Evole Construction - Builders in Norwich and Norfolk

Evolve Construction LTD - builders based in Norwich, Norfolk.

Like us on FaceBookFollow us on Twitter

The Ecobuild

If you’re looking to build or renovate your own home using environmentally-friendly, sustainable or more natural materials, Evolve can help you do that. 30 years of construction projects in Norwich and Norfolk have taught us that every project – as well as the techniques and materials used – are as different as the people we build homes for. So call us if you want to discuss a building project with green credentials or simply want to save on energy costs.

ECO Build projects, enviromentally friendly and sustainable construction projects// The Brief

Before we began, Emma and Darren had a traditional hall entrance Victorian 3-bedroom terraced house with a small narrow kitchen, combined dining & living room and a small bathroom. They wanted Evolve to work alongside an architect who had helped them design an extension intended to bring more light into the rear of the property. They were keen on ‘open-plan living’ as well as having level thresholds - so that there was a seamless transition between the garden and living room. 

The design included the installation of some large bi-fold doors that lead out to the garden, huge skylights to bring light to the rear of the property, a modern kitchen and a new upstairs bathroom. After seeing the plans, Emma and Darren’s next door neighbour decided they wanted exactly the same extension for their own home – so Evolve was asked to work on both properties, mirroring the design.

ECO Build projects, enviromentally friendly and sustainable construction projects// Our Ideas

The plans and design had been decided between our clients and their architect, which they asked us to follow. However, Evolve still offered some input. The property’s city centre location meant we were dealing with restricted parking, and access to the site was reached through a narrow alley between the two terraces. To solve this, we used a micro-digger to excavate both plots. This nifty bit of kit was designed to go through doorways, which meant we were able to use it to remove 300 tonnes of earth and rubble in the first couple of weeks.

We also had to demolish the kitchens and bathrooms of both properties, in order to reduce the levels at the rear. This involved some underpinning (not as scary as it sounds, and certainly not to us) to create enough depth on the plot. Once done, we could created two new, light-filled living spaces.

ECO Build projects, enviromentally friendly and sustainable construction projects// What We Did

Our clients were keen to make sure that their build – and all the materials used – were eco-friendly. So we used a supplier who specialized in eco-friendly building products. Naturally there was some increased cost, but the products used are as hard-wearing (if not more) and should last longer. This meant their new modified home can literally ‘breathe’ - as all the natural products (timber, hemp insulation, non-toxic paints) allow for natural air to flow throughout the property - without compromising on energy efficiency.

We also had to make some structural adjustments to the roof, where the purlins had failed. These ‘purlins’ support the rafters and had compromised the main structure of the roof. We fixed this by bolting together large timber sections which were then fixed to either end of the wall plate along the span of the house. This then acts as a strut to hold the roof and walls together, making everything structurally sound again.

ECO Build projects, enviromentally friendly and sustainable construction projects// How We Did It

Both properties’ city centre locations and the concomitant restricted parking was a problem we needed to solve before we started work. We suggested removing the front garden walls of both properties, which meant we could keep our skips inside the perimeter. This also meant not having to place skips on the road, which would potentially upset other residents of the street.

As ever, we also encountered things we couldn’t have predicted, like discovering that the original buildings had no foundations! Although this sounds scary it’s actually quite common for Victorian properties of the period – and it was pretty straight forward for us to underpin both houses. In the end, we managed to complete work on both properties in six months. Each client gained around 60-70 square metres over two floors.

// What They Said

“We were keen to use ecologically-sound products even though we were making whole-scale changes to the layout of our home. What was brilliant, was that Evolve were happy to source and recommend these products – we got the feeling they keep up to date with new techniques and materials, so our ‘eco-build’ was never a problem.

“What also really mattered to us – as a young family – was that the build didn’t interfere with our day-to-day lives too much. All of the Evolve team were courteous and friendly with our children and they kept the fuss and mess well out of our way. Our new home has been admired by everyone who comes to stay and we’re so glad we chose them.”