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    • CommentAuthorcreamcheese
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013 edited
     
    We are going round in circles with our project. It's a very long and thin, 24m x 5.5m (4m wide upstairs) dormer bungalow at the front of the plot. Our options are:

    “Plan A – refurb and make the best of what we have, with internal & external insulation, minimise thermal bridging and make the house look prettier with replacement tiles.

    "Plan B" - the current planning consent -- gut and renovate the existing ground-floor structure, building a completely new first floor at full width, raise the ridge height with new roof, adding single-story garden room extension, and two storey 'sunset' projection over large porch. 300 sqm refurb!

    “Plan C” - rebuild on current footprint with existing foundations

    “Plan D” - relocate to a better position, and rebuild with a squarer footprint. This plan almost certainly overrides plan C. Planners have indicated that this should be acceptable.

    With so many "unknown unknowns", it's really hard to decide what's best. We've had estate agents advice as to potential value, and it's a close call on whether or not we will lose money if we had to sell it upon completion. Advice also seems to be that the outlay for eco initiatives don't transfer to increased value. Buyers are still very shallow, and it's all about glossy kitchens and smart taps.

    Hope to get some advice on here along the way.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Refurbish to a better performance, has to be the simplest method and probably less red tape.

    As you say, the whole 'eco' thing is a nonsense when it comes to selling.
    • CommentAuthorSteveZ
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Hi creamcheese - Ask yourself some more questions like -
    Are we going to stay here for the next ten years or should we sell now and find a plot for a new build? Rebuild or new build will be draining on money and energy
    Apart from being long and thin, what is wrong with the house as is? Would a new roof and an extension at the back make it more usable?
    Can we build in the plot without demolishing the existing house first?
    Is there reasonable access if we build in the plot with the existing house in situ?

    At first sight, option D looks promising, even if it requires a partial demolition first. You will have to demolish the existing house after constructing the new one as a condition of the PP, I would guess. Living on the site during the work has benefits and drawbacks, but having somewhere comfortable to live during the work is a big plus.
    Whatever you decide to do, it will involve a lot of expense and upheaval, so it is definitely worth taking some time to weigh up your options.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    creamcheese,

    you don't say how many people are living in your house. I would say it is pretty big and that a refurb to a high standard.

    Jonti
    • CommentAuthorcreamcheese
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013 edited
     
    Hi Stevez - thanks for that..

    Don't know how long we will stay - if we love the end result - will stay maybe 7-15 yrs.

    What's wrong with house - ugly, poor layout, hard to heat, flatroof dormers, cold floors and walls, odd hot water plumbing arrangements, all these can be improved with a refurb, but the shape and position on the plot cannot.

    The work to improve the house could be quite extensive, hence the rebuild option raising its head unexpectedly. It would need so much gutting out, that we'd probably need to move out. If the house was really dilapidated, the decision would be easier I think.

    The ability to live in the house (or certainly one end of it with all services intact) while the new one is built is very attractive, along with the VAT savings.

    Access is tight, but that's true if we refurb or rebuild.
  1.  
    Jonti - just 2 of us and dog !!... but the site lends itself to a large barn-style house.. better for resale too
    • CommentAuthorSteveZ
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    I think you have answered your own question. Build the new place in the plot whilst living in the old house. Claim back all the VAT and sell the bits of the old place on eBay. It may not be the 'greenest' solution, but if were my money and time, I would look for a result that gave me a nice house to live in and a good return on all that invested money and effort. Can you bring yourself to look at the price you paid for the old house as the price of a building plot? It's something I have had to do in the past and I did not find easy when there is a perfectly usable, if not ideal, house there already. If it helps, with hindsight, I should have demolished and rebuilt my bungalow, rather than live with a substandard building and its many problems. Good Luck with the project!
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Yr problem is v large external surface to useful floor area ratio, and within that high circulation space to useful room area ratio (unless you walk thro one room to another), and prob small rooms and awkward shapes too. That's my guess.

    A newbuild could be optimally compact, loss-wise, and much more useful and spacious-feeling accomodation within considerably smaller floor area.

    This could be an opportunity for a really solar/site-optimised newbuild, with none of the usual Planner problems. Which way is south, and how much low-horizon sky can be seen from any part of the site, where you might site it?

    Presumably in a high-house-price area (?) so value/return on investment has a fighting chance of matching up acceptably. How long will you live there? If prepared to wait say 10yrs, take a view on whether eco-virtue may have acquired a value by then. If seeing it as somewhere to end your days, then value/return may not be so important as comfort, ease of use and low running costs.
    • CommentAuthorcreamcheese
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013 edited
     
    The long sides face approximately east and west with no openings on the south side at all. There is an adjacent bungalow to the south (the only nearby house). You can just see the corner of the adjacent bungalow in the bottom picture of the 2 pics on my previous post.

    It's probably evolved in this linear fashion because the best views are to the east and west, with fab sunrise and sunset views, as shown below.....
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013 edited
     
    Ideal. So rebuild along the N boundary, ground slopes to S. Wd that still give you views to E and W? see my early comments in http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/forum114/comments.php?DiscussionID=11412&page=1#Item_20
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Posted By: creamcheeseThe long sides face approximately east and west with no openings on the south side at all
    Knock it down, then, he says very opinionatedly. Having a long side facing south might just have saved it. Refurb is great if the result will be reasonable but if it's all a compromise anyway it's probably not worth it personally or ecologically.

    It would be horrible to put in a huge amount of effort and not love the result.

    If you have to use high-embodied energy materials for space and practical reasons you might find the refurb is not much cheaper ecologically (or financially) than a new build and the result will be more expensive to run meaning an overall loss in the long run.
  2.  
    Trouble is, the view we really don't want is south - bungalow now, but probably 2 storey "god-knows-what" in the future. I think if we rebuild, we need to keep the current orientation, but shorter and fatter footprint, giving some south facing openings.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    The question from a financial point of view is if you rebuild will you make more profit? if the answer is no or maybe £50K then I would suggest the hassle and years off your life that all builds bring would mean a no.

    Jonti
  3.  
    Not looking to make any profit - just to be happy with the result and hopefully not LOSE 50K or so. Passive standard features might add 40-50k to the build... but of course if we stay 10-20 years then that would be worth it, eh?

    As Stevez said, what we have here is an expensive building plot...
  4.  
    Posted By: creamcheese
    As Stevez said, what we have here is an expensive building plot...

    That's it!

    I have never re-furbed but every commentary I have seen has said the the costs of new build or re-furb to Passive house/near passive house standard are very similar but with a re-furb you are likely to have to accept more compromises which will probably mean a less energy efficient house.

    Cheapest option would probably be to sell up and buy a plot to build on, but of course that may cause a large delay to your build.

    Failing that I would go with Plan D.
    • CommentAuthorcreamcheese
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013 edited
     
    "Cheapest option would probably be to sell up and buy a plot to build on, but of course that may cause a large delay to your build."

    it would yes, but we moved here a year ago intending to do "something" with it, as we like the location, plot and views....

    whatever we do, it will be stress, hassle and money...deep joy !
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Chris P said 'I have never re-furbed but every commentary I have seen has said the the costs of new build or re-furb to Passive house/near passive house standard are very similar'

    This got me wondering,

    is this true. I can see this being the case if you use PH methods but I am not sure it would be correct if you are just aiming for PH results/performance but reach them through different methods. In the end PH is mainly about getting a building that requires little or no heating system isn't it?

    Jonti
  5.  
    Congratulations on your purchase and good luck with the decision making process!

    There will be considerations like how the current house design/layout fits your needs and the health/comfort factor offered by a low energy home which will be difficult to place a value on, but the projected end value of your new build/renovation and payback period for any energy saving measures will be calculable to a certain extent.

    From the dimensions you gave above, your current home must be in the region of 230sqm (including garage), so to replace this with a house of a similar size could well be in the region of £200k+ for a decent spec build. That's a lot of money to recoup through energy bills and not likely to be an amount anyone could expect to see back in their lifetime, let alone 7-15 years. I'm sure a well designed and built low energy home on the same plot would be worth more than the current house, but probably not £200k more so again the numbers may not be favourable.

    Having said all that, to put money into a renovation will inevitably result in many compromises being made that mean you don't end up with the home of your dreams, not to mention that nagging feeling which may be felt every time you feel a draught or fill the oil tank... which may feel worse!

    You could always build a smaller house and it sounds like your family could fit in less than 230sqm, keeping build costs down but the end result may be worth less than the current house simply due to size. An architectural practice here in Northern Ireland offers a 1530sqft, 4 bedroom home that attains 93/100 for its energy rating at a turnkey cost of just under £70k and the firm I used have four different designs from 870-1530sqft ranging from £47k-90k, so there may well be a way to get the best of both worlds if the design is simple.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013 edited
     
    Posted By: creamcheesethe view we really don't want is south - bungalow now, but probably 2 storey "god-knows-what" in the future. I think if we rebuild, we need to keep the current orientation, but shorter and fatter footprint, giving some south facing openings.
    Yes it's much too simplistic to think of the building 'facing', as if it's a square box with all the view from the 'front'. It can have proper solar orientation (i.e. with lowest poss SW/S/SE horizon) but with a little ingenuity view can be designed to whichever 'frame(s)' you like - an architect should achieve that. Solar receiver needn't necessarily or largely be S view-windows - can be a seasonal sunspace backed by solidish wall, or collectors on roof (or wall face) - many solutions.

    Posted By: Jontiif you use PH methods but I am not sure it would be correct if you are just aiming for PH results/performance but reach them through different methods
    May be a misaprehension here. PH isn't a method, just a way of assessing result. 'Different methods' - what could that be? Throwing lots of 'renewable' energy at a so-so insulated/airtighted building? Not good.
    Posted By: JontiPH is mainly about getting a building that requires little or no heating system isn't it?
    'Little' - yes, 'no'- no. PHs still require a backup heating system. To really do without that, you need to integrate solar space heating fully into an otherwise near-PH building - can discuss that if interested - plenty about it on here. Winter hot tap water will even then require fuel of some sort.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Posted By: Chris P BaconCheapest option would probably be to sell up and buy a plot to build on, but of course that may cause a large delay to your build.
    In assessing that you have to consider the cost of living somewhere in the mean time. With planning or other delays that can mount up. Somewhere habitable on or very close to the site is worth quite a bit psychologically and financially.
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Fostertom,

    Thanks for the reply and as you explain it it is more or less what I thought it was. PH is basically a set of end results the building should reach. Am I correct in presuming that the end result required is basically the thermal qualities of the building?

    I suppose the need for a backup heat source will depend on the weather, building location, number of people using the building and its purpose. I know that some houses are built with no heating are these then better than PH standard or are they used by the thick woolly pully brigade?

    Jonti
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Is part of the reason that refurbishment/upgrading is considered similar on price to new build to do with the a different type of work planning.
    Also might be a case of corner cutting. If treated as a a new build project it may not be so bad.
    • CommentAuthorcreamcheese
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013 edited
     
    Fostertom,

    I think I know what you mean about low horizon sky - east and west are unobstructed, so we get winter sun on the east and west (not quite equally, east side mostly)
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    But not winter sun from south? Big trees on boundary and (one day) 2 storey house? You might consider blankish/massive to NE/NW, light and glassy to SW/SE. The latter are excellent for winter sun penetration deep into the house, if lucky enough to have low horizons - but also need something to prevent summer overheating.
  6.  
    not full sun from the south, as there are no windows on that side - it's about 2m from the adjacent bungalow to the south
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Posted By: JontiAm I correct in presuming that the end result required is basically the thermal qualities of the building?
    Yes - but with big emphasis on the conditions for subjective thermal comfort, as much as technical heat loss. If people feel comfortable they'll run the heating a bit cooler, won't open windows in winter, won't perceive 'draughts' (actually cold radiation) from windows ... etc. Air velocities, humidity too.

    Posted By: Jontithe need for a backup heat source
    This is goingto increase if anything, as lighting, electronics and soon cooking contribute less and less to the residual heat demand. As the 'supplementary' demand is going up, the economic case improves, for replacing it with serious solar space-heating. You can't get rid of all 'fuelled' heating simply by further improving insulation/airtightness (PH really is the ultimate optimum for that) - has to be by deliberate solar. In the old days that's all there was - we've just lost the knack since coal.
    • CommentAuthorEd Davies
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Posted By: Jonti: “Am I correct in presuming that the end result required is basically the thermal qualities of the building?”

    It's both a little bit more specific and a bit wider than that but, basically, yes:

    http://www.passivhaus.org.uk/standard.jsp?id=18
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeNov 18th 2013
     
    Posted By: creamcheesenot full sun from the south, as there are no windows on that side - it's about 2m from the adjacent bungalow to the south
    Yes but what's the southern skyline height (and the view) as seen from the northern biundary, where i'd suggest putting a new house?
    • CommentAuthorcreamcheese
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2013 edited
     
    Hi again, not much to south from ground floor and neighbour's huge silver birch shading (shame it didn't fall down safely in the storms). The house can't go all the way to the north boundary, as planners would want to see some overlapping with the current house. We did think that if we rebuild, we would move the new garage building to the southern boundary, to hide the bungalow

    sorry for rubbish image - this is the current approved plan for the refurb with raised roof and extn etc, with proposed 2.5 bay garage to north, with studio over
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeNov 19th 2013
     
    Posted By: creamcheeseplanners would want to see some overlapping with the current house
    Whatttt? that is one of their rules of thumb? I'd hope a convincing architectural design/layout would overcome that arbitrary nonsense. It wd have the effect of plonking your newbuild right in the middle of the plot, so you'd have 2 smaller gardens rather than one spacious one.
   
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