Passivhaus certified self build by the sea

This three storey detached coastal property in Caistor-on-Sea was built by James Snelling who attended our self build training course. It is a Passivhaus certified property and highly energy efficient.
Photo of a certified Passivhaus in Caistor
Made In The UK
Mr Snelling
Caister, Norfolk
Training Academy
Self Build Training Academy
Delivery Method
Onsite - Self Build
U Values - Walls and Roof
0.8 W/m²k
0.49 3/hm²@50pa

This 3-storey three bedroom Passivhaus certified self build home is set in a dramatic seaside location directly on the edge of the sandy Norfolk coast. It has been constructed and project managed by the owner, following his attendance on the Beattie Passive Training Academy. The Beattie Passive team were on hand to offer advice and support throughout the build.

I have always wanted to build my own home. The simplicity of the Beattie Passive Build System allowed this to become a reality. I attended the Self-Build course at the Beattie Passive Training Academy to learn the skills necessary to construct the vast majority of the build myself, with just the steel works requiring additional contractors. Our new home will provide my family with an enviable living environment, with all the benefits that Passivhaus brings.
Mr J Snelling

Designed by RIBA award winning Mole Architects, this stunning Passivhaus certified self build home has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. A first floor living room allows the family to enjoy the fantastic sea views.

Thanks for access to the Training Academy course, it just reaffirmed to me how clever it all is and simple enough even for me!
James Snelling

1. Why did you want a Passivhaus certified self build home?

There were two key reasons. Firstly, I didn’t want to be a slave to conventional fossil fuels. Secondly, I had various site restrictions, given the location on the coast and, as a result, I needed to build a home with a timber frame and specific materials that would withstand the direct coastal conditions.

2. How and why did you approach Beattie Passive?

I was introduced to Beattie Passive at the early stages of them having developed their Build System. With such a glowing report on the quality and performance of the structure and technology, I had to be part of it.

3. Why did you choose to attend the Beattie Passive Training Academy and did you feel this gave you all the skills needed to tackle the project?

I was one of the first people to attend the one week course at the Beattie Passive Training Academy for self builders. However, I had already seen Beattie Passive building some homes in the local area and had gone over to the site to see first-hand what they looked like at ground level. I went once or twice a week just to see how the construction unfolded and asked for an explanation of how it all worked, which they kindly provided!

The course was very comprehensive and provided all I needed to know on Passivhaus and how to build the system. John, the course trainer at Beattie Passive, was always happy to help answer any queries.

4. How has the team at Beattie Passive supported you during the build?

Beattie Passive’s architects have been exceptional and without them there could have been issues with design and the adjoining party wall. But both Gareth and John in particular really took their time to work on ironing out any problems which otherwise could have taken up a lot of time and resources. I would highly recommend the team at Beattie Passive, they are very experienced and knowledgeable.

5. What has been the best/most surprising aspect to the build and the system from Beattie Passive?

I already had some knowledge of the German Passivhaus standard, as well as the benefit of seeing Beattie Passive homes being built locally to me. However, the course, and building my new home, has reaffirmed to me how clever the Beattie Passive System is, and simple enough for even a self builder with limited construction experience to build.

6. Have there been any downsides to starting a Passivhaus certified self build?

The structure of my home has some tricky steel elements, which has made getting services from one side to another a bit of a challenge. Plus getting a gas/solar combi boiler has proved difficult to source from suppliers. However, I was slightly ahead of the curve, and many more products are coming to the market now.

7. Would you start another Passivhaus certified self build project?

Yes. I’m already planning a modern/mock Victorian manor house around 4,500-5,000 sq. ft. which will definitely be Passivhaus, otherwise it will be too expensive to heat. 

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