Between 2007 and 2009 we obtained planning permission for two house designs. The first was for a large H-shaped single storey. We took the plans to Peter Keavney at the Galway Energy Agency for some independent advice regarding building to a “low energy” spec. Peter felt the design was very poor and estimated approx €3000 - €4000 per year to heat even with a high spec in terms of insulation etc. We decided to go back to the drawing board and submitted a second planning application for a more conventional two storey house. Once again we spoke with Peter Keavney who confirmed this was a much better design but he suggested we take a look at what Lars Pettersson was doing with Scandinavian Homes.
At this point we had sold our house in Galway and were keen to proceed. Planning Permission was granded and we decided to get some quotes from some recommended builders. We found this quite challenging as each builder had a different way of quoting for construction. Some provided very detailed quotes others provide a basic costings. Our bank had told us to get the mortgage amount right and ensure we would not be back looking for more funds – it was therefore vital we got the costing right. The property boom had ended and we were being told it was a great time to build and that we should build a new house very cheaply. It was quite a shock when we started to get quotes much higher than anticipated. It became apparent that a lot of the cost was in the materials. Labour costs might have reduced but installing high levels of insulation, triple glazing, heat recovery, geothermal/wood pellet etc were all adding to the costs. At this point we made the decision to visit Scandinavian Homes.
We had also spoken with timber frame manufacturers but felt that they were really only interested (perhaps to be expected) in erecting their structure on a completed raft and then walking away.