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Tip of the week

Make sure stairs conform to Building Regs It is common to see images in UK publications of staircases that do not conform to UK Building Regs - stairs without balustrades or balustrades of an open design/vertical wires, for example. UK building regs are more stringent than those in mainland Europe. Staircases from these regions may not conform to UK standards. Most imported modular or kit staircases need some modification to get signed off by a building inspector. 

Richard McLane, technical director, Bisca

April 2016 magazine

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A Family Affair

Colin Sherwood has built his dream eco home with the help of all the family and reduced utility bills in spectacular fashion - the first year net gain was £650. Of block-work and timber frame construction, clad in render and cedar, the house has an EPC rating of 104, and with no heating, maintains a very pleasant even temperature throughout the year. Read the build cost breakdown in the magazine.

High Hopes

When planners insisted that an existing bungalow could not be demolished, Sean and Emily Banton's architect drew up a scheme that extended the bungalow in four directions. Cedar, white render and stone are all used to clad their highly energy efficient, contemporary new build on a steep hillside. “Large windows on the south and west elevations provide solar gain, and also mean we can enjoy the panoramic views of the dramatic landscape.”

Home to Roost

“When we stood in the courtyard of barns looking at the view over Exmoor, we knew this was the property for us.” Daniel and Pauline Park have extended a stone barn to create a rural property full of character. Their energy-efficient barn conversion features an eclectic mix of rustic and contemporary interiors.

Rebel Rebel

John Little has remodelled a tired 1950s house in Eastbourne to create an edgy and unique home clad in black. Grey painted brickwork, black painted larch cladding, grey aluminium windows and a newly slated roof give the house its dramatic look. A steel-framed carport was built on the front drive and a vast deck with built-in furniture and a steel and timber brise soleil built to the rear of the house.

Home from Dome

Mike Collins and Eileen Sweeney have constructed a giant geodesic dome around an ancient olive tree in the middle of a farm field in Cornwall. Their Escape Podz holiday home, a glistening white geodesic dome set against a field of green and overlooking the sea, is a stunning spectacle. “To our surprise the local planning department, loved the idea. They agreed to give us three years to trial the project, and were very interested in the concept.”

Spotlight - Kids’ Corner

Capture your children’s imagination. We look at the latest products for kids’ bedrooms, from built-in furniture to en suites, and wall decoration


image: lovemapson.com

Nordic Influences

We talk to architect Simon Baker from Nash Baker, who create beautiful, modern homes with an emphasis on maximising space and light and he tells how childhood holidays in Norway influenced his house designs. “Going back to our dark, cold houses in England after holidays in Norway made me wonder why we designed homes in that way…I realised that you can have big spaces with lots of glass which still feel warm.”

10 Top Tips for a Self Build

Advice on everything from planning and financing your project to living and working on site. Arranged in 10 categories, our new series shares hints and tips, gleaned from our writers and readers - from the obvious (to some) to the downright quirky.

Beginners Guide to Project Management

Do you have what it takes to manage your self build? Whether undertaking a self build, remodel, extension or conversion, you will need to decide who is going to manage your project. We explore the options.

A Pioneering Solar House

“After many years advising other people on ultra-high-performance buildings, it seemed to be about time that I built one myself. So I did.” Energy consultant David Olivier reflects on the experience of building his own eco house to a demanding specification.

Interior Design

Interior architect Thomas Griem has used the concept of photography as inspiration, introducing texture and depth to a new build penthouse apartment.

Expert Advice

Robert Matthews: The accidental selfbuilders - Bob speaks to a couple who traded life on a barge to build a new home by the sea on the Isle of Wight.

Legal advice:  Claiming for building delays. 

Plot Doctor:  What are the chances of demolishing an existing house and rebuilding on the site of outbuildings near a lake to achieve a dream lake-side home?


In addition to these features, the magazine also brings you the latest news from the world of self build, new product information, guides, advice on planning and much more.

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