With a big shed to convert into habitable accommodation, you’d think we’d have plenty to do without gardening. Regardless, we’ve spent the last few weekends clearing brambles and establishing footpaths through the piece of scrub woodland that we bought along with the barn.

Very satisfying when liberating trees from the brambles that have engulfed them – although I think we’re just establishing a breeding ground for stinging nettles.

Perhaps just a gentle start to our developments … ?

Step 5 = project management

Answer these:

Question: So once you’ve started, who will bring it all together?

Question: Can you handle the potential loss of control of the project of delegating some responsibilities?

Question: Do you have the experience to bring together such a complex project?

Question: Will the role be fulfilled by you or someone you pay (an architect or building project manager)?

Question: What professionals are available in your locality with the appropriate skills and experience?

I think by the time you’ve worked through those you’re going to have a pretty good idea of the way to go and the shape your project is going to take.

For us, as both of us have extensive project management experience we’ve taken the leap (along with support from a very competent designer) to manage the project ourselves.

Wish us luck!

VAT for barn convertors

There is an update to this post at … VAT for barn convertors update December 2007

Having been confused by the VAT treatment around barn conversions for some time, I thought I’d better get the situation clear before going any further. This is a summary of the VAT situation currently:

Conversion of a building to a residence is free of VAT paid on labour and materials.

You can reclaim the VAT paid on labour and materials without having to be VAT registered.

The relevant legislation is ‘Customs & Excise Notice 719 – VAT Refunds for DIY Home Builders and Converters‘.

A VAT registered builder should invoice you for their labour and any materials they purchase at the reduced VAT rate of 5%. This along with the full rate VAT paid on materials you have purchased can be reclaimed from your local Customs & Excise VAT office once the project has been completed. You’ll need all appropriate receipts to make the claim.

Going Green

We never really had any great green aspirations when we started out on this project. Our design priorities were mainly aesthetic rather than practical. Our goal was to build a beautiful place to live.

As the design has taken shape, it has grown to incorporate many features that are considered green or ecological.

  • Highly specified insulation.
  • Underfloor heating & a ground source heat pump.
  • Rain-water harvesting

I’ll post more on each of these in coming days…