Shell Build Homes – The Easy Route to Weathertight

Heather Edwards from design and build specialist Sylva discusses the benefits of a shell-only route to creating your dream home
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by Sylva Design & Build
21st February 2018

The shell build package is a popular choice for self-builders. If you are looking for the perfect house tailored to your needs, yet feel slightly overwhelmed by the prospect of finding a designer and project managing from start to finish, this route could be the ideal solution.

With a shell-only contract, your supplier will deliver your build to structural shell stage, providing you with a secure and weatherproof home in just weeks. They will act as a single point of contact for all aspects of your build, letting you determine how much you’d like to be involved throughout.

Shell building is an especially attractive option for those who look forward to getting involved with the specification and delivery of their new property’s interior fittings, but prefer to leave the structural phase of the works to seasoned professionals.

Design options for shell builds

Choosing a shell package does not mean you have to limit the design of your dream house. Suppliers such as Sylva offer homes bespoke to the client that take their needs into consideration, as well as any local planning restrictions.

Timber clad self-build by Sylva
This Sylva home was built using an insulated timber frame structure

With this route, you’ll typically work with the designers to create the layout of your home as well as choosing the build system, insulation, doors, windows and external finishes that best suit your location, taste and lifestyle.

Benefits of shell build homes

The advantage of getting your package provider to erect your home to shell stage is that they’ll take control of delivering key parts of your build.

This means you get a strong, well insulated superstructure – with windows, roofing and cladding all supplied and delivered with a single point of responsibility. You are then handed a warm, watertight shell which you can use as a canvas to develop your own personal tastes and preferences throughout.

Suppliers such as Sylva will carry out all the relevant testing to ensure the structure complies with Building Regulations before handing you the keys. They also arrange warranties and insurances, depending on your location.

Project handover

With this route, once the core building envelope is up and signed off, it’s then down to you to find the suppliers and project manage delivery and installation of items such as heating and plumbing, the kitchen and utility, sanitaryware and landscaping.

However, you could also opt for a turnkey scheme – in which the package home supplier takes care of every last detail closely following your specifications, or uses a professional project manager or main contractor to deliver the rest of the project

Quick Guide: Turnkey Home Builds

Many self-builders prefer to be handed the keys to a finished home, without having to worry about the interior fit out – and that’s what the turnkey package is all about.

Sylva Group’s Concept to Keys service can take your scheme from design ideas right through to project completion, helping you find solutions to the challenges of self-building. You will get full control of the design and specification of your new home, too.

With Concept to Keys, you can rest assured a team of professionals will make sure the house is finished on time and on budget

Read more about turnkey homes

What does a shell build cost?

The average cost for a shell package with Sylva is between £800-£950 per m2 – based on a 200m2, two storey, four bedroom detached home. A turnkey package will usually come in between £1,500-£1,750 per m2.

Whether a shell package is right for you will depend on your budget and how much time you can devote to the scheme. Just remember that project managing the fit out and finishes can take between 10 to 20 hours a week.

Heather Edwards is sales and marketing manager at Sylva. She works with self-builders to help them identify the best route to delivering their project, according to their location, lifestyle and budget.

Main image: This brick-clad shell build project is by Sylva. With this route, the supplier may be willing to take responsibility for technical tasks such as scheduling building control inspections and completing airtightness testing

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