Frequently asked questions
Where does Meisterstueck-HAUS build its houses?
In its modern factory in Hamlin/Germany, just south of Hanover. This is an ideal environment where traditional master-craftsmanship and state-of-the-art precision machinery are combined to build houses of the highest quality - under the permanent and rigorous Third-Party-Quality-Control system QDF.
All houses are built from sustainable, natural, dry timber and timber-based materials in a climate-controlled environment. A factory-built house is far superior to a conventional build, as all building mistakes can easily be recognised and eliminated during the permanent repetition of the same CAD-aided manufacturing process.
What type of houses does Meisterstueck HAUS build?
Meisterstueck-HAUS builds in traditional post and beam construction – our Aesthetik range – or in closed insulated panels for contemporary Bauhaus-style designs.
We can build the full range of our existing designs for the UK market, but we are not limited to that.
Especially in the UK, where many houses are individually planned or plots are sold with existing planning permission, we are happy to take any design from your own architect, and check whether it is suitable to be built off-site in our factory, with sustainable materials and modern methods of construction. If this is the case, we are happy to discuss with you how to proceed.
Alternatively, we can offer full architectural design services via our UK partner architects, who can design you a house to your specifications, and deal with the planning application procedure. Please contact our UK agent for details.
What services does the UK sales office provide?
Helmut Gross of Meisterstueck-HAUS UK is the sole UK commercial agent for Meisterstueck HAUS Verkaufs GmbH in Hamlin in Germany. He targets the UK self-builder and small developer market for Meisterstueck-HAUS products manufactured in Germany.
He and his team provide on a bi-lingual basis the following services:
- general and detailed information on our houses
- site visits, brainstorming, sketches, and support for planning permission
- (outsourced) architectural planning and design services
- sales and building services from shell house to full completion
- individual support from initial enquiry to moving-in day.
- Representation of the commercial building programme of Meisterstueck Haus, i.e. schools, kindergardens, hotel + retail premises from sustainable materials and state-of-the-art technology.
Can I reduce the building costs by doing some things myself?
Yes; in principle you can choose between 4 stages of completion:
- Shell house scheme only
- Shell house + house technology
- Fully finished house, undecorated
- Fully finished house, decorated.
Meisterstueck-HAUS Germany supplies the shell house, whereas the contracted state of completion is coordinated and executed by the UK sales office, thus allowing for UK taste and requirements.
As you can see, we can provide considerable flexibility; contact us to discuss exactly what you expect from us, and what you can or want to do yourself.
What are your payment conditions?
Unfortunately we can at present only invoice in Euros, so that any fluctuation between the Pound and Euro has to be covered by you.
Our payment plan consists of stage payments in relation to the building progress; 10% is due on contract signature. For further details, please contact the UK office.
The contract price is fixed for 12 months.
Do I have to pay VAT?
Meisterstueck-HAUS and the Meisterstueck-HAUS UK agency comply with the British regulations concerning zero-rating VAT for self-builders. So there is no difference to buying from a UK developer.
What type of building warranty do you provide?
Meisterstueck-HAUS gives a 30-year warranty on the timber structural elements of the house, and a 10-year structural defects warranty. In addition, we have system approval for a UK 10-year structural warranty. Please phone our UK agent for details.
How long is the lead time between ordering and manufacturing a house?
Assuming that planning permission has been granted, the lead time between contract signature and manufacturing and assembling your house is – once the house is fully specified, the works plans are signed off and the concrete floor slab has been correctly constructed – approx. 9 – 10 months.
How long is the manufacturing time for a house?
This depends on the size and complexity of the design; but the manufacturing process itself is very fast and streamlined, due to the meticulous CAD-aided design and planning and the fully automated precision machinery we use.
For Aesthetik post and beam houses, approx. 250 sq. m., we need about two weeks manufacturing time. Houses of a similar size built in closed insulated panels will take 4 – 5 days.
How long does it take to assemble the house on site?
With the crane and lorries, usually not more than 3 – 5 days. The team will need a further 6 – 8 days on site for the final coat of render, tiling the roof, guttering etc. At the end of that period, our German assembly team and site manager will have provided you with a closed house shell, fully watertight and lockable, with all windows and external doors in, roof on and tiled. Externally, the house is completely finished.
As the shell is built in a dry factory environment from dry materials, the interior fit-out can start without delay or drying-out time.
This is also a brilliant argument for building with us if either you or your neighbourhood is worried by long and unpredictable building times, dirt, noise and disruption.
How long does it take to fully complete the house?
Once the shell is up, the house completion to a turnkey finish will take another 16 – 20 weeks – if subcontracted to our UK agent. The longest period is needed for the screed to dry, which usually takes 4 weeks. You will be given a schedule indicating exactly what stage will be completed when.
Can I change the layout and appearance of a house design?
Generally speaking, we can customise the interior layout of our own designs to suit your needs. You will be able to discuss this when our representative visits you at your site, to discuss exactly what you want your house to look like. The exterior of our closed panel designs can be rendered, or clad with wood or a combination of both. The timber on our post and beam houses can be the traditional black or anthracite grey – or our most popular Meisterstueck-HAUS grey; or indeed, at a modest surcharge, any colour you like.
Do you have any show homes in the UK?
Although there are lots of Meisterstueck-HAUS houses in the UK, we do not have a show home; but we can often arrange a visit to a client’s house. Alternatively, we suggest that you visit one of our show homes in Germany; just contact us, and we will help plan your visit. In addition we regularly issue invitations to interested clients to watch the assembly of a Meisterstueck-HAUS in the UK, and can organise open days.
Can I build a Meisterstueck-HAUS on any plot?
The two main restrictions are planning permission, and access. We have to be able to access your plot with heavy lorries, and a heavy crane. If you are concerned that this may be an issue, just give us a ring and we will be able to advise.
Gaining planning permission is a question of finding out what the planners want or will accept, and working with their demands. We will give you every support we can, including detailed information on sustainability and energy performance. As we offer such a wide variety of designs, all of which can be adapted to suit requirements, there is every chance that we can find a way through.
If you are at the stage of considering buying a plot, it is often a good idea to take a sketch of the Meisterstueck-HAUS you hope to build, and request pre-application advice.
What environmentally responsible technology can you offer?
The most important pre-requisite for the efficiency of any low-energy house technology is an airtight house shell. To quote the Code for Sustainable Housing:” Although innovative systems for provision of services to the building may reduce the energy consumption, it is the building envelope that can have the most significant long-term effect, as the envelope is unlikely to be radically altered during its life.”
Meisterstueck-HAUS can build you that airtight building envelope. Then the following technology can be installed: underfloor heating with a ground source or air source heat pump, controlled ventilation system with heat recovery, photovoltaic panels, rainwater and/or greywater recycling, central vacuum-cleaning system – all the bells and whistles. For information on the fit-out, please contact our UK office.
How often does the external wood need to be treated?
This will depend on the location of your house. Wood is a natural material, and should be looked after – but think of all the medieval timber-framed houses still standing strong after hundreds of years! Generally speaking, we recommend treatment of exterior wood areas about every 5 years.
Can you give me the technical facts, please?
Our external “Energy Plus” walls are 27.5cm thick, and diffusion-regulating. They have a U-value of 0.16 W/m2K, and the fabric energy efficiency by far exceeds current UK building regulation requirements. Inside the external walls are clad with a double layer of extremely strong Fermacell (to find out more about Fermacell visit www.fermacell.co.uk).
Internal walls (both sides clad with 12.5mm Fermacell) and inner external walls can carry a load of up to 50 kilos at any one place on one rawl plug.
The large roof segments are usually calculated for a snow load or 150kg per sq. m. and have a U-value of 0.147 W/m2K. They are, dependent on structural requirements, up to 30cm thick. As are the ceilings between the floors, which are soundproofed with insulation matting. With our manufacturing process we avoid thermal bridges right from the start.
Against a surcharge we can offer wall U-values of down to 0.09.
Our standard windows are triple-glazed with a U-value of Ug = 0.7 W/m2K.
Do you build extensions?
Our houses are manufactured to exact measurements and design tolerances in the factory. Because any points of connection to an already existing house cannot be accurately enough accounted for to pass our strict quality control standards, we have chosen to concentrate on building complete houses rather than extensions.
But if your extension is a house in itself, connected in some way to an existing building, please talk to us, as we can probably find a way.
How much does it cost?
As you will appreciate, with such bespoke designs, quoting ballpark figures is very difficult. If you are interested in one of our designs, just give us a ring, and we will be able to give you a guideline price for a shell house or a fully completed home.
Do you build floor slabs or basements?
Yes and no. Yes, because we can put you in touch with one of our UK or German partner companies who build to our specifications. No, because we do not do it ourselves, but rely on experienced partners which only focus on floor slabs and basements and nothing else and are very good at it.
Can I build or subcontract my own floor slab or basement?
Yes. But only to our specifications, structural requirements and plans. We will check the finished floor slab before we start to manufacture your house in the factory.
Tell me more about the stages of completion.
The first stage is the shell house, the building envelope: this includes all walls , exterior and interior; all windows and fixed glazing; front door; external render finished; pulley wires or conduits for the electrical cables as well as all socket and switch pre-drilled for electrical pre-installation; plumbing partly pre-installed in the walls; interior walls finished in Fermacell; structural calculations and works plans.
Also included in the price package are the Energy Performance Certificate and all building regulations work and certification.
The second stage is the house technology: electrical and plumbing first fix, heating, all eco-technologies, screeding, closing of ceilings and preparation of walls and ceiling for final decoration.
The third and fourth stages are the interior finish: tiling, floor covers, sanitary ware installed, interior doors, window sills, skirting; then final decoration.
What don’t you do?
In the planning stage we usually support your planning application as best as we can, but take no responsibility for that, the outcome or the costs. Here we often rely on local support.
In the building stage we focus in principle on the house itself, but do not do anything under it or around it.
That means we don’t do site preparation, excavations, backfill etc. We do not connect the house to the utilities, which must be brought to the nearest point of transfer in/under the house.
What else do I need to know?
Additional to the contracted costs for the house and floor slab/basement, there are some other costs you have to budget for or have to know of, for instance:
- We bring the house to site, and all costs for building it including transport, crane, usual travel and accommodation costs are covered in the contracted house price.
- Your have to supply water, power, and a portaloo during the assembly phase at your own costs, or discuss suitable solutions with our site manager.
- You will have to insure the building site at your costs for the value of the house against fire, theft and usual building risks for the building period, whereas we cover the transport risk, our own third party liability and health and safety requirements for the assembly period.
As we openly address all issues beforehand, either in our contractual agreements or in the meetings with our representatives and site manager, there will be no surprises or hidden costs.