Build It’s Self Build Education House

The Build It House is a pioneering real-life self build designed as an educational tool that will give you a unique insight into the process of creating your own bespoke home.

Follow Build It magazine’s self build journey in detail, as we share the highs, lows and most valuable lessons we’ve learned along the way – and make a success of your dream home project!

Build It’s Self Build Education House

Interactive 3D House Tour

Press the play button to get a taster of what you could achieve on your self build or renovation project with our interactive 360° Build It Education House experience!

01

Design & Planning

The key to a successful house build starts with a good planning. Here's how we developed the Build It House design and secured planning permission

02

Groundworks & Basement

Adding a basement into your self build plans will help you to make the most of your building plot and add real space and value

03

Structural Shell

Discover what's involved in getting your project weathertight and learn how to overcome common self build challenges

04

First Fix

With the house shell complete, the Self Build Education House is a hive of activity as we get the plumbing, electrics, heating and other infrastructure in place

05

Second Fix

We'll soon be underway with work on the fixtures and fittings that will turn our house into a home

06

Finishes & Snagging

The decoration and finishing touches can make a world of difference to a bespoke home build

Our Partners
PROJECT PHASE: Design & Planning
3D Render of Build It's Self Build Education House by Build It magazine

Welcome to the Self Build Education House

Build It magazine’s Self Build Education House is a real-life, access-all-areas project that will give you a unique insight into the process of creating your own bespoke home

Chris Bates
Welcome to the Self Build Education House
Build It Education House Plot - View North

Our Self Build Plot at Graven Hill

We've found the perfect plot for our Self Build Education House - a corner site overlooking woodland at the Graven Hill self build scheme

Chris Bates
Our Self Build Plot at Graven Hill
Sketch of Build It Education house

Build It Education House: Initial Design Stages

Editor Chris Bates looks at the initial design phase of Build It's Self Build Education House

Chris Bates
Build It Education House: Initial Design Stages
3D Render of Build It's Self Build Education House by Build It magazine

Developing the Design & Gaining Planning Consent

Editor Chris Bates works alongside architect Opinder Liddar to refine the design for the Build It Education House and apply for planning consent

Chris Bates
Developing the Design & Gaining Planning Consent

What New Planning Changes Mean For You

Paul Kemptonlooks at the new rules set to fast-track upwards extensions and demolish-and-rebuild projects

Self-Build Zone
What New Planning Changes Mean For You
Norrsken

How to Plan Doors and Windows

Fenestration has a huge impact on the look and efficiency of your home – here’s how to get it right

Anamika Talwaria
How to Plan Doors and Windows

How to Order Roof Tiles

Follow our practical guide to specifying your new roof covering – from sorting tiles quantities and quality through to the detailed decisions you’ll need to pin down

Anamika Talwaria
How to Order Roof Tiles
kitchen extension

Kitchen Extensions: How to Plan Your Perfect New Kitchen

Want to extend your kitchen to create a new zone that will become the heart of your home? Here’s what you need to know to make sure your kitchen extension project is a success

Emily Smith
Kitchen Extensions: How to Plan Your Perfect New Kitchen
Residential / Interior and architectural photography - home office

How to Plan Your Perfect Home Office

Tired of spending all your home working hours plonked in front of the kitchen table? Chris Bates looks at what’s involved in creating an inspiring, practical and enjoyable office space to work from home

Chris Bates
How to Plan Your Perfect Home Office
PROJECT PHASE: Groundworks & Basement
The Graven Hill team officially sets out the permitted build zone

Preliminaries & Getting Started on Site

After months of planning – which with any luck will stand us in good stead during the construction phase – we finally managed...

Chris Bates
Preliminaries & Getting Started on Site
Stripping the top soil on our Graven Hill site

Groundworks & Basement Floor Slab

With site setup done, day two of our build heralded the start of work in earnest on the Self Build Education House. To...

Chris Bates
Groundworks & Basement Floor Slab
An ICF basement during construction

Building the ICF Basement & Ground Floor Structure

Find out why we're using ICF as the structural system for the basement of the Build Education House, and how the works progressed on site

Chris Bates
Building the ICF Basement & Ground Floor Structure
Cavity Drainage Membrane Waterproofing for Build It Education House Basement

Tanking & Waterproofing our New Basement

We're installing a combination of tanking and cavity drainage membrane systems to waterproof the basement of Build It's Self Build Education House

Chris Bates
Tanking & Waterproofing our New Basement
PROJECT PHASE: Structural Shell
Pouring ICF walls

Pouring the Ground Floor ICF Walls

Weather delays and technical challenges slow down progress on the Self Build Education House - but the ground floor ICF walls are poured

Chris Bates
Pouring the Ground Floor ICF Walls
Posi-joist first floor structure

Installing the Posi-Joist Floor

The next phase of the Build It Education House project is to fit the first floor posi-joists, which will create an open web for services and ventilation ducts

Chris Bates
Installing the Posi-Joist Floor
Bracing first floor ICF walls

Finishing the ICF Walls & Gables

The ICF walls are poured! Find out how we navigated some complex design details and minute tolerances to push the Education House project forward

Chris Bates
Finishing the ICF Walls & Gables
Craning on a SIPs roof panel

Installing the SIPs Roof

The SIPs roof of our real-life self build project goes on - giving us wow factor vaulted ceilings and a pre-insulated loft space

Chris Bates
Installing the SIPs Roof
Vote for the Education House front door colour

Vote for Your Favourite Front Door Colour for the Build It Education House

Vote now to help us select a wow-factor front door and make your mark on the Build It Education House!

Build It
Vote for Your Favourite Front Door Colour for the Build It Education House
Windows about to be installed at the Build It Education House

Specifying & Installing the Windows

With the Build It Education House, we want to show that you can get real wow factor on a relatively standard self build...

Chris Bates
Specifying & Installing the Windows
Roof tile eaves detail

Tiling the Roof & Fitting Solar PV Panels

There’s a whole host of options for finishing roofs, from tiles and slates through to the likes of zinc, green roofs, thatch and...

Chris Bates
Tiling the Roof & Fitting Solar PV Panels
PROJECT PHASE: First Fix
Smart Home Electrics Wiring at the Build It House

First Fix Smart Home Electrics at the Build It Education House

Early in the planning stages of the Build It House, we considered creating what you might call a half-smart home. The idea was to...

Chris Bates
First Fix Smart Home Electrics at the Build It Education House
Electric backup for heat pump

Heat Pump Ventilation: a Modern Home Heating System

We've selected an innovative, modern Heat Pump Ventilation system to provide hot water and most of the space heating for the Build It Education House

Chris Bates
Heat Pump Ventilation: a Modern Home Heating System

Underfloor Heating Installation

Underfloor heating (UFH) has become a self build staple, but a range of systems is available to suit different projects - so we're demonstrating several options in the Build It Education House

Chris Bates
Underfloor Heating Installation
Carpenter Works on External Cladding

Fitting the Rainscreen Cladding

We selected larch cladding in a rainscreen profile for the Build It Education House. Here's how we specified it and what's involved in fitting timber rainscreen cladding boards

Chris Bates
Fitting the Rainscreen Cladding
silicon sealant on door

Installing the Rear Sliding Door

Creating a good connection with the garden is a key goal for any self builder. The question is, do you achieve that with...

Chris Bates
Installing the Rear Sliding Door

Applying the Modern Silicone Render

Find out why we chose silicone render for Build It's Self Build Education House - and how this modern external render is installed on site

Chris Bates
Applying the Modern Silicone Render
Tiled roof self build

Roofline and Rainwater Goods

Once you’ve got your roof tiles on, it feels like the hard work is over with this section of your build – but...

Chris Bates
Roofline and Rainwater Goods
Moss Technical

Installing the AV and Invisible Speakers

The invisible speakers are installed in the Education House to offer high tech surround sound

Chris Bates
Installing the AV and Invisible Speakers
PROJECT PHASE: Second Fix
Durabase mat

Laying the Large-Format Floor Tiles

We lay the porcelain tiles on the ground floor of the Build It house

Chris Bates
Laying the Large-Format Floor Tiles
New kitchen

Internal Fit-Out: Kitchen & Plant Room

In this next stage of the Build It House we start installing the kitchen and the plant room

Chris Bates
Internal Fit-Out: Kitchen & Plant Room
New front door

Fitting the Front Door and Apex Glazing

The house is truly coming together with the installation of our FunkyFront door and apex glazing from Kloeber

Chris Bates
Fitting the Front Door and Apex Glazing
Installing internal doors

Choosing and Fitting the Internal Doors

We install internal doors from JB Kind to work with the MVHR unit at the Build It Education House

Chris Bates
Choosing and Fitting the Internal Doors
PROJECT PHASE: Finishes & Snagging
Installing electrics

Fitting Lighting in the Build It House

We fit the internal and external lighting at the Education House in Gravenhill

Chris Bates
Fitting Lighting in the Build It House
Education House Official Partners

The key to a successful project is bringing the right partners on board. Find out why Build It magazine has chosen to work with the following companies for our very own self build - click on the logos to learn more:

Amina Invisible Speakers
Amina
Invisible Speakers

Amina is the inventor of the invisible in-wall speaker. We were wowed by a demonstration of the sound performance at an Amina installer’s showroom, and can’t wait to hear the effect in the Build It House!

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Total Home Environment Heat Pump Ventilation
Total Home Environment
Heat Pump Ventilation

MVHR is the default choice for good air quality in a high-spec home. We’re going one step further with THE’s heat pump ventilation system, which will also heat and cool the house.

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IDSystems Internal & External Sliding Doors
IDSystems
Internal & External Sliding Doors

IDSystems is a long-established UK supplier of sliding and bifold doors. Still family-owned and with a knack for innovation, they’re a natural partner for our internal and external glazed doors.

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Hard Rock Flooring Porcelain Floor Tiles
Hard Rock Flooring
Porcelain Floor Tiles

Our open-plan ground floor layout will be a great canvas for a contemporary porcelain floor. Low-maintenance, non-slip and stunning... we can’t wait to see our Hard Rock floor!

Dreadnought Tiles Roof Tiles
Dreadnought Tiles
Roof Tiles

Dreadnought Tiles has been making clay tiles in England for over 200 years. We’ve opted for a blend from the company’s rustic range of naturally fired clay tiles to get a great balance of character versus cost.

Kloeber Windows & Front Door
Kloeber
Windows & Front Door

Kloeber has built a strong reputation for its product offering and excellent customer service over the last 12 years. Build It is selecting its clean-lined timber windows and will be specifying a FunkyFront door.

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Jotul Gas Stove
Jotul
Gas Stove

The hypnotic effect of a real fire is so often part of a dream house – but in a super-insulated home you don’t need too much heat. So we’re going for a traditional-style Jotul gas stove for maximum control.

Russwood Siberian Larch Cladding
Russwood
Siberian Larch Cladding

Striking Siberian larch in a rainscreen profile is our choice of timber cladding. It will be pre-treated with SiOO:X to pre-age it and achieve a consistently weathered finish at an accelerated rate.

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Lapd Architects Architect
Lapd Architects
Architect

Lapd Architects is based in Oxfordshire, close to our plot in Bicester. The practice is very well known to the Build It team, as director Opinder Liddar is one of our magazine and Build It Live show experts.

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Moss Technical Smart Home Technology
Moss Technical
Smart Home Technology

Moss Technical is ensuring the Education House has an electrical system fit for the next generation. Its Niko Home Control system will allow us to control the living environment quickly, easily and even remotely.

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SureSet Resin Bound Permeable Driveway
SureSet
Resin Bound Permeable Driveway

We're specifying SureSet's modern resin-bound permeable driveway as an attractive, durable and long-lasting solution for the Education House

Alchester Tiles & Bathrooms Bathrooms & Wall Tiles
Alchester Tiles & Bathrooms
Bathrooms & Wall Tiles

Alchester Tiles & Bathrooms is a local specialist that's already proving popular on Graven Hill. We were taken by their roomset-based showroom, which helped us visualise the options.

Self-Build Zone Warranty & Insurance
Self-Build Zone
Warranty & Insurance

Self-Build Zone is a specialist provider of 10-year structural warranties and site insurance. The team’s 25-year track record of helping self builders and use of A-rated insurers led us to their door.

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Drewett & Hunt Main Contractor
Drewett & Hunt
Main Contractor

D&H is our main contractor for the post-watertight phase. Recommended by Lapd, the Oxfordshire building firm has nearly 40 years’ experience.

Environment Logic Solar Electric Panels
Environment Logic
Solar Electric Panels

Environment Logic is one of the most trusted companies offering advice on solar and storage to self-builders. They have specified and are about to install our in-roof PV systems and are evaluating our battery storage options.

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JB Kind Internal Doors
JB Kind
Internal Doors

JB Kind has been a major supplier of doors to self builders for 30 years, and was a natural choice to supply our internal doors. We intend for these to be delivered as factory-made doorsets for rapid installation.

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ICF Supplies ICF Structural System
ICF Supplies
ICF Structural System

ICF Supplies is the UK’s largest distributor of Nudura ICF blocks. This structural system is ideal for our basement and can deliver a high-performance house with low energy requirements.

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Nu-Heat Underfloor Heating
Nu-Heat
Underfloor Heating

Nu-Heat specialises in bespoke designed underfloor heating systems. We’ve opted to install its products in three zones: Lo-Pro10 for the ground floor WC, and a screeded solution in the bathroom and ensuite.

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The Granite House Kitchen Worktops
The Granite House
Kitchen Worktops

We selected Bicester-based supplier The Granite House to add a touch of luxury to our kitchen with wow-factor worktops, including a spectacular waterfall design for the central island unit

K-Rend Thin-Coat Silicone Render
K-Rend
Thin-Coat Silicone Render

To give a contemporary look to the Build It Education House, we’re going for a modern thin-coat render from K-Rend that will look crisp and clean alongside the sections of timber cladding.

Kloepping TSS Staircase
Kloepping TSS
Staircase

Kloepping TSS designs and installs high-quality bespoke staircases. We want ours to add real wow factor to the vaulted entrance hall, and are in the process of finalising the design with the Kloepping team.

Rainclear Systems Guttering
Rainclear Systems
Guttering

Your choice of guttering can have a surprising impact on your finished home's aesthetic. We're installing galvanised steel products from Rainclear, which give a modern look at an affordable price.

Screedflo Self-Levelling Liquid Screed
Screedflo
Self-Levelling Liquid Screed

Screedflo supplies and installs anhydrite liquid screeds. We’ve fitted its standard product in the basement and plan to use the Build It Award-winning db Acoustic Floor for an ultra-quiet timber first floor structure.

SIPCO SIPs Roof
SIPCO
SIPs Roof

SIPCO is an award-winning manufacturer of structural insulated panels (SIPs). We wanted a high-performance SIPs roof for its insulating properties and to enable extra space in the attic.

We are delighted to be working in partnership with Graven Hill as the home of Build It's Self Build Education House. Visit the Graven Hill hub for more information on the UK's largest ever self build scheme.

More about Graven Hill
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