Earlier this year, we hosted our first client takeover on social media, and we received a fantastic response. Our client, Becky, took control of our Instagram page to tell our followers how she built her dream home.

Through pictures, captions and videos, Becky took us through her unique self-build journey, answering your questions throughout the day. She also showed behind the scenes of the build, sharing images and footage of her, her partner Ashley and their family hard at work to make this project a reality.

We know how helpful it can be to hear from self-builders about their real-life projects, so here are the highlights of Becky’s Q&A:

Becky, what was your building like before?

The pig farmer who owned the land before Ashley’s family moved in built the building to be a pig washroom. Ashley’s parents used it as stables, and we transformed it into our forever home.

How much did your self-build home cost?

The total cost was £200,000. 25% of the cost was timber frame. But, we already owned the barn and the land, so our project only had associated build costs.
We were lucky enough to have lots of machinery from the farm, so we used the tractor and digger to do a lot of the lifting and groundwork. We hired and borrowed tele handlers, nail guns, laser levels, floor sanders and grinders. We also invested in various cordless tools, including drills, saws, sanders, screw guns and multi-tools.

How did you find Frame Technologies?

We visited a self-build show at Bath and West Show Ground when we had our planning application submitted. Here, we finally believed our home could become a reality and we were pointed in the direction of Frame Technologies. Shortly after, we went to the NSBRC to meet with Simon and take the project another step forward.

Why did you choose a timber frame home?
We were locked into pre-existing space and height as part of our planning permission application to use the space we already had. We had come to a block in the road because we needed to take the ground down to come back up. This is where Simon came into our lives.
Using Simon’s incredible team, we created a plan that didn’t make the barn any smaller inside and no taller on the inside.
Another reason for choosing timber frame was the short time leads. We had waited so long due to the various lockdowns, and knowing a timber frame could be erected so quickly was a game changer for us.
And, having spoken to Simon, we realised there were other benefits of using Frame Technologies – there was better layout flexibility, creating various room sizes and window-to-ceiling heights; Frame Technologies had endless options for insulation; they came up with a build date to work around us, and they offered outstanding customer care before and after the frame erection.

What kind of insulation did you use?

We selected Option 3 for TechVantage™ E with U values at 0.14W/m2k (0.13 through the roof) and factory fitted to the external wall, including Air Tightness Rips. We came to this solution because it provided excellent insulation without compromising on our floor area.
We didn’t know much at that stage of our building journey and went off recommendations! But listening to suggestions hugely paid off for us.
Since moving into our home in May 2022, our heating has only come on twice to prevent the pipes from freezing! Besides our 4kW log burner in our living room, we’ve not needed heating. Today’s thermostat (on a cold January day) read 21.2c! We highly recommend investing in good insulation as part of your build.

How did you decide on the floor plan? Would you change it now?

As part of the pre-application, we were advised we could only have the entrance in one place and worked from this.
I started the plan on a PowerPoint presentation, and then the experts made it come to life, aligning the sizing to actual measurements and allowing for plasterboard and insulation etc.
We made a minor change – adding a bi-fold door to our kitchen to the sitting area to allow open-plan living, but other than that, I would not change a thing! That’s the great thing about a self-build project- you build exactly what you want, and this home is just what we wanted.

What were the worst bits?

My full-time job is in project management, so I project-managed our entire build. But no-one warns you of the emotions this can bring – you’re building your dream home, and things don’t always go right the first time! But, Simon and Jen got us through the most challenging emotional time of the build despite being off-site for two months. They guided us through the journey, and we will forever be grateful for this. The emotions were 100% worth the outcome!
And, insulation fitting was the most challenging part to push through – mega itchy! We were so lucky to have family members silly enough to help us.

What were the best bits?

We loved designing our own layout and doing the groundwork pre-timber frame. And, of course, we loved adding the finishing decorating touches. But most of all, we loved working with brilliant people – there was no nastiness.

So how did you do it?

The sheer driver was determination – a lot of hard work and teamwork. Ashley and his family were the driving force behind the physical work. They are very hands-on people, and they’ve had a go at so many things in the past that they could bring to this project. But much of it was down to trial and error, learning on the job and YouTube!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People are always happy to help and would like to see you succeed.
If you’re an Instagram user, you can see takeover highlights here.

At Frame Technologies, we pride ourselves on offering industry-leading advice with high-level customer care. We work closely with our clients to support them through their build journey. If you’d like to learn more about what we can do for your project, contact us here.