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Dreaming of Self-Building your own home?

Huff Puff House front
Where we choose to live influences our lives and our surrounding environment can impact on our well-being, motivation and happiness.

Many of us dream of building our own home and want to live in a home that’s different from those on offer in the main stream property market place. The Huff Puff house offers you the opportunity to realise that dream. With our help and our Huff Puff self-build kit you can build a stunning home at a truly affordable price.

We manufacture, supply and build eco-friendly, energy efficient Huff Puff Houses to the self-build market. We can provide you with the level of help you need to achieve your self build project.   From a simple kit with instructions, you can also ask for our help with advice, design, planning, building control, training and construction if you need it. We’re here to help achieve your self build dream and we can help you as much or as little as you would like.

Find out more…

Why Choose Us?

Explore the Huff Puff House Design

All the help you need – a little or a lot!

Learn to self-build

And see the other menu links above

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Huff Puff House

Introduction

Huff Puff House front

Here at Huff Puff House, we design and manufacture a kit that makes it simpler for our customers to build their own home.

Every now and again a building design  really catches your eye and imagination – and the Huff Puff House is as functional as it is good looking.   It’s an offering that puts a beautiful, affordable, highly insulated and environmentally-friendly building within the reach of our self-build customers.

first floor
Spacious first floor

The Huff Puff House uses straw as its main form of insulation, which is a sustainable, local and cheaply available material.  The basic structure is a simple ‘cruck frame’ design, which leaves the vaulted interior totally free so it can be divided as and how our customers wish.

Cruck frames have a long history in the UK and our modern take on the design allows our customers to choose any length and internal widths from 5m-9m, then come up with all sorts of internal configurations to best fit your needs. For example, two generous floors can maximise floor space, or a mezzanine approach can allow for a floor to roof ground floor where desired.   Alternatively, the entire internal space can be left open at full height. Height can also be varied, depending on requirements.

The crucks themselves sit upon a plinth wall on each side and are made from two curved timber  I-joists.   Each cruck is light enough to raise  into position using people rather than machines, and once these are temporarily secured, straw bales are prepared and loaded between each one, all the way up to the ridge.   We are also working on full height crucks and a variation that uses recycled newspaper insulation instead of straw. (see our materials section).

The Design

complete structureCreated by the engineer and inventor Brian Waite, the cross section of the Huff Puff House is very similar to the medieval “cruck” frame shape, but made of deep, curved, composite wooden “I” beams, which serve as both rafters and studding, set onto a plinth wall or foundation of local materials. The straw bales are sandwiched between these beams, which are like “ribs”, that continue for whatever length of building is required – at one bale spacing. Paired together they form a bowed “A” frame that has the inherent strength of the “A” frame but contains more volume so will easily accommodate a generous first floor for all or part of the length of the building – the interior is totally free of structural restrictions. The gentle curved shape allows the straw bales to rise, seamlessly, all the way up to the ridge thereby insulating the whole building.

lime coming downThe inside and outside is rendered with a breathable (vapour permeable) lime plaster and, after allowing a ventilation space, the outside is then battened and tiled. The whole structure can either be set on a plinth wall of brick or stone of the height required – well away from flooding – or upon pier foundations, in combination with a timber floor.

The wood frame configuration gives the building a more substantial structure with every bale individually held, thereby eliminating any possibility of settlement. It has a spectacular vaulted interior that leaves the owner an uncluttered space in which to use their own way.

winter sunAnother aim of this design is to reduce the moisture levels within the bales in the UK climate; the design for the Huff Puff house allows the roof tiles to completely cover the bales and the idea is not only their protection but to exploit the natural stack effect, created by different pressures at different heights, to draw air under the tiles and over the exterior of the lime-rendered bales.

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Order Process

The Self-Build Process

Before you decide to embark on your self-build project, it’s important to be well informed, and equipped with as much information as possible to make sure that your self-build goes smoothly and to plan and that it also comes to completion within your allocated budget.

We’ve put together a short guide that should help you understand the building process and what you’ll need to do to acquire your Huff Puff House Kit:

Step 1:

Get in touch with folk like us that can help you.   Do your research and seek advice about various aspects of your self build.   Visit websites like ours and talk to us.   Spend time looking at your site and build options and visit places like the National Self Build and Renovation Centre in Swindon for ideas (see us on stand 169).

http://www.nsbrc.co.uk/

Step 2:

Secure your building plot.   Look at how capable our design can be, even on tricky sites, and you might be able to find yourself just the right place!

See here for ideas

Step 3:

Order your kit and/or any other help you’d like from us.

Use the information here and contact us to establish the size and approximate cost for the kit you would like.

Basic design, with an external and internal layout, suitable for planning purposes, is included – and we can always provide more help (see Step 4).

Instructions are, of course, included and will be provided to you once you have ordered, so you don’t need to wait until you get the kit.

Step 4:

Choose what other services you need.   Would you like extra help with design, planning, building control training, construction?   Choose what extra help you would like and we can arrange it for when you need it.

You may wish to have a design drawn up before buying one as part of the kit process.  If you would like a building design drawn up for help with pre-application advice or your own full planning application, we can do this for a fixed fee.  This would often be £500 or less for a standard building – but could be more for a complex design or a more challenging site.

The great news is, if you then go ahead and order a kit, we will deduct that fee, up to £500, from the cost!

Step 5:

We will confirm your order, cost and schedule and you can pay in full or in part, as agreed.   For example, for our standard kit order you’ll pay 50% up front and 50% on delivery.   For other services, e.g. detailed design, you’ll be invoiced for each service as you receive it.

Step 6:

Delivery of services prior to your build (if you have ordered them).

Step 7:

Delivery of your kit!

Step 8:

Delivery of services for the build phase of your project, if you have ordered them.

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About Us

Huff and Puff Construction Limited

About Us

Our Ethos

Sherborne Art Cabin
It’s easy to get down-hearted about the current housing situation in the UK.

Not enough new homes are being built and those that are, are built small, to a very standard box-like design that many people still can’t afford.

We set out to help change this. With Huff Puff House, we bring an affordable, good quality home to the self-build market that is within the means of people who really need it.

Building a home doesn’t just have to be a dream. We aim to help make it a reality for you.

We believe in giving our customers the product, materials and skills to build their own home.

Our approach is to give potential builders as little or as much assistance as they need.

We can, for example, deliver you a basic ‘kit’, allowing you to work your own way through the rest of the designing, planning and building – or we can give you as much  help as you like with these aspects too –  from helpful advice on the end of a phone, right through to being on site with you for training or to help out with the construction itself.

Why Choose Us?

We can provide you with the level of help you need to achieve your self build project. We have the skills and experience necessary to make your dream home a reality.

  • We manufacture our Huff Puff House kits to the highest quality and industry standards using the highest-grade materials available.
  • We have extensive building knowledge and experience.
  • We are passionate about and dedicated to sustainable forms of construction.
  • We are experts in straw-bale building skills and techniques.
  • We care passionately about supplying our customers with the best self-build experience they can find today in the UK.

View testimonials here

Meet the team

Phil Christopher

Phil Christopher

Phil Christopher, our MD and founder, is an environmentalist, builder and trainer.

He believes passionately in making a low-impact lifestyle an attractive possibility for everyone.

Phil has been an environmentalist since the late 1980s and worked for organisations as diverse as Greenpeace and United Business Media, before several years at Bournemouth University working on IT systems and IT project management.

With a family background in building work, in 2011 he decided it was high time to follow his dreams, leaving his IT career to retrain in sustainable building techniques.

Phil started Huff and Puff Construction in 2013, bringing with him his IT development and project management skills. He works tirelessly to ensure that Huff and Puff Construction is a company that manufactures, supplies and creates quality, environmentally friendly buildings.

Brian Waite

Brian Waite
Brian is the wonderful designer and engineer responsible for the Huff Puff House design.

Initially an apprentice for Aston Martin cars until 1964, Brian went on to work as a freelance design engineer, designing all forms of vehicles from formula one race cars, rally cars, fun cars to electric vehicles.

In 1979 he designed and patented the “Car Chair” system which enables the wheelchair-bound to drive (or be a passenger in) an unmodified mass produced car without having to leave their wheelchairs. It was a finalist in the Prince of Wales Industrial  innovation award (1981) & The Duke of Edinburgh  Industrial Award (1982) and was produced until 2008.     

Brian retired in 1986 and became interested and involved with medieval buildings – the inspiration for the design you see here.

Glyn Clark

Glyn Clark in a glider
Glyn is a hugely practical, electrical engineering, guitar playing, choir singing, pilot gig rowing, scout mastering ball of energy.

A committed volunteer on our first big project, Glyn instantly earned massive respect for his tarpaulin wrangling and rope skills as we learned how to keep everything dry.

Glyn can turn his hand to pretty much anything building related and his skills and patience with young people are invaluable to us in keeping all ages involved and engaged in what we do.

Jonathan Davies

Jonathan Davies, designer
Jonathan is our Architectural Designer. He excels in triathlon and tough-mudder events, plus he is a thespian and all-round talent.

Jonathan, has brought his design skills to many projects.

His architectural studies have taken him to locations as diverse as Sweden, Australia and Bournemouth. He, like the rest of our team, is passionate about sustainable building design.

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