The House that Kevin Built 2012 The Brighton Waste House

THTKB London 2008

Kevin McCloud filmed from The House that Kevin BuiltImage: Kevin McCloud films from the upper floor of The House that Kevin Built

‘The House that Kevin Built’ was an innovative project to design and construct live on television a highly sustainable domestic property over a period of 6 days using a combination of ‘offsite’ innovative and interesting building systems and materials.

The project, carried out in collaboration with Talkback Thames TV and Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud, was executed outside the Excel centre in London’s docklands in conjunction with The Grand Designs Live show from 4 May 2008.

The idea:

  • To combine two brand new innovative green prefab systems
  • MODCELL - Heavyweight, highly insulated, locally sourced, affordable replenishable/ waste  materials -combining a minimal amount of expensive engineered timber plus cheaper straw/ lime/ hem; Creating cellular, self-cooling/ warming ground floor bedrooms & bathroom
  • FACIT - Lightweight, highly insulated, replenishable/ waste materials, all cut out with a computer controlled router
  • Creating double height open plan living room/ kitchen/ dining room ‘balloon’
  • Both designed by UK Architects pushing the boundaries

The ambition:

  • To prove that fluffy, crumbly, organic low carbon materials can compete with their more established high energy high carbon counterparts
  • To focus on prefabrication because it reduces wastage on site to a minimum (up pf 20% of building material ends up in landfill using traditional ‘wet’ trades
  • To use high tech construction methods to reduce time on site, material waste and accuracy on site
  • To prove that an understanding of lightweight material to insulate and heavyweight materials to store energy will mean that you don’t have to rely too much on expensive high tech gear to create a low carbon house.

Modcell crane on site of the House that Kevin built

Facit at work on the inside of the eco architecture project House that Kevin built 

Straw walling at the eco-building project House that Kevin built 

Rammed earth walling for the House that Kevin built 

Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic roof on The House that Kevin Built 

 Topping out on the House that Kevin built eco-building project

 Complete eco building ready for the 4000 public visitors in 2 days

The House that Kevin Built. Eco-facts

  • G.I.A : 85m2
  • Type of Project: Prefab New build
  • Final Account: £170,000+vat
  • Estimated Cost/m2 inc. renewables £2,000/m2
  • Contact Period: 5 days
  • Energy Rating: A+
  • Code For Sustainable Homes Rating: Level 5
  • Renewables: Solar Thermal Glass Tiles, 1.5kW Photovoltaic Tiles

Highlights of the construction were shown nightly on Channel 4’s programme ‘Grand Designs Live’ which was broadcast live from a stage ‘setup’ adjacent to the building site.

House that Kevin built 

House that Kevin built 

House that Kevin built

House that Kevin built 


‘The House that Kevin Built’ was dismantled at the end of the show and has been re-erected at the Building Research Establishment’s Innovations Park.

Footage of the 2008, Grand Designs, The House That Kevin Built

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