National Self Build & Renovation Centre – Self Build your own home? Why not!
Just off junction 16 of the M4 at Swindon, sits a huge industrial unit. With a 67,000 ft2 footprint, the building was intended to become a distribution centre, with excellent transport links to London, the South West and the Midlands.
However, in 2007 the building was turned into something quite different – The National Self Build & Renovation Centre – the UK’s only permanent Self Build visitor centre! Open 6 days a week (Tuesday to Sunday) the NSBRC is a ‘must visit’ destination for anyone thinking about building, or improving, their own home.
We have all watched ‘Grand Designs’ or ‘George Clarke’s amazing spaces’ and dreamed about building our own, unique homes. Well, in reality over 13,000 people do just that in the UK every year, and that number is growing.
Spurred on by a desire to create a house that is bespoke, ultra-energy-efficient, beautifully designed or simply a practical home to fit a family’s busy lifestyle, Self Building is certainly on the up.
But where to start? The majority of visitors to the NSBRC have never set foot on a building site before, so the visitor centre has created some brilliant, life-size educational zones, showing every single aspect of building a house in a way that is engaging and easy to understand.
From flooring to foundations, bricks & blocks to doors & windows; everything you can think of that goes into a house (and a whole lot more) is on display under their giant roof.
In the ‘Wall Zone’, you can compare a Timber Frame house to one constructed of Oak and another from ICF (Polystyrene building blocks filled with concrete) and understand the pros and cons of each system.
If you have paid a premium on a plot of land, you’ll want to maximise your living space, and the ‘Roof Zone’ shows how to use the roof space for more than just storing away a few suitcases and the Christmas tree!
If you are tackling a renovation project, their superb ‘Renovation House’ walks you through a full-size 1920’s style property so you can learn how to turn an old wreck into a modern home.
There is always something going on at the NSBRC – with a wide range of Shows, Workshops, Courses and Practical Training sessions on offer. October sees the return of their popular ‘National Self Build & Renovation Show’.
The unique mix of show homes, guided educational tours and an outstanding collection of building experts, make this a great event for home improvers, self-builders and skilled professionals. Whatever stage your project is at, the show’s free talks cover a range of topics and the NSBRC’s ‘Live Demo’ zone is always popular as it allows you to see building systems up close.
The NSBRC team also offer a range of specialist Self Build courses. Their 3 day ‘Self Build Course’ offers a comprehensive introduction to every aspect of a home building project and is great value at just £395.
They also run a series of bite-size 1-day modules covering Project Management, Heating Your Home, Renovation and a guide to Finding (and Assessing) a Plot.
Attending these courses can save delegates a lot of stress and a lot of money!
We particularly love that fact that the business is employee-owned, with the friendly team always keen to share advice and help you find answers, no matter what stage your project is at.
The NSBRC is a welcoming, professional environment which allows you to build your knowledge, see some of the best technologies available and meet people who are genuinely keen to hear about your plans and help you.
We asked the NSBRC team to give us their ‘top tips’ for Self Build success:
#1. DO YOUR RESEARCH– The more time you spend on the design & research stage, the less time you’ll spend on site! We have over 250 exhibitors all under one roof with a massive range of products and technologies to see and try out.
#2. KNOW YOUR BUDGET– Self building can be more affordable than you’d imagine, but it pays to speak to specialist experts. BuildStore are based at the NSBRC and they can help you with plot finding, finance, insurance and budgeting.
#3. FABRIC FIRST– Really think about what materials your house will be built with and the levels of insulation you’ll need. It’s better to spend a bit more on better insulation, and efficient windows & doors, than have a heat-leaking house and a lifetime of high energy bills!
#4. LISTEN to the experts! We offer a free Helpdesk (staffed Wednesday to Sunday) offering impartial advice by experienced experts. You can also meet a variety of experts at our shows & workshops. They have ‘walked the walk’ and can help when you are unsure about what decisions to make to achieve your dream home.
#5. VISIT the NSBRC– Our team are here to help. With FREE parking and FREE entry – a visit to the NSBRC should be on every self-builders ‘to do’ list!
ACA AT THE NATIONAL SELF BUILD AND RENOVATION CENTRE
We have recently started working with the National Self Build & Renovation Centre and are in the process of finalising our ambitious plans. We are delighted to announce that ACA will be able to meet with current & potential clients in our new space at the NSBRC in Swindon.
Our stand at the Professional Services Hub is now installed. Here, visitors can find out how they can benefit from both our free and paid services. ACA will also be involved in a variety of events hosted at the centre, helping self-builders build their dream home. We look forward to attending all of the National Self Build & Renovation Shows in the coming years.
Our architect Sean will attend the ‘Ask An Architect’ event on 21st September. This is an amazing opportunity for every self-builder to get invaluable advice on their project for FREE. Read more about the event here.
The NSBRC is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 – 17:30.
The National Self Build & Renovation Centre, Lydiard Fields, Great Western Way, Swindon, SN5 8UB
For more information visit: www.nsbrc.co.uk.