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  1. 9 points
    At long last, as of today, our area has now become the 14th in the world to obtain International Dark Sky Reserve status: http://www.ccwwdaonb.org.uk/news/141/39/Cranborne-Chase-AONB-becomes-an-International-Dark-Sky-Reserve/ It's involved a fair bit of work to remove unnecessary street lighting, persuade people to not leave outdoor lights on etc, and has meant everyone adopting a winter culture of always carrying a torch, but it does mean we get great views of the stars on a clear night.
  2. 9 points
    No longer a muddy building site after nearly 3 1/2 years, Hooray. Landscaping just finished during the wettest 2 weeks of the year. Never mind, it is done. Used the plastic honeycomb gravel crates with the weed membrane on the back. Lawn & wild flower meadow to sow, fencing & planting to be done, so still a long way to go, but at least some progress.
  3. 6 points
    Time for another update. Most of our work this month has been focused upon finalising the kitchen design, stair, stove etc. Tangible work on the house has consisted of the taping and filling and fitting the last bit of ducting. Not terribly exciting, but it's all progress. Here are some photos. Next up I need to resolve an ongoing treatment tank problem which will be covered in a separate entry. We hope to start internal paint work in the next few week pr so.
  4. 3 points
    Digging is progressing well despite the rain - they had to pump out a bit as we had that swimming pool we wanted! They had no muck away on Monday so only 4 days and the bulk of the big dig is complete and you can start to see the scale of the project. They have done the rough dig and are now levelling out the bottom and starting to place a layer of stone that will then be concreted over to form the slab. The hole is actually bigger than the basement by about 1m all round so they have room to work so it will get smaller! You can see that they are laying a gravel filled French drain all round the back to collect the water that runs out of the clay in the thin layers of sand, but given the rain we have had the water is not at all bad. We have to say the contractors are absolutely brilliant - very pleased so far, but for them this is a relatively small hole - hate to think what a big one looks like! Now the big dig is done we can heave a sigh of relief because there were no 'nasties' underground to cause us unforeseen problems - one of the advantages of such a huge excavation - so we are technically 'out of the ground' (it might not look like that though) and past that big landmark moment. Its taken a lot to get to this point - its really good to know we are moving forward and been a long uphill struggle to this point - now we should coast downhill all the way!!! The Building Control Officer came out this week and brought a couple of his graduates (who like the BC Officer really loved the project which is really encouraging) as they dont get to see this kind of construction often (or ever before if I understood right!), probably because not many people are as insane as we are! He was really happy with the soil conditions and the works so we can proceed with the slab and he will be back when the steel is in and we are ready for the first pour. He is really helpful and supportive and a complete contrast to Planning (the less said here the better), we get the feeling his goal is the same as ours - a really great building. We had some discussion about a window from the garage/ workshop into the pool room - it needs to be fireproof as its between a garage and habitable space, and its also through the thermal envelope so it needs to be thermally efficient. Now these two requirements (FR 60 and PH) clash and we have struggled to find anything that does both (at any price). We batted about some options and he made some good suggestions to mitigate the problem. But in fact I think we will follow the Architect who said - its only a workshop and you can buy an awful lot of lights for the cost of a very special window! So artificial light in the workshop will be fine. We have also finalised the windows because a 12 week leadtime means they need to be in production in time for the TF. After much research / quotes and head scratching we selected Internorm for two main reasons - firstly they do a really neat integrated Juliet balcony that was proving very tricky for the SE and Architect and was going to be really expensive to do any other way (though the Internorm solution is expensive its really simple). Also we were going for wood/aluminium on both houses, but they do a PVC/aluminium range that is 15-20% cheaper, has the same external appearance and performance and looks really pretty neat on the inside in dark grey (not at all like your typical uPVC windows). So Plot 1 will go that way and this brings the cost down. The only concern is the quality of the fitting (we are assured that they now have this under control) - the quality of the windows is amazing. We just need to bottom out on front doors - any suggestions as the Internorm option was pricey. Also signed Nick (from Wales) up for M&E - looking forward to that and he does seem to be one of the few people who knows exactly how to integrate all the bits and pieces that come with PH levels of design. So that's it for another exciting week - hope you liked the videos atmospheric look as the digger appears out of the mist/rain at the beginning of the day - we worked so hard to achieve that effect. Seriously does anyone have any suggestions on how to solve the problem of overnight condensation on the camera? See https://www.dropbox.com/sh/th9f6e3cel5dm1q/AAAfsWdAH184J75bCNUUtzVra?dl=0 for the week by week video diary P.S. seem to have solved the battery problem for the TL camera by using Energiser Ultimate Lithium AA's - at least they do more than Duracell - appreciate the suggestion on external battery pack and will go for that if the Energisers dont prove to last long enough.
  5. 2 points
  6. 2 points
    Have your requests pointed out to them that as a vat registered entity actively collecting vat they have a legal obligation to provide properly formatted vat receipts and that you intend to inform hmrc that they are not in compliance with this.
  7. 2 points
    You are now entering the 'Why does a dog lick it ****s' territory. Because it can.
  8. 2 points
    Sounds like the hot water circuit might be gravity, how many pipes go to the multifuel? Or is the system "pumping over", with the pump forcing water out of the vent pipe and back into the F&E tank? Are there any other pumps, like beside the oil boiler? You might try as a first go, closing the valves on the hot radiators to force the flow to the others. Once you've flow to all than you can worry about balance...
  9. 2 points
    After getting some good advise on the forum (DON T DO IT!!! LEAVE IT TO THE PROS!!!) I decide to ignore that and buy some 2nd hand equipment on ebay. How hard can it be http://tintabernacle.blogspot.com/2019/10/setting-out.html?m=1 It wasn't. Just time consuming. At the end it always is a question of wether it is cheaper doing it yourself or if it actually would have saved £££ getting a pro in. My case for doing it myself (as much as possible) is the massive knowledge gain. Even if it turns out to be the same price than having someone doing it for you (which most of the time isn't the case), I wouldn't want to miss what I learned so far.
  10. 2 points
    A couple of pics
  11. 2 points
    I've drilled it out to 10.2mm (M12 tapping drill). It's a tad off centric but spins nice on a 10mm drill as the video clip shows: Video: Will try and get in the post Monday.
  12. 2 points
    If you look through his whole site it is very informative. I’ve seen one of his surveys and they make your average home buyers survey look like a comic. This bit is very true : Every damp problem has a specific cause, and it is usually easy to fix that cause - for example, faulty guttering, external ground levels too high, concrete / cement render trapping moisture on outside walls, and so on. Our survey will outline any problems, and suggest solutions, which never include injection damp proofing! The silane based chemicals can’t work the way they are described to, yet I’ve seen them suggested where wholly Inappropriate by bank and mortgage company surveyors that suggest you can “fix” damp into this way. As he says repeatedly, find the cause of then problem first ...
  13. 2 points
    That tank clearly has been sat around somewhere for a while before it got to you. Another vote for Bio-pure here!
  14. 2 points
    @Thedreamer The condition of that tank is just unbelievable. Lucky you had the where with all to inspect it like you did. We went for a Bio-pure and have had no problems whatsoever with it a year on [touch wood] We bought direct from webuildit-ltd.co.uk but I'm not sure as to their policy on deliveries to your part of the world.
  15. 2 points
    Re smoke alarms. I have gone overboard perhaps. SA in entrance hall, another in the main living room, SA in the utility room (my preference because of tumble dryer fires, I want to know if it is simmering) SA on landing, and another in my workshop the plant room above the garage. And in the Kitchen, AICO do a neat combined heat and CO alarm in one package (shame AICO don't to a matching combinerd smoke and CO alarm) None of this had to be presented as a special fire docment, it was just documented on the drawings where they all went (though I have fitted more than the drawings say)
  16. 2 points
    My build is 5 miles from Caldwell. When's it dark, it is very dark. Takes some getting used to - the boss told me she needs a light outside as can't see a damn thing sometimes. It's mega on clear nights though.
  17. 2 points
    The one thing I am looking forward to once our build is done. I remember lying on my back in the middle of the desert and staring at the wonder that is the galaxy we are part of
  18. 2 points
    Correct Peter if you have recently completed I’m sure you could make ten posts We thought that there would have been all sorts that where rejected In fact our claim was paid to the exact penny that was requested While there is plenty of info online The forum has condensed this into what is relevant to all of us Which makes it a laborious but easy task to claim one thing we did do was to make copy’s of all invoices This took longer than doing the claim request
  19. 2 points
    Here's the spreadsheet version of the VAT form (which is acceptable to HMRC): VAT Claim Form 431 - Blank - extra sheets added.xls
  20. 2 points
    The real problem here is that the methodology for determining cylinder heat loss uses a tapping cycle that is nothing like real-world use, if the cylinder is kept hot most of the time. As an example, I bought a 260 litre thermal store that had a stated heat loss of 1.8 kWh/24 hours. In reality, when run at 65°C, the measured heat loss was over 3.5 kWh/24 hours. That was with a double thickness sprayed foam insulation layer that I'd asked the manufacturer to add, which should have reduced the spec figure of 1.8 kWh/24 hours a bit. The heat loss was so great that our services room reached temperatures of around 40°C, and the inside face of the door leading to it cracked quite badly. I added an extra layer of insulation, by making up an octagonal box of PIR foam, which was foamed to the tank, with all the joints taped, and that reduced the loss to around 2.5 kWh/24 hours, but it still didn't meet the spec. Reducing the temperature to 55°C reduced the loss to around the spec figure. I can say from experience of having both a very well insulated thermal store and a Sunamp in the same location, doing the same job, that the real world heat losses from the Sunamp are far lower than those from the thermal store. The 9 - 10 kWh Sunamp UniQ we have has a stated heat loss of 0.738 kWh/24 hours, so less than 1/3rd of the measured heat loss we had from the "super insulated" thermal store, accepting that, at 210 litres equivalent capacity, it's a bit smaller. I doubt that any 210 litre UVC has a real world heat loss much below 1.5 kWh/24 hours, though, which still makes the Sunamp twice as efficient.
  21. 1 point
    Factory built house, all wood option, 16" thick walls..
  22. 1 point
    cos all being well -I will need to split cut granite blocks to re use them as an outer wall on new house --but no rush --just looking for things see no point in using 9"+ thick ones for cladding --but 4" will be fine and managable wright for me to work with and other halfs i can sell-- about 900sqm in the old building so for someone wanting to extend exsisting granite house or wants make a real statement ther must be a market for them
  23. 1 point
    Random pic off the web. Note how the black, tapered washer fits. The red fibre washer compresses the black one without turning it. Hand tight only as above:
  24. 1 point
    I hope not cos my project will be even bigger .Lol## but think you maybe a bit optimistic
  25. 1 point
    @Russell griffiths thanks, it's just for show, if I didn't make this overhand 300mm lower, the window on the right at the top, would have a skinny looking render area under it that wouldnt be in proportion @jamiehamy thanks very much for your suggestion 👍 I'll make up a frame like you suggested, I'd nearly prefer a metal frame in case the box ever sprung a leak, also one lad told me to have the same material under the thin coat render, as two different materials could cause cracks, expanding and contracting at different rates, I might try boxing out that frame with insulation.. To have the exterior rendered surface all the same.. Thanks for your suggestion
  26. 1 point
  27. 1 point
    I had a huge amount of rebar in my 90m2 raft. Two layers of A393 mesh, perimeter cages and lateral cages criss crossing the middle. Steel cost £2.2k Rebar for the ICF house on top was only used above window and door openings. £200 Amount of rebar varies depending on brand of ICF I believe.
  28. 1 point
    Just shows you have to be on the ball and inspect stuff when it arrives, if that fails x years down the road you would be stuffed, I installed a Vortex and very pleased with it.
  29. 1 point
    Lead all day long The alternatives are cheaper But won’t last as long
  30. 1 point
    And it’s way easier if you prepare everything for the eventual VAT claim as you go along. Saves a lot of time at the end and helps with the discipline of checking everything is ok from the get go as invoicing errors / queries are much easier to deal with when they happen than a year or more down the line. I used to use the early evening on a Sunday night to keep all the accounts and budgeting up to date. Paid off when I came to claim.
  31. 1 point
    Not my favorite job🤣 we actually used stainless nails. We have a few clips left (normal and sliding) so if you need a few to finish of give me a shout (not looking to offload as will use them on next build but may just help you out finishing of job)
  32. 1 point
    Looks great - It's a fantastic feeling when you can go in and out without the trail of mud & grit !
  33. 1 point
    This and some double sided tape. if you’re going to attach one to SWMBO then be careful where you stick it. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07CNZR2Q3/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_bIxQDbNGJZTRF
  34. 1 point
    @Alexphd1 can you explain your reasoning for putting your roofing felt on in vertical strips rather than doing the whole roof first and laying it in horizontal formation starting at the bottom so that your overlaps will prevent water ingress should there be a leak. I am sure you are following proper guidelines but I have never seen it done like this. Thanks.
  35. 1 point
    Well done Moria, you must feel proud of that 👍
  36. 1 point
    Moira, thats a picture. You must be very pleased. Hard work a bit of courage and determination has its rewards....
  37. 1 point
    Looks good. Lot of area. What did you pay for the crates?
  38. 1 point
    I can see how this bloke's neighbours might have complained and the council coming down on him: https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=1469925
  39. 1 point
    I agree with all this except for one thing: we have no idea what the builder is actually thinking. He may well be on target to deliver exactly what Zoothorn hoped for and drew, and quite possibly would be stunned that such a straightforward job (from his point of view) has run to 11 pages of discussion on a website before a block has been laid. At the moment, it could be as bad as @zoothorn is worrying about, but from my perspective that worry is based entirely on speculation. I think that unless and until some form of communication with the builder takes place, talk of being stuck with the wrong outcome, or falling out with the builder, or firing the builder (etc, etc) are all premature.
  40. 1 point
    Mr Cheap Seats here. Graft this to a similarly cheap, battery powered, wireless doorbell. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wireless-Indicator-Detector-Pressure-Resistant/dp/B07Q61M64H/ref=asc_df_B07Q61M64H/?
  41. 1 point
    Understandable. I claimed a couple of extra items in error (receipts had claimable and non-claimable items), they spotted and just adjusted the claim. I got a strongly worded letter about it but that was it.
  42. 1 point
    I used guttercrest looks the absolute dogs. Cheaper than that horrible lindab stuff.
  43. 1 point
    I haven't installed a thermometer in my larder so can't give any detail (yet). We aren't living in the house (yet). But we are using the larder for some food stuffs, wine and storage for other stuff and it is significantly cooler than the house. It was delightfully cool during the brief heat wave in Aug. Ours is insulated but not heavily. Had a top vent and bottom vent to the outside. Is on a separate slab so no underfloor heating contamination via the slab. Has a passive door between it and the kitchen. It doesn't feel damp in there, but it is cool. And the key is it is north facing and literally never sees any sunshine. It is also under trees. I reckon its going to be brilliant. And exactly what I was aiming for. And a thermometer is on my Christmas list so will report progress.
  44. 1 point
    In the video there is water coming in the top of the door. That's somewhat unusual as normally the roof overhang or gutters shelter the very top of the door to some extent. Part of the problem is that the door opens outwards so the seal probably mates against the inside of the door or wipes against the top of the door. On inward opening doors the seal can mate against the outer face of the door. Check for any gap between door and seal at tge top and fix that by raising the door if its sagged a bit. In addition I recommend fitting a weather bar with drip groove above the door to divert any rain outboard and to shelter the gap at the top of the door. This should be the width of the opening in the wall eg wider than the door. Edit to add this sketch of what I think is happening..
  45. 1 point
    You could always support Chelsea Getting out of London too, can't wait!!!
  46. 1 point
    Got a quote online yesterday.... £1500 for 18months. They did ask me a load of extra questions as I've demolition, deep excavation, retaining wall and basement. They won't cover the demolition unfortunately.
  47. 1 point
    I’m only supplying them, they’re going to fit them. Every Pound counts, as the budget is tight.
  48. 1 point
    I’ve drawn this. Think it’s ok based on what I can find online etc. not included makeup of wall just the timber. single skin wall on top of footing with baseplate fixed above dpc. From the bottom. 150mm blinded rubble or type 1 compacted, 1200 dpm, 75mm rigid insulation, vapour control layer, 100mm concrete, 50mm screed. Insulation around edge of slab 50mm thick.
  49. 1 point
    We are just commencing our second self-build (started onsite last week). In both cases we have used Architects and in both cases have been very happy with the results. We have outlined how in both case we selected and worked with our architect which we hope will assist other people starting out on their self build journey. 1) Start thinking about which architect you are going to use when you start looking for land and not when you have found land. 2) Draw out a requirements list. My approach is to provide a brief / framework for the architect to interpret rather than prescriptively dictating to the last detail. Requirements should be no more than 2 pages. By making the requirements generic, you can apply them to most plots of land. Include in the requirements why you are building as well (develop and sell, house for life etc) 3) Checkout your architects previous designs. There is likely to be a common design pattern and if that is way off what you want then maybe the architect isn't for you. Also go and see a couple of houses - just viewing from the outside can tell you a lot. 4) If you see a plot that is a potential candidate, email architects on your shortlist for feedback. Most architects will provide feedback for free within reason and the reply will help you to decide if the architect is thinking along the same lines as you. Also, meet with your architect before you engage formally to check that they are a person that you can work with. 5) Be completely upfront with the architect about your budget, put it in your requirements list and be very clear what that budget includes and doesn't include. 6) Be completely upfront with your architect about their fees. Fees based on a %age of the build cost are OK as long as the build cost used is your budget for the build at the outset (fixed) rather than the actual build cost (variable). 7) Good architects are in high demand and don't need to advertise so you will need to research (a lot) and do your legwork. Be prepared for the fact that you might need to wait for the architect you want to become available. 8. Check whether the architect has any experience in the build method you want to adopt and the energy standards that you want to achieve. Find out what the build costs have been on recent build projects and how these compared to budgeted costs . 9) Check with the relevant boards that any claimed registrations are correct. 10) Fees may seem expensive, but for the amount of work that goes into a design I have always felt I got good value for money. In the context of the cost of the project it is a small percentage much of which can be quite easily recouped with a little restraint on the fixtures and fittings. 11) If you use an architect local to the build, it is more likely that he will be able to advise on securing good contractors based on experience of previous builds. My architect has more than recouped his fee by drawing up an attractive house that is straightforward to build. Insulation is what we need to get to passivhaus but no more and the size of the house is what we can build to meet our budget (based on his previous build costs) and requirements. Listed below are the requirements we drew up which may assist others going through a similar exercise: Build Budget: £325K (House, Garage) excludes landscaping, external works and professional fees. The Plot There were a large number of objections to the development from residents but planning permission was granted on appeal. Plot width is around 16.7m. Plot length is 44m. Electricity, Water and mains sewerage (but not gas) available at the plot boundary. Functions of the Building Home for ourselves and the dog. Enough room for friends, grown-up children to stay and family get-togethers. Building a house for life as we can’t get what we like on the open market. We love cooking and the outdoors, so it should support that. Combine open plan living combined with a segregated quiet room downstairs Provide a comfortable and healthy interior environment with a stable temperature and no drafts. Design Direction and Requirements Good natural light to rooms is really important with dual aspect windows in as many rooms as possible but not too keen on huge oversized windows that require complex and expensive shading solutions Designed to Passivhaus standards in a cost-effective manner but don’t over-rely on technology that has high cost to install and maintain. Downstairs Open plan kitchen, dining room and seating area Utility room (able to dry clothes in using pulley) Lounge Small Study if possible WC / Washbasin Good Storage – larder cupboard, cloakroom and cupboard for cleaning utensils Somewhere to sort out a muddy dog and muddy boots (A covered porch with a stone floor and bench maybe). Sliding doors or similar out to the garden from the sitting area. Bottom of kitchen window to be level with the kitchen worktop. Back door into the utility room No large step into front or back door WC away from front door if possible Upstairs 3 to 4 double bedrooms. Small study if not room downstairs (or 4th bedroom) Built in wardrobes Cathedral ceiling. Master bedroom should be able to comfortably take a king size be. En-suite in master. Separate shower in bathroom. General Heating / DHW – no mains gas. Solar PV with a diverter? ASHP (noise?) Consideration given to some acoustic insulation between rooms and between downstairs / upstairs. Doesn’t need to be completely soundproof however. LED lighting throughout and up the staircase Point for charging electric car. Ability to use battery storage in the future should it become more cost-effective. No requirement for chimney or wood burning stove. Agnostic about whether the garage is attached or detached, but should have storage for bikes and a little workshop area. Could be modified for easy access upstairs in the future (Straight staircase maybe). Point for charging electric car. Low maintenance exterior for windows and wall facings. House to have a more contemporary feel inside. Outside to tie in with planning / design code. Window frames recessed into the openings. Other Stuff Recess in shower wall for soap etc. Built in bookcases Lots of sockets Sockets in cupboards for charging hoover etc. Room in utility room for dog crate Built in water filter Water softener Lighting on dimmers with switches that gradually turn LED lights on so they don’t blow. Good outdoor lighting (pathways) Outdoor power point / tap Phone point in every room
  50. 1 point
    @Redoctober The material we have around the site is called 'Rotten Rock' it breakdowns and settles to form a very compact surface. When the storage container goes off the site we will take the material around the front and bring up the level up to whatever the gap required is between the ground and DPC. Therefore keeping the ramp height to a minimum. We are going a bit against the norm here with the suspended timber floor and no underfloor heating, but I'm hoping that when insulated the floor will feel warmer than a slab with no underfloor heating and realistically this will probably be sufficient but for all of the very coldest days, which being on the west coast are pretty rare.
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