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How we chose our architect

There is only one time to get the design correct for your house and that is at the beginning. So many consequences are baked in from the early design work that (in my opinion) you would be crazy not to get professional help.   Another maxim we have when investigating potential plots is talking to local people. We button hole anyone we find to solicit their opinion on the local area. And so it was on a visit to Lymington. As the Estate Agent walked me between two potential properties we walk


RedRhino in General

Brick, Blocks and Mortar!

Just an update - had the last two weeks off. Ran a bit low on energy for first week and took a few days off from the build to step back and recharge. The bricklayers arrived onsite and I was able to collaborate with them and address any issues or questions they had as they started off. We're currently about 3 days from finishing - half way up to the 1st floor and it's giving me a massive appreciation for the hard graft/work bricklayers face every day. There are two of them and their labourer qui

Thursday 6th June: a big day. We complete the purchase, move into rented and planning is accepted

We have managed to stay in our home for the majority of previous builds. This time we had to sell before we could buy the plot / donor house. So yesterday, we packed up from our 325 sqm house in Stroud, moved into a 114 sqm rental house, sold Stroud, purchased the plot and by coincidence the Planning Application was accepted by the District Council. A big day. https://planning.newforest.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=_NEWFO_DCAPR_221599


RedRhino in General

And so it begins

Yesterday we exchanged contracts on the purchase of a house in Lymington and on the same day we submitted a planning application to demolish the house and build a new house in its place. Probably Timber Frame, definitely to Passiv Haus standards (fabric first etc), 225 m^2, no fossil fuels but plenty of solar complemented by batteries.  We have done this before with a TF house in 2009, a small development of brick and block houses in 2015/16, and an ICF house built into a hill in 2017. 


RedRhino in General

OnSite Power Management

I meant to post this for a while about how I'm supplying power to my site during works. In the Republic of Ireland you can't get a temporary electricity supply like the UK, not unless you're a big developer anyway. You may be lucky enough to be building next door to a house you own, or have a friendly neighbour but in my case while I could go borrowing a lead the odd time, it would start to annoy people I'm sure.  I did consider a generator at one stage, the old Honda route but I upgraded m

Project Management

With any self build, unless you can afford an Architect/Builder to oversee the whole project, you're going to be chasing people, materials, answering questions and more.    My own project is up to roof stage, timber frame is finished, roof finished but outer brick/block leaf is next, then soffit, fascia, gutters, then porch, then windows & doors. Each have their own challenges. On top of my day job!    I've a delivery of lintels tomorrow and I only thought to ask what siz

Spring has sprung, but still wet and cold, but some progress.

After my horrid time earlier this year I am now going to post something more positive.   As of yesterday, I was offered a job, not ideal (is any job ideal), rather than working from home I must go to the office which takes 40mins each way and hubby is disappointed that he will be left on his own all day.   That said even with time out for funeral 250 miles away and wet, wet, wet we have progressed.   Some pictures.   hardcore & binding (take 2 after pr


LSB in Apr 2024

Bathroom refit into new extension

Thanks to the relatively mild weather this winter i decided to start chipping away at the bathroom project, which is being extended into part of the extension which was finished over a year ago. This gave me the opportunity to install the bath, sink and toilet in the new bit, at which time I’d totally disconnected the old bathroom allowing me to strip it out and that’s worked really well for my as I struggle to do more than 4hours in a single day so I could keep doing a bit and stopping when I’d

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.

Roof Cutting in

This week the roof was cut in. Can see the spaces for the Velux rooflights and get a different picture of the inside - the vaulted ceilings in the rear living area in particular. The builder recommended a ceiling in the upstairs  bedrooms at around the 3 meter / 9 foot mark which is high enough even if you're bouncing on the bed! Still leave a bit of space for storage so may leave a small hatch and floor this area after setting it up. It's a warm roof so this is all conditioned space. Next week


mike2016 in Roof

Timber Frame arrival & erection!

The timber frame arrived this week from the factory. There was a large crane onsite all day yesterday. Got decent weather, no wind and only a bit wet in the morning. The lads have the walls fully up, 1st floor done and a ridge beam in place. They are starting cutting the roof today as that is built in situ. Really surprising walking around the rooms after looking at drawings for years! The window openings are a LOT bigger than I ever thought though, huge would be the description! Had a lodger ar

Architect advice. Do we need this or not?

After my OH's reluctance to go for PV  soon, I needed a plan.  We had already talked and visited a local Eco Architect company when researching for our planned Passivhaus for the time we thought we had a plot.  I therefore got in touch to see what they offered.  We had a zoom meeting when i explained my plans.  Basically i wanted someone to help me plan the stages we could do now to help improve the parents comfort, with the intention to do the whole extension renovation when they don't need the

Solar advice.

While my parents are still in the bungalow, we are reluctant to do any major work as they would not cope with it.  However, I am keen to make improvements if possible.  The heating system is a large very old solid block in the centre cupboard, heated by electric coils overnight (economy 7) and then blown around the place.  It works fine and is quickly heats the place up, which they like.  There is gas in the road but not to the property and when they needed a new hot water tank, we installed a n


TheMitchells in solar

The story so far.

We bought the bungalow in 2018 to move my elderly parents closer to us following Mum's stroke.  While she recovered, they needed help most days, i was spending a lot of time travelling back and forward so it made sense to move them closer.  As they lived in Windsor, we could not afford to move that way and I was very suprised when they agreed to our suggestion to move closesr to us.  But it has proved very valuable in the years since.    I think we were very lucky in that when we start

2nd Foundation Completed!

Finished the Kore Passive Raft Foundation this week. Just in time as it's currently sleeting it down out there! Cold enough to make a pour more difficult. they set in a 70mm rebate for the lift & slide door and also cut out the kore to let the concrete out to the edge (up to shuttering) for a steel post to carry the blockwork over the two corner windows. We'll insulate around that later. the Kore went in really fast, then rebar, ductwork for the kitchen island and getting it finished before

SWMBO returns!!

Apart from the “picture from the mound” timelapse blog entry, there’s not been much of an update since mid September 2022. So, get your preferred hot drink (maybe a SteamyTea), and settle back for the next instalment.   Where were we? SWMBO was still in recovery from her foot infection - you remember? The one that might have killed her? The second floor ICF had been installed, and the concrete poured. I’m still going to spare you any pictures of the foot, but here is a concrete pump tr

Adding extra mass to buildings

As many of you know, I have been sceptical that adding extra mass to a building will stabilise the temperature.  This basically comes from when I studied this back in 2008. Just to reconfirm my suspicions that regardless of construction type, the air in a building will react more to external inputs than internal inputs i.e. solar gain, ventilation and a heating system versus thick stone, brick or concrete walls. To retest this idea, I worked out the amount of energy that is needed to c

1st Foundation Completed

Concrete was poured via a pump on Monday. Finally have a Concrete sub foundation!  Took delivery of the Kore insulation for the actual foundation. Lots of angles sheets, L shape and other ones. I've 88 silver EPS boards too in packs of 8. They needed 2 men to move, the others could be handled one by one. The delivery driver helped offload as getting a forklift and driver for 4 Pallets (@150kg each) was going to be expensive and on too much short notice to arrange insurance for me to drive o


mike2016 in foundations

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 ?

new year - it was supposed to get better

I really hoped that now we are progressing after our suspended floor saga that things would get better, but something somewhere is determined to make sure that doesn't happen.   The only change is that this time the things that have gone wrong are not build related. Firstly, my brother, only 63, died of a heart attack with no history of problems.  I spent 5 days with him and his wife / kids in intensive care hoping against hope that he would pull thorough, but at 6am 6th Feb his h


LSB in Jan 2024

Battery Storage Update - 2 years in

Where on earth has that 2 years vanished?   So coming up on the 2 year installation of the inverter and single module battery, and as with most things these days, the gradual improvements to firmware over time have made a huge difference.   So at the last update I'd managed to get the power leakage down through an offset, and the whole system was a lot more accurate, but nonetheless still had a small amount of leakage throughout the day which was averaging around 0.5-0.6kWh,

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

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