TV blog

The House That £100k Built: Challenging ideas

Architect

With design, everyone has an opinion.

Clearly, an individual’s taste is critical, though, as an architect, it’s less about what we ‘like’ and more about opening up possibilities for people that they hadn’t previously been aware of.

Generally, people are so familiar with houses and buildings that many of us think we know exactly what we want. But if we only ever built what we knew, the world would be a very dull place.

Part of the fun of The House That £100k Built has been taking self-builders who are working within a £100k budget to see extraordinary, exemplar projects for inspiration, and, yes, taking them right out of their comfort zones.

Presenter Kieran Long wants to demonstrate that grey timber doesn’t have to look like a shed

Many self-builders will have architects working closely with them – but most of the ones on the series did not.

For these people, I acted as a kind of mentor, helping maximise the potential of buildings that might otherwise have been ordinary, or soulless.

At times, yes, I had to use the power of persuasion, and try very hard to change people’s minds – because diverging from what you know and think you already like can be pretty scary.

There’s a huge amount of trust, and a great responsibility to act wisely on this trust.

A criticism that might be levelled at an architect is that we just hoist our opinions on an unsuspecting client.

But we’re trained to solve other people’s problems by finding inventive and imaginative solutions. Ideas are our main currency – not just drawing up what someone has asked for.

I’d say that the episode which meant the most to me was episode two – Sumati is a great example of one of the self-builders in the series that rose to the challenge of the new.

Initially, she was so browbeaten by the dilapidation of her existing home that she was not aware that there was any alternative to replacing her house in the most rudimentary way possible and so she’d instructed an architect to draw up the most basic of plans.

The house that she had had designed lacked, as we pointed out, any joy.

Piers and Sumati visit The Hen House on the Isle of Skye for inspiration

By showing her that there were alternative solutions to planning her house layout and raising the ceiling to maximise the sense of space, showing her there were potential savings in going beyond the obvious choices for finishes, she has a house that fills her with delight.

There were many changes that Kieran Long and I would love to have suggested to all of the self-builders on the series, but most already had planning permission when we got involved with them, meaning that we were bound to work within their original consent.

There was an extraordinarily steep learning curve for most of the self-builders, not just in terms of design, but also in terms of construction.

They all had limited building experience yet they all had a sophisticated challenge – that of building an extremely low cost house.

Very ordinary houses in the UK typically cost around £1000 sq m – and a bespoke, one off house usually starts at around £1500 sq m, yet many of our self-builders were aiming for close to £500 sq m, which meant being ingenious on so many levels.

Tony and Ruth want to build a 200 sq m house with a 100 sq m basement on their £99,000 budget

They were all pushing boundaries - very brave indeed!

My main piece of advice is to engage a really good architect early on, even if they don’t supervise the build.

They will be able to negotiate planning permission (all being well!), and should be able to work with a self-builder’s budget and knowledge, and design appropriately.

It is essential to budget. Rather than beginning with a pot of money and spending without a plan, do prepare a cost plan that allocates sums of money for each aspect of the build, and stick to it rigorously.

There’s something that we call ‘creeping enhancement’ - which is the tendency to keep embellishing or enhancing a project once it is underway.

Avoid creeping enhancement at all costs, otherwise you will shoot over budget.

Finally – building a house is a little like having a baby. It is incredibly painful and angst ridden at the time, but pretty soon you forget the pain of childbirth and enjoy your beautiful creation!

Good luck!

Piers Taylor is an architect and alongside Kieran Long presents The House That £100k Built.

The House That £100k Built continues on Wednesday, 2 October at 8pm on BBC Two and BBC Two HD. For further programme times please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

Comments

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  • Comment number 41. Posted by MrGrimsdale

    on 11 Nov 2013 10:26

    Sussex UK. The bar is in Shoreditch East London and is called Barrio East.

    Breathhail: You must have been watching a different show to me. Homeowners were NOT told their ideas were WRONG. If you engage an architect, you can expect to have your ideas challenged - they are meant to challenge conventional thinking and inspire homeowners to think outside the (literally in some cases) box. I have used architects on three of my very modest flats to give simple space advice and their ideas transformed my properties. Why put yourself up for a TV programme when all you really want is a standard house painted in magnolia?

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  • Comment number 40. Posted by Rachel

    on 8 Nov 2013 20:31

    I loved this series. It was a breath of fresh air. I agree that the title might be misleading but that's such a minor detail. As someone who doesn't regard themselves as being particularly artistic or creative I thought it was inspiring and opened my eyes to thinking outside the box [literally]. I thought in particular the first build was amazing.And liked that the people were left to their own devices, it was their idea, not the architects. So all of them were very different and [refreshingly] the buildings were not predictable in their outcome, although the series was somewhat formulaic by nature. The best bits were seeing fabulously designed buildings and seeing how that was achieved. It was a shame that the architects were not involved before planning as I'm sure there would have been much more exciting designs on the outside. This programme has made me appreciate modern building. As a lover of old buildings especially georgian [ I could never live in a new house] I would like to see how these architects would tackle an older build, as I can't imagine how money could be saved in the same way without sacrificing the aesthetics...challenge!

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  • Comment number 39. Posted by Masinuta

    on 31 Oct 2013 10:28

    This comment was removed because it broke the house rules. Explain

  • Comment number 38. Posted by theplumber

    on 27 Oct 2013 21:24

    I loved the series, but the guys are just typical Architects, trying to stamp their so called 'artistic licence' on these poor people that are building these homes. These wooden clad houses look like dog kennels. These houses are boring boxes, with no soul...............Remember people, who made us all live in the concrete slums in the 60s & 70s???!!! Who designed the mock tudor housing estates???!!! Yup Architects.

    Between Achitects & the tree hugging green loonies, it's little wonder the construction industry is on it's knees.

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  • Comment number 37. Posted by Rika

    on 25 Oct 2013 19:27

    this is the WORSE house building programme I have ever seen. Whoever devised this programme needs locking up. I think you are deceiving people into wasting their hard earned cash on properties that are essentially worthless. There is never any mention of warranties required on new builds in order to sell them on or obtain a mortgage. None of the houses on the programme are, in my opinion, worth even the 100k let alone the build cost and land cost should the properties ever go on the market. It's building on the cheap which unfortunately most people don't like as they like their homes to stand the test of time, actually I'll rephrase that, people like their homes to just stand. Shame on the BBC.

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  • Comment number 36. Posted by Kit

    on 24 Oct 2013 21:30

    Surreyite. The architect of the Wiltshire barn house (ep 3) is Stephen Turvil. His website address is www.stephenturvilarchitects.com.

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  • Comment number 35. Posted by Salazary

    on 23 Oct 2013 20:35

    Today's programme, Justin and Mary, were inspiring and in turn, inspired by a house, was it the award winning Holly house? Piers is amazing.

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  • Comment number 34. Posted by spodski

    on 23 Oct 2013 20:23

    I am really enjoying the series 'The House that 100K built'. I am especially interested as I am hoping to self build an ecologically based children's nursery next year. However, I am very frustrated by the lack of information in the series. For example: Who supplies the prefabricated wall sections shown in 2 episodes? What was used to render the walls in tonight's episode? (The young couple in Devon). How are concrete bases constructed?
    Interesting programmes but not very useful to prospective self builders.

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  • Comment number 33. Posted by Flossiefaelossie

    on 23 Oct 2013 20:08

    Very interested in the 130k house Piers visited in programme broadcast 23.10.13 - can anyone tell me who the architect was please? Thought the design was great!

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  • Comment number 32. Posted by Surreyite

    on 23 Oct 2013 15:34

    Wato, just wondering if you've gotten anywhere on the name of the Architect for the Wiltshire property. I as well am looking for the this Architect, was it Turvil or Turnvile, Stephen, Christine, Christina. I have rewatched that episode on iplayer to no avail.

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