Gus Zogolovitch, MD Unboxed Homes
The site on Pound Lane in the suburbs of Basildon was being sold by Homes England. It stood out because it was next to lots of natural space, had interesting topographical features, but most importantly there is so much land, a lot more than in a normal development.
A standard new build development would probably get about 30 homes on this site and we’re building 12, so that illustrates the size of the plot that each home will have.
It’s a fantastic opportunity. I have been trying to help grow self and custom build in the UK for 10-12 years, which is why I created Unboxed Homes, a custom build developer. Steenvlinder, one of the development partners, is similar to us but from Holland where they are more advanced than us in terms of self and custom build, and building your own home is very common.
We partnered with three multi award winning practices for the house designs (Pitman Tozer Architects and Mae Architects are also develpment partners) to give the customers as much choice as we can. You have a choice in the design, the plot, and choice in the size of the house (L and XL) or whether you want to do it yourself or get it finished by us (DIY or a la carte).
We believe in choice and value for the customer, and being great for the environment. We think that what we’re building here you just can’t get anywhere else on the market.
Speaker: Laura Baron (architect from Pitman Tozer Architects)
The site is separated into 12 plots, where 1 and 2 are separated from the rest by the public footpath. The other 10 plots are situated around a communal green space and a road that goes around the site.
The development has been designed to be deliberately low density to conserve the natural green environment that was already existing.
A buffer zone around the edge of the site with existing ecology and vegetation between the church and houses will add to the feeling that the plots are within the secluded woodland.
There are 3 different house types (the colours on the map correlate to the different house types).
All plots have 2 parking spaces, front and rear gardens, space for a garage or car port, and dedicated bin and meter stores. Landscaping will be a combination of existing mature vegetation and new planting.
Plot 3 is adjacent to Pound Lane, LittleBig House by AOC, with only 1 immediate neighbour, and a slightly smaller garden than the other 2 plots.
Plot 4 is one of the larger plots, MyHouse, by Mae Architects.
Plot 6 is also a generous plot, S6 House by Pitman Tozer Architects.
All house types come in 2 sizes, L or XL.
Split over 2 storeys, the S6 house features generous living spaces to maximise views over the garden to the rear. The ground floor can either be an open living space or separated into smaller rooms. Upstairs includes 3 good sized double bedrooms with the option for en suite or a larger family bathroom.
The XL adds a rear extension on the garden side so you have an even more generous kitchen dining area which can be subdivided, and extra room on the front of the house which could be a study or additional living space.
Speaker: Sarah Thiel (project manager Steenvlinder)
All of the houses have the garage shown as an option as part of the external shell options.
All the house types are very different from each other, and designed as a set for this specific development so that they share common palettes that tie them together. Options for each house are chosen specifically so there is a common language between the designs.
You will have a choice of:
The a la carte route gives you some options, with less flexibility than with the DIY route.
All houses have a choice of:
Plans are subject to minor changes due to the engineering process we are currently undergoing.
The houses will be constructed off site in a factory, and will be timber framed. Because of this process it will be a slightly shorter construction period than traditionally built homes.
The construction is estimated to be completed 6-9 months after exchange of contracts, depending on your chosen finish level.
à la Carte
For those who want to move in right away and not have to go through the finishing process. You will have a limited set of fixed options to choose from, constructed and finished by us. We will build your house up to a move in ready state.
DIY, or choose from the convenience of our
This route is more exciting and for those who want to build out the interior themselves to accommodate your bespoke wishes and budget.. You will have some shell options, which you will select from a fixed menu.
You will have maximum freedom to finish the interior of your house to your own bespoke needs and wishes, the only constraints are from the construction of the house ex. stairwells. The structural warranty of the design will be arranged by us.
The difference between Pound Lane Custom Build and other self-build projects is that planning permission is already in place, the shells are already built, and all you have to decide and build is the interior layout.
Costs on website are baseline costs (will vary if you add on carports etc).
DIY budgets you need to budget for the fit out, but you can save money by doing some things yourself.
What do you get with the DIY option?
We will build:
You will need to do:
1) Register your interest on our website, and the chance to reserve is first come first served.
2) Once you sign the orientation form and transfer a £400 fee, we will take the plot off the market and you will enter the orientation period.
During this period you will have a personal online consultation with a customer coach to see which options fit you best. You will also have a personal mortgage session with Mary Riley who will work with you and your budget to get your mortgage in principle which is needed for the next step in the process.
We will put you in touch with your fellow purchasers so you can get to know each other and explore ideas together, and work together during the construction phase if you wish. In our experience it works well to form a community and build together.
When you have made your baseline choices and have your MIP in place you are able to enter the Reservation Period, to extend your reservation for another 12 weeks until exchange of contracts. Upon entrance of the reservation period you will deposit £3000. During the reservation period you can finalise your options and secure your mortgage.
You will receive the drafts of all relevant legal documentation to sort out with your solicitor, so make sure you appoint your solicitor in time.
We’re aiming for the development to be electrical only as in a few year’s time no building will be allowed gas, as gas boilers has been banned for all new builds by 2025. So we are making sure these homes are future proof.
This is not absolutely definitive so we are still discussing if there is enough electricity in the system for everything to be electric only, but this is what we’re working towards. Adding in gas would also be expensive to add in as it is an extra infrastructure cost. If having no gas is a deal breaker then please let us know.
We are targeting the future homes standard, the latest guidance from the government targetting decarbonisation of all new builds by 2025. Using a combination of different techniques, high thermally efficient fabric (what we are aiming for), renewable energy sources (air source heat pumps, our standard), we do not have the final EPC ratings, but the baseline will be B+ if not an A.
The rating would generally be B if gas is installed and A if for an air source heat pump and PV panels.
If you have air source heat pump your house will work in much the same way as with a gas boiler, eg. you could have underfloor heating downstairs and radiators upstairs. It is more efficient to have underfloor heating everywhere with an air source heat pump.
For the finished option there would be underfloor heating downstairs and radiators upstairs as a minimum, with the option to upgrade to underfloor heating everywhere.
We are going through a process with the architects on selecting the options, and there will be a catalogue presenting the different options for buyer purchases, which we will be sharing soon.
The houses will be constructed with a timber frame which will not be able to be changed to brick and block, but there is some option to change external cladding.
The main issue about Grenfell is the height of the building, and the that cladding issue not applicable to 2 storey houses. Lots of work has been done around timber frame construction so that they are completely safe, and the risk level is much different from what it was many years ago.
We are currently looking at cladding material. The type which is banned is ACM, and is not the kind of cladding we will be using. The project will comply with the current building regulations standards, which have been enhanced on fire safety since Grenfell.
This depends on house type, the primary insulation is mineral wool which is non combustible, and PIR insulation will be used as well as a secondary insulation material on the outside of the construction.
The cost of the land only plus the price for the different house sizes and purchase options are on the website.
Yes, we will be doing informal viewings at specific days and times. Martin (our project manager) is on site on set days each month at which time you can view the site. If there are enough people who would like a viewing on other days we can arrange a viewing for those times, otherwise if you are local you are welcome to head to the site and get a sense of it from the outside at a time that suits you.
Sometime later in the year, possibly in the autumn, but there isn’t a set timescale. If you have your heart set on the other plots please register your interest and you will be the first to know. It will be on a first come first served basis for whoever reserves the plot with £400.
This fee is refundable as we didn’t want it to be a huge barrier but it will allow you to really understand if you have the right budget or if the designs are right for you etc. The legals will start during the reservation period where you will have to commit more with £3000.
When we go live the first person who has registered interest will have 24 hours to put their money down, if not, then the next person etc. So the higher up on the list you are the better. There is no obligation at all to be on the list, you can always change your mind later down the line.
When you buy the land, you will be buying the land from Pound Lane Custom Build Limited (PLCB), paying stamp duty on the land only, giving you a significant stamp duty saving, if you pay stamp duty on the whole house you are paying tax for the entire cost of the house.
The custom build mortgage will be provided when you build the house or when we build the house for you on the land. So it’s a custom build mortgage rather than a traditional one because you are buying the land and saving on stamp duty and then paying us for the construction of the home.
So there will be two contracts, one with PLCB to buy the land, then a separate one with another company, Pound Lane Builders Ltd to build you the house, and you are not liable for stamp duty for end value, only on the land.
When you choose the DIY route, you will have maximum freedom in the layout and specification of the interior. Only the positions of the stairwell and the utility risers are fixed. We will build the wind and weathertight shell, which means no services, fixtures or finishes on the inside. The DIY route gives you the opportunity to buy a house at a lower cost and complete the inside to suit your budget and the way you want to live with one of our partners, or by yourself, or with people you know. When you are looking at what you can afford, make sure that you have budgeted for the fitout of the interior. Even though you are in charge, this doesn’t mean you have to do it alone! Our Customer Coach will be available to guide you through your journey and you can make use of our network of building and financing experts for advice.
If you choose the à la Carte route you can select from a number of interior options, like an ensuite bathroom, a large bedroom instead of two small ones and different levels of environmental sustainability. In addition, there are some exterior options to choose from, like window and door materials and colours. Not all options are available in each design. We will present you with all the different options relating to your preferred house type and provide a fixed price for each option. This way you can easily understand what works within your budget. Our Customer Coach will guide you through the options and the architect will finalize the design. We will then build your house accordingly, handing you the keys to your finished home when it is ready for you to move into.
Interested in buying a home at Pound Lane? Register your interest here below.
Please fill in your contact details and we will inform you further about how and when you can start.
(A reply email will follow with more information)