The four-month self-build

It’s perhaps little surprise Brian and Niamh McCann of Co Wicklow chose a rapid build kit house for their project. It took them two years to sell their house and another two to find a new place to call home…

In this article we cover:

  • Choice of timber frame kit house: pros and cons
  • Mix and match design process with the kit manufacturer
  • Issues with planning permission
  • Steps by step details of how this kit house was built, from foundation stage
  • Sequencing of works and who did what
  • Cantilever details
  • How to avoid delays
  • Surprise costs due to utility connection
  • Contract with the builder and how the build went on a day to day basis
  • Key changes they would make with hindsight, including upper storey construction
  • Full floor and site plans


House size: 270 sqm
Plot size: 1/3 acre
Project cost: €500,000 with architect and site costs
U-values: ground floor 0.15 W/sqmK, roof 0.13 W/sqmK, walls 0.12 W/sqmK
Windows: overall U-value 1.1 W/sqmK triple glazed
Heating: air to water heat pump
Airtightness test: 1.98 m3/(hr.m2)
Ventilation: demand controlled ventilation


Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email

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