Travis Perkins brings fabric-first approach to Grand Designs

Travis Perkins, with the support of Sustainable Building Solutions (SBS), has been involved in a low tech, low cost, high performance construction project in Norfolk, which featured on Grand Designs in October.

The project is a striking timber clad 'periscopic' private home set in the picturesque Norfolk countryside and is an elegant solution for an affordable and environmental family home designed and built within strict planning and cost constraints.

Natasha Cargill was searching for the perfect site on which to build her dream eco home for over 5 years, when she found the ideal unspoiled land in rural Norfolk. After teaming up with designer, Wilf Meynell, and witnessing his ability to produce innovative contemporary designs with a rigorous environmental ethos she applied for the whole process to be documented by Grand Designs.

Local sourcing of materials and an in depth knowledge of current technology was key to the success of the project which sees a young energetic team of designers and craftsmen take on a demanding build with meticulous detail and sensitivity.

One of Wilf’s biggest difficulties during the design stage of the project, which was also his first ever build, was his requirement to meet Code 6 on Code for Sustainable Homes. Under Code 6, the build must be carbon zero and must take into account serious consideration the local ecology. In order to qualify for Code 6, the project must achieve 90 points out of a potential 104. For comparison, Code 3 only requires only 57 points.

Travis Perkins, along with the expert advice of SBS, supported the project with a fabric-first approach. Wilf met SBS at Ecobuild in 2014 where our experts were able to discuss the project and gain an understanding of what materials would be most suitable to help lower its energy usage.

Representatives from both SBS and Travis Perkins also visited the site regularly and natural wood fibre insulation and iJoists were supplied to the project. Originally timber roof frames were going to be used, however, Steico iJoists are known to have better natural benefits that fitted the environmental approach to the design.

Natasha Cargill said, “My luck started the day Wilf came around for a cup of tea and a tentative meeting. From then on he managed to take my jumbled ideas and a box file of cuttings and arrange them into a coherent, inspiring and ultimately massively exciting, beautiful and original design. Wilf has managed to gently guide me through the perils of planning, the various obstacles that invariably crop up within a code 6 build with humour and a calm that belies his years. I am and continue to be astonished by his work ethic and dedication to this build. I absolutely know he is instrumental in making this a reality.”

Natasha’s journey was shown on Channel 4 on 8th October. You can catch the episode on 4oD.

If you would like more information on how SBS and Travis Perkins can support your construction project through services and products, please call our helpline on 0800 688 8388 or email