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Last edited 20 Feb 2021
Wood and custom build homes
Using a successful house design and replicating it is a cost effective and sustainable way to build. Kit houses are fast becoming a solution for developing new communities, and as a new route to housing delivery in the UK, custom build is growing in popularity; 10% of all new builds are custom build.
Constructed from a range of prefabricated components, kit houses are assembled on site, reducing disruption to neighbours and minimising construction traffic. Some offer the homeowner a choice of components enabling them to put an individual stamp on their home. Marmalade Lane by K1 Housing is an example of how this can work. Within this development, dwellings range from one-bedroom flats through to four-bedroom family homes.
With £3 billion available from the Home Building Fund for custom housebuilders, SME builders, large housebuilders and developers; and with the Right to Build Taskforce influencing self-build registers in every local authority, custom build could become accessible to everyone.
This self-build project in Oxfordshire replaced a former run-down bungalow with a simple cuboid form assembled from a flat-pack of structural insulated timber panels. The house was such a successful design that it became a prototype for the Kiss House. Made from a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure to Passivhaus standards, the Kiss House is available as a 2, 3 or 4-bedroom home. Teaming together to make these beautiful homes are Adrian James Architects, Trunk Low Energy Building, and WARM Low Energy Building.
White Design and Modcell developed the TAM, a zero-carbon home that does not require a mortgage or planning consent. The clever design means it’s covered by the Caravan Act. Constructed from straw bale and timber, it is a healthy home in a small but well-planned space that still meets the minimum 60-year design life as expected with a conventional home.
Wudl offers a few variations of small dwellings which it calls micro-buildings. Available in three different sizes and designs suitable for small homes, holiday homes, small offices or playrooms, the structures are made from prefabricated timber sections. There are many customisable options and sustainability is high on the agenda. Wudl has gone beyond taking individual orders and is involved with two custom build developments – Heartlands in Cornwall, and Graven Hill in Bicester.
Established by Sodra, Sweden’s largest forest-owner association, Trivselhus encompasses all that is great about Swedish housebuilding. The timber frames are built in a factory in just 8-12 weeks and then taken to site where they are installed within a week. The windows, doors and service conduits are already cut into the walls so once installed it doesn’t take long to complete the home.
Building a Trivselhus requires a smaller team on-site and is less affected by bad weather than traditional builds. A partnership between developer TOWN and Trivselhus, TOWNhus delivers homes at Maramalade cohousing scheme in Cambridge.
 Gale & Snowden - ecological kit houses
This architectural firm has created ecological kit houses using modular timber frame units. These super-insulated, highly energy efficient homes cost less than £80 a year to heat. There are custom options that include compost toilets and rainwater collection points; and for the garden, choices include habitats for encouraging natural ecosystems, micro-climates, food production and a mini forest garden.
 Custom build homes with a conscience
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- A-frame house.
- Community right to build.
- Custom-build home.
- Kit house.
- KODA house.
- Modular buildings.
- Self-build home.
- Self-build home negotiating discounts.
- Self-build home project plan.
- Self-build initiative.
- Serviced plot.
- Structure relocation.
- Right to build.
- VAT refunds on self-build homes.
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