Please select any of the frequently asked questions from the list below, but if you have any other queries, please don’t hesitate to email or call us on 0161 225 4000.
Most of our buildings are not really “pods”, they might have some similarities, but they’re not designed and built like pods that can be found on the market.
Our buildings are proper buildings. We build very high quality eco-buildings that are still affordable. One key aim behind the concept is to create a living space that suits a wide market, it can be personalised and can also be extended or adapted over time. The way in which our buildings are manufactured, transported to site and assembled is and should be irrelevant to the end result.
We prefabricate them off-site which means that we can control the quality of the buildings better. By employing full-time trades people that know how to build, we can also reduce and reuse waste. Although, this process is not traditional or conventional we can manufacture and assemble a proper 3 or 4 bedroom house and even supply a “pod” that could be used as a home office or playroom… if you want.
Possibly. We’re currently investigating the best way to manufacture and transport our buildings to countries overseas. We can’t offer individual buildings but if the project consists of at least 5 buildings then this makes it more viable – we’re being very careful about the very high design and construction standards which is obviously more difficult to control when working in other countries. We also need to look at a few alternative specifications and check we meet each specific country’s building code/regulations.
As soon as we have any further news we’ll let you know… please subscribe to our occasional newsletter for the latest news.
Unfortunately we don’t currently have a show home available to view in the UK, but hopefully we will have soon!
If you intend to use any building as a self-contained permanent home you will need planning permission. This includes our mobile designs.
If you propose to use our buildings for other purposes, it may be that they could fall under “permitted development” that means they will not require a Full Planning Application. The Planning Portal have a very useful guide, and a mini-guide specifically for outbuildings.
We have considerable experience of gaining planning permission for new homes and can take the application for a project smoothly and successfully through the process. The home’s design, size and sustainability credentials will appeal to the planners and it should find favour over and above the standard house.
For self-builders new to the process, this Homebuilding & Renovating website page provides some very useful information.
Unfortunately no, not yet. However, we are becoming increasingly involved in Custom Build projects where serviced plots with Planning Permission tend to be sold to individual homeowners – please visit our Custom Build page for more details and our current projects.
We’re also working with BuildStore’s Plot Search and the NaCSBA’s campaign for the Right to Build… more details can be found here: www.wudl.co.uk/land
You may find these websites useful:
You may want to contact local estate agents to inform them that you would be interested in vacant land, or properties requiring considerable repair work or in need of demolition.
Yes. Although we principally design and supply buildings, we can offer a comprehensive range of services from masterplanning to marketing. If you have land, we can help you to develop it, although this may be subject to local planning policy.
There is a huge demand for our homes, but people struggle to find land on which to put them. We can work with both individuals and property developers, potentially creating a Custom Build project with our own design code.
Please call Ric on 07976 704 532 to discuss further.
Custom build is when people are able to specify an individual home through a more ‘hands-off’ journey, where an enabling developer delivers a spectrum of services – from just creating a serviced-plot right through to delivering a complete bespoke turn-key home for an individual or group of individuals.
Typically a developer will purchase a piece of land (large or small), obtain planning permission, carry out any enabling work to the site such as providing services and roads, then sell individual plots to the public. If we’re one of the eligible home manufacturers (and if we’re not, please ask for us!), we can then help you to customise one of our designs and build your home, to either a building shell or a fully fitted home.
Through this process, our homes can also be built with a special mortgage, making it a very easy and affordable way to have a high quality customisable home!
There are more details about Custom Build here: http://custombuildstrategy.co.uk/about-custom-build/
Here is a website aimed at local authority planning and housing officers, development teams from housing associations, small builders and community organisations – all of whom may need guidance on how to facilitate more opportunities for people who want to build their own homes: http://customandselfbuildtoolkit.org.uk
Please also see www.wudl.co.uk/custom-build for more details.
We can build the whole building from the foundations up, and will fully fit it out, painted and with floor finishes. We can even put up curtains and fit blinds.
We can also just build the shell (including the cladding, door & windows, first fix services and internal lining) for you to complete yourself.
A further option is to have a third-party contractor assemble the building. This may be more appropriate if there is already a main contractor on site or operating locally. We’ll still supply the full timber frame panel system and all other materials and components, ensuring everything that is needed is ready on time together with any specialist tools.
For the groundworks (foundations and service connections) we produce a design that can then be tendered or negotiated with a local third-party groundworks contractor. We will co-ordinate this part of the project, but the contract will be direct with you the client.
Our prices are broken down into 3 categories – the cost of the building shell, the building fully fitted-out and an approximate cost of what the total building project may be. Listed below are the elements that are included in each.
Savings can be as much as 20% on multiple buildings through larger quantities of materials and components and the sharing of preliminaries such as site equipment etc.
The highly specified building shell would include:
The fitting-out of a dwelle.ing would consist of:
The approximate overall project cost includes the typical price for foundations & utility connections, Structural Engineers foundation design fees, Approved Inspector fees, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), Structural Warranty, site insurance, transportation, crane, specialist lifting equipment, material storage, site fencing, welfare and waste removal.
This is only a guide price… although we can provide a fixed price for the building itself, site-specific factors will have an impact on the total cost, such as the site location, ground conditions (which will determine the type of foundations we use) and proximity to utility connections.
You can also select from a wide range of additional elements or options that will personalise your project – these additional cost items include:
Please note that all of our costs may vary from time to time due to market conditions and general design development. Our prices don’t include land or VAT (but new homes are often zero-rated).
Unfortunately it’s not that simple – the definition of affordable housing doesn’t directly relate to build cost or cost per square metre. It tends to be based on sales or rental rates that are at least 20% below local market value, therefore a full assessment of a project needs to be carried out to work out the upper limit of the build cost.
The cost per square metre for our homes will depend on the scale of the project, the type of homes, the specification and the location. We can build for around £1,350 per square metre, which could be affordable. The land price is often the deciding factor.
What we’re also challenging though is how our designs and enhanced specification can make housing more affordable AND sustainable. We’re looking at the long-term benefits such as low-energy costs, low maintenance and health & wellbeing. We’re also focused on building true communities.
The definition of Affordable housing can be found in Annex 2 (page 64) of MHCLG’s National Planning Policy Framework.
It’s useful to note that some Local Authorities are developing their own definitions for Affordable Housing, such as Manchester City Council, as part of their Housing Strategy:
Yes, through our sister company Fabric, a not-for-profit Community Interest Company, we can develop housing projects with a specific focus to allow them to be co-designed by the residents, ensuring they are affordable and sustainable.
Please visit this website for more information: www.fabric-cic.org
VAT will need to be paid at the standard rate for commercial projects, but for new homes (if they meet the required criteria), they can be zero-rated.
This government web page www.gov.uk/vat-builders/new-homes gives a basic guide.
However, even if a new home does qualify as being zero-rated, you still have to pay VAT on some items that are not considered “building materials” (all pre-planning services, equipment hire (except security fencing), kitchen appliances (excluding the cooker hood), audio pack items, curtains & blinds, carpets & some planting).
Because we offer a Design & Build type service, you won’t be paying VAT on our consultancy services following planning approval, including architectural and structural engineers fees.
There’s a number of costs associated with any building project, some are absolutely necessary whilst others simply reduce the risk of any potential problems. But if you’re spending excess of £50,000, you should ensure everything is done properly!
Here’s a brief list of the most common costs:
Our buildings fully comply with Building Regulations and have a lifespan of at least 60 years, and so if a project is granted permanent Planning Permission as a dwelling, they are potentially mortgageable with all lenders.
You may need to consider a self-build or Custom Build mortgage type if you need to borrow money at different stages of the build process.
We’re working with BuildStore’s financial services to offer a range of mortgages – full details can be found here
This website also provides a very useful guide on financing a self-build project: http://www.selfbuildportal.org.uk/sources-of-finance
Our buildings sit on foundations appropriate for the specific site. These vary from basic concrete pad foundations to ground screws. Our Structural Engineer would arrange for a site investigation to be carried out and then design the necessary foundations.
The original intention for what was called the “dwelle.ing” is that it is completely independent and therefore off-grid and zero carbon. This is possible, but there is however an additional cost to incorporate renewable energy systems. We will design these specific to the site and number of buildings proposed.
Alternatively, you can easily connect to an existing electrical and water supply and drain into existing sewers, eco-digester system or a septic tank.
Yes. Although gas is the least harmful of the fossil fuels to the environment (and is contributing to Climate Change), we’d prefer you to focus on alternative and renewable energy sources.
An Air-Source Heat Pump, combined with Solar PV panels which generate electricity together with a connection to a green energy provider (such as Good Energy), is an extremely efficient, cost effective and sustainable solution.
Our Air Source Heat Pump is a much cheaper and cleaner option, and is also supported under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)).
Instead of using gas for cooking, our latest induction hobs now make cooking far more efficient, safe and effective.
The exact power specification for each project is determined depending on the site location, orientation and number of buildings being proposed. We use electricity and gas*.
The ideal type of energy generation would be from Solar PV (photovoltaic) panels. Some of our designs include these on the building itself, but we also have a Energy Shed
™ that is covered in PV panels and plugs in to the main building to power it. We also use an Air-Source Heat Pump to create very cost effective hot water for both the water supply and underfloor heating.
Our buildings can be powered solely from the National Grid. Connecting to the grid and using renewable energy allows you to use the Feed-in Tariff.
If you do use the grid for your supply, please take care to find a supplier that supports renewable energy. We use Good Energy.
Only our mobile designs have been designed to meet the definition of a caravan and conforms to BS 3632-2005 (Residential Park Homes – Specification). This means they can be used as a permanent dwelling without having to comply with Building Regulations.
Our other designs fully comply with Building Regulations as dwellings and non-dwellings. The smaller ones can be adapted to allow relocation, but will require a galvanised steel base. This however may impact on planning, letting or mortgage criteria.
Here is the full definition of a caravan:
The definition of what constitutes a caravan is often misunderstood, and does not simply apply to accommodation with wheels attached that can be towed by a car or other means. So far as the law is concerned, a park/mobile home, a caravan holiday home, touring caravan or Gypsy and Traveller home are all capable of coming within the legal definition of a caravan provided they retain the element of mobility.
Mobility means that the caravan must be capable of being moved when assembled, from one place to another, or to a different site. The physical movement need not be by means of towing with a car or other vehicle. It may involve movement by specialist equipment such as lifting gear, lorry or low-loader. The crucial element is that to meet the definition of ‘caravan’, it may not be fixed to the ground. Permanent works, such as a large porch or extension, which fix the caravan to the ground could mean that a caravan no longer comes within the legal definition of a caravan and could as a consequence be treated as a building.
Where a caravan is permanently affixed to the ground, this potentially has serious planning, legal and contract implications for site owners and residents. Site owners could be in breach of planning permission for the site, and residents of park homes would lose their protection under the Mobile Home Act 1983.
The connection of mains water / electricity / sewerage or addition of cosmetic skirts that do not fix the accommodation to the ground do not prevent the accommodation from coming within the definition of a caravan.
Section 29 (1) of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 a caravan is defined as
“… any structure designed or adapted for human habitation which is capable of being moved from one place to another (whether by being towed, or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer) and any motor vehicle so designed or adapted but does not include:
a) Any railway rolling stock which is for the time being on rails forming part of a railway system, or
b) Any tent.”
This definition was modified by Section 13 (1) of the Caravan Sites Act 1968 (“The 1968 Act”), which deals with twin-unit caravans. Section 13 (1) provides that a caravan is:
“A structure designed or adapted for human habitation which:
a) Is composed of not more than two sections separately constructed and designed to be assembled on a site by means of bolts, clamps or other devices;
b) Is, when assembled, physically capable of being moved by road from one place to another (whether by being towed, or by being transported on a motor vehicle or trailer), shall not be treated as not being (or not having been) a caravan within the meaning of Part 1 of the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 by reason only that it cannot lawfully be moved on a highway when assembled.”
Section 13(2) of the 1968 Act also prescribes the following maximum dimensions for “twin unit caravans”:
(a) length (exclusive of any drawbar); 60 feet (18.288 metres);
(b) width: 20 feet (6.096 metres);
(c) overall height of living accommodation (measured internally from the floor at the lowest level to the ceiling at the highest level): 10 feet (3.048 metres).
From 1 October 2006 in England The Caravan Sites Act 1968 and Social Landlords (Permissible Additional Purposes) (England) Order 2006 (Definition of Caravans) (Amendment) (England) Order 2006 [SI 2006 No 2374] further amended section 13(2) of the Caravan Sites Act 1968 by increasing the maximum dimensions of a structure that can be defined as a “twin unit caravan” to:
(a) length (exclusive of drawbar): 20.00 metres (65.616 feet);
(b) width 6.80 metres (22.309 feet);
(c) height: 3.05 metres (10.006 feet).
Subsequently these revised dimensions have also been adopted by the National Assembly for Wales.
When considering whether or not lettings information falls within the statutory definition of a caravan, the Rent Officer must consider the actuality of the accommodation in question. The accommodation cannot be considered to be a building (such as a bungalow) unless it is physically and permanently affixed to the ground and is incapable of being moved.
Connection of services do not constitute permanent fixing of the accommodation as in most cases they can be simply disconnected to facilitate movement.
Similarly, brick skirts around the base of a mobile home would not constitute permanency if the accommodation could be moved using specialist apparatus.
If the accommodation was mounted on integral fixed foundations, then it could be said to be permanent. Similarly, if the accommodation exceeded a twin unit of the maximum dimensions in legislation, then it would fall outside the definition of a caravan.
We generally use Aedis as our Approved Inspectors for Building Control and for our Structural Warranties – our construction has been through their Type Approval service – this keeps our costs down as they only need approve them once, giving us the certainty to use the design repeatedly across different projects, in different parts of the country.
We’re flexible – we can use other Approved Inspectors or Warranty Providers and Local Authority Building Control if required.
Unfortunately this Code doesn’t exist anymore. However, the design and specification of our buildings, as homes, will potentially meet Passivhaus and what was Code Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes. The exact standard achieved will depend on the specific size, the site location, orientation of the building, the choice of renewable energy/heating system and whether the MVHR and the triple glazed windows options have been selected.
The U-value of the walls is 0.15 W/m²K, the elemental U-value of the windows is typically 0.76 W/m²K (depending on size) and the air leakage is no more than 0.75 m³/m²hr @ 50 Pa (0.6 air changes per hour).
The design of the smaller buildings are capable of performing up to Code Level 5, however there are difficulties in achieving the mandatory Fabric Energy Efficiency standards in the ENE 2 category. The difficulty arises due to an apparent anomaly in the SAP methodology that penalises relatively small detached buildings, even though they are highly insulated, air tight and thermally efficient.
The larger buildings could meet Passivhaus and actually surpass the Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 and meet Code Level 6, with them also being Lifetime Homes compliant.
The principles of Passivhaus (sometimes spelt Passive House) are explained really well in this 90 second video…
For a more detailed explanation, please visit the BRE’s website.
Most of our homes can meet this very high standard, the only time they won’t is when triple glazing or MVHR isn’t included as options, some form of renewable energy isn’t used and when the floor area is much smaller than the surface area of the building. We find that when the home has a very large double height space, as fantastic as it is to have this height, the heating calculations don’t work in our favour.
Timber frame buildings meet all fire standards required under the current Building Regulations. Insurance and financial institutions do not differentiate between timber frame and masonry construction.
They are no different to a typical timber frame building, which has the same life expectancy as brick and block buildings. Timber frame buildings are described as permanent structures.
For the design of our buildings we hold full Professional Indemnity Insurance (as required by the Architects Registration Board) that we can provide a copy of once you’re a registered client.
If we’re to also carry out the construction element of the project, we have Construction Sector Insurance that includes Contract works, Employers’ Liability and Public and Products Liability insurance. Again, we can provide a copy on request.
The full design and construction of our buildings are covered by an optional third-party insurance backed ten-year Structural Warranty.
If there is, please pick up the phone and call us (0161 225 4000).
There could be a few things we’re not sure about either, but if we can’t answer any of your queries, please be assured, we’ll find out and get straight back to you.