The key to success is hard work. You must approach all the local estate
agents, especially those that actually manage estates; it should help if you offer to pay
a commission. If you can, get to know local people, get a large-scale map of the area,
walk the footpaths or at the very, least drive around.
One of the most likely opportunities might be provided by an existing
dwelling that was badly built within the last hundred years and which is now in a poor
state of repair and ready for replacement.
Planning permission is very likely to cause problems in one way or
another. Dont expect to get planning permission on a green field site just because
you intend to rebuild the most attractive barn in the county.
Your plot will almost always have to have a sound planning reason for
permission to be granted. For example, if you are replacing an existing dilapidated
dwelling, or there is already a listed barn on the site which will be lost if it is not
given a change of use, or you are infilling within the village envelope, etc.
If you are to convert an existing barn, expect the local conservation
officer to have some very strong ideas about keeping windows to a minimum and the internal
areas open and spacious. The generally accepted deal is that you are allowed to convert
the barn to a dwelling on condition that you retain the characteristics of the barn.
Are there likely to be
problems in obtaining building regulations consent?
The building inspector will require you to build a safe, hygienic,
well-insulated house. There are generally few problems that cannot be solved with a little
I would like a
building with a large floor area. How big a barn can I get?
Generally, it is much more pleasing to rebuild a group
of buildings, possibly round a courtyard, to create a large building.
There is a limit to the width of most oak-framed houses and barns. The
normal span of a tie beam is eighteen to twenty feet. Exceptionally there are some
buildings with a width of twenty-five to thirty feet, but they are unusual in England.
A greater width on the ground floor is commonly achieved by adding an
aisle or lean-to to one or both sides.
Our largest barn at the moment is one hundred and forty feet long by
twenty-five feet wide into the lean-to.
I cant see a
building that exactly suits my needs can you help?
We have the best stock of ancient oak beams in the
country - reclaimed from old houses and barns that could not be saved in their entirety.
We design and provide kits of parts for all manner of buildings from our stocks.
A particular speciality is creating garage buildings, often with
accommodation in the roof space above.
I dont need a
whole building, I just want to make a few improvements.
We are very happy to sell you a single beam or a handful
of old bricks to repair your fireplace and we are always pleased to advise on how the
parts we sell you might best be used.
We can also create an oak joisted ceiling for you whilst you watch, or
sort out some ancient boards to make a new old door we do, of course,
have the genuine old hinges on which to hang it!
Another of our specialities is the supply of oak (and pine) flooring
that will look instantly right come and see our demonstration floors.
Our floorboards are also in much demand for building internal
cupboards, vanity units, bookshelves, stairs, radiator covers, etc.
Can you help with
other building materials?
We generally have huge stocks of handmade bricks, peg
and nib tiles, reclaimed terracotta floor tiles, Yorkstone paving, granite setts, stone
walling, reclaimed coping bricks and iron work, in addition to our immense stocks of oak
beams and floor boarding.
What about costs?
The cost of building a new house is heavily dependent on
who does the building labour is the largest component. Generally the cost of
building one of our frames and converting it is similar to the cost of building a new good
quality house. It must be emphasised that costs can vary hugely
depending on location and choice of builder.