Friday, 15 October 2021


Is Passive House The Go-to Standard?


What we look for in our homes has changed dramatically over the last few years. With working from home becoming the ‘new normal', we have started wanting and needing more from our builds. Even though we are no longer in lockdown, we’re still spending more time in our homes than ever before. 


But how can a passive house make the difference? 


Passive homes are built and designed to have year-round climate control. This means they offer a far more comfortable living space. Gone are the days where your homes are naturally hot in the summer and cooler in the winter. Passive houses have changed our whole living experience. 


Mould and condensation are also eradicated from Passive Houses. With their excellent ventilation systems and total air-tightness, they are designed right from the beginning to ensure the best possible living experience. Don’t forget that these impressive builds can use up to 90% less energy than a standard build. Not only will you benefit from this in comfort, but you’ll also see a huge difference in your energy bills!


The UK Government has set a deadline of 2050 for net zero carbon emissions. So, with that in mind, Passive Houses are becoming more popular. These homes are designed and built ready for the future. So, if you’re looking to self-build, Passive House Standard is probably the most appealing. 


The concept of Passive House originated from Germany, and has become more popular over the last few years. 


Do passive homes cost more to build?


Well, this is a straightforward answer, yes, they do. But if you’re building with the intent of a ‘forever home’ then you’ll quickly make your money back. What you have to remember is you’re paying for quality, quality which you don’t normally get from standard types of buildings. This is an investment, an investment for your future! 


Passive Houses are more relevant now than ever. They are at their best in high-use buildings, and as stated, we are now using our homes more than ever. Meaning, we can really utilise our passive builds and their impressive technology.


Can I retrofit my existing home into a passive house?


This is a complex question, the answer is yes and no. Can you make your existing build more energy efficient? Yes, without a doubt. Can you pass the Passive House Standard? This is trickier. Passive House has some strict criteria that must be implemented throughout your build. The design of your build will also play a massive role in whether your build meets Passive House Standards, and as you can imagine, this isn’t something which can be easily altered. 


You don’t need to give up hope though, all changes which can be made are beneficial, and you can make positive alterations to ensure your home is as energy efficient as possible. But, if Passive House Standard is what you want, it’s always best to start from scratch. It is always easier to ensure compliance from the beginning than in retrospect. 


Thankfully, we are all currently looking into our builds, and undertaking essential works to ensure energy efficiency. This is partly due to the Government schemes, which have allowed more people to make the essential changes. 


Ultimately, if you’re looking to self-build, consider a passive house. The benefits outweigh any negatives!

Friday, 1 October 2021


Common Problems with New Builds


New build homes are enticing, they’re ready to move into, and sometimes, you can even have a say in the materials used for the flooring etc. What’s not to love? Well, they can also come with their own problems. You must always do your own research on the development, and even the developer. 


Developments are built quickly, but this is sometimes viewed as a bad sign. To perfect a build, you need to ensure every stage is spot on, the materials are right, and the craftsmanship is top quality. 


Now I’m not trying to put down developers. They’re good at what they do, but because of their schedule, and the tight deadlines, they sometimes don’t have the time to put in to ensure everything is just right. 


Don’t let this put you off from buying a new build though. There are plenty of excellent houses out there, you just have to make sure you know exactly what you’re buying into. 


Some of the most searched questions regarding new builds relate to the problems you might encounter. So with that in mind…


What are the most common problems with a new build?




Cracks are common with new builds. This can often put off potential customers, but cracks are quite normal. Most new builds will experience some settlement cracks. This is literally where your build is simply settling on its foundations. 


The time it takes a build to settle is disputed and can vary from anywhere between 9 months to 3 years. The only time you need to worry about this is when the cracks keep growing or if they become very wide. 


If you’re concerned, contact your developer or tradesman, and they will inspect the cracks and put your mind at ease. 


Living in England doesn’t help, as the weather plays a huge part in cracks and when they develop. 




When you buy an older property, you can experience damp and mould, but don’t think new builds are an exception. The problem here is that condensation can happen due to the amount of moisture in the building process. A new build property can take up to 12 months to dry out fully. 


Homes these days are constructed to be airtight. Yes, they have to have the right ventilation, but this is for the homes use, not to include the building process. 


Again, you need to research your builder, look at their portfolio. This isn’t a small purchase, and you need to make sure you have all the information. 


Make sure you ventilate your home. This is the first and foremost point when talking about damp and mould. 


Insulation Problems


We’ve all bought into the idea of being energy efficient, and looking after our planet and its future, and new builds are part of this. 


Once again, this comes down to research. You need to ensure that you’re getting sufficient insulation. In recent past, it has been reported that some new builds didn’t actually have the insulation required. This can be costly if you don’t find out until it’s too late. One way to ensure you know is to get the necessary surveys and checks done first. These can tell you what insulation you have and if it’s sufficient. 


Floors Separating 


This actually relates to cracks in the walls, in the same way they form, newly laid hardwood boards can also crack. This can often happen in the winter, but it’s completely normal. 


If the cracks become big or you experience cupping, this is when you need help from the professionals. 


So, there you have it, the basic list of problems common with a new build home. Just keep an eye on everything, and if you have any problems, go back to your developer. Homes need time to settle in, just like us.

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