UKCW London: 7-9 May | ExCeL
UKCW Birmingham: 1-3 October | NEC


U-Build Press Release

The U-Build system removes many of the difficulties associated with traditional construction, empowering individuals and communities to construct their own homes and buildings.

It uses precision CNC machining to create a kit of parts. The hybrid offsite approach removes many of the difficulties associated with traditional construction, harnessing the accuracy, speed and repeatability of offsite manufacture. At the same time, it reduces the scale and complexity of conventional offsite techniques, enabling the building shell to be assembled by people with limited skills and experience using only simple hand tools.


As an environmentally-minded practice Studio Bark is keen to reduce waste on site. The offsite production process reduces errors and inaccuracy to a minimum. Any waste timber that is produced is contained in a clean, central location, making it easy to transfer to a specialist recycling facility (as opposed to timber waste on site, which is easily contaminated).


As the frame is based on a limited number of standardised components, parts can be easily replaced if damaged. The flexible and demountable nature of the system makes it easy to reconfigure areas of the building in future as required.





The components are simple enough to be produced in a small local CNC fabricator, rather than a large framing factory, and enabling self builders to assemble components on site without heavy lifting gear, or specialist training. This participatory model is inherently scaleable, liberated from the constraints of a more centralised approach.

The self-build portal suggests that it takes 6-9 months to construct a residential house. Box House showed that an equivalent U-Build house can be delivered in 4 months.



Whole life costs are reduced through a robust 'fabric first' approach including high-levels of insulation and inherent airtightness.


A study conducted by environmental consultants Atmos Lab concluded that the embodied carbon for a U-Build house would be roughly half that for an equivalent house built with traditional construction methods (238 kgCO2/m2 as compared to 550 kgCO2/m2). The supply chain uses materials with environmental certifications, including FSC and PEFC, such as Riga Birch plywood and WISA spruce plywood. Other non-toxic, ecological materials are specified including sheep’s wool insulation.


U-Build is designed for disassembly. Studio Bark have installed a number of demonstration projects for temporary and meanwhile uses. As required, these projects can be disassembled, moved to a new site and re-assembled in the same or a different configuration, rather than ending up in landfill.





Since completing the Box House, Studio Bark has been developing the U-build system in order that it may be more widely adopted by community groups. This includes planning permission and a GLA funding to build an affordable workplace in the north side of Old Baths building in Hackney Wick. The proposal has been developed with consideration of the wider master plan for Hackney Wick, and reference to the Hackney Wick & Fish Island Design and Planning Guidance. It is intended to provide temporary accommodation for artists and other displaced businesses affected by redevelopment works as part of the Hackney Wick Masterplan.


The design principles for U-Build came out of the desire to make construction truly affordable and truly self-built, opening up the prospect of self-led construction to a greater proportion of the general public. Unlike conventional single-use materials the U-Build system is re-useable, environmentally responsible, and incredibly cost efficient, with no quality sacrificed. Using an in-house CNC routing machine combined with parametric modelling a ‘flat pack’ system can be produced on site which can be assembled with a few simple tools. Studio Bark aims to extend the U-Build methods to offer a potential alternative to contractor led approach for community housing and workspaces.

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