Winter 2020


he pandemic is forcing us to re-evaluate pretty much everything. But in the construction sector, the adaptation has not been in any way drastic, especially when it comes to what’s being referred to as our throwaway culture. 

Unfortunately, there is still no push from industry or government to use recycled, repurposed or low embodied energy materials on new builds. And the waste pile keeps growing. 

The building regulations understandably want materials to be certified, but this has the knock-on effect of engineers (and other specifiers) nearly always recommending buying new. 

An interesting alternative is the decade-old One Planet initiative from Wales which takes a fresh look at what it really means to build an eco house. 

There you can get planning permission in the open countryside if the house is unobtrusive, has good lifecycle credentials (a concept we have yet to embrace here) and your entire way of life is self-sustaining, from food to transport. 

Check out for more information.


Product Description




A hands-on approach From design vision to final finish, first-time self-builders Nicole and Colin McKee of Co Down rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in. The result? A dream home they can’t ever imagine leaving.

Family first Co Cork’s Ambrose Lynott built not just a family home but a legacy. He shares how he did it and what other hands-on self-builders need to know before taking the plunge.

If I can do it Jane Williams never dreamed she could tackle a major renovation project. That is, until she came across an opportunity too good to pass up in Co Down.

Cast in concrete This Co Donegal renovation project, which upgraded the entire energy efficiency of the building, is the result of hard work and DIY determination.



Ask the expert – This issue we look at whether centralised ventilation systems can both heat and cool your home, and whether heat pumps can also play their role in reducing indoor temperatures in the summer. Plus how does an airtightness membrane control moisture? 

First and second fix Shedding light on the construction industry’s most used terms to define the key stages of your self-build project.

Tendering guide If you appoint a main contractor, chances are you will ask a number of builders to give you a quotation for the job. That process is called tendering, and here we run through how it works.

Tradesmen A list of the most common trades you will hire on your self-build project: who they are, how they are paid and what to expect of them – and what they will expect of you in return.

Bare root plants Winter is the ideal season to plant bare root shrubs and trees. Find out how, and why it makes sense to get your hands dirty.

Energy efficiency in NI The building regulations for energy in NI have fallen behind as compared to ROI and mainland UK. We ask when will they finally be updated, and does it matter if they are?


External Style Guide



Roof finishes

Wall finishes

Front and back doors



PROJECT: Building the dream

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