Amelie and Brett have settled with their children in Finnish Lapland.
The year was 2019, when the British living in Great Britain Amelie and originally a South African Brett and their children went around Europe.
The caravan trip, planned for months, also brought the family to Finnish Lapland to admire the northern lights. Then the corona struck, and the journey could not continue. As a result, the family settled in the rugged landscape of Kilpisjärvi, where they eventually acquired a plot of land. For that, Amelie and Brett designed a semi-detached house. The intention is to move to one side myself and rent the other side.
When Grand Designs Finland host Samppa Lappalainen will meet the duo in August 2021, everything is supposed to be ready in five months. The total budget for the 350-square-meter house is 620,000 euros. The schedule doesn’t work, and neither does the budget.
Amelie and Brett encounter all kinds of problems with the Finns. First they are caused by money. At first, the bank does not believe the couple’s calculations.
– We don’t have a mortgage and therefore can’t afford to build. Such a problem. We sold our old home, so we have the money, but it’s not enough to complete the project, Amelie says in the series.
– Getting a loan here is different, Brett laments.
When the work is then started, the building control would have to approve the foundations of the house before the next step. However, nothing comes of it, the whole project stops for months. Despite calculations and measurements, it appears that 20 piles have been placed incorrectly.
Handling things is made much more difficult by communication problems. Amelie and Brett do not know Finnish, and not all Finns speak English.
– The language barrier has limited companies to work with, Brett describes.
– Sometimes I look for companies that know how to do the necessary work, but no one speaks English. They just hang up. They don’t even bother to talk, Brett wonders.
– Some don’t even answer, but hang up, Amelie is in pain.
Language problems also make cooperation with the factory difficult. Amelie and Brett’s Element House comes from Estonia, where builders arrive on site in Kilpisjärvi. Some of them are Russian speakers who speak neither Finnish nor English. Amelie and Brett, on the other hand, do not speak Russian.
David OWeger, MTV3
The couple is also surprised by how expensive construction in Finland is compared to England. Amelie gives a practical example in the program.
– In Britain, faucets cost between 5 and 10 pounds each. They are a ton of style here, although he seems to be exaggerating a bit.
Finnish building regulations have also increased the financial burden.
– You Finns have much more regulations than the British, Brett has noticed.
– Here, everything is done to the last detail, he continues after Amelie states the obvious:
– And implementing it will be really expensive.
The couple does not reveal the exact budget in the program. Even the house is not ready when Samppa visits it for the last time. The estimate is that the excess is in the order of 10–20 percent.
David OWeger, MTV3
Grand Designs Finland today on MTV3 at 20:00 & Katsomo. See all TV programs and broadcast times in Telku’s TV guide.