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  1. 13 points
    Changes are afoot at BuildHub! Short version: We'll be taking BuildHub offline for up to 24 hours at 8:30pm on Friday 22nd September to upgrade forum hardware and software. When we return, the new address will be https://forum.buildhub.org.uk/ Details: If you’ve followed the history of BuildHub, you'll know that we set out to create a forum that would allow our members to exchange ideas and discuss projects across a wide range of self-building and renovation topics, and to create the best place on the internet for this to happen. From day one, we've sought to base the forum on robust hardware and software. As we rapidly approach 800 members and 60,000 posts, we need to improve the hardware and software platform to make sure we're ready to handle another 18 month's growth with maximum safety and minimum downtime for our members. We're therefore switching to a higher-capacity server. We'll also be taking the opportunity to do a number of upgrades to the forum software to bring us to the latest version. The new forum software includes some new features that we may roll out over the next few months, but initially the forum should appear and function as it does now. These changes will require us to take the forum offline for a short period. We only expect to be offline for around 24 hours but the forum won't be available at all during that time. To improve security we are also updating the forum address to HTTPS, which will require you to update your bookmarks when the new forum comes back online. We'll try and make this transition as smooth as possible, but please bear with us in case there are any hiccups. We look forward to your continued questions and contributions at the new and improved BuildHub, the best community on the web for self-builders and renovators to discuss projects and exchange ideas! Thanks Forum Management Group
  2. 12 points
    Here are some photos of the finished house.
  3. 10 points
    July September Beautiful it isn't, but once it's clad with some nice wood (any skips round by yours?)..... Now lets get a roof on and a first floor. Ian
  4. 9 points
    My parents in law have a number of wealthy friends - sold their businesses for £10-30 million type of well-off (after years of raking in hundreds of thousands of quid per annum from these businesses). All are retired with huge houses, expensive cars every couple of years, large holiday houses in France, trips all over the world. Yet to a person, all they seem to care about is foreigners, benefits cheats, regulations inconveniencing them ("health and safety gone mad!") and the amount of tax the government "steals" from them. I have a lot of difficulty sitting in the same room hearing them talk about how hard they worked to get where they are, as if every poor person just needed to a work a bit harder to get everything they've had. Oh, and it seems they all read the Daily Wail! I think the problem is that selfishness makes you unhappy. All the research shows that true happiness comes from giving, not getting. If these people spent a bit less time (and money) trying to fill the voids in their own lives with "stuff", and a bit more time trying to make the lives of others better, I'm sure they'd be happier. Not really a conversation you can have with them of course!
  5. 8 points
    Well, some you win. See below. Dear Mr & Dr Simpson, I refer to the above matter (our claim) and all previous correspondence., and all of you for making the process a little less painful.Having now completion addition enquiries I am please (sic!) to confirm Insurers acceptance of the claim. The amount claimed was set out your email of 26 July in accordance with the estimate from Durisol UK in the sum of £1,298.34 inc VAT. Labour was confirmed to be free. The policy carries an excess of £250 and so the net settlement is £1,048.34. There was an element of luck in our claim, I think. Lancaster University has a full scale weather station (if you use the M6, you will have seen the windmill as you drive past the university grounds: the weather station is there). The guy who maintains the data has an office round the corner from Debbie's. His brief email (below) was important. [The wind] seems to have been averaging up to 11 m/s (~25mph) during the night. We no longer measure gusts but looking at some older data with the wind in a similar direction, you can be pretty sure it would be regularly gusting at least 1.5 times the average. From memory, it was particularly gusty, so the highest speeds may have been more like double the average. This is pretty unusual for July - especially from that direction. (Signed Dr. xyz) And the advice given in this thread. So, a big thank you to @Barney12, @JSHarris, @Stones, @Russell griffiths @Onoff and all of you for making the process a little less painful. As well as putting some lead in our pencil. A moment's reflection Without your support this claim would not have been made - we felt like shrugging and carrying on - head-down-keep-going-itis Without supporting data we would not have been able to demonstrate exceptional weather circumstances - and how many of us have direct access to a fully qualified meteorologist : and if we did would we also be in line of sight of a national level weather station? Durisol did not think hard enough before drafting their website content I'm thinking that we are lucky. Most people without access to the level of support itemised above might well have either not claimed or not had access to data to support their claim. And so failed in their application. That's why the companies win: lack of verifiable, objective data on the part of the claimant. The sheer luck of living within sight of a full-blown weather station...... I'm off to buy a decent dash cam. Any recommendations?
  6. 8 points
    I'm sticking this here as I've been asked the question via PM, and rather than just give an answer to one member, I thought it might be more useful to stick the answer somewhere were others can also read it. Back when I was first looking at doing some rough "what if" type comparisons, between different build systems, windows, insulation and airtightness levels etc, I wanted a fairly quick way to be able to change one element, say the wall U value, or the efficiency of the MVHR system, and see what impact it had on the overall heat loss of the house. This model was never intended as a substitute for something like PHPP, which is very comprehensive, it was just intended to give a rough idea so that I could see the scale of some of the changes, and work out where best to spend our limited budget. Having written the spreadsheet for our build, others expressed interest in using it, so I tidied it up and let others have a copy. Because lots of people seemed to want to use it, and also because it generally seemed to give results that were within 10% or so of more complex models, like PHPP, I put a copy of the spreadsheet up on our website, as a free download: http://www.mayfly.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Fabric-and-ventilation-heat-loss-calculator-Master.xls This post is a set of very brief instructions on using this spreadsheet. First some health warnings. It was never intended to give an absolutely accurate prediction of heat loss, and as such it takes no account of solar gain, wind or incidental heat gain from occupants and appliances. As a consequence it is generally a bit pessimistic, in that it will usually tend to slightly overestimate the heating requirement. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it can be useful to have a bit of heating capacity in reserve for exceptionally cold weather. To use the spreadsheet, you first need to gather all the data needed to complete the white cells. Most of this should be self-explanatory from the notes in each section. The U values, for example, should be the true U value of the component, including any additional thermal paths, so the window U value needs to be the Uw value, not the Ug value, and the floor U value needs to be adjusted for any thermal bridging around the periphery. All the areas are the internal wall, floor and ceiling/roof areas, not the external ones. The model does not account for geometric thermal bridging at corners, but in a well-insulated house this effect should be very small, anyway. Some of the most difficult to obtain data can be the mean daily air temperature and the mean minimum daily temperature, for each month. This data is available for your location on the Met Office website, but posting a link seems a bit fraught, as the Met Office keep changing their website and this makes any link out of date fairly quickly. All I can suggest is that you work your way through the historic data on the Met Office website and find that closest to where you live. Once all the data is filled into the white cells on the spreadsheet, you should get some numerical data in the green cells, plus two graphs will appear. The graphical data is often the most useful. First, there is a basic heat loss versus outside air temperature plot (the Heat Loss Vs Delta T plot). You can use this to determine how much heat the house will need to maintain the room temperature that you put into the spreadsheet (it defaults to 20 deg C, but you can change this to whatever you feel comfortable with). The red line is the total heat loss, the other lines are there so you can see which elements are contributing the most to the total. If you want to know how much heat the house will need in order to maintain a temperature difference between inside and outside of 20 deg C (say a 20 deg C room temperature when it's zero deg C outside), then just go up vertically from the 20 deg C point on the horizontal axis until it meets the red line, then go across horizontally from this point to the vertical axis and read off the heating needed in watts. The other plot shows the heat loss per month, and this one can be a bit confusing, because, like the other plot, it takes no account of incidental heat gain, from solar heating, appliances, occupants etc. The best way to use this is to print it off and pencil a horizontal line across where you think you wouldn't have heating on. For example, If you turn your heating off in April/May and on again in September/October, then draw lines across at about the point where these dates cross the other lines and call that your "no heating" point. The mean heating needed for each month will then be the difference between those lines and the values on the plots. You can quickly work this out by just noting the amount of incidental heat gain, indicated by the pencilled horizontal lines, and then subtracting those values from the monthly values. Be aware that this is really a very rough estimating tool, as there will be big peaks and troughs in daily temperatures within those months that will effect the heating required. In most respects, the heat loss vs delta T plot is more useful for sizing a heating system. Hopefully the above should make some sense to anyone trying to use this tool.
  7. 6 points
    Well that took a LOT longer than expected. I shan't bore you with writing the details of all the balls ups I had with getting the rest of the slates I needed but finally the back is slated. Now It's just the little mono pitch to slate, lead work, ridge, cast the cils, fit the windows and doors and I will be officially watertight 🙂
  8. 6 points
    When I worked in car sales, we had a great boss, really chilled and reasonable. He told us of the night two customers came in complaining about some light scratches on their car. The background was they bought a car that was a few years old and were not happy with a lot but ended up demanding that any tiny flaw was fixed. Tommy had had enough of them by the time they came in that night to complain about more trivial things (if they wanted a perfect car they should have bought a new one) . So he sat them down and told them he would fix everything they wanted, even although he disagreed with them. He had one condition. They had to go up to York hill Sick Kids Hospital and visit for an hour or so. Only then would he authorise the work. Never saw them again. You'll find your own way of getting perspective but once you do, it'll all seem a bit brighter. I often say to my other half when we have problems that we're pretty lucky to have them in many ways - the real hardship of having Windows two shades of grey is none at all. So we can't afford the UVC until nearer Christmas? Poor us. It's probably why we've never been too stressed with the build. Hopefully you'll end up in the same place (metaphorically!).
  9. 6 points
    Not the best pictures but eventually got round to taking a photo of the front ....
  10. 5 points
    Good days work today. Granite dry fitted. Turns out it's not to bad to work with. Just used a 4.5'' grinder with a diamond blade and a plant sprayer to keep it wet.
  11. 5 points
    At the end of the last episode, we were the proud owners of a landlocked, overlooked, overgrown plot in the centre of a medieval conservation area. Easy to develop, right? The plot was accessed through a narrow close, about 2cm too narrow for a transit (even with the mirrors folded and a brave/careless driver in charge), so completely impractical for the creation of a new house. On either side, the plot is overlooked by 3 storey blocks of flats, tight up against the boundary, and at the rear, by a selection of very attractive 50's, harled, concrete panel lock up garages. There are 8 of these that back onto the plot. So, to cut a long story short, we ended up having to buy 2 of these garages, pay extensive lawyers fees, carefully take them apart and store the bits to allow us proper access to the site. They were not cheap. They were so not cheap that we couldn't afford to knock them down - we're going to put them carefully back together when we're finished and sell them to recoup some cash. The plot, as it stands, consists of two traditional Scottish rigs, covered in a LOT of topsoil, ivy, an old timber shed and a million old paving slabs. Hopefully no Viking longships or bodies. The space itself is very tight, limited in the height we can build to and with lots of overlooking/privacy issues. Our architect came up with an initial plan of an L shaped building, overlooking our own courtyard garden with no windows on either side gable to avoid privacy issues. We liked the design - the planners liked it, our neighbours and various local groups very much didn't. We had numerous objections including "inappropriate use of modern materials" (newfangled wood/glass), "destruction of the rig structure" (it was abandoned waste ground and had been garden or pasture since pretty much the founding of the town) and so many others that I can't even remember them all. We had to go to planning committee, where we were advised that it simply wouldn't be approved with a flat roof design, so back to the drawing board we go. We end up with a quite compromised design, three stories and with all the complexities that brings. No-one was very happy. We passed committee and got our planning. So, to building warrant stage we go - back and forth between various build methods, SIP being the front runner for a long time. Numerous engineers, foundation meetings, quotes and drama, we end up with a building warrant package ready to go. The DAY before submitting the package to building control, we heard the news that we could potentially obtain some land next to our plot boundary, and improve the vehicle access. After tears of frustration and chucking away all the work the architect had done, we realised that actually it was a stroke of luck and we could radically improve the design, the floorplan, the access AND the garden area. Never mind all the work already done and the time spent .... BACK to the drawing board, AND planning, all over again.
  12. 5 points
    I've demolished my old house and in doing so collected a few piles of scrap metal, lead, copper, electric cable, cast iron and other mild steel. it got to the stage where I needed to get rid of the scrap, so a mate suggested ringing one of the Northwests largest scrap merchants for a price, they process around ten million tonnes of scrap per year. This would give me a price bench mark. I then phoned three local and one not so local scrap merchants for their price of each of the following type of scrap. My bench mark for lead was £1.53, the best price locally was £1.26 and the not so local price, £1.49. My bench mark for copper was £4.34, the best price locally was ££3.02 and the not so local price, £4.02. My bench mark price for cable was £1.50, the bst price locally was £0.77 and the not so local price, £1.43. So I took my scrap to the not so local scrap merchant and weighed in 27 kilos of copper and 213 kilos of lead, so my shopping around put an extra £62 in my pocket.
  13. 5 points
    I would start will all ducts/valves about half way open. There is a lot of interaction when adjusting rates - as you close one valve to reduce the rate the flow rate at all other terminals on that run will start to increase. This makes the process a bit of a pain, as you end up adjusting every room several times. I started with the kitchen, as that had the highest flow rate requirement, and so would tend to cause the least upset to other rooms. I also did all the extract rooms first, as building regs only really stipulates extract rates for individual rooms. The individual room extract rates in the regs are actually the maximum figures the system needs to provide, not the background figures, so turn the MVHR up to boost for these initial room settings. Once you have at least 13l/s from the kitchen, next move to the bathrooms and utility room, and adjust those to get at least 8l/s. Then do the WCs, and adjust for 6l/s. After doing this, go around again and check that you still have at least these rates from each of the extracts - some will have changed because of the adjustments throwing off the main plenum pressure. You will probably have too high a flow rate everywhere, so I would advice opening up the valve to increase the flow rates whilst keeping them in proportion with the regs requirement for each designated extract room (kitchen, bathrooms, utility room, WCs). If you have fitted the toilet smell extractor system I came up with, then just ignore the flow from that - it isn't officially part of the ventilation requirement. Once you have the system extract rates looking in proportion at boost (and bear in mind that they will probably be way over the requirement at this stage) then start measuring the fresh air inlets, also on boost (doing it this way will highlight the main duct loss differences). Adjust these to achieve two objectives. You want the sum of the fresh air flow to be as close as possible to the sum of the extract air flow, plus you want to adjust the fresh air flow so that the most frequently used rooms have the higher flow rates. There is nothing in the regs about fresh air flow rates, so use your own judgement here. For example, you will want the largest and most often used rooms to have the highest flow rates, the smallest and least often used rooms to have the lowest flow rates. The main thing is to adjust the fresh air total flow to match, as closely as possible to the extract total flow. After doing this, go around again and check all the extract flow rates. The chances are they may have changed, and if so then adjust them to make sure they all exceed the building regs limit and match the fresh air feeds. Then go back and double check the fresh air feeds, these may need slight adjustment to get the system balanced at boost. The chances are that you will find at this stage that the system is pretty close to being balanced. Next, reduce the MVHR to the background ventilation rate setting (this is specified as speed 2 on our system, but see my note later). Go around as before and measure the flow rate on all the extract terminals and note the total extract flow rate (the sum of the flow rates from all the terminals). Do the same for the fresh air feed terminals. The total figures for each should match. If they don't, then adjust only the fresh air feed flow rates to get them to match, do not adjust the extract rates. Note the total extract flow rate with the MVHR system on the background ventilation setting and make sure that it exceeds the continuous ventilation rate requirement in Part F, which is calculated from the house total floor area (the total must exceed 0.3l/s per m² of net internal floor area for the whole house). With luck you should find that the ventilation rate exceeds this figure with ease. If it doesn't, then go back to the start, turn the MVHR to boost and go around opening up all the extract ducts, starting with the kitchen, (this is why I said at the start it was a good idea to open up all the extract ducts to maintain the ratio and exceed the building regs extract figure), then go though the process again. Once you have the system so that it meets the building regs Part F Table 5.1a max extract rates from the specified rooms, and is in balance at the background ventilation rate of 0.3l/s/m² of floor area, the job is done. However, you may well find that the background ventilation rate is too high in practice, and that as a consequence the MVHR is using more power than it needs to in order to keep the air in the house fresh. Our experience is that turning down the background ventilation rate has had no detrimental impact at all, so I now run ours at speed 1, with the fan speeds around 25% of full speed. It's worth noting that some MVHR units have the option of being able to individually adjust the extract and fresh air fan speeds independently in the set up menu. This is useful for fine tuning, but is detrimental to efficiency if used as a shortcut way to try and balance the system. I have our system set to 28% extract and 25% fresh air fan speeds, to fine tune it, but would suggest that anything more than a 5% difference really needs to be adjusted out in the ducting/terminals if possible.
  14. 5 points
  15. 4 points
    Had my 3 mins and finally got planning permission thank god for that. There was no objectors so it was pretty straight forward. Thanks everyone
  16. 4 points
    I'm exactly like this. It doesn't matter if you miss a stud once or twice with the nailer (so long as nobody is standing on the other side!) but once you reach the point where things are going to be on show, you have to be much more careful- I've found that I've slowed down quite a bit. Everyone else seems to think it's daft that I'm more apprehensive about fitting s piece of skirting board than I was about installing a joist, or pouring founds. On the general question of stress and timescale, I've found my enthusiasm waxing and waning throughout the project. I wish I could go back to the very start when I was spending hours on Sketchup trying out different layouts (none of which I used in the end- the final one only emerged after I'd started plasterboarding). If you could bottle than endless energy, and use a bit of it at the end of the build, wouldn't that be wonderful?
  17. 4 points
  18. 4 points
  19. 4 points
    Harumph..... If proof were needed here it is @Russell griffiths I am indeed a welding God after all! So there. Let that be a lesson to ya! (We all gotta start somewhere)
  20. 4 points
    Six years ago, we had a casual conversation with an architect friend about the fact that we'd like to build our own home. Taking the resulting vague, non-committal "hmmmmm" as rampant, unbridled enthusiasm, we started looking for plots. First thought - our very own back garden. It was massive, a pain in the arse to garden, and it would be free! Back garden plot Pros: - Free -Less gardening Back Garden Plot Cons: - On a notorious flood plain - Not actually where we wanted to live On balance, we binned that idea. But not before paying the first of many fees to the local council to be denied planning permission. It was at this point that my out-of-control addiction to giving money away to the local council (or anyone, actually) began. Second up was a plot in an outlying village, about 2 miles from the place we actually wanted to live (but couldn't afford). Lovely plot. (someone else's front garden, giving them the classic double whammy of less gardening AND extra money to spend during the leisure time they'd have gained by not gardening) Local village plot Pros: - Nice road in semi-posh village - Little school - Pub - Services on site - South facing Local village plot Cons: - A LOT of trees - some with TPO's - Not free - Still not where we REALLY wanted to live - Quite small This was a tough one. We knew that we'd never get a plot in the dream location, but was it a compromise too far? Whilst we were swithering about plot 2, an unbelievable opportunity came up, right in the centre of our dream location. Dream plot Pros: - Where we REALLY wanted to live Dream plot Cons: - Lots - Who cares? - No money for the rest of time Needless to say, we went for it. So, that's how we ended up with an inaccessible plot, complete with a ransom strip owned by someone else, surrounded by a million overlooking flats in the centre of the medieval town. Next up - how we got access to the plot (hint: expensively) and fulfilled my need to give away some more money to the council.
  21. 4 points
    If the whole top of the container is shot, then you could just take the easy way out; wire brush the worst of the rust off and give the whole top of the container a layer of fibreglass. Pretty quick to do, will last a long time and will be waterproof. Probably a lot quicker than faffing about trying to patch up lots of holes.
  22. 3 points
    Original house contained cheap UPVC windows that were ill fitted and would not match the new windows in the two extensions. So the decision was made to fit new windows throughout with the original plan to go for alu-clad wooden, nut resorted to UPVC due to cost and worries on how some of the alu-clad windows were constructed. Surprising how difficult it was to get quotes that were in an affordable category. Some companies needed numerous follow-up calls which was very frustrating in view of the fact that I would be spending approx £20k on their product. In the end, although I would have preferred to buy local, I ended up sourcing windows from abroad which ended up costing a lot less than anything UK-sourced and also meant they were passivhaus certified! Pity how many sectors in the UK shoot themselves in the foot by atrocious service which is partly down to them not wanting to deal with end clients/self-builders. There was a lot of email ping-pong, but I think that would have been the case with UK windows too, but they were at least keen to do business which didn't seem to be the case with many of the UK ones. The only area I was hesitant about was measuring the window openings which was further complicated by the fact that I was using special EWI brackets which would position the windows outside of the window opening itself. So I had to take into account the bracket measurements in addition to the window openings. I must have measured each opening at least 15 times before submitting my final order. Glad to say everything seems to fit (just 3 doors to fit now). Unloading some of the units was a bit precarious especially the 800kg 4.6x 2.3m slider using a standard forklift and then travelling 200m down the road! I got a local window company to help me fit the windows and of course they had no clue how to fit them with the EWI brackets. It took a while for them to admit that the client knew best in this case as he'd actually read the bloody instructions. Means I'll have to rectify their first window later on. External view: Next stage on the exterior, is to EWI all walls with circa 100mm insulation. Note the brackets above (this is the first window and the bottom bracket aren't fitted correctly, so will need to be fixed before EWI). The brackets will cause minimal thermal bridging at least and certainly be better than having a timber frame constructed all round the window frame. The external aluminium cills (sourced from Germany, cheaper and thicker than UK suppliers) will fix onto that bottom mini (grey) cill at the bottom. EWI will tuck in under frame (well all sides of frame of course): and will marry up with the insulation I plan to add under the internal cill also: My next job is to get started with the internal plastering, so I'm looking at how to detail the internal reveals and cills. My plan is to insulate under the cill also. Cavity wall will most likely be filled with PIR where I can force it down or EPS beads (with a bit of PVA). I'll then fix 60mm PIR board to the now insulated cavity wall using PU adhesive. I'll have to channel out a bit of the PIR to accommodate the window brackets so the board sits flat: I should have enough clearance then to fit a wooden cill on top of the PIR. Not sure how best to affix that to PIR. Maybe the plasterboard reveals will sit on top of the cill and help pin it down. Probably overkill with the EWI, but my intention was to also insulate the reveals (see grey EPS example above) with 20-25mm PIR board and then plasterboard over the top. Just need to leave sufficient space to get at the internal beading in case the glass ever needs replacing (sons and footballs....). The other consideration is to decide where to stick the air tightness tape. Initial thought was to stick that on face of window frame and onto brickwork before I stick down the PIR board. But how well does the stuff stick to clean brickwork? I could add a further layer of tape from window frame and stick to top of PIR board before the final cill goes down. I'll try and post some drawings up here later on. Not great, but some of the intended detail:
  23. 3 points
    Seems to be coming together well. Currently at about £3300. Ikea units with an oak trim strip made from some oak skirting :-) Picking up the granite tomorrow AM hopefully we will be looking and hopefully pretty bespoke. That'll be £300 and £90 for the acrylic.
  24. 3 points
    I've been subjected to those management exercise / team building things. Drives me nuts and tbh I'm almost there on a good day. First one we all had a psych test for want of a better word. Me and my governor got 100% identical scores (with no collusion) and profiled the same which pissed him off no end! Second involved role play and I was given a difficult customer / no win situation. I simply stated the assessor needed to stop there and then as in the real world I'd have dragged them across the counter and settled it that way. Nobody argued. Third team building day and we were split into teams. You completed a task then the next team followed you. On some huge country estate. I hung back after completing my teams task and hid a load of the scaffold boards, barrels etc. There was no way the next team was crossing the imaginary lake without the sharks getting them. The instructors were going ballistic. Kobayashi Maru!
  25. 3 points
    I think there is also the added issue that some of us self-building have significantly higher expectations than some contractors who build stuff every day. There are some really good tradespeople around, but my experience is that they are a bit thin on the ground. There are many tales on this forum, and it's predecessor, that bear this out. One consequence I found was that I ended up teaching myself to do things, rather than contracting it out. Even if it takes me four or five times longer to do, at least it will get done to the very best of my ability. Finally, a comment about the observations that it's the small stuff that gets to you, in terms of decision making stress. Many years ago I was subjected to a "management transformation programme", one week a month away on the course for 6 months, that was intended to produce the needed new generation of senior managers for the brave new world of running defence research as an internally-trading "business". Generally it was a load of BS, but there was one session that was brilliant, so much so that I can remember practically all of it. It was run by a psychologist, and as well as the usual stuff about personality types, building teams etc, there was an exercise to demonstrate how the importance of a decision was often inversely proportional to the amount of effort put in to the decision making process. This is the sort of thing we've probably all seen; spending more time researching what new widget to buy than you spend on choosing what house to buy. In this case we were divided into two sets, and sent off into separate rooms, where there was a sealed envelope with a question in it. These rooms had video cameras set up, so that we could watch how we behaved afterwards. In one room, the question in the envelope was "How many nuclear warheads should the UK have in order to form an effective deterrent?". In the other room, the question was "What is the ideal size for a garden shed?". There was a time limit, around 10 or 15 minutes I think, to come up with an answer. The interesting point was that the team asked to decide on the number of nuclear warheads came up with an answer very quickly, after less than 5 minutes of debate. The team asked to decide on the best size of garden shed didn't reach a conclusion; they were still arguing about it when their time ran out................
  26. 3 points
    Steamy, we're still at the spreadsheet stage. But there's a growing determination to get the job done one way or another. Looking round the Fylde, you can see a handful of housing projects which have (apparently) stalled. HERAS been up for a couple of years and no real progress evident. My problem is not unique. But we do live next door, I can do stuff anytime I like, I am retired with nowt else to do except think and be as creative as I can. I can plan. I can network. I can beg. I can steal. I can borrow. I can earn more money than I am at the moment. Where's the hardship in that? Why it would be as difficult as the average BH member working all day and coming back at night to get on with it Every day I see faces of local people walking past the site green with envy, some sneers, some smiles. How many hundreds of couples would give their back teeth to have my problems? I am very very lucky.
  27. 3 points
    So, after the last entry, we were back to scratch again, having managed to secure an additional piece of land and an alternative access to our plot. Lots of measuring and pacing out later, we were able to basically take what would have been the 2nd floor of the planned house, and put it on the ground floor. The ground floor footprint was made considerably bigger by this, and the overall shape was much less "passive-friendly", but for our tight site, it really was the only option. After a lot of refinements with the architect, he came up with a design that we absolutely loved, gave us privacy from the surrounding buildings, parking AND a little garden. So, some pics at last! Before we got the additional land, we had bought two of the pre-fab 50's garages that back right up to our site and intended to demolish them to gain access. This photos shows a peek of the site through the first panel we removed. There was a massive step up from the ground slab of the garage to the soil level of the site. Looking back, this should have been our first warning of problems to come... The site was a former garden centre, so there was a large timber building (previously a showroom), a play house, a load of slabs, display boxes, plant racks, millions and millions of plastic plant pots everywhere, and 5 world-weary apple trees to get rid of. And a lot of topsoil. Did I mention the topsoil? It was a LOT of work and expense to get rid of all this stuff, as it all counted as "mixed waste" so the disposal fees were enormous. This is when we realised the importance of being on site to supervise. We'd had a holiday booked for months and months before we knew we'd be doing this work, so we briefed the guys doing the clearance (who we trust) who estimated the remaining skip loads. We get back a few days later to discover it had been over double that number and our digger driver had got into a dispute with the skip collection driver over what counted as "waste". So instead of the expected bill from the skip guys of about £2-3000 at the absolute WORST, we came back to a bill of over £10k. This necessitated a somewhat hasty trip to the skip yard and a "full and frank exchange of views" with the owner. After showing us a random picture of some rubbish on his phone and insisting it was from our site, our bill was halved. Left a nasty taste in the mouth though, that's for sure. So, we eventually have a clear site, and now another problem. If you're a gardener, you'll appreciate how lovely this topsoil looks. And it is great quality - this plot has been used for nothing but gardens and grazing since medieval times. Unfortunately, that leaves a rather extensive period of time during which the topsoil has nothing to do, but get deeper, and deeper and deeper. By the time we came to own the plot, the topsoil and subsoil layer was over 2m deep in places. Obviously, (after it was explained to us), you can't build a house on top of topsoil. Things grow in it. Things you don't want under your house. So, it had to go. BUT, we couldn't drop the level of the house by 2m, as the plot is surrounded by other buildings and dropping it down that far would cut out essentially all the sunlight coming into the house. If anything, we wanted it higher than the current level to maximise the light. Two options - piling with a suspended floor or simply replacing all the soil with compacted hardcore. We also (briefly, until we got the quotes in) considered adding a basement. That idea didn't last long. After speaking to Hilliard about piling, he mentioned that each pile would potentially be a partial cold bridge, so that was a little off-putting. But we got quotes anyway - they weren't horrendous, but a lot of piling companies weren't massively keen on the site, surrounded as it is by 3 storey blocks of flats, a listed street frontage, crumbling stone walls and potentially a LOT of angry neighbours. Despite this, it was an option we were considering, until every warranty company we spoke to said that they wouldn't issue a warranty for mortgage purposes if there was any black earth under the footprint of the house. So, many many many many tractors and trailers (and pots of money) later, 1000 tonnes of soil was dug out, and replaced with 1000 tonnes of hardcore. And not any hardcore. Due to our engineer (about which a LOT more could be said), it's all Type 1 MOT. All 1000 tonnes of it. Compacted to within an inch of it's life.
  28. 3 points
    We moved in in April. Second fix takes a long time (plus the well-documented tiling, shower tray and splashback cockups). Finally onto the Hardieplank fibre cement cladding. Screwed up the project planning, by letting the scaffolding go before we were ready to clad, so its a cherry picker. Slower than using scaffolding but it is getting the job done. Not too long now ...
  29. 3 points
    Right...practical cap on... I've found with the "institutions" that a verbal complaint, such as with the NHS or to the head teacher in the playground sees aims to pacify you but often nothing gets done. The only thing that works nowadays is formal letter of complaint backed up with a copied email. For the 99% of "parents" who moan only one writes. And they don't want OFSTED seeing that without it having been dealt with. The thing is with big organisations that they all have "targets", "annual reviews" and complaints procedures. Everyone down the line is also fearful for their job security so doesn't want a black mark. I would write a formal letter of complaint, to the top, giving dates and naming names. Say obviously about the emotional & financial turmoil this has caused, that you would never have undertaken "this" if you hadn't been led to believe "that". And copy in the FSA. Google the lenders press and advertising slogans if helpful and try and throw that at them. Add in having a dig about their environmental policy (you should be able to find it online) and that denying you funds hardly fits in with it. Add in "being non supportive of self build, low energy homes etc". Do this on the basis of nothing lost nothing gained for a couple of hours of your time. Good luck.
  30. 3 points
    Thanks @JanetE and @SteamyTea. An interesting nugget that Janet. We'll think about it. We're both working at channeling the annoyance into positive action. At this stage it would be easy to misdirect effort. So often we have been (and Debbie still is) in the position of having to advise others about how to dig themselves out of crises. Well, now it's our turn. A walk along the shore at the mouth of the river Lune is what's called for this morning. And then get some of the joints between the blocks foamed up in preparation for a bit of rendering.
  31. 3 points
    Copper sulphate solution works pretty well, and tends to be persistent enough on concrete to stop regrowth for a couple of years. Bleach or Jeyes fluid will kill it and clean it up, but the latter smells awful. I think the best approach would be to clean them up with diluted bleach and a scrubbing brush, then rinse them off and allow the concrete to dry out. Mix up a strong solution of copper sulphate (buy some copper sulphate pentahydrate crystals and gradually dissolve them in water until no more will dissolve). Brush or spray this solution on to the concrete, and don't worry about the bright blue colour, it isn't permanent. Allow the cills to dry out and the residual copper sulphate in the concrete will inhibit algae and moss from growing for a fair time. The rain will eventually wash the copper sulphate out of the concrete, maybe after two or three years, but just apply some more and you'll have protection again. This also works on concrete paths that are prone to going green, or concrete paving slabs. Use with caution on stone, though, as some types of porous natural stone may stain - test a hidden area first to be sure. You can buy copper sulphate crystals on ebay cheaply enough.
  32. 3 points
    @Ed_MK - Others on this site are far more knowedgable than I on the subject so you will no doubt get great advice. However, I can speak with some experience after having received planning permission in a very difficult village not far from and in a borough adjacent to MK. This was for an ultra contemporary dwelling in a hamlet where half the houses are listed or in a conservation area and the potential for every resident to raise objections was very high. I believe that a very well written D&A statement not only help make the case for planning to be granted, but also made it an absolute breeze. On the basis of this experience, I would urge you to seriously consider spending money on a professional to make a reasoned case. In the event that your application gets refused, the refusal becomes part of the planning history. Since you are in MK, if you want contact details for a very reasonably priced architect, PM me.
  33. 3 points
    Plasterboard has a higher mass heat capacity than concrete, so if it's located where that might be useful, say in terms of increasing decrement delay, then it would be useful. In fact, if you want to improve the heat capacity of the internal structure of the house, double boarding a timber frame with plasterboard will probably do a better job than having block walls. Only around the first 100mm, if that, of external wall thickness has any appreciable effect, usually, in terms of storing useful heat over the range that may help keep the house internal temperature stable. The higher the heat capacity of the inner layer the better, and plasterboard has a mass heat capacity that is around 23% higher than concrete. It's one of the points that illustrates how daft the false notion of "thermal mass" is. The implication with this unmeasurable property is that mass = heat capacity, which is nonsense. 1kg of brick has a heat capacity of around 840 J.kg.K 1kg of concrete has a heat capacity of around 880 J.kg.K 1kg of gypsum plasterboard has a heat capacity of around 1090 J.kg.K 1kg of wood (or compressed wood fibre) has a heat capacity of around 1200 to 2900 J.kg.K 1kg of water has a heat capacity of around 4181 J.kg.K In the above list, the higher then number, the greater the amount of heat the material will store for a given temperature change. In other words, if you want to store heat in a building in order to help stabilise its internal temperature, by increasing the mass of the building, then you're better off using something other than brick of concrete, as on a heat stored per unit mass basis brick or concrete is far from being very useful, lightweight concrete even less so.
  34. 3 points
    I think that the PassivHaus standard is the best that we have available to us at the moment - it is specific and measurable. "As built" performance can be compared with/evidenced against "designed" performance to make sure that the building has been built to the required standard. Compare that with the big developers throwing up houses, rigging it so that they meet building regs (e.g. siliconing all the gaps, air tightness testing, getting a pass, and then removing the silicon before decorating) and then only being required to prove that a sample of their houses meets regs. Right now, my view is that the PH industry seems to be populated, in the main, by people who care about what they are doing - architects who want to design to the PH standard, certifiers that do a thorough job of certification, builders who care about air tightness etc..... It's not (yet) been invaded by the get rich quick merchants that we have seen around the RHI technologies. As Craig says: It really is up to the individual whether they want certification or not. I don't think it adds to the value of the house, at the moment. An alternative, perhaps contentious view, is that paying for certification helps to maintain and build an industry which is generally going in the right direction.
  35. 3 points
    It's not too hard to do, but does need some special tools. I made up a very long 6mm timber drill, by turning down a drill shank, drilling the end of a length of 6mm studding and brazing the two together (I did it this way to maintain concentricity). This is long enough to drill through around 370mm or so, IIRC. The other tool I made up was a turned up cone of acetal, that is a very tight fit into the end of a bit of 20mm plastic cable conduit. The technique is to find a suitable location, away from studs and battens, and drill a long pilot hole that slopes slightly down towards the outside. I did mine from inside to outside. Next, drill a larger hole with a hole saw (say, around 30mm diameter) through the inner skin only (in your case the Fermacell). Then drill a 20mm diameter hole with a hole saw through the inner timber vapour proof board. Next, go outside and repeat this process. Use a 40mm hole saw to drill an oversize hole in the external render and carrier, then a 20mm hole in the outer OSB skin. The cellulose will stay packed in place. Then comes the fun bit. Starting from either inside or out, whichever is easier (I went from inside to out) poke the bit of 20mm plastic conduit, with the conical end, into the hole and try very hard to aim it at where you think the hole is on the other side. I found it useful to take a vertical and horizontal offset measurement from datum points when I had the very long 6mm pilot drill in place (I took the long drill bit out of the chuck to take these measurements, whilst it was still poking right through the wall), as a guide to get the angle right. The cone on the end of the conduit will compress the cellulose out of the way, and the point of the cone should make finding the hole on the other side easier (although it will be fun, I can assure you............). Once you have the conduit through, push it out enough so that you can remove the cone. Smear some sealant (I used Sikaflex, but CT1 would do as well) around the outside of the conduit, on the INSIDE bit, close to the 30mm hole. Push the conduit back in so that the sealant bonds to the vapour proof board well. It helps to rotate the conduit a bit when doing this, and use loads of sealant to try and get a bead around the joint with the inner board. Leave the conduit oversize, so it pokes out too far at this stage. Next, go back outside and squirt some low expansion foam around the annular gap between the conduit and the 40mm hole in the rendered face. It's worth masking up the face of the render to avoid getting foam on it. Let the foam go off, then trim back the foam and the conduit, so that it's flush with the wall. On the inside, do the same, use foam and trim it back. When all has cured, fit the cable and squirt some low expansion foam as deeply into the conduit as you can get from the outside, to seal around the cable, then bond an outdoor cable cover on with a downward facing slot, like this one: http://www.satgear.co.uk/fk21 On the inside, do the same, but fit one of these types of cover: http://www.satgear.co.uk/fk22 . Fit the inner cover before the foam has cured - it should just slot down inside the conduit. If you're stuck, I can post you the long drill I made up, plus the acetal cone that fits into 20mm conduit.
  36. 3 points
    Oooh a new series. I wonder how many women folk he will get pregnant in this series? He should give up building houses and try fertility, the blokes a bloody god
  37. 3 points
    Back in the late 70's, when it looked very much as if nuclear armegeddon might be very real, I developed a plan. I reckoned that I might have a few minutes more warning than some, and was pretty sure that where I lived was not a primary target, although there was a secondary target around 20 miles away (St Mawgan). I kept a grab bag packed with dried and tinned food, fishing gear, some bottled water and some water purifying tablets. My plan was to head to a set of yacht moorings nearby in the Helford, steal the largest yacht I could find, then head out the Western Approaches and turn South, to try and get across the Equator as soon as possible. I worked out that almost all the targets then were in the Northern hemisphere, and as the weather systems in the North and South don't mix very well, there was a reasonable chance that the Southern hemisphere stood a better chance of remaining habitable. I never got as far as choosing a destination, but, resources and my stamina being up to it the general aim was to get around Cape Horn and try to make for some of the Pacific islands. At the time it all seemed entirely sensible. 20 years later I looked back at all this preparation thinking I must have been a lunatic. Now I'm coming back around to the idea that I may not have been so daft after all.
  38. 3 points
    Just a quick update seeing as I had the camera on me. As always, not as much progress as I would have liked- I was away from the build for a lot of August, but it's good to come back to it refreshed. The painting is finally finished (that seemed to take an age), the WC is temporarily installed, and the woodburner is up and running- I'll do a separate entry for that, at some point. The overhead beams are now sanded back and sealed with Osmo Polyx oil- I'll use the same stuff on the windowsills. The trickiest part of doing the beams has been installing the spotlights, with some very careful drilling to feed the wiring through from above. These beams are tied into the rafters so any mistakes would just have to be filled as best I could, and serve as a reminder forever more. Today's task was to start on the flooring, which is carbonised strand woven bamboo. I am bonding this down so, again, little room for error. I decided that rather than start at one wall, I would mark a straight line up the middle of the floor, through the big connecting door, and then screw down a batten. This becomes my starting line and ensures that the flooring will tie up as it moves from bedroom to living room. I wa worried that if I'd started at the wall, then when the two sections of floor met up at the doorway I could find myself a few mm out. I have no idea if what I'm doing is common practise but it seems to make sense to me! I didn't get as far as bonding down anything yet today, as the floor turned out to be a lot dirtier than I realised, and I've spent all day on my knees with a sander removing blobs of paint and plaster. A few quid spent on some dust sheets would have been a good investment... oh well, I'll know for next time
  39. 3 points
    We went with a downdraft, recirculation unit from Elica. Very powerful, but a conversation stopper on full chat. Thankfully you seldom need to run it on full speed. Exhausts through the kick board under the hob unit, which isn't noticeable. Added bonus is it puts a physical barrier between the young family at the breakfast bar and any hot pans on the hob.
  40. 3 points
    I done a similar thing in my kitchen. It was just a sheet of 18mm MDF with a bit of stud to make a frame. Plenty of big screws to hold the studs to the underneath of the joists. I put some down lights in it to shine light on the island and a colour changing led strip around the edge. The extractor fan is just a normal type you would put in any built over type unit. All in including the fan it was approx £250. I have the fan wired into a switch on the wall so just gets turned on here.
  41. 3 points
    @MikeSharp01, you should know better than to come on BH and ask stoooooopid questions like that. I mean, who is going to say, "Naaah mate, just struggle on with a teaspoon, that'll do: I used a bent one, it was free cos I found it in the gutter: I sharpened it by rubbing it on a mermaid's thigh for 6 weeks." Instead you get: Bingo.... "Look Darling, Jeremy says we should get one, so I'm off down the BM...... OK?
  42. 3 points
    Another common CU fault is the busbar finger missing the cage clamp terminal. Most mcb's have a terminal arrangement where if the clamp is closed you can insert the busbar finger into empty space. Then you can "tighten" the terminal and "job's a good un" except it's not. A few makes of mcb have solved this for a few pence, by adding an extra tang onto the cage clamp that blocks the hole into the space behind the clamp, so the only place the busbar can go is into the correct place. It iritates me that we "solve" the problems by putting it all in a tin box, rather than mandating engineering solutions like a very simple modification to the terminal design to design out the possibility of faults.
  43. 3 points
    For me this has been the hardest few weeks as we get closer to finishing there seem to be more decisions for me to make. Also finishes and how things look become more important. With the build dragging from an initial July finish, to end September and then end November, I decided that I had to make sure it was not going to slip anymore. I think we are now good for mid November. My wife has a party organised for December 2nd which allowed lots of time from completion when it was arranged. I managed to source paint for steel painting which was quoted at a ridiculous £150 a square metre when they knew it desperately needed done, I expect the final cost to be around a quarter of that. I have just got an estimate for the internal doors. Lucky I did as the specials are 8-10 week lead times. They have pretty much finished the electrical first fix and started on the plumbing. They have been framing out and plaster boarding upstairs. The plaster skimmed walls have lovely finish. The windows are still not in due to the steel lintels not being painted and the roof in only around 25% tiled. The windows should be done in two to three weeks and the roof maybe a week later. Then the rendering can start outside and we can work on finishes inside. I have just told my wife that she can finally choose paint colours. Framing for master en suite More roof tiles MVHR and other pipework Hot and cold water loops going in. These will be fixed to the slab. Sprinkler system in, can finish plaster boarding the ceiling now. Plaster skimmed walls More plaster Cabling in AV cupboard Plant room
  44. 3 points
    As per title really, best way to move them I find:
  45. 3 points
    Yes, but can he build a 14 inch naval gun out of a set of bagpipes and a crate of whisky?
  46. 2 points
    (Maybe there could be a forum section dedicated to 'We Are In' posts) A couple of weeks back, we started sleeping at the new place and the removal men have brought the stuff out of storage and carpets and flooring are down, so I declare 'we are in'! Since then it seems to be 'can you just put up this curtain rail/blind/picture/mirror' delete as applicable hence I've not been able to make this posting. A huge thanks to you all on ebuild and buildhub - vast amounts of information available day or night (handy for those 3am wide eyed 'oh sh*t what about xxx?' moments) Surrounding the house is nothing but dried out clay and mud with the occasional manhole (some with lids some with OSB and bricks covering them) and pipes appearing here and there. And yes with the initially un-lidded manhole covers my little boy was able to play 'spot the poo' with the first flush - even I was amazed at the speed! The drive (a mixture of mud with some type 3 thrown across it is currently 250mm below the garage floor so the misses can't park in the garage - which is great given it is part trades workshop and part boys only race bay. The mega Clearfox sewage treatment plant remains proudly on display and a slight concern as I've yet to convince myself the aerator unit it is not actually floating up - even though it has a granular drain to prevent such things (have taken a lazer height reference so I can monitor it) BuildingControl have given me a year to finish to sort this and the rest off which is jolly handy. What would I do different: * spend more time getting the design right before the planning application - being forced to run with that design for a while was costly and might have saved falling out with the initial main-contractor over too many changes. * ensure the architect has at least consider the plumbing - we've pipes everywhere and the plumber is constantly moaning * better budgetting - the chippy, plumbing and gravel costs have been way off my un-experienced finger in the air guesses * should have moved nearer to the site earlier - again might have saved falling out with the initial main-contractor over build quality * back up my 'spent so far' spreadsheet so that when my phone fails I don't lose the tally of how much I really spent * upgrade the floor stiffness to prevent the annoying movement as people move around * not have inward opening tilt and turn windows - as if there is any chance of rain we are force to shut them as rain gets past them - daft idea What worked well: * going back through the planning loop to convert the design from rebuild to new build - the VAT benefits out weighed the additional 12 week delay by a long way * keeping a simple diary to record who was here when to verify some of the bills Surprises about the build process: * it costs a lot - though we both caught a nasty blight of the UpSpecIt and FutureProofIt illnesses - as well as one terrible attack of 'that is wrong lets start again' * vast amounts of homemade cakes and chocolate biscuits were consumed by trades - a non budgeted item * just cos the plumber is too busy to give me a quote shouldn't mean I'm forced to run with a day rate - well over 10% of build gone in plumbing * having an unbalanced MVHR is jolly handy - meant I quickly adapt the system to force air in/out of what ever room is being painted/vanished/plastered that day * every part of every a wake moment not working is somehow spent doing something with the build * lots of 3am wake ups * while I can't claim to have truely got my hands dirty actually doing the build I'm proud of what I've done and hats off to you guys actually doing the grafting as well as just paying the bills The big question, am I on or off grid? Today I'm off-grid, 6 of my 30 PV panels feeding 4 leisure batteries and a couple of inverters and a 'big dirty diesel generator' just for the washing machine and dish-washer. It works pretty well but my partner can't manage it and according to some expert analysis after paying the connection fee and then exporting back to the grid after 20 years I'll be £45 in profit! So August the 30th a 500m trench will be dug across the farm and a big fat bit of copper laid. However due to some considerable complexities with EPC, FiT, VAT, PV export limits and Tesla it probably won't be connected to anything for sometime. (Annoyingly though I reserved a Tesla PW2 when they first came out, as they did not support the advertized off-grid I did not make the reservation an order before the first batch has been distributed and I now need to wait till January for the next allocation!). Would I do it again: * probably but this is suppose to be the forever home and the piggy banks are drained * I've already put in a planning application to convert a farm barn... ...but this time have lined up someone else to do a turn key solution Thanks again to you all Paul aka ReadiesCards PS anyone visiting Lincolnshire is most welcome to call by
  47. 2 points
    Just saw this somewhere else, and thought it'd fit right in with this thread:
  48. 2 points
    Didn't see venturi in my pipework today. A few drips in manifold but managed to screw it all up tight. Pressure seemed to hold too. So did my pressure, after doing an all nighter prepping everything. Half slab done, and hopefully get it all finished tomorrow if the bloody mixer turns up on time. After 3hours of sleep this weekend, i may actually go to bed now! I'll post some pics soon. Actually better seal the front door b4 bloody wabbit or cat make it in there...
  49. 2 points
  50. 2 points
    It'll only teach the money makers how to better distance themselves from blame. Nowt else.
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