Transforming a home with BBC DIY SOS


The TV audience of BBC DIY SOS Series 32: 3. The Big Build – Longframlington, last night included most of the Fleming Homes team, and lots of our friends and family all keen to catch a glimpse of the timber frame used in the build. When we agreed to take part in this project to help the Owen family back in February, we had no idea that we would have completed the construction design, manufactured and delivered the timber frame extension, participated in the build process, and watched the aired programme all within a short 3-month window.

It was truly humbling to be part of a programme that successfully coalesces, inspires, and motivates hundreds of volunteers to do good. We were also surprised to discover that many of the trades who make these special projects happen are DIY SOS regulars, people who give up their time and expertise with no other motivation than to help others. And equally surprised to learn that the build schedule would span just 10 days from 22nd to 31st March.

For Fleming Homes, DIY SOS was an opportunity to put our skills to good use locally and enable our team to make a difference through the work that they do so well. Construction design technician, Will Pate said

Reading the family’s story and appreciating their bravery made it a privilege to be asked to participate. Throughout the process the work was fast paced and intense. The generosity of suppliers donating what they could meant various elements of the design changed so we had to adapt quickly. Collaborating with the architect, engineer, and wider team prior to being on site was energising as we were all volunteers who really wanted to be there and do a good job for the family. The buzz on-site was incredible and explained why there are seasoned volunteers who travel the length of the country to help on various projects.

Watching the build unfold on-screen highlighted some of the inherent benefits of timber frame. The speed with which the DIY SOS team work is renowned, however, there was a good reason they chose timber frame for the superstructure element of the project’s extension. Prefabricated off-site within a factory using modern methods of construction enabled superfast assembly on-site. (A typical 4-bed self-build family home can be erected on-site to the wind and watertight stage within around 2 weeks).

Insulation is also housed within the external walls of the structure, and additional layers can be added to build in enhanced thermal performance. With rising energy costs at the forefront of everyone’s minds, building thermally efficient homes is now more important than ever.

The thing that resonated most watching the DIY SOS episode that helped the multi-generational Owen household (Bobbie (18) who has complex medical and mental health issues, her Mum, Mary, who had a stroke in 2013 following a tick bite, Bobbie’s older sister Ellie (20), Bobbie’s twin brother, Gus (18), Mary’s mum, Carol (72) and her grandmother Doreen (92)) is how timber frame lends itself to flexible design.

The opportunity to create a home that meets specific and individual needs for living is why many people choose to self-build their own home. While some degree of compromise is inevitable within any build project, if maximising space is the number one priority, then self-building enables you to create a home environment that works perfectly for you.

Add timber frame as the structural system and the construction designer can design with timber frame in mind and include value engineering in their approach. Value engineering considers design decisions in relation to the chosen build method, materials required, and the desired outcome. Fundamentally, by introducing value engineering at the early design stage, you can work towards achieving optimum functionality within your home for the lowest possible cost.

We absolutely loved being part of DIY SOS The Big Build. In addition to the transformational and moving impact on the Owen family, the opportunity to make a difference had a profound effect on the Fleming Homes team too.

We’d like to extend a huge thanks to our suppliers who also came on board, from our transport company to Donaldson Timber Engineering who supplied the roof.

Finally, we wish the Owen family every happiness in their remodeled new home.

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