|£900 per m2|
|40m2 - 150m2|
Ever dreamt of designing your home? Our self-build system is an eco-friendly way to achieve this dream. Working alongside your chosen architect or design team, we can turn early stage drawings into construction packs, reducing the complexities of the technical design stage, and giving cost certainty for the frame at an early stage. We aim giving you complete control over the home you wish to create. The modular approach suits almost any site; even hard to access or difficult terrain.
U-Build is a sustainably minded company and we believe that good buildings should make both people and the planet happy! All our materials are chosen for their performance and their sustainability, and our boxes are designed to come apart again so they can have many lives.
Boxes & fixings
Read More About Boxes & fixings
Our structural boxes that create the walls, roof and floor are made from 18mm WISA Spruce plywood as standard, this is FSC certified and PEFC rated. Click here to see a typical Spruce sheet.
Or you can upgrade to WISA Birch, a harder wood (and heavier) option but with a less knotty aesthetic. See here for an example.
To fix the boxes together we will supply you with zinc plated bolts, nuts, screws and washers, as well as stainless steel wood screws.
Your pod will be supported by our specialist, height-adjustable decking risers. Each foot can support up to 1 tonne. They are made from 90% recycled plastic and fully recyclable.
Read More About Insulation
To keep you warm and cosy we provide sheep’s wool, selected for being British based, a natural and breathable eco-friendly insulation for the walls and floor. It is building regulation compliant, contains a borax based fire retardant and does not require the addition of an insecticide. We can also use wood fibre (or most other insulation types).
To insulate the roof, we use a PIR insulation board, chosen for its high performance within 2.5m permitted development height. If you are willing to make the building slightly higher, we can swap this for a wood fibre board.
Membranes & Tapes
Read More About Membranes & Tapes
A damp-proof membrane functions like a raincoat; it will keep you the rain out whilst also allowing moisture to breathe.
For the walls and floor, we use a UV stable and fire rated membrane from Illbruck.
For the roof Butyl membrane; a UV-stable, non-toxic and has a working life of up to 50 years with a 20 year supplier guarantee. An added bonus is that this arrives green roof ready, so you can add your plant layer straight-away.
Read More About Cladding
Cladding is the material that you see on the exterior of your U-Building. It acts as a ‘rain screen’ to protect the waterproof membrane behind from damage, and completes the external appearance.
You can use any cladding you like with U-Build, but to make things simple we supply Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir or Larch depending on availability. We choose UK grown timber with a durability class of 3, an estimated life expectancy of 15-30 years above ground, plus it looks and smells beautiful. We use 45x25mm strips that arrive as linear lengths to be cut down to length on site.
If you would like to install the cladding in a ‘herringbone’ or ‘chevron’ pattern we have a developed a cladding panel making workflow for you to follow.
Cladding panels means that no screws are visible on the front face, and the panels are easy to take off individually for maintenance. Our in house developed software (known affectionately as AutoCLAD) works out the number, length and shape of the different parts and creates a cutting list, which are either be sent for you / carpenter to produce from scratch or cut to length here. To keep the ‘U’ in U-Build, we encourage people to try assembling the panels, and you can also buy one of our specially designed cladding jigs to help with this.
If you like this style but are conscious of time and budget, one idea to save time and costs is to use herringbone cladding for the front only, and use horizontal timber for the back and sides.
WiIndows and Doors
We can work with a glazing system of your choice, and can advise on details to help you in.
We know that windows and doors can take a long time to manufacture. One of the great things about our system is that we can give you the structural opening sizes of the windows, along with the assurance that our boxes are always the same size. This means you can order the windows before the building has even started, reducing time and risk.
Whilst we can produce plywood kit windows and doors, they are not certified to any given performance standard. This means that they may not meet building control standards and so we would not recommend them for new houses.
We have carried out an air tightness on one our U-Buildings and achieved air-tightness levels of 2m3/hr/m2 @50Pa. This was 4-5 times better than current building regulations even before any airtightness membrane was used! With the addition of the external membrane, our build ups can meet Passive House levels of airtightness, which we think is pretty good.
For larger buildings like houses, we double up the thicknesses of our boxes from 0.15 to 0.3m. This improves the U-Value to Passive House levels of 0.15W/m2k, which can be improved still further with the addition of a external insulation wrap.
We think it’s cool that U-Values are completely on brand with U-Build! It’s like we did it on purpose … except we didn’t.
Our services include:
- Design consultancy
- Producing drawings for planning or service installation
- Bespoke furniture
- On-site building assistance
- Can work with your chosen designer, architect or builder.
See below for some example drawings and FAQ’s about building your own home.
At U-Build, although we can provide drawings suitable for planning permission, and technical drawings you can use with your builder, we don’t manage the process for you. If you are at the starting point of an interesting project, why not reach out to Studio Bark, the architecture practice behind U-Build. They have a focus on environmentally considered, beautiful buildings, and also have lots of experience in rural planning applications, through their work on Paragraph 79.
When it comes to delivery of the project, if you are a self-builder, and wish to take on the role of project manager, then we can support you in this role by taking care of the design of the superstructure, leaving you one less thing to worry about! That said, we do advise that you do your homework to make sure you have the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to take on the role effectively, and meet your statutory duties.
There are lots of self-build guides on how to get started, and here in the UK, the self-build portal is a good place to start.
People often ask us about which foundations they need for their building, and the honest answer is… this depends on your site. There are a number of different options (see a few here) but the key is to make sure that the ground is not subject to movement and able to take the weight of the structure. We can provide information on the weight of your particular structure, which you can use when choosing a foundation type. It will by up to your local builder or design team to choose the appropriate foundation, and make sure there is a flat, level base for the U-Build structure.
Book a consultation
Our design consultations last around an hour, where our friendly team will model up your designs with you live via a video call. This is also your chance to ask those more detailed or technical questions and bounce ideas with us.
We follow this up with dimensioned layout drawings and an accurate cost estimate.
Lets get things moving!
We will contact you to arrange an initial consultation meeting, and help you plan for the arrival of your new cabin!