our homes are lowen­ergy and cost very lit­tle to run.”

Meis­ter­stueck has built six houses in Bri­tain over the last two years, some are tim­ber-framed like the Ver­ril’s and oth­ers are post and beam with large ar­eas of glaz­ing, sim­i­lar to the Huf Haus seen on Grand Designs. A tim­ber framed prop­erty starts at £120,000 for a shell and a post and beam from £233,000. A fit out can be ar­ranged from £60,000.

The Verrills are al­ready con­sid­er­ing putting an­other Meis­ter­stueck house on the farm­stead, which be­longed to Stephen’s late par­ents.

“My fa­ther started try­ing to get plan­ning per­mis­sion and we car­ried on with the ap­pli­ca­tion af­ter he passed away. My mother died just af­ter we got the okay. I won­dered whether to go ahead at all but I did be­cause it was some­thing I wanted to do for them,” he says.

“I think they’d be re­ally pleased with what we’ve achieved. It’s ex­cit­ing and dif­fer­ent and a real credit to ev­ery­one in­volved.”

Stephen and Fiona Ver­rill’s pre-fab­ri­cated house made in Ger­many. Bot­tom left to right: Meis­ter­stueck-haus also man­u­fac­ture post and beam houses with large ar­eas of glaz­ing. Stephen and Fiona’s house be­ing loaded onto the lorry – which turned out to be too big for their drive.

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