Meet our oak frame self-builder homeowners | Part 2

From initial client discussions which transform into approved oak frame designs, through to our workshops, on-site construction and all the vital departments in-between; here at Oakwrights our teams work together, sharing their specialist expertise, to ensure every oak frame home, extension and outbuilding meets our clients’ exact needs and will last a lifetime.

In fact, members of our teams are so passionate about oak as a natural construction material and the amazing benefits a frame provides, they have self-built their homes with oak too! So, if you have a vision in mind for your future oak frame project and/or you are researching the best self-build route for you, we would like to introduce you to our three-part Q&A series, where you will read first-hand experiences from the following oak frame homeowners: Charlie Mills – our Managing Director, Rupert Osborn – one of our Business Development Managers and Iain Hendry – our Scottish Project Manager.

Having worked with Oakwrights as a client to design and construct the bespoke oak frame and insulating WrightWall and WrightRoof Natural encapsulation for their dream home, Rupert decided to combine his professional experience with his love of building with oak to join our Business Development team. In Part 2 below, Rupert is next to answer a handful of key self-build questions based on his family’s home building journey…

An exterior image of Rupert's oak frame family home, featuring an amazing glazed gable

Q: Which self-build route did you choose, and why was this route right for you?

A: We chose the self-management route. We had some experience with previous renovation projects, although we had never built a new house before! We did have a useful builder-friend to refer to during the build process, and we also had time to commit to managing the trades as we lived next door during the build. This was vital for us.

 

Q: Why did you choose to frame your home with oak?

A: We love oak frame builds, and we have always lived in older properties which have had oak frames. We wanted an updated version with all the character and interest an oak framed property provides, immediately.

Oak framing as a construction process is also totally honest and traditional; not trying to be something it isn’t.

Natural light bounces through their glazing and into their wonderful dining room before travelling around other living areas

Q: How did you finance your build?

A: We already owned our plot of land: it was part of our existing back garden, so that was a massive bonus. However, we did have to sell our existing home, pay off the mortgage and use the equity to fund our new self-build project. We just about managed to stick to our budget, although it did get tight towards the end of the project as the money was running out, but bills kept coming in! We were lucky to find a little bungalow next door to rent.

 

Q: Did you face any challenges during your home building journey? If so, how did you overcome them?

A: The main challenge was the seven-year planning battle we had! We originally applied to build our home in 2007 but got turned down by the local planning authority. We decided to appeal the decision, however this was also dismissed by the planning inspector in 2008. We were completely stuck for five years and it was only when the National Planning Rules changed (introduction of the NPPF) in 2012 that we were then able to re-apply 12 months later. We finally went back to planning in mid-2013 and got planning approval (at committee) on a majority decision in early 2014!

Other than the planning battle we faced, there were no other significant challenges. We had so long to decide on everything as we battled with the planning that once we had permission, we were ready to go!

The Osborns brought their vision for their dream home to life

Q: What three pieces of advice would you offer to someone planning a self-build project?

A:

1. Be brave and organised: it is an emotional rollercoaster!

2. Do your research thoroughly: decide on what you want and don’t change your mind halfway through!

3. Choose a team you get on well with. The relationship between you and your trades is vital, so treat them well and they will always go the ‘extra mile’ for you… Lots of tea and cakes!

4. Extra one: we employed the 1% rule on everything… You can’t improve one thing in the project by 100% BUT you can improve 100 things by just 1%. Every incremental improvement makes a massive difference.

5. Last but not least: purchase the highest quality fixtures and fittings your budget will allow. There is no substitute for quality, and if you buy cheap, you’ll need to replace quickly!

 

In case you missed it, click here to read top self-build tips from our Managing Director, Charlie Mills, in Part 1 of this Q&A series!

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