More on Dominic Stevens €25,000 house…

Let’s look at yesterdays €25,000 house in more detail. Remember this was a continuation of the blog post on building smaller

I’ve been looking at the plans in more detail and I don’t think people are ‘getting’ what the current situation is; and remember (IMHO) I don’t think this is going to change for the next 10 years. I think therefore that self-builders haven’t grasped the importance of the principles of such a house; so the purpose of this blog post is to dispel a few misconceptions:

It’s not big enough:

Have you looked at the plans? It’s a three bedroom house; perfect for a couple & 2 kids. There’s even a dressing room and double height void next to the main upstairs bedroom. Increasing the number of bedrooms would only increase the cost incrementally.

Will it be warm enough?

I’ve checked the u values on the wall construction, and they’re at #Passivhaus standard, they also include all the airtightness required for current Building Regulations (subject to quality controls). here’s the calculation:

Thermal Transmittance (U-value) Calculation Report

Overall results

Elements Area U-value
[m2] [W/m2 K]
€25,000 house wall 1.0 0.14

Results for whole building

Average U-value [m2 K/W] 0.14
Total area [m2] 1.0
Heat loss coefficient [W/K] 0

Element details

€25,000 house wall

Element type Exposed element
Area [m2] 1
U-value [W/m2 K] 0.14
Layers Thickness Conduct’y Resistance
[mm] [W/m K] [m2 K/W]
Internal surface resistance 0.130
Plaster (gypsum, lightweight) 3 0.180 0.014
Plasterboard 13 0.180 0.072
Default air layer(2) 35 0.100
Glass fibre/wool batt(2) 225 0.035 6.429
Oriented strand board (OSB) 20 0.130 0.154
Default air layer 50 0.100
Fibrous cement slates 10 0.450 0.022
External surface resistance 0.040

Would it get through Planning?

If the house were to be built in County Mayo then the proportions, scale and materials hold the Rural House Guidelines excellently; the plan depth is well under the 7.0m guide, the pitch is similar to the traditional rural house and the materials are already found in the locale. The photo below shows a house nearby with an identical roof and continuing the same surface on the walls is similar to the ‘barn sheds’ in the area; even the colour is what the planners would approve of:

Mayo house with Onduline roof

Mayo house with Onduline roof

Remember that although the house may be suitable, it’s not the design that will scupper any planning application – READ HERE ON THIS TOPIC

We wouldn’t get a mortgage for this type of construction.


How am I going to afford that I hear you say? Well let’s look at the sums for a moment:

To build a 2500sqft ‘standard house’ with a contractor is going to cost upwards of €250,000 (minimum); to get this money from the bank you’re going to have to now raise a hefty deposit. If we say this is 20% then (Can you see where I’m going), you’ve already saved the €25,000 in order to build the house.

Obviously this doesn’t take into account the site cost but with the ‘local needs’ requirements still very much around then the what is described here is perfect for the family that has ‘family land’.

If you’re interested in such a proposal then please do not hesitate to CONTACT ME…

Comments welcome…

ps Still happy to design and build elegant, sustainable architecture on a grander scale – if you can get the money that is 😉

Disclaimer: Calculations are based on information provided. Details, practices, principals should be verified as to the accuracy and suitability for the purpose of use. Mark Stephens Architects shall not be liable for any damages, including any lost profits, lost savings, or other incidental or consequential damages arising out of the use of this data.

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