Self-builders can need help in turning their dreams into reality and Paul Meichtry has founded a successful business by making sure that help – a little or a lot – is readily on hand.

His company Selfbuild Solutions specialises in timber-frame homes tailored to meet the needs of each individual client. The service ranges from supply only to anywhere in England or Wales, through a range of packages (first fix etc) up to a complete build for clients within a 70-mile radius of Tring in Hertfordshire.

Over the past ten years Paul Meichtry has built houses all over the southeast of England; ranging in size from 900ft2 up to a three-storey 8000ft2 mansion. It has been a decade of change in the building industry – not least in the growing acceptance of timber frame construction and the rise in popularity of underfloor heating.

“These days,” says Paul Meichtry, “ whatever the size of property our client is building, it’s almost a certainty that it will include a Robbens underfloor heating system. It was a different story when we started. Then you had to persuade the client of the advantages of an underfloor solution – now everyone demands it!

And if the client wants underfloor heating, then we turn to Robbens to provide the system, because we know that it will match our demand for quality materials and professional engineering. It’s also a perfect partner for our type of timber-frame design approach, which can be up to 30% faster in raising the roof, creating a dry internal space for the heating system to go in.”

Solid floor construction Selfbuild Solutions’ designs feature a solid floor construction on the ground floor. During installation loops of Robbens multi-layer pipework are fixed in position above a layer of insulation material with the loop ends connected to discreetly located manifolds. The manifolds are connected in turn by flow and return lines to the boiler plant.

After pressure testing, a normal sand and cement screed is poured to integrate the heating system into the floor structure and provide a smooth, even surface for the final floor finish, which may be carpet, but these days is more often wood, or tiles.

Paul Meichtry realises only too well that a building site can be a rugged environment.

“Although we’ve employed some “aggressive” screeders over the years, we never had a leak in a Robbens pipe. That says a great deal for the quality of the materials, but in this business having the right level of technical back up is just as important as having the right products! Our experience with Robbens gives us the reassurance that if something should go wrong it will be put right straight away.”

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