Design & Build Homes: The Turnkey Route

There are many routes to creating your ideal home, but if you want a stress-free journey, turnkey could be the way to go, says Craig Strachan from Sylva Design & Build Solutions
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by Sylva Design & Build
29th March 2017

Creating your dream home is a unique opportunity, giving you the chance to design and build something that’s truly bespoke in every way. But how do you actually make it happen?

From coming up with a design through to securing planning consent and running the project on site, there’s a whole host of considerations to take into account.

Thankfully, there’s support out there in the form of design and build specialists who can deliver key parts of your project to your specification.

This could be anything from designing and supplying the core structure, through to securing consents and erecting a full weathertight shell or potentially helping you take your project from concept right through to handing you the keys (hence the name ‘turnkey’).

How does the turnkey route work?

Put simply, a turnkey house is a finished home that’s ready for you to move into.

To achieve this, you’ll work with an integrated team of design and build experts to develop the concept of what you wish to build, deciding precisely how you’d love to live.

Design & build: The 3 main routes

  • Structure only

A basic structural package includes the walls, floors, roof and other structural elements of your home – including the insulation. All of this can be delivered by an in-house team of architects, engineers and project managers.

  • Shell

In addition to route 1, and depending on the supplier, a shell package may include elements such as foundations, windows and doors, roof finishes, external cladding and more. The in-house team may offer a range of design, planning permission and Building Regulations services, too.

  • Turnkey

From planning right through to moving in, with this route you get full control of the design and specification of your new home – but you’ll be able to rely on the experts to actually make it happen.

You can then leave the design, build process and project management to that same, highly experienced team. So there’s no risk, no stress, no pitfalls, no spiralling costs and no nasty shocks.

This approach allows you to work with a company who will take sole responsibility for delivering your build to your specification.

What are the key benefits of a turnkey design and build?

Turnkey makes building your own home easy and affordable. Many of us want to create our own home but don’t have the time to project manage a series of consultants, contractors and trades, which can take 40-50 hours a week.

By comparison, a turnkey builder will involve you in all the decisions and all the fun parts of designing and building your own home, exactly as you like, but without the stress.

This is a cost-certain, time-managed build approach where the professionals take the responsibility but you still have the control. Plus there are no muddy site visits (unless you want to come, of course) and you’ll probably only need to put around 5-10 weekly hours into your scheme.

Does it limit my design options?

I always say that everything in your home should be designed and optimised for the way you and your family live. So it stands to reason that a good design and build company will create a home that’s absolutely individual to you, no matter what level of service you select. Each project is bespoke to your lifestyle, environmental objectives and budget.

Learn more at the Design & Build Workshops

Sylva Design & Build Workshop

Want to find out more about the design and build route to your new home? Sylva’s expert team hosts informative, free-to-attend Design & Build workshops to help you understand the process at the National Self Build & Renovation Centre in Swindon.

Course dates for 2017 include: 3rd June, 16th September & 25th November

Book a FREE course

Whatever your motivations for self-building – whether you’re choosing to live in luxury, need a larger family home or you’re retirees keen to create a home for life and relax in style – the opportunity to design and build your own house is the ultimate indulgence. This route not only allows you to decide what your ideal home would look like, but enables you to achieve something that works for the way you and your family live.

With turnkey you’re able to choose how your home will look inside and out, right down to decorating, landscaping, the kitchen and the bathroom fittings.

What’s included in a turnkey house package?

Turnkey allows for infinite design options, so your new home can have a traditional, contemporary or modern feel. This is all delivered through one point of contact with the in-house expert team of architectural technologists, engineers and project managers.

A finished home, ready for you to move into, will usually include:

  • Concept design: developing your ideas and securing planning permission.
  • Full Building Regulations service: including drawings and obtaining consent for you.
  • Service connections: installation and all liaisons with the utility companies.
  • Foundations: full foundation design and installation (some suppliers may not provide this service).
  • Walls, floors and roof: at Sylva we form the shell of your home using a high performance, green and sustainable timber frame.
  • Insulation: if using timber frame this can be factory-installed inside the panels to achieve the thermal performance you require.
  • Windows and doors: high-quality external windows and doors, factory glazed and painted your colour choice.
  • Roof finishes: whatever the design dictates, plus fascia, soffits and rainwater goods.
  • External cladding: bricks, stone, render, timber or whatever your design requires.
  • Heating and plumbing: heating systems incorporating renewable sources if required.
  • Electrics: first and second fix installation.
  • Internal carpentry: stairs, handrails, skirting and architraves.
  • Kitchens and bathrooms: as chosen by you (some suppliers may not provide this service).
  • Decoration: painting and decorating.
  • Landscaping: external hard landscaping.
  • Testing, commissioning and handover: full set of independent tests.
The Lakes turnkey home by Sylva Grou[

The Lakes is a private development of waterside holiday homes, with the owners permitted to live in their properties for 50 weeks of the year. Working alongside Yoo, the team at Sylva Group translates the clients’ design ideas into a set of working drawings for a bespoke or tailored home, ready for offsite manufacture and a fast-track build on site.

Sylva’s scope of works includes supply and installing the timber frame superstructure, windows and doors, larch timber cladding, roof coverings and rainwater goods. Also included are glulam beams, larch decking and the timber-and-metal balustrades.

Manufacturing drawings, construction details, build schedules and materials take-offs are all prepared in-house prior to work starting in the factory – and the client is consulted involved throughout the process to ensure the scheme stays true to their concept and wishlist.

This four-bedroom, 350m2 project was built in just nine months for a total cost of £750,000 (£2,143 per m2).

More Design and Build case studies

What isn’t included?

This will depend largely on the company you choose to work with. A package build company offering a turnkey solution can include all aspects of the design and building of your new home.

Variations on this do exist with some companies, however, particularly those based outside of the UK. This means that aspects of a project where local knowledge may be useful, such as the foundations, are sometimes provided by a third party.

Is turnkey design and build right for me?

Choosing a turnkey design and build option for your new home is well suited to those new to self-building who want to rely on expert support and knowledge. It’s also ideal for people struggling to find time to plan and manage their projects, as you can still achieve the home you want but with a vastly reduced time commitment.

Here are some key questions to consider when deciding whether a turnkey design and build solution is right for you:

  • Do you want to be hands on? If so, turnkey probably isn’t right for you.
  • Have you built before? If so, you might consider scaling back to a shell or structure service.
  • Would you like a home designed to your specific requirements? This is one of the key benefits of choosing the turnkey route.
  • Do you have time to plan and manage a build project? If not, then turnkey could help you overcome a potential block to creating your dream home.

Craig Strachan is development director at Sylva Group. He has a comprehensive knowledge of the construction industry, particularly modern methods of construction and the self-build sector. Craig has served as a director for NaCSBA as well as being active in the STA’s Self-Build and Commercial committees.

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