National Homebuilding & Renovating Show Birmingham 2018

National Homebuilding & Renovating Show 2018 in Birmingham – The Ultimate Preview

Allan Corfield Architect, Construction Professionals, Self Build Leave a Comment

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National Homebuilding & Renovating Show 2017 in Birmingham – The Ultimate Preview

It is that time of the year…that every ambitious self-builder is waiting for. In 2 1/2 weeks time, the NEC in Birmingham will welcome 40,000 excited self-builders and become the capital of homebuilding for the UK.

The National Homebuilding & Renovating show is the biggest homebuilding event in the United Kingdom and even if you do not live in this area, it is really worth travelling for. This year, the National Homebuilding & Renovating show will take place 22-25 March and as always will offer many seminars, masterclasses and an opportunity to discuss your project with various top Self Build experts and hundreds of exhibitors.

This guide is personalised for a self-builder who is just beginning their self-build journey and wants to get as much knowledge as possible from the show. The show in Birmingham is the largest in the United Kingdom and offers a wealth of information, with over 60 different seminars and masterclasses, and a full cast of experts ready to give you one-on-one advice!

national homebuilding & renovating show birmingham 2018We know that starting a self-build project can be overwhelming and you may be unsure of where to start. We understand this, and this is why we have decided to prepare the ultimate guide to the National Homebuilding & Renovating show in Birmingham.

We have selected the top 7 seminars from the main theatres, the top 7 experts and exhibitors you should speak to in order to get the most of the show! We would always suggest going to the Birmingham show over 2 days, as there is so much to do – however, if you can only go one day then you will have to pick and choose what to fit in!


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The seminars at the National HBR Show 2018 are divided between four theatres: Self Build, Home Improvement, Masterclass and Tricks of the Trade. For a prospective self-builder, the most valuable seminars will be presented in the Self Build theatre. Here the Self Build experts will be delivering talks on all the important parts of the self-build process. Below are our top picks for the Self Build & Masterclass theatres:

Top 7 Self Build Theatre Seminars: 

1. Self Build Explained: A beginner’s guide to building your own home

Jason Orme – Editorial Director at H&R Magazine

Everyday at 10:30-11:15

Discover how you can build your own individually designed home and manage to save up to 30% compared to buying a new house. Learn how to find a plot, get a self-build mortgage, work out what you can afford to build for your budget, develop a design scheme and decide whether to use a builder, manage the project yourself or get involved on DIY basis.

2. Planning Permission: How to find your way through the planning maze

Sally Tagg – Planning Expert at H&R Magazine

Everyday at 11:15-12:00

An introduction to the planning system. Discover the tactics that will maximise your chances of getting consent for your homebuilding or renovating project. Learn how the system works, who makes the decisions, how to influence them, when to compromise, when to appeal and more.

3. Design inspiration: How to add wow factor to your home

Charlie Luxton – TV presenter and Architectural Designer (Saturday only)

Allan Corfield – Self Build Expert at H&R Magazine (Thursday, Friday and Sunday)

Everyday at 12:00-12:45

Great design doesn’t need to be expensive but can transform your living space. Leading architectural designers share their favourite home design details, inside and out, and the secrets behind how they are created. If you are looking for design ideas and inspiration, don’t miss this session.

4. How to find a reliable builder and compare quotes on a like-for-like basis

Bob Branscombe – Building Expert at H&R Magazine

Everyday at 12:45-13:30

Find out how to find the right builder for your project, from small local building firms to main contractors to custom build ‘turn-key’ home providers. Learn how to check their credentials and make sure you are working with reputable firms. Discover the key to comparing quotes from builders to find the best value for money.

5. Beginners’ Guide to Building a Low Energy Home, from Zero Carbon to Passivhaus

Charlie Luxton – TV presenter and Architectural Designer (Saturday only)

Allan Corfield – Self Build Expert at H&R Magazine (Thursday, Friday and Sunday)

Everyday at 14:15-15:00

The ‘fabric first’ approach to low energy home design and renovation explained. Understand the best ways to optimise insulation values, the importance of balancing airtightness, ventilation, thermal mass and solar gain, plus how to choose the right heating system including renewable energy options for heat and power.

6. How to build your own home for under £100,000

Bob Branscombe – Building Expert at H&R Magazine

Everyday at 15:00-15:45

Discover how to build your home on a tight budget without sacrificing quality or size. Learn how factors such as your choice of materials, fixtures and fittings, design complexity, scale and effective project management all influence construction costs. Whatever your budget, this session will ensure you avoid waste and maximise value.

7. Home Design: A step-by-step guide to designing your dream home

Charlie Luxton – TV presenter and Architectural Designer (Saturday only)

Allan Corfield – Self Build Expert at H&R Magazine (Thursday, Friday and Sunday)

Everyday at 15:45-16:30

The design process explained, from concept sketches to planning drawings, from building regulations to detailed drawing packages. Learn how to make sure your home design meets your aspirations, ambitions, budget, and makes the very most of its location, by formulating a clear design brief and finding and appointing the right designer.


Homebuilding & Renovating Show Birmingham

The Masterclass Theatre will feature exhibitors who will discuss their products and share information from their area of expertise. If you are unsure of which structural system is best for your project or which renewables will be appropriate for you, there will be many masterclasses which will help you make up your mind. Below, we present our top 10 seminars:

Top 10 Masterclass Theatre Seminars: 

1. Understand how to factor in project costs and building regulations at design stage

22 March 11:00-11:20

Build Aviator

2. Project Insurance and Warranties: a guide to de-risking your project plus essential health & safety advice

22 March 12:00-12:20

Self Build Zone

Stand: E153

3. Oak Frame in the 21st Century: achieving Passivhaus standard using traditional oak frame construction

22 March 13:00-13:20

Oakwrights Ltd

Stand: D195

4. Harvest the power of nature to create the perfect indoor climate – understanding the benefits of renewable heating systems

22 March 15:30-15:50

NIBE Energy Systems Ltd

Stand: E241

5. Heat Pump Ventilation: Do you need a formal heating system, or are you insulating and sealing your home so well, a heat pump ventilation system could do it all?

23 March 13:00-13:20

Total Home Environment Ltd

Stand: G141

6. All you ever wanted to know about building using structural insulated panels (SIPS)

23 March 14:30-14:50

SIPs Industries

Stand: H123

7. Incorporating Heat Recovery Ventilation (MVHR) into your homebuilding or renovating project

24 March 12:00-12:20

ADM Systems

Stand: H121

8. How to find your dream building plot

24 March 12:30-12:50

Michael Holmes

Director of Content at H&R Magazine

9. How to fund your self-build or renovation project: a guide to stage payment mortgages

24 March 14:00-14:20


Stand: E149

10. Choosing the right heating system for your home

24 March 15:30-15:50

Smart Renewable Heat

Stand: K104


Homebuilding Renovating Show London

The National HBR show offers the chance to get first-hand advice from some of the top Self Build specialists in the UK. So bring your plans, ideas and any issues you have regarding your project to the Advice Centre. This is an amazing opportunity to get valuable information no matter which stage of your homebuilding project you are at. Here is our list of the top 7 experts that every self-builder should speak to at the NHBR show:

Top 7 Experts For Consultations: 

1. Michael Holmes

One of the country’s leading property experts, presenter of multiple property TV Shows and the Chair of the NaCSBA – organisation founded to support self-builders throughout the UK. His book, ‘Renovating for Profit’, is the definitive guide to home renovations that makes a difference to the value of your property. Michael cannot be missed by any conscious self-builder.

2. Charlie Luxton

The presenter of ‘Building the Dream’, and an Architectural Designer specialising in sustainability. He has spent the last twelve years designing sustainable buildings, hosting television programmes about Architecture and design, working on environmental community projects and giving talks on all aspects of sustainability. If building a sustainable house is your priority, make sure you book your consultations with Charlie!

3. Mark Stevenson

Whilst Mark describes himself as a ‘professional builder’ as a result of his career in house building and timber systems manufacturing, he has specialist knowledge of timber construction and extensive expertise in finding land and appraising building plots. He regularly shares his knowledge in Potton’s Self Build Academy where he leads the finding land and how to build seminar programme.

4. Tim Pullen

One of the biggest eco-expert in the industry. Contributor to many magazines and newspapers, including the Homebuilding & Renovating magazine. He regularly presents seminars and training on sustainable building and renewable energy, and has written three books on this. If energy efficiency is a priority for your project, you cannot miss this opportunity to speak to Tim!

5. Bob Branscombe

A chartered surveyor with over 25 years in construction and consultancy, Bob has combined the industry realm with the self-build world via a long-time obsession with hands on self building. If you need some help with the evaluation of your property or to discuss structural issues of your Self Build, Bob is the man you should see!

6. Mariana Pedroso

An experienced architect and interior designer who splits her time working between the UK and Portugal. Mariana can offer help and advice on renovation, remodelling, extension and all aspects of interior design and decorating. If you are looking for top expert advice on interior design Marina is the perfect person to speak to!

7. Sally Tagg

A planning expert with a successful track record of achieving planning permission for a wide variety of clients including individual self-builders and land owners seeking to unlock the development potential of their land. If you think, that your project may be challenging in terms of achieving planning approval, or just want to give yourself peace of mind, consultation with Sally is recommended!


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There will be 479 exhibitors in the NHBR show. You will, therefore, have the chance to explore their various products and services, which can be used in your project. There will be companies who specialise in design, renewables, exteriors, interiors, financial services and many other categories of services and products related to self building.  It wasn’t easy, but we chose the top 7 self-build exhibitors you should visit:

Top 7 Exhibitors To Visit: 

1. SIPS Industries 

Structural Systems

Stand No. H123

If you want to build a low-energy house and are wondering what construction method to adopt, The National Homebuilding and Renovating Show is an amazing opportunity to speak with the companies offering sustainable home building solutions and to find the best one for your project. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) offer a modern, cost-effective, environmental and energy efficient solution to building construction. Come to stand no. H123 and have a chat with their specialists to find out if SIPs is for you.

2. ADM Systems


Stand No. H121

If you are considering the installation of a heat recovery ventilation system (MVHR), then a visit to stand no. E175 should be high on your ‘exhibitors to see’ shortlist. ADM Systems offer a full range of services such as CAD design and proposals, site surveys, compliance advice, complete installation by BPEC approved engineers and full ventilation system maintenance and aftercare packages. They also offer a ‘buddy’ service for self-builders installing their own heat recovery systems.

3. Buildstore

Finance, Insurance & Mortgages

Stand No. E149

For the vast majority of self-builders getting a mortgage for building their dream home is a necessary mission. Buildstore offers mortgages for clients who are either building their own house, renovating or looking for a better rate on their current house while planning a project. Come over to stand no. E149 and check out what they have to offer.

4. Fakro

Windows Stand

Stand No. D221

Established in 1991, FAKRO is a dynamic, innovative and one of the fastest growing manufacturers of roof windows in the world, with around 15% of the global market at present. Come to stand no. D221 to discuss your project with their specialists and be inspired by the variety of design options.

5. Icynene Insulation


Stand No. A121

Having over 30 years experience each in the construction industry Paddy Leighton and Gerry Sheridan set up Greentherm Solutions Ltd to distribute and market the Icynene range of Spray foam Insulation products to the UK market.They identified a gap in the market for an insulation product that would provide high levels of insulation combined with airtightness in one application.

6. Oakwrights

Structural Systems

Stand No. D195

Oakwrights are a multi-award winning company specialising in the design and construction of all styles of oak framed houses. Their unsurpassed reputation has been built on excellence of design, quality of product and professionalism of service. Oakwrights are considered one of the most progressive company in their field by successfully combining the best of modern methods of manufacturing and state of the art technology with traditional craftsmanship leading the way in 21st century oak framing. If you are considering oak framing for your Self Build you cannot miss their stand.

7. Lumi Windows


Stand No. G181

Lumi is a groundbreaking new range of frameless windows, doors, bi-folds and sliders. With their flat uninterrupted profile these radically styled windows bring a wall of light to your home. Hidden under the ceramic colour lies the secret to Lumi’s strength – energy efficient triple glazing that has been structurally bonded to an internal core of high strength glass-fibre reinforced profile.

Now that you have read this article and know what the show has to offer to you, you should see the benefits of attending it. We would like to assist in making your visit as valuable as possible. Therefore, we created a two-day National HBR Show programme, which focuses on the interests of the self-builders.

ACA’s National Homebuilding & Renovating Show Self-Builder’s Programme

Below you can see ACA’s advised programme for the National HBR Show, personalised for self-builders. The show’s opening times are 10.00-17.00. As visiting the exhibitors is of as much importance as seeing the seminars, we have divided the time for both activities evenly. We divided each day into two parts – the seminars and the exhibitors/consultation.

Day 1 – 22nd March 2018

9.00-9.30 – Arrive at the NEC and park close to the entrance, grab some breakfast to eat in the cue – remember coffee… it is going to be a long day!

9.30-10.00 – Start cueing, if you want a slot with your preferred expert at the Advice Centre you need to be quick. Remember to prioritise your shortlist of experts depending on your project priorities. Remember that you cannot book your time slots with the experts in advance, these can only be booked on the day.

10.00-10.30 – Make your way in an orderly manner (no running or pushing) to the Advice Centre and secure your free 15-minutes appointment for a suitable time during the day. We would suggest getting one later on in the day, as you may think of more questions as you go around the show, and make sure that it will not coincide with the seminar/masterclass you want to see! Remember to update the programme with the times of the consultations you have booked onto. Please note that this programme is personalised for first two days of the show (22nd-23rd of March).

10.30-11.15 – Head to the Self Build Theatre for your first talk: Self Build Explained by Jason Orme. He is the Editorial Director of HBR Magazine – a mine of information when it comes to Self Build. This is the best choice for a warm up to the show.

11.15-12.00 – This time slot can be spent on booked consultation with your chosen expert or the exhibitors’ tour. Remember that if you own a smartphone, you can download a free app and use it to create a personalised map of the exhibitors and receive alerts when shortlisted seminars and masterclasses are about to start. This can help you to strategically plan your visit and save time. You can download it here.

12.00-12.20 – Head back to the Masterclass Theatre to listen to a lecture on project insurance and warranties performed by the specialist from Self Build Zone (E153).

12.45-13.30 – Go to the Seminar Theatre and learn from Bob Branscombe how to find a reliable builder and compare quotes on a like-for-like basis.

13.30-14.15 – This time slot can be spent on booked consultation with your chosen expert or the exhibitors’ tour.

14.15-15.00 – Head back to the Self Build Theatre for a vitally important lesson from Allan Corfield. In his seminar called ‘Beginners’ Guide to Building a Low Energy Home, from Zero Carbon to Passivhaus’, Allan will share with you the secrets of how to successfully build an energy-efficient home.

15.00-15.45 – Stay in the Self Build Theatre for another Bob Branscombe’s seminar called “How to build your own home for under £100,000′, where you will get find out how to operate your project on a tight budget.

15.45-17.00 – This time slot can be spent on booked consultation with your chosen expert or the exhibitors’ tour.

ACA’s National Homebuilding & Renovating Show Self-Builder’s Programme

Day 2 – 23rd March 2018

10.00-11.00 – If there are still experts that you want to see, arrive early to secure your free consultations. Otherwise you can arrive at the NEC after 10am. Spend some time before the second day reflecting on what you learned from the previous day. It should inspire you to unravel the areas of self building that you were not aware of before. You can make some changes to the list of exhibitors’ you want to visit, and prepare different questions for your consultations with the experts.

11.15-12.00 – You will start your second day from another useful Self Build seminar: ‘Planning Permission: How to find your way through the planning maze’. Sally Tagg will teach you the tactics that will maximise your chances of getting consent for your homebuilding project.

12.45-13.30 – Stay in the Self Build Theatre and learn how to add wow factor to your home. The seminar by Allan Corfield.

13.30-14.30 – This time slot can be spent on booked consultation with chosen expert or the exhibitors’ tour. You can head to the cafeteria that can be found inside the venue and get a coffee before the very busy and interesting hours to follow!

14.30-14.50 –  Quickly head over to the Masterclass Theatre to supplement the knowledge you have gained from the previous talk. In this masterclass, you will learn about one of the most energy-efficient construction systems – Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) (Stand no. H123).

14.30-15:45 – This time slot can be spent on booked consultations with chosen expert or an exhibitor’s tour.

15.45-16.30 – Go back to the Self-Build Theatre where Allan Corfield will present to you his step-by-step guide to designing your dream home.

16.30-17.00 – This time slot can be spent on booked consultations with chosen expert or an exhibitor’s tour.

The National HBR Show holds a plethora of information for a prospective self-builder. The recommendations we have created are, in our opinion, the top solution for people planning to build their dream home. However, this doesn’t mean that the other seminars, experts or exhibitors are not worth seeing. Depending on the priorities of your project it may be more appropriate to attend other talks. Or if you are able to visit the show for three days you can definitely widen your agenda to see more. It is worth the effort and time to prepare well for the show, as what you will learn will definitely influence the final outcome of your project!

If you have decided to visit the show, ACA is happy to offer you free tickets for the show. Just click the button below and fill the form.

For more live tips on the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show follow @acarchitects and @allan_corfield on Twitter.

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