Richard & Zoe Berry
Richard Berry and his partner Zoe decided to convert an old church as they couldn’t find a house available in the area that they really loved and suited their circumstances.
After finding the conversion opportunity advertised on a commercial property website the couple firstly spoke with a friend of a friend who is an architect and so was able look at the church and talk through how the conversion could be possible.
Although Richard had no prior self building or renovating experience, he is a civil engineer and had designed listed building conversions for clients in the past and so could understand the technical aspects of building in addition to the applications for planning approval and listed building consent.
The project itself was managed by a dedicated Site Manager on a day to day basis and who Richard describes as 'Brilliant!' and 'working with him was a pleasure as he spent his time on site problem solving while being very patient and reassuring with us'.
Planning is key and spend as much time as possible on the project, I worked full time during this which in hindsight was a mistake.
In terms of the highs onsite, Richard found joy in the significant milestones of the project, for example the windows being fitted as 'it changed the look of the building and we felt like we were really getting somewhere'.
The couple helped out from time to time on the build with Richard doing a bit of the structural design. They would have loved to have been more hands on with the project though as they were working full-time they left it to the professionals!
When it came to the finance side of things, Richard notes that they 'approached a number of companies and BuildStore was the only one who understood what we were trying to do and were able to provide competitive finance for us'.
'Overall, the project was a learning experience and we had a great time but it was hard work! In terms of building again, we have ended up with a house that we love and I can’t imagine moving and starting up again though you never know…'
The couple would definitely recommend BuildStore’s services as we were 'very helpful throughout and kept up with the progress of the build and always there to discuss any issues'.
Hints & Tips
Try to get as many of the bought items onsite to check if they fit as its surprising how many of the manufacturers dimensions are inaccurate.
Overall, the project was a learning experience and we had a great time but it was hard work! In terms of building again, we have ended up with a house that we love and I can’t imagine moving and starting up again though you never know
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Project Church renovation
Construction Traditional brick and block
Plot Cost £185,000
Build Cost £225,000