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Designing for EXPOSED locations

A house that’s durable and low-maintenance is high up on the wish list for most selfbuilders, but could your site’s climate be an obstacle? Julian Owen takes a look at how to plan for extreme conditions
MARGARET SORAYA

Keith and Rachel Chandler self-built in a rural area to the north of Inverness, surrounded by farmland. The single-storey, low-lying property sits neatly in the exposed site. The couple are particularly thrilled with the uninterrupted views enjoyed from inside their home

By world standards British weather is fairly benign; we certainly don’t need to build to withstand arctic blizzards, Caribbean hurricanes or desert heat waves. But as any geologist will tell you, even mild conditions can erode the hardest of rocks down to dust – all that’s needed is time. This means that the outside surfaces, joints and other weak spots of any building are continually degraded, and this happens more quickly in exposed locations. By this I mean sites that don’t have as much shelter as houses surrounded by woodland or other buildings – I’m talking coastlines, plains and hills that suffer from forceful driving wind and rain.

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About Build It

Make 2018 your year to self-build with Build It's latest advice and inspiration-packed edition! This month's issue includes: - 32 must-read tips for your project - Expert guide to planning success - The secret to a characterful renovation - How to buy the right bricks - Design ideas: windows & glazing - Reinstating an old fireplace ...and more!