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  1. 5 points
    Hang on a sec. We’re in the middle of a national emergency / pandemic and the HMRC redeployed their people to administer the priorities of the numerous emergency tax schemes - Furlough, emergency business loans, etc etc etc. I’m sure they assessed that the Self Build VAT Reclaim Scheme might not be a priority over the small matter of saving the economy, jobs, businesses and ensuring millions of people who couldn’t work could feed their families and pay their mortgages/ rent. Or are we suggesting that those of us who are privileged enough to have built our own homes and awaiting some money back should have been the priority ? And so due to there being an inevitable backlog they’ve decided to change their rules to release 70% of claim ASAP, while they clear the backlog and can fully check the claims. What exactly should they have done? ”Dear Mr Smith, please find enclosed your VAT refund. Because we have prioritised the VAT refunds for self builders over other emergency Covid 19 schemes, I’m sorry to say the economy has now completely crashed and your lovely new home is now worth about the same as your VAT refund. Yours, HMRC”
  2. 2 points
    So now the new kitchen is in, it was time to renovate the room which was the old kitchen in to the first part of the dining room (I say first part, as the second part is going to be in an extension which i'm hoping to build next year). And then the real messy work begins This is the house that keeps on giving! Found two redundant (but live) gas pipes buried in the plaster on the wall I knew nothing about, to go with the other two which have been made redundant over the years (1 for back boiler and 1 for hob). Plumber is coming this afternoon to service the boiler and put a brand new gas pipe in direct to the boiler which will get rid of all of these. There was also a really ancient plug socket which was mounted in the skirting board, I always thought it was dead, but no, its live, and part of the ring main. Well, I say ring main, it would be a ring if another cable I found was actually connected... Picked it up, could see it had some fabric tape wrapped round it, and it just fell apart in my hands. Stuck some Wago's on just to protect it, and when i turned electric back on, both sides were showing as live, so they need reconnecting at some point, but will go into a new plug socket on the back wall. Once the remaining 3 joists are out, i've got a new wall to build to support the new joists, and I also need to relocate the water meter, next to the old cupboard, which is going to be made bigger to house that, and the MVHR unit. The old joists were very bad as predicted, and full of flight holes from the dreaded woodworm, so another room ridded, and I've fully vacuumed under the floor as thoroughly as I could. New joists have come without treatment (despite me paying for treated wood!! Builders merchant won't reply to me since querying it!) so I've bought some treatment which I will paint on before putting the insulation in. Hoping to have the floor down by end of next weekend, just praying that the main stop tap at the end of the driveway will move, it has been moved by Yorkshire water in the last 10 years so I have hope. Won't be able to completely finish the floor til Yorkshire Water have been to inspect the meter, which hopefully won't take too long.
  3. 2 points
    From memory you can’t get a BS under felt any more suitable for new build. The breathable ones are much nicer to work with and they are cheap as chips. Nothing wrong with putting two layers on either if it will be left open for a period - just buy a cheap disposable one to go over the top of the first tacked down with a few counter battens. +1 to that - they are simple to use and not expensive. Timloc Easy Ridge system are good - they need a timber up stand in the centre of the ridge but nothing too complex.
  4. 2 points
    Have you tried to RTFM..?? Pump needs to be covered by water - you fill the tank more than you think. Check there isn’t a sponge filter missing off the pump grille
  5. 2 points
    You are quite right your post was a helpful factual update on the current VAT reclaim process and some of us have then debated/agreed/disagreed the HMRC decision. 🤐 In terms of your recent claim was there anything allowed/not allowed that you didn’t expect was the case? Or anything they queried you didn’t expect. For those of us yet to claim. ta
  6. 2 points
    I posted the letter imagining it to be useful information for anyone recently embarked on a vat reclaim. Given that this thread seems to have turned into an opinion piece i'll clarify my own position as the o/p;....I find the vat office approach perfectly reasonable under current circumstances. However, I don't see debate over the fairness of it as useful to this build related forum, it won't change the facts ....maybe start a moaning thread in the non-build related section to discuss the performance of our various government departments and agencies. What might be useful is if other current/imminent claimants update this with their own outcomes. Further useful info on my claim. Claim submitted 1st June, claim acknowledged mid july, that letter received 21st August, plus 20 days would be 10th September, so 101 days end to end. We dont have Building Regs sign off yet, we moved in last August and had a VOA effective from 12/08/20. We were concerned this may trigger a 3 month time limit on claim submission. There has apparently been inconsistent application of rules by the VAT office due to slightly ‘blurred‘ definitions of completion, and we didn’t want to fall foul of this. We spoke with the VAT DIY Helpline 0300 322 7073 for clarification. They explained the 3 month deadline would not be triggered by the VOA but that reasonable explanation of delay should be provided along with our claim. They also cautioned against waiting for the Building Regulations completion certificate if only limited external works remained or if VAT expenditure became nominal. As such they described it as a balancing act. Submitted invoices within the final 3 months to claim date show that quite fundamental works have been ongoing. They cover for example plasterboard, dab adhesive, angle beads, plaster, sand, cement, 2nd fix electrical components, plumbing components etc. We wrote that we believed we had chosen the right moment to submit our claim. On the one hand we have amongst other things 2 bathrooms still to fit, only a rudimentary kitchen, 3 undecorated rooms, outstanding external render and landscaping works still to do. On the other hand Covid-19 has ensured completion will remain out of reach for some time. Against this background we were braced for some malicious wriggling on technicalities by the vat office but actually they seem to have been entirely fair and reasonable in the application of their rules.
  7. 2 points
    Things seem to be happening very quickly and progress has gone really well. The block and beam of the huge extension is coming together now and the focus has been outside, although with the occasional downpour the inside is now half empty with our 1970s bathroom suite finally gone. In the interim I've sold everything inside, the kitchen, boiler, naff internal doors and even the crappy floor tiles we took off. All copper and rads ready for my dad to weigh in. Have now run out of stuff to sell! Here are a couple of pics from this week. The final pic, the bank you can see and the path runs 90 metres from the entrance to the end of our garden from one old railway bridge to the other old railway bridge the other end which is over the canal. The railway at the top of the embankment is no more. It was the line that ran from Whitchurch to Chester and we can clamber up to the top of the embankment which is now an overgrown mess of bramble and ivy, no track any longer. We cleared some of the ivy and when we were clearing the garden of shrubs, bulbs and plants that we knew would get disturbed I literally moved every one by hand and planted it on the bank and we have been lucky that the majority of the plants have taken and had daffs, bluebells and lots of other things flower so it looks quite nice, even the foxgloves that seem to have gone crazy. We do need to sort out some sort of wall or something to replace the rockery' bit which was already there. I dread to think of the cost for such a long length. It's not as high in some places and levels off.
  8. 1 point
    Letter received at end of last week. ...the letter ended saying "please allow 20 days from the date of this correspondence for funds to appear in your account"...or words to the effect.
  9. 1 point
  10. 1 point
    10cm is not narrow, 2-3cm is narrow.
  11. 1 point
  12. 1 point
    http://www.fix-r.co.uk/shop/tilr/dry-fix-ridge-kit/universal-dry-fix-ridge-kit/ @Onoff I used this - it was cheap and easy to do - never used one before but SWMBO and I did it no problem, we got it from the local roofing place who suggested using it saying it was as good as the more expensive ones.
  13. 1 point
    We got a guy who knocked down our old house by hand as he wanted the bricks. He did it for nowt, and was easily the mosy dangerous contractor that I have ever seen or heard of. He started the work until a few days before Christmas and was finished very early in the new year - he did it then because in his words " the council and the HSE will be on holiday" The knackered bricks (of which there were many) went on the back of a farm trailer to a farmer for his tracks The timber was burned on site. Metal went to the scrapyard. Everything else went to the tip. Cost = £0. Took a couple of weeks.
  14. 1 point
    I have used one of these and it was very impressive. The sliding tray was dead accurate. I had some big tiles to cut and used a Rubi cutter where the machine slides over the tile. The blade had a tenancy to wander off. I am not a pro, but the DeWalt is superb.
  15. 1 point
    is that the tile saw you used the 15% discount on?
  16. 1 point
    The water must enter through the grill ... also makes sense for the impeller. I did find it odd looking that the cable came out from the same side preventing it sitting on the pipe and grill. I would sit it on its end and keep the grill under water level. Failing that, fold the cable over and tape down to allow the pump to sit impeller?pipe downwards. probably need a weight too ... i have a different machine with suckers on the pump but it still floats around like a deranged fish
  17. 1 point
    That is different - you don’t want to be applying heat under cupboards where food may be stored, or making fridges or freezers work harder. This sounds like a fairly open flexible space so just install the heating up to the most suitable point in the room - with the heat mats you’ll probably need to look at the best layout for a 10m mat which may leave out around 100mm from each side which isn’t an issue.
  18. 1 point
    The probes are fairly quick and easy to do, especially if you only need to probe 2.5 metres. I would want to make sure the solid strata was uniform around the foundation extents, with no voids. The probe table you have would have been more reassuring if the soil was more consistent, whereas there is very little capacity for the first 2.0m. I doubt there will be much cost difference between probes and trial pits. I would want at least 4. If the results vary a lot, you may need to install piles.
  19. 1 point
    So the house has had some issues with subsidence and geobear came in to do some remedial work to improve the ground conditions. The left table is how many blows it took before they started work and then the right after. You can see it's had an improvement, The higher the number the better. The test involves driving a metal probe into the ground and counting the blows it takes to move it 100mm. So more blows means harder ground. Are you having issues with cracks etc??
  20. 1 point
    Actually looking at that they list a “multi function valve” on the the top of the UVC. Wonder if they lock out the cold tanks ..? Seems a lot to go wrong - series UVC would work fine and no valves or moving parts required.
  21. 1 point
    Wow, a great house! Views to die for!!!
  22. 1 point
    We have a vaulted ceiling in the rooms in roof - we put a small bulkhead (50mm) down the centre of the roof and put LED strips in angled conduit either side - works well.
  23. 1 point
    In that case, could you look at led strips in a wee channel along the spring of the ceiling? The oxter (unofficial term 😂) can be quite difficult to get a sweet, straight line on so you could maybe run something along there to hide that join and wash the walls/ceiling with light?
  24. 1 point
    Also watching with interest. I have a large vaulted open plan area with our kitchen and living room there which has a large glazed gable, its SIPS so was easy to be vaulted. I was planning spotlights which are the white type and blend in well, with pendants over the kitchen island to provide task lighting. I was thinking of running LED strip at the the wall/roof interface then you can uplight the vault to create a nice soft effect. I have also seen lots of good things done with the plaster in LED profiles for a quite modern twist. (Neither are what I woudl do , but you could create some really nice lighting with them.
  25. 1 point
    When I have trenches in any sub base (for instance when I know a drain run is going through and I don't want to re dig the compacted stone) I usually chuck a couple of planks in them and run the wacker over. Save the problem you have of being too delicate with the wacker around where these runs are. Take the planks out after, trim out with a shovel then do what you've gotta do.
  26. 1 point
    The hardcore/infill should be compressed with something like a walker plate. I also compresses the sand. Are you sure the BCO wasn't referring to the overall height? Eg he thinks there isn't enough height left for whats going on top for the planed FFL?
  27. 1 point
    That isn't correct. Oil boilers hold this buffer as it takes time for the burner to come up to full temperature and they do not respond as quickly as gas. The buffer allows small amounts of hot water to be drawn off without firing the boiler and short cycling which causes issues with the burners. Once up to full power, an oil boiler will keep the hot water flow at full temperature as long as their is oil in the tank.
  28. 1 point
    The other point that have conventional tanks a bad reputation was poor hot water pressure/flow especially on a shower. With a mains pressure (unvented) cylinder that issue goes away. Personally I have a cylinder and wouldn't have it any other way. You also have the back up emersion heater if the primary heat source fails.
  29. 1 point
    A lot of people ask me about the detail of how my house is built so I thought it worth a thread to explain things. First off, I didn't want an "ordinary" timber framed house with a cavity then a brick or block outer skin. That outer skin just costs a lot of money and adds nothing to the insulation of the house, it's just an expensive rain shield. I still wanted the traditional Scottish look of a white rendered finish but I want all elements of the wall make up to add to the insulation and air tightness of the property. The solution is a timber frame, clad with 100mm thick wood fibre external wall insulation boards (I used Pavatex, but other makes are available), and the render goes straight onto the wood fibre board. Here's a picture to make it clear: In that picture I only have a few of the fixing screws in place. A lot more were added and then driven fully home. The board is fixed to the frame with long screws with big plastic spreaders to stop the screws pulling through the board. There are a few twists to the frame however. First thing you will notice is that it is not an "ordinary" timber frame. For a start it's built with much thicker timbers than normal to allow more insulation in the walls. But secondly people keep telling me i have put the frame up "inside out" The OSB racking layer is on the inside of the frame. That's done for vapour permeability reasons with the least vapour permeable layer on the inside. With this build method you can either fill the frame with blown in insulation from the inside once the wood fibre cladding is fitted, or in my case I have chosen to use Frametherm 35 as it's less than half the cost of blown in insulation but gives the same U value. So I am fitting the insulation from the outside as I fit the wood fibre cladding. Insulating only that bit of frame I expect to get clad in that day as I don't want the insulation left exposed to get wet if it rains. The render is a lime based system from baumit.com. It has 3 layers, a base coat that is mixed from dry powder, then a primer that is painted on, then the top coat comes pre mixed in tubs. A fibreglass mesh gets pressed in to the base coat before it is dry. Overall benefits of this approach Vs an ordinary timber frame with blockwork outer skin: Simpler foundations (no need for provision to support the outer brick or block wall) More insulation for a given wall thickness More of the job can be DIY done, perfect for self builders. And an unexpected one, because there is no cavity, there is no need to pepper the wall with weep ventilators, so you get a clean render finish with no "warts" And here is what the finished and rendered front of the house looks like.
  30. 1 point
    Demolition, site clearance, reduce dig and installation of pre-insulated pipes for ASHP and potential future garden room. The pre-insulated pipe we used in the end was "REHAU RAUTHERMEX 25mm+25mm/111mm DUO PIPE". The ground was luckily fantastic, apart from one area with some roots and a couple of soft spots left over from the demolition. So we managed to avoid the extra 800mm reduced dig that had been specified based on 2 trial holes in the old front garden. At over 200m2, that would have been a lot of muck-away and hardcore..
  31. 1 point
    This is an M10 coach bolt in stainless steel. See the square section on the shank, under the head? You drill a 10mm hole then tap the bolt home. The square wedges in the round hole and stops it turning whilst you wind the nut on. The one above has makers marks on the head but you can get them without. I used them on my front gate. Gives nice pinpoints of light against the black (imo). If using bright zinc plated coach bolts you can coat the shaft in grease where it passes through the wood.
  32. 1 point
    Probably useless to most people but its freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeceee! (at the moment) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Solar-Energy-engineering-photovoltaic-technologies-ebook/dp/B0198VHPHM
  33. 1 point
    That's £3000 per square metre so yes I would say that is steep. Time for a second or third quote?
  34. 1 point
    Says you can reclaim VAT on telephone sockets and cables but not telephones here... https://www.gov.uk/guidance/goods-and-services-you-can-claim-for-under-the-vat-diy-scheme#T Presumably talking about extensions.
  35. 1 point
    It's 3 weeks since my last blog entry and, as usual, things have been moving at a pace. The difference with the most recent round of work, though, it that the building is starting to look like a liveable house rather than a construction site. This is largely due to the glory coats of plaster and paint, but far more than that has been keeping everyone busy. The boarding started in earnest before Christmas and so the plasterers were in bright and early in the new year. We've got through an astonishing amount of board of various types - I thought I'd calculated reasonably well and had a mahooosive delivery of the stuff a while back, but it all seemed to disappear and the building was hungry for more. I bought all the board from Sydenhams as I found their price to be competitive. I've used standard 12.5mm plasterboard on all external walls, 15mm acoustic on all ceilings and internal walls, moisture board for bath/wet rooms, and pink fire board for the garage walls and ceiling. The garage is attached and so building regs require a fire door (FD30, sourced from Enfield Doors, though I've since found cheaper suppliers when looking at other stuff) and fire board throughout the garage, but only a single layer as there is no habitable space above it. I've had a board lifter on hire as it really helps the team position the boards up onto the ceilings without dropping anything on themselves or damaging either themselves or the boards. Here is the board going up on the lounge/dining area towards the kitchen area. The orange frame is the plaster board lifter. The black thing outside the window is my sewage treatment plant tank, which will be installed in a couple of weeks(ish). Looking in the opposite direction towards the lounge area: There have been plenty of plasterboard offcuts and so we have followed @JSHarris's tip of stuffing as much of this into the stud walls before boarding over. Double bubble - increasing the heat retaining ability of the house and no paying expensive disposal fees on waste plasterboard. As well as the boarding and plastering, first fix is underway, getting all the wiring, sockets and switch positions in and running vast amounts of cable through the building for all sorts of stuff. It's not just a case of chucking the cable in, he's done a great job of working out the flow of the building and the people in it, and how the building's circuitry should function best to suit them. It's a pity that it isn't more visual, but suffice it to say that at the last count, something like 2.9km of cable has gone into the building. It's in there somewhere! The room that forms the greater part of the ground floor is the kitchen/dining/lounge area and it's a very large space. From the outset, I've wanted to achieve some form of visual separation of the living area but without putting physical barriers in the way. It seems a waste to have gone to such great effort to create a lovely large space like that to then chop it up and close it in. I had inspiration for the solution from a couple of sources, the first of which is a tiny, crappy image on Pinterest when I was browsing cinema rooms. The second came about from chatting to another BH member, @Dreadnaught and a suggestion someone made to him to vary the heights of the ceiling throughout his proposed build. From this, I decided that I wanted a dropped section, like a frame, on the ceiling above the lounge area, with lighting recessed into the inner lip of the dropped section. Everyone pulled together really well to meet the challenge, and worked out what was needed from the carpentry, boarding, plastering and electrics contingents. The full ceiling was boarded out first, then the studwork frame put over it. The electrics were run through, then the frame was boarded and eventually plastered. Here's the completed framework and the first of the plasterboard going up. They're a cheerful bunch in their work! One thing I haven't skimped on is hire equipment to make the job of the plasterers and others easier. I figure it's a false economy to not get equipment like platforms and board lifters in as it will just cost me extra labour as the guys won't be able to work efficiently and possibly, not as well either. We had scaffold towers upstairs in the bedrooms for plastering and downstairs, we had a really big platform. I wouldn't do it any other way as the quality of the boarding and plastering is second to none. Once the studwork was boarded out, the inner ceiling section was plastered. The inner lip of the frame had an upstand added to it to make it appear more substantial and to hide the rows of LED lights behind them. We're going for a range of lighting intensity here, achieved by increasing amounts of lights, rather than dimmers. There will be 3 rows of LED lights hidden up there and we've used a car headlight analogy for want of better descriptions - the selection is dipped lights, main beam and rally lights. These are the only ceiling lights in this area as we plan to have floor lamps for specific task or reading lighting. Once the inner ceiling was plastered, the framework itself was done the following day. This photo is some way on from that, as you can see. By this stage, the whole of the downstairs main room has been done and recesses formed for the spotlights at the other end of the room. Not too long after this, the kitchen arrived from DIY Kitchens. Lovely quality units and everything is going together well. It did mean, though, that I had to get on with the painting up the kitchen end so that a start could be made on installation. A paragraph or two on painting is appropriate here. I put a brief post into the main decorating section here on BH regarding spray painting, but it deserves repetition. I've planned from the outset to do the painting myself. I'm competent and it's nice to get some hands on involvement in the build. But, and it really is a big one, there is a vast surface area to cover in this house, and the vaulted ceilings upstairs are really quite intimidating for a vertically challenged person such as myself. Mind you, I think a vault of 4.7m would make most people ponder their method of attack. I decided that by far the most effective approach for me was to spray the mist coats to seal the plaster and continue with white for the ceilings. I wasn't sure at that stage whether I would also apply the colour coats by spraying, so adopted a 'wait and see' approach. First off, masking takes ages, even with a relatively empty house, as that spray will get everywhere and anywhere. Once the masking is done and you've familiarised yourself with the sprayer itself, though, the speed of coverage is astonishing. I was able to comfortably do one large room per day - both mist coats and a couple of extra ones on the ceiling to get it opaque and full white. It was messy. Really messy! Especially as when I first got going I had the spray pressure a little too high, the mad angles of the vaulted ceilings meant that my nozzle was never going to be held at a constant 90 degrees to the surface, and it's just a messy process regardless. In addition, there is a vast amount of moisture in the air, particularly as we had plaster drying at the same time. I hired a commercial dehumidifier for a couple of weeks to help with this and it was very effective. I bought all my paint from Brewer's Decorator Centre, who are mainly based along the south coast of England. I opened a trade account with them and got 20% off the entirety of my first order, so I put everything I could think of onto that, including my antinox floor protection mats. Very useful they were, too. I used their contract matt white for the mist coat and ceilings. It's white, but not brilliant white and it's lovely. Very chalky, easy to sand and gives a nice highly matt finish. Also cheap as chips. Here's one of the bedrooms, masked up and sprayed. Here's another bedroom with that ceiling. My scaffold tower came into its own for reaching up to those heights. Then, finally, the kitchen area with its mist coat. The sprayer is the little beastie sitting on the plasterboard. I popped over on a weekend to also put the first colour coat on over at the kitchen area, whilst I could still get in easily before the kitchen started going in. I'm having splashbacks between the wall and base units, hence the odd looking finish level with the paint. These were all the kitchen units as they arrived, prior to painting. Everything was really well packaged and came with the doors on and drawers in. The delivery crew were pleasant and efficient, so all in all, a good experience. Moving away from painting and plastering, the ceiling plan for the lights was marked up on the floor, along with speakers and smoke detectors before the boards went on so that there was no guesswork involved in what was running where. Here's the marking plan: This is what the kitchen units look like at the moment. I made a cock up in ordering, purely out of ignorance, and I'm waiting for a few end deco panels to arrive. These didn't even occur to me as they will go between units and appliances to give a better appearance from face on. It made perfect sense when it was pointed out to me, so things have halted temporarily until those and my worktops arrive shortly. In the meantime, it's looking good: We also now have spotlights in place: Finally, for the curious, this is what karndean flooring looks like. It has been laid upstairs and the downstairs will be finished in a couple of weeks. Upstairs, it was all laid on ply that was feathered in at the edges and downstairs will have a latex feathering coat to level the floor and provide an even base. Next up is more of the same. The final session of boarding and plastering, lots more painting, the end of first fix and moving onto second fix. Outside, we need to get cracking on the rainwater goods, perimeter drain and exterior cladding. The cladding is due to arrive next week, so it will be interesting to see that and figure out the system. I hope to be able to report back on over height doors soon, as well, and my endeavours to find these at a reasonable price, but that's all for now. There's painting to be done.
  36. 1 point
    The Eddi manual is really comprehensive - https://myenergi.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/eddi_manual_v2.3_english.pdf AFAIK you can use the Eddi without the Harvi provided you can run the cabled CT clamp round your meter tails to monitor power in/out and for the Eddi to divert accordingly. If not, you can use the Harvi to wireless connect CT clamps to Eddi. You've then also got the 'hub' which is basically the internet gateway bit so you can use the app to control/fiddle/monitor your Eddi HTH. MM
  37. 1 point
    We had a moss problem on the concrete tiles on our last house. The moss would grow so thick that rain water would pool behind it in heavy rain, then make its way between/under tiles around a chimney breast. The water level would briefly overtop the lead flashing and trickle in, I think. I cleared the moss but within a couple of years it was back again, so I tried spraying the roof with a concentrated copper sulphate solution. This was extremely effective, and left enough of a residue in the textured surface of the tiles to dissuade moss from growing back for several years. Very well worth doing, IMHO. I just bought a couple of kg of copper sulphate pentahydrate (about £15 from eBay), made a saturated solution in a pressure sprayer and sprayed that all over the roof. Not only does it stop moss growing, but it will kill any moss that you can't easily reach, and it will then dry and fall off.
  38. 1 point
    No systems or bling, just fabric first - highly insulated, best windows you can afford, low air permeability. If you get that right then I'll grant you the MVHR bling 😉 But you probably won't need much in the way of heating, so a GSHP might be overkill. You're better off putting the £20k-odd that costs into the fabric. All completely possible with traditional design.
  39. 1 point
    When we first started on this path, we wanted a hands off, almost turnkey project. I'd heard of SIPS and seen lots of positive stories about energy efficiency so all was set. Then we spoke with a mortgage advisor and our world started to tumble down. I am now 56, Peter is 57. We will need a mortgage to build this house but because of our ages, we know that the mortgage providers will all keep the term of the mortgage down to 15 years max which will make the repayments large. Drastic action needed to be taken so we have now decided to build using a method where we can do this ourselve. We have no experience of actual building work but let's face it, how hard can it be 😲 - famous last words. Our previous house was built using traditional methods. We did have underfloor heating and a MVHR system but we struggled to get through the air-tightness test. We have learnt a lot since then. We nearly built that time round using ICF but I chickened out. This time, it looks like it is going to win. We have looked at the various types of ICF. The majority are of course the polystyrene type blocks and these do have real advantages for self builders. They are light and easy to manage. Our main issue with them is the fixing ability at the end of the build. Once the plaster is on, finding the fixing lines becomes harder and harder and so other ways of fixing heavy items to walls need to be used. Looking at various websites and you tube videos, it is also apparent that blow outs are more likely using the polystyrene and more bracing is required during the pour. The concrete is of a stiffer consistency that with the woodcrete ICF. The woodcrete type ICF blocks solve the fixing issues - you can attach anything to it. We have looked at three types of this type of ICF, Velox, Durisol and Isotex. Each has pros and cons and we have yet to decide which type to use. All three appear less likely to blow on pour day without significant bracing but of course it can still happen. We can't get a price without plans so at the moment the comparisons are being made purely on preference but without the benefit of a cost comparison. The concrete for this method is of a very runny soup like consistency. VELOX This method uses two flat panels that are clipped together as you build. The panels are large - 2000mm x 500mm so will go up quickly. One panel has the insulation attached to it. The system comes with a variety of options for the depth of the wall giving different u values. I have found getting information from the website quite difficult - the website is clunky and parts of it are not in English. The way the panels fit together, you end up with a completely solid concrete wall inside the formwork. I believe this gives a better chance of airtightness from the actual structure of the walls. The UK supplier seems to be a little difficult to get hold of sometimes - maybe this is the result of too many enquiries but it does ring alarm bells to me. The system has products for both internal walls and floors. The internal walls are two panels glued together, this takes the weight to 68kg - we struggled to lift a panel off the floor so raising it above shoulder height would be impossible for us. The size and weight of the panels pretty much rules this system out for us as it is simply too heavy for us to manage ourselves. It is however, my favourite product. DURISOL Durisol blocks are more like a squarish 8 with the top, middle and bottom bar at less than full height to allow a honeycomb concrete wall to form during the pour. The blocks are all 500mm x 250mm with the external walls coming is two depths - 300mm with a u value of .23 or 365 mm with a u value of .11. There are 3 different types of blocks. A standard block with the reduced internal height connectors. A facing block which has one end at full height - this is also used for lintels. A corner block for ...... turning corners! Because of the way the blocks work, the second row and above will all need a cut to ensure that your keep the "brick bond" in place. This is particularly pronounced if you choose the 365mm blocks as it is the width that causes the issues. QUESTION - couldn't you fix the problem by making the cut on the first row instead and increasing the size slightly so that every other run works properly? That didn't cross my mind at the training. The blocks have male and female ends so that they lock togehter prior to the concrete pour The blocks are rough and gloves are definitely needed. The blocks do shed while you are working as well so care needs to be taken to butt the blocks up properly as the debris can move things apart a little. The design of the blocks means that there are the 3 woodcrete bars, each end of the block buts together with only a small amount of concrete bonding the blocks together. The blocks are produced in this country so less likely to suffer with issues to do with Brexit. Lead time is in weeks. Free training is provided (we have done the one day training course) and they will come to site to help you get the first row laid, ensuring that you get a nice level row. Purchase of the blocks over £10k gives you one free site visit (need to check if that is the initial row or if you also get the first pour day). Other visits are by negotiation but they rely heavily on facetime calls to see your site without actually being there. The anecdotal evidence that I have is that Durisol will discount heavily but they do not talk about a standard price - you only appear able to get a price from the drawing that you provide. I believe this will be our third choice of block based on properties but is probably the cheapest of the three. It is also the one we are most likely to use due to the price. ISOTEX Isotex is a very similar produce to Durisol. The blocks are mainly 500mm x 250mm but there are "pass" blocks to match the block depth that you have chosen. This gets around the issue of "brick bond" issue. The blocks come in depths of 300mm with a u value of .23. 330mm with a u value of .19. 380mm with a u value of .15 and 440 with a u value of .11. There are more options for shape of block - not sure how much that will help on site - will it be more difficult to find the right type of block while doing tricky areas? The shape of the blocks is like an H but with 2 horizontal bars not one. This means that the blocks allow a freer flow of concrete between the blocks than you get with Durisol. It will still be a honeycomb but less so, there is roughly a third less woodcrete in the way of the concrete wall. Butting the blocks together mean that they just sit together without the benefit of the locking togethre - this means that there are two short unsupported parts of the block holding the concrete - does this make a blow-out more likely? Insulb the UK supplier provide similar training to Durisol - we are attending in February half term at Swindon NSBRC. The blocks are slightly smoother than the Durisol ones and seem less likely to shed. Jamie has made it quite clear that the price is non-negotiable. £55m2 for the 300mm block (I think I wrote down the correct block size but not 100% certain) against £62m2 for the 440mm block. I believe that this will be our second choice block based on properties and probably second choice one price comes into play - time will tell.
  40. 1 point
    After reading every post on this forum on the subject of sound insulation and in particular Rockwool I wanted to document our experience. Until the delivery arrived and we opened the packets we really didn't know what we were going to be working with. Here is the best description I can give. We ordered the following from Insulation4Less. They told us the lead time was about 4-6 weeks (nationwide shortage) but actually it all came within a week leaving us with a literal mountain of rockwool to store around site. It was wrapped but needed to be lugged into the house out of the rain. Big job. The 50mm deep packs were orginally intended to go in the ceilings where there were lots of pipes to fit around. We chose RWA45 rather than the more expensive Flexi. Having not seen the Flexi I can't give a really accurate comparison. But the RWA45 is flexible and can be pushed into spaces and compressed a little anyway. And it is cheaper. It is not rigid / solid like Celotex (which I had first thought it might be). Here are some open packs. It is pretty easy to cut using an insulation saw like this. https://www.screwfix.com/p/bahco-insulation-saw-22-560mm/7498k But it does shred easily too. Mask and gloves absolutely essential. The 100mm deep stuff looks like this. So although it comes in these "batts" which have a form to them, you can trim to to the size you need. We are trimming almost everything because the 600mm wide batts don't fit into the 560mm gaps between the 600mm centred studs. But there are plenty of places to stuff the offcuts and the puzzle of how to use every offcut as efficiently as possible is keeping us both amused somewhat. We are fitting this into all the stud walls (internal) and the ground floor ceiling. No need for any insulation on the external walls or top floor ceilings as that has been pumped in by MBC (more of that in another blog). Hubby used our MVHR builders straps to fit up a load in the ceiling. He is now using cheap pallet strapping and a staple gun! It is fair to say that we have been doing this sound insulation on and off now for well over a month. It is a big job. Ceilings harder than the walls. Time consuming. A bit (alot) messy. Requires us to ply the walls first (where ply is needed) and then insulate. For the stud walls that don't need ply we will work as quick as we can in the evenings once the the plasterboarders are on site (due next week) filling in behind them as they plasterboard one side. Going to be a busy week. But progress is satisfying and physically working on our build again is fun.
  41. 1 point
    are you the SISMO uK agent humpty dumpty ? you post lots of velox pictures ,most of which I have may seen before on other sites--don,t see any of SISMO builds ?
  42. 1 point
    That's the point - we had a topo done (cost £420) prior to completing the excavation of the basement hole - all setting out was then done by a setting out engineer (at a cost of £350) based off the topo. They just misread the topo somehow, because our only height datum was the DPC on the neighbour's house, and all the measurements were calculated using that as ground level (when clearly it wasn't). By the time we realised the problem, we had concreted the ground floor walls and built the first floor walls up. Our choice was either to have lower ceilings on the first floor (and I am not a fan of low ceilings - the basement is over 9' and we're at 8'4" on the ground floor), alter the roof pitch, or get the planners to let us have a taller house than either side. I vetoed option [1], and we had had enough dealings with the planning dept at this point to know option [3] was unlikely, which only left option [2] - alter the roof pitch. It still required a new planning application, but because it was obvious why we were making the change, and because it was obvious we weren't trying to make space for a future loft conversion (it's only 1.4m clearance in the loft now), the planners were much more accommodating.
  43. 1 point
    Our design calls for some pocket doors - 6 in total - good for space saving, should look tidy. We decided to go with Eclisse and got them from the ever helpful Alan at Door Supplies Online. We will also get our door sets from him, to match, and he'll supply some matching architrave to finish the pocket doors nicely. Will post photos of the finished doors when we get there (probably September). In the meantime, we needed to install the pocket frames in advance of plaster boarding. It seemed too easy. But I am posting this because we had slight issues understanding how they fitted so hopefully this post will help someone else in the future. Him indoors built them so quickly I didn't even get photos of him putting them together. But he assures me that the instructions were straightforward to follow and they went together well. Top tip - don't throw out the bits of polystyrene that look like packaging. They actually help give it some bracing strength when lifting the whole thing into place (otherwise it bends quite a bit). The You Tube videos are also helpful. Our MBC structural openings were exact (to the mm) so we had allowed a bit too much structural opening (we didn't know how mm perfect they would be). We then had to pack slightly off the stud frame (offcuts of egger board and OSB). And also pack off the floor to ensure the door was fitted at finished floor level. Have allowed 20mm for carpet / underlay upstairs (and tiles to the bathrooms) so should be OK. The frames come in 100mm finished wall depth or 125mm finished wall depth. With 89mm stud walls this does give a bit of a conundrum, assuming 12.5mm plasterboard. We chose 125mm. And then Alan suggested putting ply on the frame as well to make it extra rigid. Also useful for subsequent hanging of pictures / toilet roll holders on finished wall - otherwise fixings might go through and result in scratching the sliding door. What we couldn't understand was that the pocket side of the door had a frame that was 125mm wide. But the bit the door closes on was only 100mm wide. For a short while I doubted the assembling ability of my definitely better half. Thankfully, a call to Alan set that straight. Though I am not sure I have been forgiven yet. There is a timber jamb (125mm wide) that fits over the 100mm section, making the whole thing 125mm wide. Now for the ply. It has been a bit of a juggle. Some need ply and some don't, some need double ply before plasterboard on one side to build out the stud work. And we need to match the ply on each side otherwise the door will be off centre in the total wall depth. Feels like overkill and probably is. But it will be solid! The ply attaches to the door frame itself using little screws (supplied by Eclisse). If you don't put ply on then these little screws fix the plasterboard. This door below has ply on the left hand side to bring the stud wall out to the frame edge. Then it will have ply over the top of that (and the frame) to match the other side. Then plasterboard. Toilet roll holder going on the other side and mirror on this side so will be strong enough for those. From the inside of the en-suite it looks like this, with one layer of ply. So, just plasterboard over the top of this. All the standard (classic) pockets are now fitted. Ply to go on the other 4 still so plenty of late nights in store before the plasterboarders come in. We are rather enjoying this bit though. Allows us to actually contribute to our build in a meaningful way, saves some cash, justifies the circular saw Christmas gift...... The telescopic pocket door is being saved for another day.
  44. 1 point
    Assuming a passive slab was planned from the start, 900mm seems an awful lot to be digging down, even if clay was a possibility. Please don't think we're having a go here, by the way. It's just that someone may read this in the future looking for information, and it will be helpful for them to understand how this all happened (and how to avoid it!)
  45. 1 point
    It'd be nice if on here we had a "Gallery" of finished builds with a rough location and maybe a very brief construction method; TF, ICF etc
  46. 1 point
    Check out this post to see the pressure reducing valve and capillary probe operated quench valve that ran through a 12kw coil in that TS. The company Dedicated Pressure Systems have the patent ( or did have maybe ) for that concept / design. We binned it as there was no need for it, the PRedV had failed, and the dry pocket for the capillary probe was rotted through and about to dump a few 1000 litres of water into the house whilst M'lady was out at work none the wiser Could easily be implemented in a solid fuel arrangement and tbh its a far better arrangement imo, to quench rather than dump, or to have a combination of the two. IIRC the quench valve operated at 95oC, so you could easily have a dump to a second thermal store ( what id do ) or to a heat loss rad in the attic. Theres no way id ever have a heat dump radiator inside my house as it would be lethal at those temps. Heat dump rads go in attics or garages, and should be caged even if in the garage. You'd have no choice or it would be continuously dumping heat by convection when you didn't want it to. +1 on the energise to close type, aka stored energy, and its the same as fire dampers which close using the stored energy that was used to open then eg by charging a powerful spring ( hence they're always low geared motors which take an age to open ). As Peter says, if I was ever looking at this as a solution id have the 3000L TS and use that as a buffer / dump. From there you'd be able to do 24 / 48 hrs of timed space heating and have DHW, but id also fit ufh pipes into a 200-250mm thick concrete slab too as a secondary storage / buffer and to regulate heat output into the rest of the house in a far more comfortable and manageable way. UFH pipe is just too cheap to not do that, its a no brainer. With the thicker slab and the huge TS you'd be able to become far less reliant on the stove actually being lit and burning so often, and instead just relax a bit and live Other than that you may find yourselves slaves to the WBS and thats not cricket. It would be nice to go out, and still have a nice warm house to come back to with oodles of DHW available whenever you wanted it, and then just lighting the stove for a few hours of an evening when it suited you best. A Solar thermal or solar Pv system would compliment this arrangement beautifully. Sun shines on the roof and charges your heat battery ( TS and slab ) and away to go. Even a small array of either to offset losses would be a massive benefit.
  47. 1 point
    We have stick built primarily for cost saving, will share the actual cost later but hopefully £50K+ saving, fortunately have some time and energy though I do feel a bit bushed in a good way at 53 and the challenge and satisfaction from it all. Also having the support of my Dad, he's 74 has been invaluable and an opportunity to spend time together. Maybe that sounds a bit odd. I am still enjoying it.....
  48. 1 point
    Well its just my Dad and myself. He draws and measures, I cut and fix. Thanks for the compliment. No professionals on site yet.
  49. 1 point
    10 rolls delivered from Germany for £179.
  50. 1 point
    The chant "Yer wanna get a digger mate!" started in 2014, and I finally got one two years later. The chanters were right. But what I didn't hear was what they were chanting (sniggering) under their breath. "You're gonna get covered in grease". Let's start at the beginning. How much does a digger cost to hire? £70 per day. How much does it cost to transport it to and from your house / plot? £25. All plus VAT. Bang goes £300 / £350 per week. And it rains, or there's a delay, and it sits there leering at you like some hideous demented mechanical giraffe whispering softly in your ear Use Me Use Me If You dare. But you can't because it's hissing down. And suddenly it's Friday, a couple of hundred pounds has flown out of the window, and two of the jobs you had planned haven't been done. And soon you're driving around noting every single digger sitting there idle in a field or on the roadside and NOBODY'S USING IT. It shouldn't be allowed. Diggers are expensive; they should not be left idle. Or rather those ones that are idle should be loaned to you the second the owner decides to have a day off. It's OK, you'll come and fetch it and bring it back when the owner needs it. Anything but let a digger be idle when you haven't got one. And then you do a bit of maths: how many jobs around the site do we need a digger for? And the list gets longer by the week. The children start muttering about dad being on about a digger for Christmas and birthday present all wrapped into one. And then you start noticing things like zero-swing diggers, and that's a 22 tonner, and is that a 2.6 tonne or 2.5 tonne digger? Soon, you know how to tell. The next thing is: JCB or Kubota? Or maybe Volvo? Hmmm. Well Kubota have reliable engines (other companies fit Kubota engines) JCB - well, a bit sloppy round the edges. Looking on Tinternet for prices and maybe the odd trip out -just to look, no more you understand. A budget number bubbles up in your spreadsheet against the Heading Plant and Equipment. Suddenly there's 10K more than planned. But, you can re-sell it at the end of the build. So nett off the cost against the hire cost (minus VAT) and you're in profit (Ha!). The digger duly arrives. And suddenly a whole world opens up. Move that Cherry tree, no problem (that wasn't on the list), shove those steels through your son's windows (after he takes them out) no problem; move two tonnes of stone quickly from one place to then other - well not quite no problem, but you aren't sweating. See a problem, turn the key. Dig your SuDS drainage in less time than you thought. Move that newt hibernacular three meters to the right: done. The dozer blade is awesome (I hate that word: but here it's the right word). And then there's the maintenance schedule. A Kubota has more nipples than a prize sow. And God can they suck grease. And I'm not the best at changing grease cartridges - when I'd finished I knew what the phrase Grease Monkey meant. I will not want to sell it. How on earth am I going to get that past Debbie?
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