Architect of simple self- builds Segal celebrated

The life of architect and self-build pioneer Walter Segal and, in particular, one of his most renowned pieces of work, were celebrated at a panel discussion held to coincide with the launch of a new book. Walters Way & Segal Close, written by journalist Alice Grahame and photographer Taran Wilkhu, tells the story of how Segal’s self-build community in Lewisham, London, came to be. Having built a temporary house in his garden for his family to live in while they renovated their home, Segal was commissioned to designed more such buildings. The ‘Little House in the Garden’, as it became known, was constructed with basic cladding materials and paving slabs as foundations, cost less than £900 to build and took less than two weeks to complete. The pioneering Lewisham development comprises 20 timber-frame homes

built with the same paving slab foundations and a timber frame. They were simplistically designed so they could be easily constructed in a do-it-yourself manner by the residents themselves. The panel included Grahame and Wilkhu along with architect Jon Broome, Segal biographer John McKean, TV presenter and designer Tom Dyckhoff, Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) founder Kareem Dayes and self-builder of Segal homes Pauline Kennedy.

© Taran Wilkhu This type of build method, and self-build as a whole, was cited at the event as having the potential to go some way

towards solving the current housing crisis. “There have to be some changes,” Kennedy commented. “It’s an absolutely crucial time for people to get the movement going for self-build again and for empowering young people to provide places for themselves.” Dayes’ RUSS is currently working towards launching a similar community-led scheme, inspired by Segal’s work. However,

as Broome commented, “getting the necessary political and financial support behind it is not easy.” RUSS is currently running a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise the money to support its proposed scheme.

Plots available for custom-build development in Perth & Kinross

Plots are now for sale in a new custom- build development in Perth & Kinross, Scotland, which will give potential custom-builders the opportunity to build executive styled homes in a private countryside location. The Castle Hill View development is the first of three to be announced by developer Custom Build Homes – a division of BuildStore – in the second half of the year. It will comprise four serviced plots with detailed planning permission to build a home with garages. A professional team will support the custom-builders, including development architect Matthew and Charles Stewart of Scottish housebuilder SIPS Industries. Custom-builders will have a say on a range of things – from a choice of materials to the internal layout.


A third of small building firms say that soaring material prices are squeezing their margins and almost a quarter have had to pass these price increases onto consumers, according to the latest research by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). Construction SMEs have reported a range of material

price increases since the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum in June last year. Small building firms were asked which materials have increased the most and the results, in descending order, were as follows: timber, insulation, bricks, blocks, windows, plasterboard/slate (joint), boilers and radiators, and finally, porcelain products. The impact of these material price increases include: • 85 per cent of builders think materials price rises could drive consumers to hire rogue traders in an effort to save money on their building projects;

• one third of construction SMEs have had their margins squeezed; • almost one quarter have been forced to pass material price increases onto their clients, making projects more expensive for consumers;

• more than one in 10 builders report making losses on their building projects. Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB said: “Material price increases have left builders under severe pressure. This research shows that following the fall in the exchange rate, everything from insulation to windows to bricks and blocks are soaring in price.”

He commented on the effect on consumers: “Material price spikes aren’t just a

problem for builders – they’re also a problem for the home owner, with almost one quarter of builders saying that they have had to pass on price increases to their clients. This means that building projects now cost significantly more than they did this time last year. What with stagnant wages and price inflation across the economy, consumers are feeling the pinch.” 7

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