Hanse Haus always follow through with what they promise

Richard & Irene Atkin - Nottingham

Richard & Irene Atkin signed a contract, subject to planning, with Hanse Haus.  A few amendments were made to the drawings, and the plans got passed.  Hanse Haus then translated the drawings into their own system and the process got under way.  “When the new drawings came back to me, I thoroughly checked everything and questioned things when I needed to.  I had to be assured that we were going to have the house we’d planned for”, says Richard. The bungalow was demolished and then the ground workers (recommended by Hanse Haus) began to prepare the site in May last year.  Richard and Irene were having a basement, which Glatthaar, who work closely with Hanse Haus in the UK, were building.  At the beginning of June, work started on the basement. “At 6.30am on 23rd July, two lorries arrived from Germany, with our house on board.  The construction crew worked really really hard and were incredibly nice people.  Having started early in the morning, they were still working at 8.30pm that night so we actually had to ask them to stop out of consideration for the neighbours.  From then on, they worked from 7 ‘til 7 each day.  Richard was on-site virtually all the time just to watch and take photos! The whole build was seamless and by 15th Sept, less than 8 weeks since the start, the house was up.  We then had the kitchen put in and all the appliances in the utility room, etc, before moving in on 20th October 2010. The house is a bit smaller than our previous house – we now have just 3 bedrooms, but it’s much simpler and the garden demands minimal up keep.  There’s still plenty of room when the children come to stay, as they often do…with the grand children!”, says Irene.



The house is in a residential street in a Nottingham suburb, on a plot 22 mtrs x 28 mtrs.  The exterior has a white render and a pitched, tiled roof. An integral garage is currently being constructed on the left side of the property, with access internally, from the pantry area. The rear of the property, where there is a spacious patio/decked area, can be accessed to the right of the house. The exterior walls are 30 cm thick. The house has triple-glazed tilt n’ turn windows.

The house provides 250 m² of living space, as well as a 100 m² basement and 60 m² loft space.  Access, is via a large glass porch with canopy to the front door, double, sliding doors in the kitchen/dining area to the side of the property and a door in the utility room at the back of the house. The front door leads into a wide, spacious hall, central to the house, with light cream, ceramic floor tiles.  To the right is a formal lounge with a teak floor and windows to the front and to the rear of the property.  To the left is a formal dining room, which has a fitted carpet, and a through door to the galley-like pantry area.  The pantry leads to the kitchen and the utility room straight ahead, to the rear of the house.  The kitchen/dining area is light and open with vivid blue units and matching blue floor tiles.  There are floor to ceiling glass doors to the side/rear of the property and windows to the rear.  The hall is also accessed from the kitchen and there’s a WC on the right side. The stairs, which are teak, lead straight up from the hall to the large open-plan, first floor study and family living area.  There are large windows to the front of the house and windows to the side. Also to the front, accessed via the office/landing is a double bedroom with en suite family bathroom.  There is another double bedroom, accessed from the open plan study/landing, with en suite shower room.  The master bedroom is set back at the rear of the house, with windows to the side, leading also to a separate dressing room (also with windows to the side) and a spacious en suite bathroom with large walk-in shower.  The bathroom is fitted with aqua floor tiles and contrasting dark grey tiles on the shower floor. There is a further, narrow, staircase to the attic, currently used for storage, which may later be converted into a children’s playroom. Upstairs is fitted throughout with an oatmeal carpet. There is underfloor heating throughout. The interior walls are 12 cm thick and the house also boasts the Hanse Haus solid wall system, which combines the advantages of timber SIP and solid wall construction.  “The walls have a stud every 300mm and they are completely glued on both sides with OSB boards. That makes them loadbearing and the fixing of wall units, including heavy kitchen units for example, is possible everywhere“, says Hanse Haus architect, Bianca Keil. 


Heating  –
  The house has a gas boiler, in a plant room/area in the basement.

Water  – 

Ventilation system  –  The house boasts a controlled air ventilation system with heat recovery, which means that humid and odorous air is extracted from rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom and toilet through a short, central duct and fed outdoors.  The required supply of fresh air is then provided by decentralised outside air openings known as fresh-valves.  The many benefits of the controlled air ventilation system include the following:-

  • High levels of humidity and the resultant problems such as the build up of mould on walls in living areas and bathrooms are prevented.
  • By defining the air exchange rate, you can automatically control the warm-air heating needs, leading to a reduction in heating energy requirements.
  • The regulated room ventilation increases a sense of wellbeing as the room air hygiene is guaranteed.

Insulation  –  Walls, ceilings and roofs are insulated with a GLASSWOOL product, which is produced with 90% natural mineral raw materials, like for example, sand and more than 50% recycled glass. The GLASSWOOL product recently gained recognition as an environmental product due to it’s high content of waste glass and also gained a quality control mark to confirm that it’s harmless to health.  What’s more, the type of insulation ensures low heating demand in the house.

Solar Panels  –  There are no solar panels yet but the cabelling and pipe work is fitted for future use.

Rainwater Harvesting  –  The house does has a rainwater harvesting system (although this wasn’t put in by Hanse Haus).
Chemical-free  –  Only the roof rafters and the battens were impregnated with BOR salt to protect the wood against humidity, otherwise, no wood preservation was used and all materials are chemical-free. 

Energy Efficient  –  Consisting of a timber SIP construction, as well as timber stairs, and given that wood has the lowest energy consumption and the lowest CO2 emission of any commonly used building material, the main structure of the house can be described as energy efficient.  Added to this, the short construction time on-site meant that there was minimal disturbance on the surrounding environment.  What’s more, the entire house can also be rebuilt and recycled.

What are your overall thoughts on building with Hanse Haus?

“We found out, through experience, that Hanse Haus follow through with what they promise.  We did feel slightly concerned when prior to the build, we had received a production schedule from Glatthaar (the basement manufacturer) and also from the ground workers but not from Hanse Haus.  It did seem at times that they were lapse with their communication but in the end the actual build was faultless and they worked incredibly efficiently to build us a quality house.  The after sales service has also been fantastic”.  Richard Atkin.

Has your new home met your expectations?

“It’s definitely met our expectations.  We love the house and the overall finish is excellent.  The front door has to be our favourite feature and the study/family living area upstairs is really rather special.  We took a few months to learn how to ‘drive’ the heating system and now that it’s summer time, it does get hot inside when the sun is shining in.  We need to learn a bit further about how to keep it cool.  In the winter months, even through the very cold spell, it was beautifully warm inside.  It’s early days still but we can already see that it costs about a third of our previous house in terms of running costs.  Our gas consumption is very modest but we do use a fair amount of electricity”.  Irene Atkin.
Given your experience, can you offer any tips to other self builders?

“I would recommend that you look into the details of a Turnkey solution as there are some things which you are responsible for.  We had to find our own independent contractors to demolish the bungalow that was the previous dwelling on our site.  The ground workers, although recommended by Hanse Haus, are also independent contractors, and we had to source and have our own kitchen fitted.  We also chose not to have Hanse Haus carpets as they don’t use underlay.  If you get your floor tiles from elsewhere though, as we did for the kitchen, Hanse Haus’ tillers will lay them for you…..and to a very high standard”.  Richard Atkin.




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