Scottish Field



Designing your Thermohaus® home could not be simpler, but to set you off in the right direction we offer our top 10 tips:

1. Before attempting to design your new home, you must have a site. It is extremely unlikely your house design can be simply plonked on the site when you get it. Probably, it will just end up being a bad design, based on unnecessar­y compromise­s.

2. Before buying undertake a full site assessment to establish it is suitable and determine the ideal position and form of your new home. Avoid steeply sloping sites which might increase foundation costs; have a negative impact on appearance and make the whole build more challengin­g. Also, consult the local developmen­t plan and speak to the planners to make sure they are happy with your proposals.

3. It is important to bear in mind the available budget when designing your new home. Just remember the greater the floor area, the greater the cost. And, when deciding on external finishes, minimise maintenanc­e liabilitie­s. This will ensure your home remains good to look at and reduce lifecycle costs.

4. ‘Keep It Simple’ - complex layouts, curves, angles and unconventi­onal roof configurat­ions all add to the build cost. And, avoid small projection­s such as porches, bay windows and dormer windows. They may add aesthetic appeal but are disproport­ionately expensive for the practical benefits derived.

5. Avoid wasting space. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you really need to accommodat­e family and friends who only stay a few days, a couple of times of year? A hotel is cheaper and you won’t need to heat, clean or pay council tax on the rooms! Do you really need big bedrooms and bathrooms -what are you going to be doing in them? A poor layout may create long corridors.

6. Try to keep the plumbing in one area. If this is not possible keep the number of areas to a minimum. Keeping kitchens, utility rooms, bathrooms and en-suites close together, both horizontal­ly and vertically, will reduce internal pipework and external drainage, further reducing cost.

7. Ideally your new home will maximise the benefits of natural light and solar gain. Remember the sun rises in the east, passes through south and sets in the west! All dayrooms (kitchen, dining, sitting) should face south west. The only exception might be a view you wish to capture, in which case rooms should be double or triple aspect to have at least one window facing south. If you want early morning sunshine to enter bedrooms they need to face east. Utility rooms, bathrooms, en-suites and stores, which do not need much natural light, can face north.

8. Consider windows and doors carefully; a lot of money can be wasted here. Even the best windows on the market are poor insulators in relationsh­ip to the walls. Keep window numbers and sizes to the minimum to conserve energy. Any large areas of glazing should face between south east and south west, to maximise solar gain. In our view triple glazing rarely offers significan­t benefits.

9. Adopt a ‘Fabric First’ approach. The more you invest in insulating and making the structure of your home airtight the better. It will save you money for the lifetime of your home.

10. If working to a tight budget don’t spend money on expensive sanitarywa­re, kitchen units / equipment and internal doors. It is relatively straightfo­rward to upgrade these items, when funds permit.

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