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Site Insurance - The first or final hurdle?!

So the site is almost ready to start, my house is sold, moving out this weekend. Got the last tree stump ground out so there's nothing blocking the foundations. But the reason we write some of these blogs is to vent frustrations and in my case today it's about insurance.  My site has Made Ground. I went through the trouble of getting a ground analysis with dynamic probing and there is good load bearing at 2.2 meters but it's poor above that. I switched Structural Engineers and Tanners in Co


mike2016 in insurance

6 Months, so we got plastered

It's been a while since my last blog, but we've not stopped, the days are shorter and the weather skipped autumn🍂 and dived into winter with a few storms and loads of rain.   Our windows are budget friendly triple glazed UPVC, and composite doors.   The external EPS was sealed at the cill with EPDM airtight tape, the tape has reinforcement in it and can be moulded, it does crease but creates a water tight junction and sticks like the proverbial to the EPS.   W


Jenki in 6 Month build

That'll do for 2023...

Properly chuffed with myself how far i've progressed this year, but its a good time to take a break i feel, before the last huge job of doing the new bathroom, hopefully next year.   Finished the external wall insulation off in the courtyard area, and got my new set of water butts all connected, should provide enough for the front garden and car washing (when i have the energy!) during a prolonged dry period. Just got the silicone to do on the corner and the join.  

How an MBC WarmSlab Has Actually Performed based on 6 Years Data

In my topic Modelling the "Chunk" Heating of a Passive Slab, I discussed how I used a heat flow model to predict how my MBC WarmSlab heated by UFH + Willis heater would perform.  What I wanted to do in this post is to provide a “6 years on” retrospective of how the house and slab have performed as built based on actual data that I’ve logged during this period, and to provide some general conclusions. In this, I assumed 15 mm UFH pipework, but we actually used 16mm PEX-Al-PEX pipework with a


TerryE in Heating

More trenches, holes and crushing concrete

So in the last couple of months we've moved on quite a bit for us.   We started on our next section of the build, to be the snug and entrance hall. This is the sticking out part of the 'L' of the build.     We removed the roof covering some time ago, so at the start of July it looked like this.           Then the 4 layers of floor and internal walls were broken down          


LSB in Oct 2023

Wall Build up (Choices)

Still in the Sales cycle for my old house (3rd try!) but while I'm waiting I'll be doing site clearing work next month and I want to take a moment here to make final decisions on my wall build up as this moves the locations of my floor penetrations by 100mm.  Target U Values are as follows: 1. External walls U value = 0.1 W/m2K 2. Sloped Roof U value = 0.1 W/m2k 3. Floor U value = 0.07 W/m2k This is based on PHPP calculations, they are more strict as my house is quite sm


mike2016 in Wall insulation

Topping out

Sunday in the Highlands, and the weather has a feel of changing, we've been so fortunate on the build so far, day 105 today, but the last week or so has been wet, windy, sunny, overcast usually everyday. So autumn is on the way. July and August have been busy with the 2 cabins with around 100 nights occupied, that's over 250 people staying, and 30 +dogs 😂. The upshot being we can afford to eat, but the labour for the build has been affected with Mandy continually cleaning and washing.


Jenki in Roof

Finally start digging and build a basement... early 2022

So to recap: we bought an old house with a bit of land at the back. We tried to get permission to knock it down and do a new build passiv house in the backland. The council said no no no, we lost an appeal, then put in ridiculous plans for a massive extension with basement on the existing old house, plus a large stable block on the back land where we wanted the new build. Council said yes yes yes, thats fine,  please go ahead....   Having never built anything major before, we hired a 9

Kai casswell

Kai casswell in General

Breaking up and Building up

I just noticed that my last entry was 1st June and now it's mid August.   Where does the time go.   Once again we've lost time on the build, HID did too much breaking and hurt his back and we got a new puppy who is a huge time waster.  Although I WFH I also have to visit clients so quite a bit of puppy sitting going on.     Then there has been the weather, total opposite of last year.   So, down to what has been done. The first main wall is now u


LSB in July 2023

Building Regs, Part O and SAP

My previous blog entry ended at submitting the building regs in March, although they were not validated until 5th April and then refused on the 31st May.  I believe my architect had complained on them taking too long so I am guessing when they found he had not included a turning circle for a fire engine they refused them as giving the architect extra time would have hit their own time targets.   We resubmitted 1st June and finally had approval on the 5th July.  A few conditions but nothing unexp


Susie in General

Another few jobs off the list

I'm kind of glad July hasn't been too warm, as its enabled me to get more done than i would have otherwise, but the rain has been the main issue, and surprisingly, hedgehogs which have been running all over the front garden, until they mysteriously all died, why i've no idea, felt very privileged having them here.         First bit done whilst the hedgehogs were still around, the bit i've been wanting to do the most, around the boiler and gas box, where the worst d

A time-lapse (of sorts)

Since starting this build we've had a handy mound of "spoil" from which I have been taking regular photos from the same(ish) spot to remind me of progress during the "down" days which we self builders all suffer from time to time. I thought I'd share this with you. It starts in May 2021, when the major groundworks had been underway for a few weeks and goes up until April this year - about 2 years.   First a picture of the mound of spoil for reference:   and now the "tim

Understanding PV energy production variations

Energy production is as variable as the weather. 🙄 But how much does it change the results in a month or year?   Based on calculations using the PGIS data over 10 years I thought I would share the results.  In one calendar year the energy produced can vary from the average by +/- 5%.  In one calendar month the energy produced can vary quite widely!  From +24% to -28% from the average!     Here's my summarised results:                          

The story so far leading to this weeks demolition

It has been a long and windy road up to this point. I bought the plot in February 22 and have had over a year of ecology surveys, useless solicitors including the county solicitor and a few changes of plans along the way before planning was granted earlier this year. The old house which was formerly housing for workers on the fruit farm had been used as site offices for a national house builder. When the builders left it looked like they just finished on a Friday and locked up and went home

ICF walls and dodging bullets.

Day 48 of the build was a big one, we poured the ICF ( PolySteel) walls.   Following the slab pour 2 weeks earlier, we start on building the PolySteel ICF walls. I've no experience with ICF, and thus can only comment on the usability and quality of PolySteel. The process is straightforward, all the blocks are t&g on all edges, so you simply use a bead of fire rated foam and push the blocks together. Each block clips to the last with two **clips joining the metal mesh inside th


Jenki in ICF WALLS

Insulation, UFH, conduit and Slab

Day 31 of the build. (this is taken from the day we started shuttering the foundations) The weather up North has been spectacular for about 3 weeks, so we (Mandy and I) pushed to prepare and pour the slab before the weather changed, as I'm sure we will get a few weeks of low pressure, wet changeable weather after this spell. Following on from the foundation ICF walls, I'd already loaded around 20ton of 40mm to dust in a pile the slab area. Sat on the sand blinded radon barrier. Jo

Pull Test - Ground Screws

So - Attempt #1 of trying to build my house failed - Made Ground (Poor soil bearing), a buyer who wouldn't grant me legal permission to access the mains water after I sold and changed their mind after I'd let go all the builders, and my planning permission extension was refused.    Attempt #2: Re-Applied for Planning permission from scratch - preliminary decision due July, final decision August 2023. Place my house back on the market in the meantime somewhere between tho

Foundation and first course of poly steel.

A busy couple of weeks and favourable weather has seen some progress at The Windy Roost. When in use the word I, or we, I mean Mandy my wife, and me. So far that's the only labour on the build. Mandy has worked office based for 40 years before we moved here, so this is an all new world for her, and although she regularly tells me she's older than me, and she's needs a day off,  I can't be more proud...   It seems that the engineers really worry about the wind here, which is fair e

More jobs getting completed now the weather is warming and drying up

After the worst of the cold weather was out of the way, i decided to start chipping away at my huge jobs list this year, some is finishing off, and others additional bits.   Started getting the block paving back down again, as i was fed up of bringing sand in on my feet all the time, was very time consuming as each block needed individually inspecting for chips, and cleaning of its old sand and sealer around the edges, but kept doing a bit every other day.    

Wall A & B1 up to damp course

As many on this hub are aware DIY self-build is a slow and sometimes lonely process, particularly when you are a novice.   HID knows how to build, but he's never had to make the plans or decisions previously, he's just been told - dig that trench, lay that foundation etc. etc.   So, we are finding having to explore in depth every step is time consuming and pretty tricky and there is no one place with all the details. We don't know what we are looking for - how do you kno


LSB in May2023

House build started

Finally made a start in earnest. The original plan was to stick build on site, but the cabin builds opened my eyes to the winds up here, and established concern for getting the house airtight. I priced ICF, and although the costs are higher in the begining I think, I can self build for similar money, but get a far superior product. This is a budget build, most of the nice to haves have been dropped. The only redline is we want to ensure this is future proof, so all on the ground floor. 

So how are we going to build this....

You think getting planning is the final hurdle, and then you start talking to building control, structural engineers and steel manufacturers! Thank goodness we didn't have to talk to builders as well, as we had made the bold decision to do it all ourselves. I am a plumber by trade with a weird niche sideline of repairing solar thermal systems so i have some site experience. Having worked on a lot of new build single plot sites and with a variety of builders, project managers and architects I ass

fast forward - 2022

Three years, two planning applications and an expensive appeal later we began preparing works. And no we didn't get permission for a new build. Instead we got planning permission for an 11m extension, basement and loft conversion of the old existing house, plus a large stable block in the back field.   The new design involved extending the rear of the house out 4m as three stories and then a large flat roofed single storey a further 7m, which will sit over a 30sqm basement.  
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