TV house: Timber-framed new-build in Bolton

Builder Paul Rimmer and his family have shown how to construct a sustainable home

By Rebecca Roe | 28 February 2017

In a world where time is money, builder Paul Rimmer and his family have shown how to construct a sustainable home.

tv eco bolton home

The exterior is a nod to Paul’s work with bricks, but also helps the house blend with nearby farm buildings

tv house eco home

Open-plan living is a new concept for the Rimmers, who have moved to the new-build from a restored farmhouse

You may recall a recent episode of Grand Designs in which Kevin McCloud strolls down a country lane pondering: ‘What happens when you take a traditional builder, someone who’s used bricks all their life, and ask them to build a new house out of wood to the highest possible ecological standards? Is it possible to teach an old dog new tricks?’

The answer, of course, is a resounding yes. In this case, McCloud asks the question about Paul Rimmer, who, along with his wife Carol and a team of skilled craftsmen, recently constructed a new-build, ecological home that has a very interesting story behind it. Near retirement, Paul had spent some time mulling over the idea of one final job – a forever home. The family lived in a restored farmhouse just outside Bolton and also owned 2.8 acres of land opposite – a potential spot to build a new home using the skills he’d acquired over decades of building.

However, the land was on a green belt and, therefore, the odds of acquiring planning permission for a modern home were slim to none. ‘We were forever being told that we’d never get it,’ says Paul. But one morning he woke up and thought, ‘why not?’ He paid the few hundred pounds to open the case file and see what would happen, thus beginning a journey that would span several years. ‘In two years we went from being told we had no chance to getting planning approval,’ Paul says. In the end, success was down to a design that would emit zero carbon by using stringent building methods and sustainable materials.