A flat-pack barn, which will allow self-builders to put together a spacious and well-insulated home for just £41,000, has scooped the top prize in a national architecture competition.
The two or three bedroom house uses a steel frame to form the basic outline, which is typically used in agricultural and storage units to provide maximum space at the smallest cost.
This type of frame also sits lightly on the ground, which minimises expensive site works and foundations.
Next a lightweight steel and timber first floor is inserted, which provides floor area for bedrooms. It is then internally lined with insulation: the designer recommends using straw bales, to make the project particularly cost-effective.
Though land and labour costs must also be factored into the equation, a home built from scratch is often worth up to 30% more than it costs to build.
The ‘off-the-shelf’ barn claimed top placed in the Self-Build on a Shoestring Competition, backed by television presenter Kevin McCloud, which tasked entrants to come up with innovative, sustainable and good-looking ways of self-building a home for under £50,000.
Named BARNHAUS, the home is the brainchild of Cardiff-based architect Ed Green who hopes the design will be replicated and made widely available to self-builders.
“I think the design proves that everyone can have a home that they really love for just £41,000. The simplicity of the BARNHAUS, and the fact that it’s really, really buildable for a very modest budget are what makes it special,” he said.
“And if this design could be replicated and made available widely I think there are tens of thousands of families in the UK who would want to build one.”
Other competition entries included a simple square bungalow that costs just £24,000 if the self-builder takes on all the construction work.
Another self-build design used a series of standard 'cubes', which can be arranged in a number of configurations to provide a lounge, kitchen, diner, bathroom, and two bedrooms.
“It proves that it really is possible to get a great looking family house built for under £50,000 – if you are prepared to be innovative and do some of the construction work yourself," said National Self Build Association chair and judge Ted Stevens.
Though perhaps not as cheap, a number of companies specialise in kit homes that simply need assembling, including Scandia-Hus, StramitZED, Baufritz and Scotframe.