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Pete and Mandy's Highlands Build

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Water management solution and completion

My initial plans were to have rainwater harvesting, build hub taught me no.. so with that scrapped I needed an alternative, soakaways are difficult due to bed rock levels. In addition to this we have lots of run off on the croft, and the track to the house floods. We have already installed a pond for the ducks and this has a large berm to the back and sides so that the runoff is held back and slowly soaks away, but this winter has proved it overflows regularly, that's around 3000L extra. So

Water management solution and completion

HiMy initial plans were to have rainwater harvesting, build hub taught me no.. so with that scrapped I needed an alternative, soakaways are difficult due to bed rock levels. In addition to this we have lots of run off on the croft, and the track to the house floods. We have already installed a pond for the ducks and this has a large berm to the back and sides so that the runoff is held back and slowly soaks away, but this winter has proved it overflows regularly, that's around 3000L extra.

EPC, Air tightness, snags and a push to finish

Around 11 months ago, we started from a stripped site, the treatment plant was in and running the cabins / static so drainage just required connecting up. we had to wait for the warrant to be amended (change to the certificate of deign) this  held us back ma month or so until the BCO just said "get on with it, we can sort that later"- top guy!!  If we had waited for the amended certificate of design we would still be building, it took him 5 months to get it to us.    I've document


Jenki in Finished ?

2M² Plant room

Just a very short blog to show the windy roost ( not fully finished, is a self build ever?) plant room. I'm quite chuffed I got it all to fit, and I think it's quite neat. It's full DIY and house's the UVC and combined buffer, UFH manifold, MVHR unit, inverter, consumer unit, network hub.  All in 4M³. Plus storage to come. Yes, the printer doesn't fit, but it's coming to its end of life so that's all it's getting for now. Jobs to do: Ceiling Insulate MVHR ducting / box in


Jenki in Plant room

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

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

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

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

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. 


Jenki in Breaking Ground

Cabin builds

Since the last blog, a lot has happened in a relatively short time. The last blog was Stage 1 of the Amenity block, needing cladding and the roof, and as I'm sat here early in the morning , with the wind constantly blowing 20MPH, 2mm rain p/h. and a toasty 8 deg.  inside the static, which is our home  now - yey. The Cabins are complete.  A lot of work and a move thrown in to the mix since the middle of August.   The cabins are stick built on site, under the supervision of Building cont


Jenki in Cabin Builds

Poly (carbonate) Tunnel

Thought I'd do a short blog on the Polycarbonate tunnel we built.   Our big field suffered with no storage, and location meant containers were very expensive to transport.  so one option was to build a polytunnel, which we have planning permission for.  again due to location, 500m from the coast 73M AMSL I wanted something sturdy.  so looked at off the shelf packages.  in the Highlands and Islands the PolyCrub is seen as the mecca. Designed in the Shetland isles, guaranteed to withstand 100


Jenki in Poly Tunnel / Storage

Mini Split Air to Air Heat pump

A short blog to show my Mini spilt Air2Air install, in the Windy Roost Static. I looked at installing a wood burning stove, but we have zero trees on site, so when I looked at the costs of twin wall flue, terminals, flashing, creating a heat shield and making the caravan tidy plus the hassle of getting wood / coal, the costs were adding up. A quick question on here - Build hub, some options were suggested and I decided to go with the a cheap Air 2 Air heat pump from Appliances direct. 


Jenki in Caravan Heat

Amenity Block - Part one

To finish my 22 days on site. I started timber framing, decided to start on the amenity block, as this will initially be for our washing machine and dryer, plus some storage.  My aim was to get water tight -ish. before I had to get home for the weekend.  The poly tunnel (constructed this visit) - is my cutting shed, I set up my chop saw and worked to my cut list.   This was proof of concept on my build plans, and it needed tweaking, the roof to wall junction has been modified and will

Cabin Foundations and the Amenity block.

My dual roles for the first 10 days of the June / July trip was to get ready for concreting.  This breaks down into two slab / raft foundations for the Cabins, 1 slab for the amenity block, and some backfilling of the treatment plant, and while I'm at it, concrete for the Polycarbonate Polly tunnel. another blog to follow.   In my opinion, the structural calculations for the slab rafts were well over engineered. the slabs will be ground bearing (rock) foundation and thinner slab,


Jenki in Cabin Foundations

Drainage Part 1

Wednesday 26th June, I spent most of this day travelling, in my van and my two helpers for the next few weeks.   The trip is 433 miles door to door, the goal before the boss arrives for 9 days was to  get the caravan (home) connected to the treatment plant. plus get ready for concrete. other blogs to follow.   To connect the Static I needed to install the treatment plant, install some of the drainage for the pods, confirm with BC he is happy and basically crack on with


Jenki in Drainage Part1

The road to a static caravan and services.

The next stage of the setup of the site took place over the last 3 weeks. with some good progress. The trip up North, 433mile from our current rental in the NW of England. I set off on Wednesday morning in the 7.5T truck, and the 2 dogs for company.  I took some materials with me, and had a gut feeling I was overloaded. I had worked out the approx. weight of what  I was taking, but was unsure of the TARE weight of the truck. so I didn't take all I was planning.  Luckily the nice guys from V


Jenki in Static Arrival

Breaking Ground

Wow, we have finally started, and what a journey.  The goal of the last 8 days was to try to make the the stars align. We had planned several meetings / connections deliveries all to happen the 1st week in April, and this was it, lets see what unfolds. Firstly, the plot, being located high up on the East coast in the highlands, which is basically a large un-serviced field has a few logistical issues, the main one being storage, the second distance. We had quotes for containers to


Jenki in Breaking Ground

Plans and Planning

The story so far. My background of building has helped; our modest budget dictates the house will be modest and simple. Highland planning guidance wants single or 1.5 storey houses, ideally traditional looking, or architecturally beneficial.  Architects as a whole are probably the most important people to take Ideas and turn them into a deliverable home.  Unfortunately an architect for us is unaffordable.   We have a budget, and we have to squeeze and leverage every penny fro



The Windy Roost

Over the years, 24 and counting, as a couple we’ve never settled, bought a house needing doing up, renovated it, lived in it, whilst bringing up our son. Sold, moved to rented, bought and renovated others. Sold and moved on, but never settled.  Thought about emigrating, a disastrous foray into overseas property and we still found ourselves unsettled. The thought of doing something different with our lives and possibly working together was always there.  Over the years I’ve built



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