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Frequently Asked Questions

 

I would like to build a new house in traditional style using a barn frame, what should I do first?

First find your plot of land. The design of your house will greatly depend on the locality, location, situation and size of your plot. 
It will also be heavily influenced by the opinions of the local planning department.

Having seen the information contained in the Buildings for Sale section, you will have a good idea of the types and costs of frames that are available – this will help you when you are searching for your plot and considering your budget.

 

Is it easy to find a plot of land?

No. You will probably be looking for a plot in a pleasant rural area, not too far from the local village or town - unfortunately so is everyone else - including the local builder, and he will have one or two advantages over you.

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.

 

Is planning permission a problem?

Planning permission is very likely to cause problems in one way or another. Don’t 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 traditional engineering.

 

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 can’t 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 don’t 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.

 

 
 

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