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    • #30396

      As some of you may have noticed my understanding of the issues involved in sustainable building is less than encyclopaedic, what I'd like to know is for someone like me that wants to buils a “sustainable” dwelling what are the concepts that I need to be aware of and be able to communicate effectively to any prospective architect, builder and of course the planning authorities.

      I hope some of you find the time to comment and inform

    • #32447

      Thanks for your reply, I've been looking at plots for quite a while and PP has been a constant problem, I almost exchanged contracts on a house a little while ago that I wanted to extend. Luckily I spoke to Planning before I exchanged, they wouldn't let me put an eco-friendly extension on although I could gain consent for ancillary buildings for a “swimming pool complex” or such like.

      Zero weighting was given to the sustainability of my proposal, wildlife and environmental benefits, or my intention to end up as a contributing part of a “sustainable rural economy”. Makes you wonder why those words are even included in their planning guidelines.

      I've looked closely at the planning aspect of both of the properties I'm looking at and am confident that we'll be able to achieve what we want, but it's by no means easy.

    • #32448
      David Olivier

      Yes, planning is very difficult in most districts of England & Wales (I know very little about Scottish planning law as I haven't helped to design any buildings there since a scheme in 1996 – which sadly failed on appeal despite being ultra-sustainable).

      However, elsewhere on the AECB site is the valid comment that you can usually get planning permission for anything which doesn't affect others' privacy or view (or do other demonstrable harm) provided that you have the time and energy to persist with your proposals. This presumes that the site's in a development area or that you're replacing, modifying or extending buildings which are already there – rural greenfield sites are impossible except in a very few districts.

      Some planning officers probably do exceed their powers, knowing that the average applicant won't have the determination to persist with his/her plans. Officials know that most applicants are short of time and to move on will usually fall in line with an official's totally unreasonable demands (or efforts to protect the public interest, depending on your viewpoint).

      Mark Brinkley's book has a useful set of precedents for fairly unusual-looking buildings in village settings. So do all the main self-build journals.


    • #32449

      I'm reading A Pattern Language at the moment many thanks to Nick and others for recommending it, extremely interesting.

    • #32450

      Just managed to get logged on for first time today.
      It's so interesting to see this dialogue being so well supported by the forum. Great stuff. Faced with the task of trying to design an eco-house for our family, I am feeling excited, but also challenged and a bit daunted. I'm having to think long and hard about what sustainable living really means for us now, but also what it will be in the future. I see it as a huge opportunity to support positive / responsible changes in our living behaviour.
      The bonus for us is that we already have a site within the development boundary of our village. However I guess I'll be posting a lot of questions here in the next few months.
      Good luck Tahir.
      I would also add Low Impact Development by Simon Fairlie (Jon Carpenter 1996 £10.00 (£7 from Amazon but you have to wait)) to your reading list. He is one of those wonderful people who took on the planning system, and his book generously shares his experience of that and much more.

    • #32451
      Julia Bennett


      Thank you for that advice: I will contact Liz.

      I will be designing myself, albeit relying on developing robustness at proposed lunchtime 'crits' (supportive design criticism sessions) with work-mates at Quattro Design.

      (Would it be too weird / impossible to have a crit page on this site?)

      I had already considered enlisting the input of a planning consultant – who did you use, and/ or who would you recommend?

      We're hoping to visit Nick properly, could you bear visitors if we are over your way?

      Sorry David, ??HTH??? I'm sure I'll kick myself when you explain.


    • #32452

      Personally, I'm increasingly leaning toward self-build straw bale construction, with ideally the use of the german mechanical plastering systems

      Are they those big sprayers?

    • #32453

      I was in Totnes at the weekend, tell me more about this place.

    • #32454

      I've finally acquired a site in Essex, will be meeting with an architect on Friday to see what we can do.

    • #32455
      Julia Bennett

      Congratulations Tahir!
      Hope all goes well; no doubt you'll keep us up to date.


    • #32456


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