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Jewson helps Eco-house

A ground-breaking eco self build project, featured on Channel 4 TV’s Grand Designs, was built with help from builders merchant Jewson.

Jewson helps Eco-house

Grand Designs’ presenter Kevin McLeod followed the progress of Peter and Chard Berkin’s ambitious project to build an eco round house in the grounds of their existing home, which they planned to sell to fund the build and retire mortgage-free for a life of self-sufficiency.

Designed by architect and friend Andrew Armes, of architecture AA, ‘The Round House’ as it is now known, was constructed on a shallow bed of shingle with a layer of steel reinforced pre-shaped polystyrene that is filled with a relatively thin layer of concrete. This provided a circular concrete raft that the house sits inside, insulating from the ground up.

Jewson sales representative Alan Rapp visited the couple at the site to establish exactly how Jewson could help. He says: “We think ahead for customers. We advise and discuss building material options, provide professional advice on sustainable building techniques and offer guidance on key suppliers both nationally and locally. We assist at all stages of the build, from discussing initial concepts, right down to helping to formulate delivery plans.”

Never having built before, Berkin was particularly keen to build a sustainable home as independently as possible. Rapp says: “I arrived at site one day and Peter explained he wanted to undertake the stonework for himself. As a building contractor of 30+years I was able to guide him through the process, discussing materials, and even getting down to the detail of pointing with a hessian rag. I have to say Peter did a great job.”

Jewson advised on and supplied a whole series of building materials including plaster and plasterboard, cement, sand, aggregates, timber, floorboards, below ground drainage, rainwater drainage, wall ties and paint. Berkin also wanted to achieve very high levels of insulation and air-tightness with minimal thermal bridging to take the building as close as possible to Passivhaus status.

The Round House, which, at its highest points stands at 4m tall, houses a large open plan living space with kitchen and utility room, three guest bedrooms and a master bedroom with split level bathroom.

Constructed with walls clad in larch, a local honey coloured stonemasonry plinth and a wildflower roof, the centre of The Roundhouse forms a stunning partially glazed winter garden.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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