I have spent the last three years, with my wife Sophie, building our dream home. It was much more difficult than we first thought it would be and when we faced serious problems it felt like a very lonely place. Now that it is finished and looking back I think that it would have been helpful to have had a self help group of people going through the same experience with whom we could have shared our difficulties, and helped each other.
Our new home is a three story sustainable building in the centre of Bristol. About 100 people, designers, builders and engineers, worked with us on this but at no point did we meet anyone who had completed a project like ours to share our problems and get support. At every stage we hit road blocks. It took nine months to find a plot, the planning department turned down our design, we ran out of money and struggled to find anyone who would lend to us. In the end we overcame all of these and many more.
Now I would like to facilitate a self help group. A place where people who either would like to build their own home, or have started to do so, or have started a major retrofit building project could: - Share experiences and get advice. - Meet experts and learn how to overcome problems. - Get support from others who have also taken on a big and scary project.
I am not an expert who can solve all of your problems, but I would like to facilitate a group and help others to find their solution to their building problems. Our new home includes a meeting space which you can see at www.hours-space.com, and which we could meet in.
If you are interested please send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may be interested in hearing this short slot on a radio show describing a survey by Kirsteen Paton (Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Leeds) of the support needed by self builders. www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0742mqb