Briefly...

Building a new house on a site within a working farm

We recently completed a new build stone house at Greens Norton in Northamptonshire on a working farm.

From the outset, there was a lot of attention by the planners to ensure the building would fit its rural surroundings while still meeting the needs of the family. We used our extensive knowledge of local stone and pointing techniques to prepare test panels for both the client and the planners, which they used in choosing a finished look.

The project was managed by us from groundworks to completion. The groundworks comprised footings, drainage, sewerage and foundations. The superstructure was built in a Weston Underwood rubble stone. The block and beam for the first floor and the attic trusses, which formed the second floor, were hoisted in place using a crane. A boot room at the side was built in character sawn oak to blend with the hand crafted timber windows and doors and European Oak window heads, and to contrast with the stone.

Beautiful materials, communication with architect and customer and meticulous attention to detail have produced a fabulous looking house. 

We like to simplify the process as much as possible to take the stress out of the build, enabling you to enjoy the experience of creating your own home.

Project at a glance

  • New stone and oak cottage
  • On a working farm
  • Complex planning requirements
  • Prepared test panels of materials for customer and planners
  • Challenge: stonework in winter
  • Clear schedule of works
  • Customer engaged in project
  • Structured, but flexible, contract
  • Fabulous looking house

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The full story...

Case Study: New build at Greens Norton, Northamptonshire

This project was undertaken on a working farm and the planning process turned out to be tricky and quite lengthy. Elaine, Julian and their young family were running a farm and living within a mobile home on the site.

Preparing test panels of materials for client and planners

The planning conditions had various agricultural ties attached. The planners wanted to see a building that would fit the profile of the farm and the surrounding area. Because of the agricultural ties they also wanted to see a building that was adequate for the size of the family, without being oversized and ostentatious.

We entered this project on the later stages of planning permission. Test panels were required for the planners and various other material samples. Our extensive knowledge of local stone supplies allowed us to source various options. We were able to provide several test panels showing the various arrays of local stone to appease the planners. We also were able to show a selection of different pointing technics for Elaine and Julian to make an informed decision upon the finished look of the stone work.

Clear contract with flexiblity to allow design changes

Once the material samples were agreed and approved, a schedule of works and a JCT small works contract were drawn up. This schedule of works allowed the customer to have a clear idea on the process of the build, when the different trades were due and a clear finish date. We like to ensure that the customer is fully engaged in the design and build process, working within a structure but allowing flexibility to make design changes if they so wish. The JCT contract, which is a readily available small works contract, sets out monthly valuations for payment and sets out a clear dialog and process if any matters need resolving.

Groundworks and superstructure

Our ground working team dug the footings, provided new drainage and soakaways and ran the foul drainage back to the existing Klargester. The house was then fitted with a block and beam over site. The superstructure was the built in a Weston Underwood rubble stone, which reflects aspects of the stone in the local village and is very similar to the stone supplied and the Pury End Quarry.

This project was carried out over the winter months and therefore proved challenging at times. When building stone in the winter you have to have the experience in knowing how to cover the stone adequately to avoid freezing and efflorescence over the stone. The stone has to be kept as dry as possible before laying to achieve the best results.

A crane was needed to insert both the block and beam to the first floor and the attic trusses, which formed the second floor. The rustic European oak window heads and the hand crafted timber windows and doors gave the building the quality “cottage feel” that that the customer and planners wanted.

A blend of materials

Although a cottage, to the back elevation within the kitchen the planners allowed floor to ceiling windows and timber by-folding doors. Our team of specialist suppliers and fitters are experienced in supplying and fitting both timber and powder coated aluminium, quality by-folding doors. This flooded the property with light and brought the magnificent views of the surrounding countryside into the kitchen.

The boot room to the side elevation of the house contrasted the stone and was clad in character grade sawn oak. This feature matched the oak on the heads of the windows and will also match the oak framed garage that we will construct after the main house is finished.

Great results and a positive experience for the customer

The blend of materials, communication with architect and customer, meticulous attention to detail by our experienced trades, produced a fabulous looking house. As a business we like to simplify the process as much as possible. With detailed scheduling and a clear design process we will take the stress out of the build enabling you to enjoy the process.