Guided Tour of my Self-Build Project

Pas Ruggiero's self build blog: Open day at my project
by Pas Ruggiero
22nd July 2014

My project was recently used as part of an open day that introduced both new and seasoned self builders to SIPs (structural insulated panels) construction.

The event was hosted by Potton’s Self Build Academy, which aims to educate aspiring individuals to the benefits of building your own home, and the steps you must take to achieve this goal.

A specialist team from Potton – who are supplying and building my home – and my architectural team from Model Projects were on hand to answer questions from the visitors, too.

Learning about self-build

I was really interested to see how the team would describe the pros and cons of my chosen build system – not to mention what they would say about my project – so I went along to be a fly on the wall.

The day started at Potton’s show home centre in St Neots, which is just 10 minutes away from my site. James Hood, MD of Model Projects, and Paul Newman, Technical Director of Potton, kicked things off by outlining what SIPs are and how they work, as well as giving some interesting examples of how the Kingspan TEK Building System has been used on a number of projects.

My contemporary home-to-be featured heavily in the presentation and it was great to see it explained to the attendees in a technical yet engaging manner.

Model Projects presentation

James Hood from architectural firm Model Projects discusses the design concept for Pas’s new house

James had promoted SIPs to me from the initial concept design discussions, and I am so glad that I went ahead with it as opposed to timber or even steel frame.

With the superstructure nearly complete, I can now fully appreciate the sturdiness of the panels – they are comparable to a brick & block wall. And having a home that’s insulated out of the box makes complete sense, too.

I have enjoyed seeing the project come together with clever details, such as the thermal breaks between internal and external steel and the posi joists, which allow services to pass through the floor deck construction.

Visiting my project

After a short coffee break, it was time for the site visit – and all the attendees hopped on a coach to travel to my project.

I would have loved to view something similar when I was in the planning stages of my self build – people got to see exactly how the system is used and how the design is translated into a series of structural components.

I think it gave everyone a real understanding of how the building process works, and everyone certainly had a lot of questions for the team!

Kathryn Mansi from Model Projects on site

The attendees were given a guided tour around the house and were able to garner first hand experiance of life on a self build project

Tour of a self-build in progress

Visiting the first floor of the house gave visitors a chance to see the impressive winged roof

Getting the roof on

Although we were hoping to have the roof completed in time for the open day, alas, due to the complicated design there was still work to be done on it.

There are just two guys putting the TEK elements together (with the assistance of a crane), and I can’t speak highly enough of them. Timber posts had to be accurately placed at the four corners of the roof in the bedrooms, which are located towards the front of the property. This element has been the most difficult part of the job so far.

When complete, the posts will be clad in insulation and pressed powder-coated aluminium to match the windows. They need to be precisely in line with the walls to ensure they achieve a streamline and chic effect, and also to do their job of supporting the roof.

It was great to hear the architects discuss this particular design element with everyone. It’s one of my favourite features – and it made me even more eager to see the finished article!

The winged roof is amazing. The 10 degree angle is subtle, yet effective. The surroundings and the site have been thought through and designed perfectly. The weeping willows across the other side of the stream are at eye level when you are out on the terrace – it’s great, it feels like you are amongst the tree tops.

One Comment

  1. Anna-Marie says:

    I was lucky enough to attend the event, and it was a joy to visit the site of what is soon to be a gorgeous new home. It’s a great idea for prospective self builders to go and see their chosen build system at various stages of the construction process – not least because it will give them an idea of what they are in store for on their own project!

    The Self Build Academy will be running a number of other ‘Pop Up’ events throughout the year – more details can be found on the website:

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