Green Dream Homes
Benfield ATT's Green Dream Homes are unique in that they are perfectly eco-friendly buildings. And, yes you can still design your own. The differences between a Green Dream and a conventional house is the fact that your home is self-supporting and non-dependant on the environment.
We are the UK's leading timber frame manufacturer specialising in envionmental sustainability, and as such, are able to offer complete 'green' builds. In a way, your entire home will be recyclable!
From walls lined with sheeps fleecing to photoelectricity and from state-of-the-art water recycling units to environmentally-friendly foundations and roof tiles made from recycled car tyres, your home will be a true art form, and a precious reminder for future generations that you played your part for the environment.
The question on every enquirer's lips; how much does a Benfield ATT Green Dream Home cost?
The answer to this question is complex and involves a long list of variables. Many who ask this question want to know how much a Green Dream package costs. The cost of a Green Dream package, while also being highly variable, is somewhat meaningless in view of the bigger picture.
The answers to these questions are vitally important but also difficult to answer in anything but very broad and generalized numbers. The only accurate manner in which to tell you how much a Green Dream home will cost is to contact us for an individual quotation.
Some Guides for Costs Are:
- A Green Dream home can cost anything between the same as an old fashioned ‘wet trades’, bricks and mortar building and up to 25%-30% more than a high-quality conventionally built, custom designed home of the same size and volume, using the same finishing materials. This is generalisable for the house only and does not include land and those related costs.
- Self-builders (owner-builder)who contribute a significant amount of expertise and sweat equity (labour) can save up to 30% over the fully contracted cost. However, a more realistic savings for a self-builder will be between 10% and 20% savings.
- An owner-contractor who has real expertise and capabilities to perform the work of a general-contractor can expect 10% to 20% saving over the fully contracted cost.
- A construction-manager can save an owner between 5% and 15% over the fully contracted cost.
Variables that Reduce Cost
- Regional markets - Building in a competitive market where there is less demand for builders can help contain costs. In these areas local labour is more readily available and usually at a lower cost.
- Climate - Weather can affect the cost of your home. Moderate climates can reduce cost with regard to the requirement for lower insulating values and smaller timbers and less engineering.
- Site related issues - A simple, flat or gently sloping site with good soils will be less expensive to build on and help to control foundation costs.
- Design - Although we believe this defeats the reason for Self-Builds, simple designs usually mean less cost. For example, a simple rectangular or ‘L’ shaped house is probably going to be less expensive than a fancy design with Victorian features of the same floor area.
- Volume - Avoiding cathedral areas and using that volume to include a second floor will reduce cost per square foot.
- Timber frame variables - A Green Dream pine frame is usually less expensive than other species. Short spans and common rafters (as opposed to principal trussed rafters with purlins) will usually reduce costs. Square edged timbers without chamfering will also help contain costs.
- Windows and doors - Keeping windows to a minimum, using the double hung style of windows and staying with basic argon filled, low emissivity glass can reduce cost greatly.
- Interior finishes and materials - Shopping carefully for kitchen cabinets, appliances and bath fixtures will help reduce costs. Items such as installing a wood burning stove in lieu of a fireplace can save money. Selecting less expensive floor finishes will also help.
- Exterior finish materials - Eliminating brick or expensive types of siding and trim can create significant savings. Staying with architectural grade shiplap boarding as opposed to cedar shingles, steel or tile is also advisable.
Variables that Increase Costs:
- Regional markets - The cost of construction varies greatly from one area of the country (world) to another. Resort regions where the building season is limited because of weather will increase costs. The cost of local labour and materials can affect the cost by 10%-20%. The UK market is rarely generalisable but construction costs will generally rise and fall similarly to house prices in the area.
- Climate - The weather can affect the cost of your home. Snow and wind loads can add significant cost for additional engineering and larger timbers. Severely cold climates may require higher insulating values and thicker SIPs.
- Site related issues - Ledges and/or rocky terrain, a steeply sloping site and problematic soil conditions can add cost to the foundation.
- Design - Complex and eclectic architecture with lots of interior and exterior corners, complex rooflines, especially hips and valleys will add costs.
- Volume - High vaulted ceilings add volume thereby increasing the cost per square foot. A long narrow design will require more wall area than a cube to enclose the same floor area and volume.
- Timber frame variables - Douglas fir, red oak and quality-recycled timbers are more expensive than eastern white pine. Complex trusses, such as hammer beams, octagonal frames, hips and valleys will add to the cost of the timber frame. Details such as chamfering, curved knee braces and gun stock posts will all increase costs.
- Windows and doors - These items can vary greatly - size, type (casements are more expensive than double hung windows) and insulating values (double or triple glazing) can add significant cost to the project.
- Interior finishes and materials - The cost of kitchens and baths can greatly affect the completed costs. Within the same space one kitchen can easily be double or triple the cost of another manufacturer's cabinets. Appliances also vary greatly in cost. Whirlpool tubs and steam showers add significant costs. A real stone fireplace can be three to four times the cost of a "zero clearance" fireplace with cultured stone finish. Floor finishes can add greatly to the cost when stone, tile and hardwood are used. Heating and cooling systems can increase costs. For example, in-floor radiant heating costs can be upwards of two or three times a hot-air system.
- Exterior finish materials - The type and grade of wood finishes can vary greatly. Stone finishes will add cost over simple wood trim. The roofing materials you select can also add cost. Generally steel, tile and other non-fiberglass/asphalt types of roofing are more expensive.
Comparing Package Prices
It is vitally important to understand that materials, quality and service vary greatly from one company to another.
For example: Not all timber frame companies design, manufacture, sell and erect completely engineered timber frame system buildings and, when they do, you must ascertain the type of materials they are using and the loads (weight and deflection) to which they design.
When Benfield ATT provide and install a first floor joist and decking system as part of our package, we include a complete system using the best materials and designed for 65lbs per square foot of live load (45lbs/square foot is all that is required). Few other companies conform to this standard.
When Comparing Prices
- Be certain to develop a spreadsheet type of comparison listing material specifications, quality assurance schemes and services they offer (this gives you a good indication of thier experience and professionalism)
- See current examples of their work
- Speak with their references
- Ask about issues of quality in the timber frame, SIPs and other package materials
- Ask about and carefully consider the services and support provided above and beyond the timber frame package
Green Dream Cost Indications
These costs are for guidance only and are priced inclusive of garage, decking, and basement (if required), based on constructed floor area of the house, but not including walkout basements or garage floor areas:
- Simple design built in a competitive market: £125 - £150 per square foot
- (Green Dream Package portion: £65 - £85 per square foot*)
- Simple design built in an inflated market: £135 - £160 per square foot
- (Green Dream Package portion: £65 - £85 per square foot*)
- Complex design built in a competitive market: £150 - £200+ per square foot (Green Dream Package portion: £70 - £100 per square foot*)
- Complex design built in an inflated market: £165 - £225+ per square foot
- (Green Dream Package portion: £70 - £115 per square foot*)
* Green Dream Package portion includes Benfield ATT labour services but will vary depending on the complexity of the design, species of wood, SIP, ‘U’-values, snow and wind loads, style of windows and doors and their insulating values, type of siding, trim and roofing.
The above costs are based on our experience and are intended to serve as a general guide only and are not a guarantee of the cost of and for any particular Benfield ATT Green Dream Package or completed home.
Please speak contact our Green Dream Technical Sales team for more information.
Please see our GREEN TECHNOLOGY section for more information.