Our Process

Live Off The Grid in Crete, Greece

Building an off-grid house in Crete, Greece is a dream for many people. The ability to choose the exact layout, structural orientation, off-grid systems and finishes when you build an off-grid property is an exciting and rewarding process yet, daunting, complicated and stressful. Not everyone is well-matched to the amount of decision-making and risk tolerance or uncertainties involved.
Off-Grid Properties in Crete, Our Process by ARENCOS
Photo by Florian Roost on Unsplash
Off-Grid Houses in Crete, Greece - Our Approach

At ARENCOS, we believe that modern architecture is living in comfort without compromising the natural environment or depleting the natural resources available. Our sustainably designed and energy efficient focused homes minimise negative environmental impacts whilst ensuring and maximising comfort and wellbeing.

Constructed with precision and by integrating the latest technology with locally sourced and time-tested natural materials, our eco-friendly properties draw inspiration from the Cretan nature with a delicate yet modern aesthetic, elegance and practicality.

Three steps to simplify the journey to your new eco-friendly, off-grid house in Crete, Greece.

We’ll require important information relating to your site including the deeds of the property, land survey report, a soil test report along with any site related additional details such as built-up area, coverage ratio, development ratio etc.

We’ll visit your site and complete a holistic assessment to ensure if the off-grid related design utilises the full potential of the natural environment and the surroundings. We will spend some time on the site. We should see the boundaries of the plot, smell the flowers, feel the atmosphere, hear the sounds and walk the full length of the building site at different times of the day.

Read more about this process here.

The project brief is one of the most critical stages in the process of defining your requirements for the development of an off-grid property:

This is the first attempt to describe the possible requirements of the project and the initial plan upon which the design will be based. The project brief will evolve through the project brief stage and the concept design stage with the benefit of information gained from discussions and consultations with you and other stakeholders and ongoing design development.

On the Design Approval phase and through any phase thereafter, we can design and provide available renderings, virtual tours, incremental construction photos, and other information concerning the off-grid equipment. At this stage you will review our materials selection and off-grid equipment (solar panels, batteries, wind turbine, heat pumps, hybrid system, etc) making a choice on which design, colour pallet,  equipment and upgrades you’d love to move forward with.

During the Design Approval phase, our professionals will meet with governmental authorities (town planning) and other stakeholders to discuss the Revised Proposal and incorporate any revisions to the Revised Proposal that may be requested by the Town Planning of the Architectural Board.

Next, we’ll prepare preliminary designs for you to review.

We’ll engage a Mechanical Engineer and/or a Structural Engineer to investigate and identify the future energy needs of the property and the structural details.

The governmental authorities should evaluate the purposefulness of the construction or modification of the building terms, as well as the land uses in each area of interest. To construct building structures on any property, the plot’s size and location must satisfy the criteria set out in the relevant legislation. The uses permitted for each plot are determined in the relevant Local Spatial Plans (LSPs) Special Spatial Plans (SSPs).

Property development may be pursued only in compliance with the building permit that has been issued from the relevant authorities (Chania Spatial Planning authority). As a rule of thumb, the local municipality’s building department is competent to issue the building permit, although the law may requires special competences of other governmental bodies, depending on the intended use of the property and the area that the property is located.

Historic and cultural building protection laws envisage a series of strict rules and restrictions. Violation of these rules may result on a complete ban of the structure development

The law specifies the documentary requirements for the building permits issuance, including the title deeds of the property and architectural and engineering designs. Depending on the scale and nature of the engineering-construction works, an environmental licensing procedure may also be required.

Read more here.

We’ll provide you with contract documentation to review and sign.

A building permit is an authorized approval issued by the local government agency that allows you or your contractor to proceed with an off-grid construction project.

It is intended to ensure that the project plans to comply with local standards for land use, zoning, and construction and to ensure the health and safety of current and future owners and occupants and to provide enforcement of zoning and land-use policies.

We provide design drawings and documentation required for the building permit application.

Creating your off-grid property takes a team of trained professionals focused on your dedicated needs. The construction team of ARENCOS is dedicated that your off-grid property is built to plan, building time-frames are met, and quality workmanship is delivered to meet our standards of excellence.

We design and construct exceptional off-grid houses and can afford our mission, going above and beyond to provide extraordinary, value-for-money, innovative houses that are built to a consistently high quality.

ARENCOS.me ensures project owners have a clear picture of the project progress, performance, including potential risks, distribution of responsibilities, and the overall project goals. It also enables project managers to uncover potential bottlenecks and other risks that may have a negative impact on project efficiency.

Furthermore, via ARENCOS.me, we are providing project owners with visibility into works and project progress, secure alignment and add an element of accountability. Seeing in real-time how project is progressing allows transparency and enables effective decision-making.

What is PMDE?

It’s not just an acronym for Project Management & Delivery Excellence in constructions. It is a detailed Peer-Review Report which adapts a materialist post-structuralist view about construction’s identity for the project owner.

Discover more about PMDE.

We’ll join you for a final inspection, then it’s time for us to hand over the keys and you to move in your brand new off-grid house in Crete, Greece!

Off- Grid Property Design and Construction - ARENCOS Architects and Engineers in Chania, Crete, Greece

Reliable. Sustainable. Efficient. Exceptional.

Energy Efficient

We integrate high-performing building designs and bioclimatic architecture practices to offer climate-responsive and operationally efficient properties.

The final proposal is based on the adoption of suitable parameters for building orientation, structural profile, passive heating and cooling mechanisms, shading, and glazing to ensure a healthy indoor and outdoor living environment.

Sustainable Building

At ARENCOS, we assist clients discover pragmatic solutions that match their own objectives toward building sustainability.

To make structures really sustainable, we design for better performance from every angle – this way we help our clients create properties that are practical, affordable to build and operate, pleasant to inhabit and exceptional to their context.

Carbon Neutral

We have helped many clients realize their sustainability aspirations in residential and commercial buildings.

We strive to create carbon-neutral buildings and we know that this is only possible by synthesizing the latest design trends with locally sourced building materials and state-of-the-art renewable energy applications toward carbon neutrality.

Comfort + Wellbeing

We want to create buildings that motivate and delight, and which are responsive to the owner’s needs.

From detached houses to larger deluxe properties, we take pride in creating a competitive and innovative design attitude.
From concept to operation, our decisions and actions are intended to produce safe, inclusive, high-performance and sustainable properties.

PMDE

This framework is based on our Project Management & Delivery Excellence Folder and it outlines the initiatives, methods and strategies for carbon reduction in the construction, obstacles and challenges faced by similar residential projects.

Moreover, it also includes the mechanisms and methodologies that helped us overcome the difficulties, and low-carbon solutions applied to the design, construction, and operation of off-grid properties in Crete, Greece.

Integrity + Dedication

At ARENCOS we constantly strive to redefine the standard of excellence in everything we design and manage. Therefore, we are open to ideas that challenge conventional views and drive innovation.

As a team, we are sharing our knowledge and lessons learned. We support and encourage innovation and we also set big goals and high expectations, but we are appreciative, grateful, and supportive of our successes.

Ingenuity — There are more ways to keep cool than turning on the air conditioning. From naturally cool materials to clever ways to harness wind and sunlight, we design buildings with total sustainability in mind …

Good for you & the Environment.

ARENCOS was founded on the principles of sustainable building design and total architecture that holistically support the well-being of inhabitants and long-term energy efficiency of the construction, to achieve a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment.

Subsequently, we view design as a process of discovery. Dedicated design research and off-grid assessments, enable us to experiment, to improve — and to design smarter properties for our clients. That’s particularly important as we strive to create a more resilient future.

With a background in civil engineering, ARENCOS founder and manager Maria Gkika had seen too many poorly planned properties built with little consideration for the environment and local character.

We design our properties to take advantage of the site and surrounding environment, make the most of energy efficiency, and utilize natural resources and sustainable materials.

Our Team

ARENCOS is owned and managed by Maria Gkika, a senior civil engineer professional with two decades of experience in the construction sector. The firm consists of a dedicated team of engineers, architects, researchers and surveyors.

MARIA GKIKA FOUNDER - SENIOR CIVIL ENGINEER
Ecoliving ARENCOS Brochure for Off-Grid Homes in Crete, Greece
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