AN ONCHAN man who decided to build a new house is about to be featured in a magazine article.
When Scott Bradley bought a dilapidated 1930s bungalow on King Edward Road in 2006 the original plan was simply to renovate and possibly extend it, but the project grew from there.
When planning permission for an extension was refused this was the catalyst for the project.
‘It was a godsend really,’ Mr Bradley said.
‘The house was in a fantastic location so we applied for planning permission again, this time for the rebuild, and got it.’
By 2008 the family was installed in a rented house ready for the demolition and rebuild and by October the same year they moved into their new house.
‘There was still a bit to do,’ he revealed. ‘The driveway and garage needed finishing and the garden landscaping and all the inside needed finishing but it was certainly liveable, so that was a big milestone. Our daughter was only three at the time so we didn’t want to move in too soon but needs must, as we were paying money on rent.
‘I considered living on-site in a caravan but I was overruled on that!’
Mr Bradley, who is head of the sales team for IT business 2E2, was full of praise for the local tradesmen who he employed on the job, which he project-managed himself.
First the house was delivered in kit form by a firm called Maple Timber based in Preston.
‘It all came over by ferry on two lorries and they took 10 to 14 days to install the timber frame. It was very quick. The beauty of it is you get to see the house very quickly. My wife Celina was keen to see what it would look like.’
The company offeres several different options in construction as well as extras like upgraded insulation, which they chose.
‘Ours was called the Eco-kit and it is very warm,’ he explained.
He said the process was also in stark contrast to the scenes of high drama often seen on television property programmes.
‘It wasn’t really all that stressful,’ he said.
‘It was certainly an experience. If I were doing it all the time for a job then things may be different. But I chose to project manage it myself and and use some fabulous tradesmen. I was only there to oversee things.
‘And write the cheques.’
The main thing, he said, was co-ordinating matters and ensuring each stage was completed on time so the next stage could then begin.
‘I have done project management at work but it was still nothing quite like this,’ he said. ‘For example you don’t want to start building a wall then have to knock it down again because there’s no damp proof course.’
But even with the benefit of hindsight, he said he wouldn’t shy away from doing the whole thing again.
‘It was a rewarding experience, a dream to build,’ he said.
‘It’s something I have always wanted to do while I was reasonably young – I’m 40 in January – and while the children were reasonably young, so a lot of things fell into place.
‘I’d love to do it again and I would recommend it to anyone thinking about it if they have the patience and vision to do it.’
The project was clearly not without its challenges, so what was the biggest?
‘Convincing my wife it was a good idea to knock our old house down,’ he said.
‘But it was built in the 30s as part of the old Howstrake holiday camp. It was in poor repair and needed a lot of money investing in it anyway.
‘We decided it would cost as much to fix as to knock down. It was falling to bits and it only took three days to completely demolish it.’
Advice to other would-be self-builders would be to do their research thoroughly, take plenty of reliable advice and use good tradesmen.
‘We had really fab tradesmen,’ he said.
‘Also, change is not always welcomed by other people who think you are going to set a precedent.’
Since completing the house, Mr Bradley has now decided to put it on the market. It is currently for sale at £995,000.
When the sale comes he will know properly how the build worked out economically.
‘The housing market isn’t great at the moment,’ he said.
‘And, of course, a house is only actually worth what someone is willing to pay for it.’
The family paid £275,000 for the original house and around £400,000 all told on building the new property.
He said the sale price is certainly negotiable.
The decision to sell is partly financial. His wife was made redundant from her job at HSBC and they are wondering whether to down-grade a little.
‘In some way we don’t want to: it’s a beautiful outlook from the house here, but on the other hand, another project could be appealing,’ he said.
The house will feature in the September edition of Build It magazine, which comes out on August 1 and is available in the Isle of Man.
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