Ask an Expert

Our Ask an Expert Zone is in association with the National Self Build and Renovation Centre (NSBRC)

Bring your questions, plans and ideas along and talk with a range of specialists in the Ask an Expert area, in association with the National Self Build & Renovation Centre.

A booking system will operate with time-slots allocated on a first-come, first-served basis so head along to the booking desk in the Ask an Expert area as soon as you arrive at the Show to make your reservation.

Architect – energy efficiency and design

Martin Davies – MD Architecture is a small, friendly, practice in the heart of Devon offering modern, affordable, design-led building solutions for homeowners and developers in Devon and beyond. The practice has a wealth of experience in the design of both refurbishment and extension projects of existing properties, and bespoke new build projects.

With the cost of energy soaring, MD Architecture seeks to combine design creativity with good energy performance; through the selective choice of appropriate materials and technology, MD Architecture ensures energy-efficient construction.

Eco-build advisor

Ray Vince has completed several renovation and extension projects in the past 7 years and now helps other selfbuilders in showing them what is possible after his first eco-build which was a regional finalist for the LABC Building Excellence Awards 2016. Ray’s eco-advisory service gives independent technical advice to develop your eco-specification and supports you with your chosen eco-package for an energy-efficient home. Ray will be on hand to advise and help you reach your full potential in completing a unique and individual eco-project.

Design and construction/general self build

Gerald Cole is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in self build, home design and construction. He was the launch editor of SelfBuild & Design magazine and is now consulting editor. He is the author of Build Your Own Brick House. Gerald can advise on the various construction methods available to selfbuilders and the alternatives to traditional brick-and-block construction. He can advise on how to save time and costs, and the pros and cons of the varying styles.

Design and planning/general self build

With many years of experience, Neil Davey, Technical Consultant at the NSBRC, has helped hundreds of selfbuilders progress and complete their projects through the impartial advice and support he offers. As a resident expert at the NSBRC, Neil’s area of expertise covers the design and planning process, as well as signposting and offering general self build advice.

RIBA architects

Julie Boultby of Apse

(Sunday 10th September) Julie is the Director of Apse, specialising in bespoke eco-homes and conservation of listed buildings. Julie has over 20 years’ experience in the domestic sector and has particular expertise in designing beautiful homes using local natural materials, including straw bales, cob, thatch, green roofs, timber and natural stone. Her company has had considerable success in achieving planning permissions and Listed Building Consents for challenging sites through developing good professional relationships with local authorities and presenting robust appeals. Her sensitive approach aims to bring clients together in harmony with all the parties involved in the construction process to create positive and successful outcomes.