Saturday 24 February 2018

Meet the architect who built a three-bedroom house for his family... for €25,000

Architect Dominic Stevens at his house that he built for €25,000 in County Leitrim.
Photo: James Connolly
Architect Dominic Stevens at his house that he built for €25,000 in County Leitrim. Photo: James Connolly

Gavin White

AN Architect, who designed and built his own house nine years ago for 25,000, has said the building has been "very good and enjoyable" to live in with his two teenage children and his wife.

Dominic Stevens (52) said the home, in Co Leitrim, which is well insulated and built with a simple timbre frame, has had no problems.

"Constructed in 2008 when the economy had collapsed, it seemed important to explore affordable house solutions," he told the Irish Independent.

Mr Stevens worked from his knowledge of timber frame and of the work of Walter Segal, the London-based self-building pioneer.

"It was as cheap as it is because I constructed it with my wife, neighbour and friends. This self-building cut out labour costs and was a niche solution that suited my finances," he said.

The house runs off electricity powered by renewable sources and features three bedrooms, a kitchen, generous living space and a bathroom.

The house that Architect Dominic Stevens built for €25,000 in Leitrim.
Photo: James Connolly
The house that Architect Dominic Stevens built for €25,000 in Leitrim. Photo: James Connolly

They are now in the process of adding an extension.

Mr Stevens said the project was interesting for the creation of houses on a large scale, and could lead to findings for highly insulated rapid-build housing.

Mr Stevens is now involved in a partnership with JFOC architects John O'Connor and Claire McManus. They are working on large-scale housing and seeking to build on their collective experience.

Mr O'Connor has delivered more than 9,000 housing units during his career and Mr Stevens has a huge amount of experience on large projects in Berlin.

Ms McManus, a member of the RIAI council, was in the thick of the negotiations with the Department of Environment concerning new building regulations.

"We are working on lots of exciting projects, pooling our experience and have a great technical team supporting us.

"We are exploring, based on UK and European best practice, how contemporary modular construction techniques can be introduced into Ireland and reduce the cost of houses to the end user," she said.

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