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  1. 16 points
    So last blog had seen me doing my first icf pour, and it was a proper baptism of fire, 3 blokes running around trying to do 4 mens jobs bloody nightmare. So next stage was to get some scaffolding up and build up the next bit, I decided to buy some scaffolding as I’m building this myself I knew it would be a long term project and renting scaffolding was going to be a complete non starter, so 4 grand later I own a load of scaffolding. As usual the walls flew up fairly quickly, until you get to a gable or a window so for some unknown reason when I designed this place it ended up with 7 gables with 2 different pitches and 17 windows. That really slowed things down a bit. from what we learnt on the last pour we knew we needed to add a bit of bracing around the windows So it all got a bit messy looking with random bits of ply every then it decided to snow so I had to bring out one of my all time favourite sayings. IN CASE OF RAIN OR SNOW TO THE PUB YOU MUST GO. So for the next couple of days not a lot happened. With icf you can fit additional structural parts as you go up even if you don’t need them yet, as when you cast the concrete core it locks in any fixings you have in place, one of these things was our roof support timbers or pole plates, these where fixed to the face of the blocks with temporary screws and anchor bolts poked into the hollow core ready for the concrete to encase them. if you look at that long timber halfway up the wall that’s our poleplate for that side of the house, all bolts are in place and restraint straps embedded into the inside of the blocks ready for concrete. Above the pole plate you can see a funny wooden box, this is shuttering to form a cantilevered beam that supports the roof, there are 6 of these in total with the longest sticking out 1900mm from the main structure, so lots more reinforcement in these and then ready for concrete. The second concrete pour went without a hint of any trouble, and we even pushed the boundaries of sensibility a few times by pouring the concrete to a depth not recommended in 1 pass without a hitch, this sounds like a recipe for disaster but we had little choice, let me explain. It is recomended that you pour aprox 1-1 1/2 courses at a time in a single pass, so starting in the middle of a wall go all the way around the house up to your 1.5 block depth or 600mm aprox, you then go around again starting at the same place this gives the concrete just enough time to just start curing very slightly, this will Norma get you to a point of having an empty truck, perfect it gives you chance to vibrate anything you need to and have a quick cuppa, then the second truck turns up and you go around again, 2 trucks of concrete or 15m and your up 3/4 of your first pour, and then so on. Well with our second pour it didn’t work like that, as we had lots of windows and funny gables the actual concrete amount was fairly small 11m but with that 11m of concrete we had to lift 5 courses of blocks, so 2 passes around the perimeter of the house meant we had to come up 2.5 courses at a time, which was a bit bum twitchy but was perfect it worked a treat. one of the beams after the last pour. feeling rather smug.
  2. 14 points
    And so almost another month has gone by but progress is still being made on the build and, just as importantly, hubby and I got away for a week's holiday in northern France just as the warm weather hit. After our abject failure at R&R over Christmas, it was wonderful to have a really relaxing break without illness or stress and come back refreshed for the final push on the build, which is just as well as there's a busy time to be had over the coming weeks. In the last blog entry, I detailed some of the painting and kitchen fitting that had been going on and there's been more of this recently. I've been getting the colour coats onto the walls upstairs but haven't managed to complete a room yet apart from the kitchen, but I'm generally pleased with the neutral colour choice. I say generally, though, because in the lounge, the different light in there makes the wall colour bring out the warm tones of the internal window frame finish which makes them look a slightly odd peach colour. It's not awful and I'm not going to change it now, but if we ever redecorate (hah!) it will be something I check before committing. For the more vertiginously challenged amongst you, you may wish to look away now, as here's a view from the top of my internal scaffold tower when I was putting the colour coat on up to the vaulted ceiling above the gable window in the guest bedroom. And here are the colour choices. The purple will be on one wall only. It looks a bit garish at the moment but once the room has its furniture and soft furnishings in, it should tone well and add a bit of life to the room. Cutting in and painting up to the high vault was a bit of a challenge, but I got there. I really didn't want to get any colour spatter onto the white ceiling so opted to use paint pads rather than a roller and I was pleased with the outcome. They give a good finish over the sprayed mist coat and are far less physically demanding than a roller. I was painting upstairs as the flooring guys were in downstairs putting in the karndean (same choice as upstairs) and it kept me productive but out of the way. Given all the work that went into making the dropped section of the ceiling in the lounge area, I wanted the floor to echo this but not in too obvious a fashion and so the team took a laser reference from the inner square of the lounge feature and reversed the direction of the planks, using a feature strip to create a subtle border. First, though, they had to screed the floor with a latex self levelling compound. In preparation for this, I needed to turn off the UFH a few days before they arrived to make sure the screed didn't go off too quickly due to the heat of the slab. I turned it off on a Friday afternoon and they started work on the following Tuesday and it was just about perfect. Once the screed was down, the floor was scraped to make sure it was completely level and then primed. After the priming, the planks were put down. Here is the snug - I went in the weekend before the flooring guys arrived to get the mist coats and ceiling painted as it's far easier to do when you only have to mask the windows and not worry about any other area. Here's the long view of the kitchen/lounge area: And here's a close up of the feature border underneath the ceiling feature: Moving on from the flooring and painting, my joiner, Harry has been busy at work on the kitchen. In particular, he was working on the large walnut work surface for the island. I decided months ago that I wanted solid walnut for the island but then, as I'm sure happens to many, I had a last minute dither and started looking at other materials instead. In the end, I decided that granite or other stones really didn't give the colour tones that I wanted and laminates weren't wide enough. I sourced the walnut from Worktop Express as they were very competitively priced for what I wanted, and delivery was quick. I looked at using their online template service, but it was just too tricky to get the different profiles right and, in the end, decided to get Harry to make up the island top on site. It was absolutely the right choice as he's done a lovely job on it. Here's a photo of the finished top with the induction hob surface mounted into it. A word on the hob. You can recess the work surface so that the hob is flush, but I preferred it to be surface mounted, sitting proud of the walnut, purely from a cleaning point of view and so I don't have to spend ages digging out crumbs and bits of food debris from around a flush recess. These are the two worktops as they arrived from the supplier, waiting to be joined together. Harry routed along their length, used a biscuit join and then glued and clamped. The worktops being clamped. They look and, indeed, are lighter in shade than the first photo as they come treated with one coat of Danish oil. Harry put a further two coats on once he had sanded the finished surface. The area where there appears to be a base unit missing and where the surface projects beyond is intended as a breakfast bar area. There will be a supporting leg on the near right hand corner. Because the kitchen and island are large, I didn't want anything to be too matchy-matchy and wanted to break up any monotonous areas. Also, I didn't fancy walnut as the worksurface leading off the sink as I think that's asking for trouble in the long run. So, I went hunting through laminate choices. Way back when I was first considering the kitchen, I had been thinking about using large format tiles with a metallic type finish as the splashback, but it was proving to be a gruelling and not very fruitful search. When I eventually revisited this part of the kitchen a couple of months ago, I came across some laminates with exactly that type of finish, nice long runs (I need a 4m run for the back work surface) and with matching splashbacks. I also wanted to line the recessed area under the island with the same material to make it more durable and give a contrast in materials and textures. I sourced the laminates from a firm called Rearo and dealt with their Newport branch. They were lovely to deal with and very helpful. Here's the splashback applied to the breakfast bar recess. Harry beefed it up and packed it out with some ply and then put the laminate edging onto the ends to give a substantial look. Whilst we were away on holiday, my splendid general builder and neighbour, Drew, got on with putting the rainwater goods up. I'd ordered in soffits and fascias from Fascia.com as they had the width I needed in anthracite grey to match the slates and windows, as well as vented soffits, which save a lot of bother and look much neater. The guttering is all deepflow and was mounted onto black fascia board. I looked at other colours of guttering, but none of them were quite right and black guttering is so ubiquitous that the eye kind of slides past it. Having it mounted on the fascia board also reduces the visual impact of the brackets that can look a bit clunky. Whilst he was up there, Drew also mounted our swift boxes and bat boxes. We were required as part of our bat licence conditions to put a bat box somewhere on site, but this is something that we had planned to do all along. Also, there has been a dramatic loss of habitat for swifts that migrate to the UK to breed in the summer and we wanted to make provision for these too, in the hope that we're lucky enough to attract them to our site. These fabulous birds migrate 6,000 miles to reach their summer breeding grounds and are the fastest birds in level flight. Once they have fledged, the only time they ever land again is to sleep and recover from their migration flight and to feed their young. They are the most fabulous birds and I would urge anyone to make provision for them wherever possible. If anyone wants details of where to buy some brilliant swift boxes, PM me and I'll send you the details. Here are the boxes, all sited on the western corner of the north facing wall. Finally, today marked a milestone in the house progress - the scaffolding is coming down. Our foul and surface water drainage works start on Wednesday and the site needs to be clear to allow access for that. Any remaining work at height can be done from ladders apart from the cladding, but I will hire a separate mobile tower of some sort for that work once I've had a chance to identify what will be most suitable. The stone cladding arrived a couple of weeks ago, ready to go up once the drainage work is done, more details of which will follow in the next post. Here's the south face gradually being revealed. The crates to the right of the picture are the stone cladding. Here's the east face slowly coming into view. And another view of the same. Work planned for this week is more plastering, more painting (if I get the chance as I'm the plasterer's labourer this week), groundworks and starting to move some young trees to the site that we've been nursing in pots at home for 12 months. Next week, the en-suite bathroom will be started, the kitchen finished and the utility room kitted out. Plenty to do yet. TTFN.
  3. 8 points
    If plasterers were musicians, mine would be Elvis (except my plasterer is still alive, obvs!) or some arena-filling brain-melting rock god, because that's how good his plastering is. Just ask Nick - he's been trying to coax him away for the last 3 weeks and he's had to accept failure as he doesn't travel (far). Anyhow, Ian the Plasterer has now left the building apart from a teensy last bit in the hallway that can't be done until the new stairs arrive, so 99% there. The week just gone saw the most challenging part of the plastering, which was the drop down the stairwell and the box section along the floor/upper ceiling run, which isn't one for a person with the slightest touch of vertigo. To get this done, the temporary staircase had to be removed and a compact but tall scaffold hired in to allow access. A youngman board was run across from the landing to the scaffold stage so that the width of the area could be accessed. As the last of the plasterboard was going up, we packed in as many of those pesky offcuts as we possibly could as this was our last chance to dispose of this within the walls of the house. It looked like some random form of plasterboard modern art as it was going up. Clearly, you can see that the stairs have been removed. Also moved temporarily was the UFH manifold that's been sitting comfortably under the stairs, as we didn't want any damage to come to that whilst Ian the Plasterer was doing his thing. Here's a not very good shot of the boarded stairwell and a peek at the edge of the PB lifter putting the board onto the hallway ceiling. The stairs are now on the floor in the lounge. Whether they will return to their original position depends on how long the permanent staircase takes to arrive, which is unknown right now as I need to have a chat with a couple of people about a couple of things, but I should be ordering it early next week. In the meantime, here's the stairway to nowhere. Back to the plastering, things are looking very different now that it's all done and drying out. The building instantly feels more solid and less like a construction site. The utility room is all done now and I intend to get in there next week with Jeremy's trust paint sprayer and then emulsion. There isn't that much going in the way of units going into the utility - just 4 in total. It will house a fridge, freezer and washing machine, then the units will continue along the same wall and have a work surface running above them. I've deliberately kept it less full as it's useful to have some empty space for all the things that fill up dumping grounds voids that most households naturally have. This is the other end of the utility, going through to the garage. Lying on the utility floor there, you can see my Howdens primed MDF doors, which are destined for upstairs and one between the utility and the main house. I hope to get started on painting these soon. The doors for most of the downstairs are currently in production over in the Netherlands, due to arrive around the 5th April, and these will be fully finished so no need to paint or anything, just add hardware and hang. After some research and a little back and forth, it turns out that the Netherlands is a great place to go for over-height doors. This is because what we consider to be over-height is entirely standard to them and you can get pretty much any size up to 2300 with no bother at all. Very handy for those large doorways of mine downstairs. We've planned to have low level lights in the hallway for some time now and Nick suggested ones that can be put in flush with the plasterboard and then plastered in. It sounded like a good idea so I ordered them and they arrived a few days later. Cue panic on my part as they appeared enormous and were way deeper than I was expecting. I had to measure them several times and be convinced that they wouldn't come out of the wall behind them. As it was, only a screwdriver point did that. The lights weigh a tonne - they are moulded plaster of Paris and very odd looking things, but look good once they go in. Here's the side view of the light that needs to be lost in the cavity of the stud wall. What a whopper! And here they are once they've been plastered in. Finishing off on the plastering, here's a view of the bottom part of the scaffold tower that I've hired for the occasion. Even though the stairwell is plastered, I've kept the tower as I need to paint the stairwell and the prep for this means masking the long window, so I need the extra height for this. Ian the Plasterer was cursing the weather that day as the sun was beating in and that long window faces almost due south. He was bemoaning the fact that you could see every single ripple in the plasterboard and even the slightest imperfection stuck out like a sore thumb. Overly critical of his own work as he is, he was very relieved when it was pointed out to him that there will be a brise soleil in front of that window eventually, which will smooth out his ripples in a jiffy. The last bit of plastering is a slight change of plan in the bathroom. Originally, the slanted wall opposite the door was going to be tiled all the way to the top and the MVHR extract hidden with a false panel covered by a tile. After some discussion, it was decided that this would look horrible as the side walls are only going to be tiled part way up. We still needed a work around for where the wall protrudes to house the cistern for the wall mounted loo and decided that continuing the theme of niches in the bathroom, a large portrait-style one above the loo would look good. I suggested that the MVHR outlet could then come down via the 'ceiling' of the niche, but Nick went one better and it will come out on the right hand side of the niche wall, above the bath, and so be virtually invisible. As ever, a sharp bit of plastering from Ian. Plenty more has been going on inside, but let's step outside for a breath of air as it was busy there, too. The next set of groundworks have started. These comprise the surface water and foul water drainage, the driveway between the garage and the lane and the hard standing to the side of the garage. In addition, the surface water will now all be diverted to the pond, which overcomes the potential issue of how to deal with this on our heavy clay site. I've swapped groundworkers for this stage of the works. Sadly, my previous groundworker came through with a ridiculously inflated quote for the drainage work and as I already had another firm waiting in the wings as I have to install a dropped curb between my drive and the lane, I decided to use them for all the work as they were far more reasonable. I'm afraid there are no thrilling photos of the groundworks as it looks very similar to how the site has looked since the onset of winter - wet and boggy, with a few trenches here and there. However, I'm delighted that the drainage works are progressing, albeit with being called off for a few days due to the awful storms we've been having, as it means that as soon as they are done we can press on with the cladding and get the building properly watertight. As well as the groundworks, the balustrades for the balconies started going in last week. The east balcony is completed and the supports and railings are in on the west with the glass to follow shortly. There was a problem with a couple of panels not being the right size so I'm waiting on those, then the guys will be back to finish the installation. When I first ordered the balustrade, I had a minor panic shortly afterwards. I had requested that all the metal work should be powder coated in RAL 7016 to match the windows and be close to the colour of the slate. The panic was due to my wondering whether I should have gone for brushed steel or something a bit brighter. Come the day, however, the darker shade of anthracite grey was the right choice as it blends seamlessly with the windows and slate cladding on the upper storey, so much so that standing in the lane, the railings disappear and only the glass is obvious. Phew! Here's the balustrade viewed from the balcony. The same from the top of a pile of wood chippings in what will be the garden: And, finally, from the lane. The building looks very austere at the moment, but once the stone cladding goes on, it will be transformed again. It's a bit chilly outside, so let's go back indoors. Work has been continuing on the kitchen and the laminate worktop is in situ now, as well as the sink. Photos on that to follow next week once the clamps are off. I had been pondering the support post for the overhang on the island worksurface, and how to overcome my dislike for most of the ready made options out there. I really didn't want a metal post as it would look incongruous against everything else in the kitchen and so in one of those late night flashes of inspiration that occasionally come along, I decided to ask Harry the Carpenter to clad some timber with the laminate splashback to make a post that matched the underside of the breakfast bar part of the island. Harry did his thing, and I'm pleased with the result. Much as with the balustrade against the slates, it largely disappears into the background of the recess under the walnut worktop. I've been busy sanding and painting and all things decorating. The snug has now had its 2 coats of vinyl emulsion and I'm working my way through the prep for painting my ready-primed MDF skirting and architrave. I hate prep. Tedious, boring, and there's no way to get out of it. However, it will be worth it once all the 'woodwork' is all white and pristine. One thing that has become apparent since I painted the snug is the difference a paint base makes. The neutral colour that I'm using everywhere is called Borrowash, from Brewer's Albany paint range. In the snug and low traffic areas, I'm using standard vinyl emulsion but for the hallway and lounge, I'm using durable vinyl. All in the same shade, just a different base. So what, you may ask. Well, here's the thing. They come out different colours. I chose the colour on the basis of the standard vinyl - this is how it appears in the colour chart and sample pots, and it's a warm grey/beige, more beige than grey. The durable version, however, is much cooler and more grey than beige. I painted the lounge first with the durable stuff and a little while back did one of the bedrooms with the standard emulsion. I commented at the time how the light made them appear to be different colours except, as I now know, they really are different. It's not a problem as I like them both and they aren't next to each other in the same room, but it's worth bearing in mind if you plan to use the same colour in different bases. Here's the snug all painted up, looking out to the hallway. And another of the same. Finally, as I started the blog with Elvis, it seems appropriate to finish it with a bit of a light show. Team Blackmore worked hard on the ceiling feature in the lounge but up until now, it's been uncertain just how well (or not) it would work out with lights. Nick, the little devil, couldn't bear to wait any longer and so one evening last week, he temporarily rigged up some LED strip lights on the feature. All I can say is that Team Blackmore had a smile on its face when it saw this. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the ceiling lights. p.s. I was on site to do a clean up today whilst it was nice and quiet there. There had been plenty of cursing during the week as Nick started to tackle the en suite shower for the master bedroom. Foul things were coming out of both ends of him the day after his curry night and the recalcitrant shower wasn't doing much to improve his mood. I noticed this today, written on a piece of board in the base of the shower recess.
  4. 8 points
    Most of the internal work to date has focused on insulating the suspended timber floor and with this completed our joiners could come back and put down the sub floor. We considered two different materials for the subfloor: 22mm OSB or 22mm Chipboard. We decided to use chipboard as it was 25% cheaper then OSB. Plywood would have been another option but this would have been more expensive than the chipboard as well. To do this job we needed just over hundred sheets of chipboard, 2800 Spax screws and 6 bottles of expanding PU foam glue. Whilst our joiners were on site they also attached some ply and osb boards to the internal load bearing walls. This will provide additional racking strength to the house. As I can walk around all part of the house here are some photos: The porch and utility room The kitchen/dining room Living room which has a part vaulted ceiling and the eventually the French doors will lead onto a decked area. When this is framed it will be a bathroom, hall & stairs Master bedroom and en-suite And upstairs: Two bedrooms on the gable ends. A key feature of these rooms is a PK10 top hung velux. The middle sections between the gable bedrooms will be a wardrobe, WC and a storage cupboard. This area has three PK10 veluxs. Having a floor down feels like a big step forward for us. One of the benefits for me is that I now have space to store materials within the house, as previously it was very awkward as often these had to be shifted around numerous times to complete a single job. The next job is back to insulating, this time in the rafters.
  5. 6 points
    Having originally planned then dropped the idea of Solar PV (a combination of budget constraints and drop in FiT rates) I recently acquired a number of Solar PV panels (a pallet bought in conjunction with @ProDave from Bimble Solar via Ebay). Having recently collected the panels, lengths of mounting rail and various other bits and bobs @ProDave had kindly sourced, I fitted the system over the last two Saturdays. First off was mounting the rails on my rear, SW facing garage wall. I decided to mount the panels vertically simply for ease - a ready made structure to fix the rails to, and easy access to a consumer unit for the grid connection. There is a penalty in terms of a reduction in annual generation compared to a sloped array, however simplicity won out. The following picture shows the garage wall with rails fixed; To start I nailed packers to the cladding to ensure I had a drainage gap behind the rails. I then fixed the rails (Unistrut - a tip from @Onoff) through the cladding, cladding battens into the timber frame of the garage using timber drive bolts I happened to have. As the lengths of Unistrut I had were offcuts (only way I could transport them) I used joiners secured to the channel with bolts/channel nuts. Finally, I added hanging brackets for each panels to help carry the weight of each panel / so I wasn't reliant purely on bolts clamping the panels in position. I fitted the panels, sitting them on the hanging bracket and bolting them around 300mm from top and bottom as pictured; The ends were secured using Z brackets I cut down using a grinder (thanks @JSHarris) so that they clamped only the frame and did not overhang the panel itself; Long M6 bolts with large washers were used to secure the panels into the rails where they met with each other; The channel nuts (also known as Zebedees) into which the long M6 bolts were secured; I used M8 bolts and channel nuts for the joiners, end and hanging brackets. My electrician connected the system up, wiring the panels to a DC isolator, into the Inverter which in turn is wired into the garage CU via a meter and AC isolator. 2 hours work for him. Switched on, the Inverter ran through all its self tests and everything okay. Sadly at that point it clouded over and the heavens opened so only a few watts being generated. Fortunately, today has been a bright and sunny day (albeit a bit hazy) and my 1.5 kWp system is as we speak, generating 1.2kW. The following shot was taken yesterday just before the rain came on, but all in all, I'm pleased with the way it looks (panels mounted so they read visually with house windows). Cost wise the system (1.5kWp plus a spare panel), mounting rails, nuts, bolts, brackets, isolators, meter and electrician (@Prodave was kind enough to give me the DC cable he had left over which was just enough for the job) total £550. I already had the inverter. Final job within the next 28 days is to notify the DNO of the installation.
  6. 6 points
    Bang on schedule the raft components arrived on Monday morning. We knew it would be quite a big volume of material on a small site and getting it unloaded and put somewhere it would not get damaged or need moving was s little tricky. JUB insisted on sending the raft on pallets. Our builder was not that impressed with this as unloading the lory requires a folk lift which is something we don't have on site. So we had to hire a set of folks for the digger. With the raft safely stored at the back of the plot the work to prepare the site progressed. The drainage had been marked in the site setting out exercise along with electrical and water ducting. Trying to keep raft punctures to a minimum but also allow for future needs was a concern. In the end we kept it to a minimum with electrical conduit for the rain and foul water pumps and two for water. Along with the raft we received a letter from our neighbours complaining that I had put our water meter box on their garden wall. In retrospect a valid complaint, it was one of those decisions made in expediency without enough thought. Our water supplier Portsmouth Water will now only make new connection when an above ground water meter box is installed. I duly bought the one box they permit (so much for choice), water pipe and water conduit. Not having a house on which to mount the box, I made the required connections and left the box mobile so it could be put in place in due course. At which point I called in the Portsmouth Water, regrettably they said they could not make the connection until the box was in situ. Having explained our situation and the need to get water on the site it was suggested I could mount the box on the wall by our property. At this stage I should have thought about it rather than simply get on with it, my mistake entirely. The wall it outside my boundary, by millimetres true , but still NOT ours. Our neighbours were not impressed so Monday was spent moving the box and apologising to my neighbours. I shuttered and cast concrete into the wall footings and backfilled with type 1 MOT to repair the wall. Having done this I then putting in two concrete posts 200mm inside our boundary and mounting the water meter box on them. This is what I should have done in the first place. Slightly different subject, the Groundbreaker Water box, this is the only box that Portsmouth Water will connect to. At around the £150 mark it's a pretty hideous piece of kit both aesthetically and in product design terms for installation. Given their current monopoly and the fact that all new connections will require one it made me consider looking into producing an alternative. A swift kicking from the boss and I was reminded to get on with the house...maybe later once the house is done. . With the drainage in place the MOT type 1 sub base was spread over the raft area, levelled and compacted. Our builders ICF-homes did this with considerable care and we ended up with a good surface to spread the sand layer which was again compacted before putting down the membrane. Our structural engineers had specified a Radon barrier, we ended up using a standard plastic DPM as Radon is not a problem in our area. The DPM gets glued to the side of the raft sealing it and providing some additional protection for the polystyrene. . With the membrane down the work of setting out the raft. The perimeter is all keyed together It took a while to get the corners located precisely but once this was done the raft slotted together very well with a really solid interlock. The raft was then completed by adding the rebar, four layers around the perimeter. All in all a lot of steel, Pat and I spent most of Saturday morning helping get the rebar in place and wire tying it to make is solid before the concrete pour. Our raft is now complete and this week the surface water drainage will go in. Along with the problem with the water meter box our neighbours also bought up the "Party Wall act". Doing a self build is nothing if not educational. The act came into law following problems with basement excavations in London. It dictates that excavations in close proximity to your neighbours 0-6M have to be notified and agreed. In our case we were within notifiable distance, but fortunately were not excavating to a notifiable depth. Our builders were not familiar with the act and no mention had been made by building controls. The act did effect our other neighbours and I contacted them letting them know what work has been done. Fortunately all the excavations were made and backfilled without incident. Hoping for a less eventful week to allow us to regroup before our first block delivery next Monday. As this is the first build for JUB in the UK the factory are sending someone on site to assist with the build and wall bracing. It's very positive to see the house taking shape, we have our EPC which suggests we should require in the region of 68wats/K to heat the house which is great, but we still only come out as a "B" energy rating! the rating system is bonkers.
  7. 6 points
    One of my favourite jobs when it's going well. I even used up the scraps to gain some brownie points when I was doing my step flashings.
  8. 5 points
    We have been living in the house for almost a year now, how time flies. The Genvex Combi 185LS has performed really well, providing hot water and supplementary space heating. The MVHR system is part of Genvex Combi 185LS. One advantage of the Genvex ventilation system is that having an EASHP built in means that the supply air temperature is always slightly above room temperature even if it is not in heating mode. A standard MVHR unit would deliver air at a few degrees below room temperature, hence feeling cool, unless a post heater were fitted. I recently realised I had forgotten to write up the process we went through when setting up the ventilation. When we commissioned the ventilation system we set it up for the building regulations rates which were quite high. After the house had been signed off we changed the air flow rates to Passivhaus levels. The Genvex has four ventilation levels and the speed of the supply and extract fans can be altered for each level making it relatively easy to balance the system. To set the flow rates I used a Testo 405i anemometer fitted into a piece of flared ducting held over the supply or extract valve. The Testo 405i has a bluetooth link to a portable device running an app which stores and outputs the results. This makes the process much easier than having to write down results each time. I created a table of room volumes along with Passivhaus air change rates and from that calculated the flow rate and hence flow velocity. I then adjusted each of the room valves for the extract side starting with the room closest to the Genvex unit and then the next room further away until all the rooms were finished. This process was then repeated along with adjusting the fan speed until the required flow velocities were correctly set up for each room. This was then carried out for the supply side. We found that the set up procedure was very sensitive to wind speed, so we carried out the commissioning on a calm day.
  9. 4 points
    Happy enough with the majority of the bath deck sealing, 8mm: I'll live with this: I got fed up looking at the silicone at the wall / floor join:
  10. 3 points
    It's been a week of mixed emotions, we've made good progress on site but hit our first major budget overrun. First the good stuff, blocks got delivered on Monday. JUB will only ship them on pallets which sounds OK but in practice, but causes several problems on site. For a start we didn't have a fork lift on site and fork lifts don't tend to do well on soft ground. In the end we got in a tele-handler for which a single days hire is a significant cost. It should have been a small unit, but in the end the hire company delivered an 8 ton far too heavy and large for our site. It was so heavy it ended up damaging the new dropped kerb work done for the build. Besides unloading the blocks, other problems with having them on pallets soon became apparent. It's a small site with limited space for storing materials we needed to store the pallets on the raft leaving room for bracing to be put in place once the walls are built. Each pallet had a manifest of the blocks loaded onto it. No cutting is required so it should just be a case of selecting the blocks and putting them in place. JUB provide a nice block plan for the build giving a cross reference of block type and location. 646-2018 WALL - Assembly plan 1of2 A1.pdf It quickly became apparent that finding the right blocks would be a challenge. There are a fair number of types, some quite small, all carry an identifier in the form nnn-tt-nnn but it's not that easy to read, so we thought it would be a good idea to use a marker to add wall position. Not such a good idea as the same block has multiple wall position numbers which further complicates finding blocks as a no 5 is in fact just the same a no 11. I've now looked at the wall assembly plans a couple of times and the logic for the labelling escapes me. It would be a lot simpler on site if each unique block type was allocated a single number for a given kit and the number was used consistently throughout the kit assembly plans. This is a first for JUB in the UK so I expect the kit process will get refined. In any event the block assembly went very well and by Wednesday the blocks were up to the first floor and the bracing was in place. First impressions of the JUB systemare very favourable. One other item completed was the connection and testing of the sewer pump station. The pump has to be connected with “class C” 63mm MDPE pipe which is designed to withstand the pressures associated with a pump. The pipe is referred to as flexible but it's anything but especially over short distances. The result was that making a connection required the use of an angled connector, just a single 45 degree, but we would have preferred no connections. The 63mm run is very short less than 1M and has good access from the pump meaning it can be easily rodded. Now the less pleasant news, budget overrun. In hind site this is a self inflicted wound and I should be old enough and wise enough to have avoid it. Back when we started our project we had a budget offer from our shell builders Intelligent Building System. The budget included the raft and associated concrete and steel but not the ground works. From various items on the build hub and other web sources I had come up with a figure in region of £15K for the ground works. I didn't verify this with the builder or get a phase 1 statement of works prior to the work starting. Sounds a very basic error and I still wonder just how I ended up in this position, my only excuse is that I got carried away in the practical aspects of the build. The phase 1 works came in at 34K added to this was 4.4K for the insulated raft which I had to purchase directly from JUB, so 38.4K total. The original budget offer was 14.3K a figure which included an insulated Isodom raft, assuming this would be about the as the JUB raft brings the figure down to 10K. Some analysis of the costings showed the labour had changed from around 5K in the initial offering to 15K in the costings. There were also additional materials costs which are much easier to understand, we also added items like a very big hole for the rain water harvesting tank and soak away . I had discussions with our builder over this but they are adamant it's correct. My own fault for not getting the work properly defined before starting. I'm still on talking terms with the builder, whom I'm generally very happy with and would recommend to other self builders. They have been very proactive and helped considerably with getting JUB to engage with the build and many other items.
  11. 3 points
    Plaster boarding at least
  12. 3 points
    3rd Draft arrived this afternoon - I think we are there!!
  13. 3 points
    my lovely kitchen fitter called in to do a tweak yesterday and I got him to reseal that shower screen whilst he was here. Bingo no leak tonight!
  14. 3 points
    Having been using this exact product today I can add some absolutely essential information when using this product if you are not wearing gloves and you get a fair bit on your fingers, do not then decide to put your gloves on it does make it a fair bit awkward to remove your gloves later in the day. 🧤🧤👎👎💩💩
  15. 3 points
    Probably worth restating the circumstances surrounding my acquisition of an early Sunamp PV, and our current Sunamp Uniq 9 eHW, as they are different, and although I think I explained my relationship with Sunamp back in 2015, that was on ebuild, not here, so is now probably lost. I was introduced to Sunamp by Damon Hart-Davis, who told me that Sunamp were looking for "early adopters" for their Sunamp PV. I entered into an agreement with Sunamp which meant we were supplied with an early production/pre-production Sunamp PV, on the understanding that I would report back to them on it's performance, would openly and honestly publish my experiences on eBuild and our build blog and agree to exchange the heat cells for replacements after two years, so that Sunamp could undertake a "post mortem" on them. In return for this our Sunamp PV was supplied at a substantial discount (but it was NOT free, by any stretch of the imagination). As it happens, Sunamp chose not to ask me to exchange the cells in the Sunamp PV when the 2 years was up, so we carried on using it. The Sunamp PV worked very well, and I was more than happy to recommend it. Not long after the Sunamp Uniq range was released last year, I decided that it would be useful to increase our storage capacity. The Sunamp PV, with it's 5 kWh capacity, was perfectly adequate, but, as we can easily generate 20 to 30 kWh/day I felt that it would be useful to be able to store more heat, so that we had a reserve for days when there was little PV generation. The idea was to be able to increase our self-consumption, and reduce out winter reliance on grid boost charging. Sunamp agreed to sell me a Uniq 9 eHW at a discount, in return for me exchanging the Sunamp PV and providing them with a water sample. I'm not able to say what the discount was, but can confirm that I paid well over £1000 for the Sunamp UniQ, plus the exchange of the Sunamp PV that had cost close to the same amount. To sum up, I agreed to be a tester/early adopter when I purchased the Sunamp PV, but not when I purchased the Sunamp UniQ. I'm grateful for the discount from Sunamp, but overall I have paid them a fair bit more than the full purchase price for a Sunamp UniQ.
  16. 3 points
    Lead welding,battering ,steel work.And digging for more steel work
  17. 3 points
    More slates going down 2hrs work on house today
  18. 3 points
    If they tried that with me I would flip. Especially given that most of us here probably know more about the critical measurements of our houses than anyone else and probably even did a lot of the design. I remember going into a place like this with a CAD drawing, the guy started to tell me how it may not be 100% accurate, I told him it was and told him it would be more accurate than any measurements he would ever get. He said it was their policy to do it themselves and I told him it was my policy not to let someone disrespect me by implying I cannot measure a room properly.
  19. 3 points
    I disagree with that ... it’s no harder than taper edge boards with a tape and skim finish. In some instances it’s easier as you can create clean edges with a router and bearing bit - especially on corners. Right .... depends is the answer ..! Firstly it is very heavy - it needs two people to manage boards and you also need a board lifter to do ceilings. You can’t do it on your own ..! One of the benefits is that you don’t need to join on a stud - you use JointStik to bond the edges together, this is a cross between D4 glue and Gripfill and comes with a custom nozzle that puts a bead on the edge of the board. These joints are strong, but you need to leave them to dry properly before you do anything else. There are two ways to fit Fermacell to timber, either using the correct screws or by using crown staples. Screws hold better when the timber is uneven but leave a larger hole to fill. Staples are quick and easy and leave a very small gap to fill - very easy to do but if there is stress on a board they may move with only staples. Fermacell is very easy to repair though. If you cut a hole in the wrong place with a hole saw, or even cut an access hole, you can just glue it back in place, filler in the gap, sand and it’s done - you can’t tell it’s been removed. It is also surprisingly easy to cut. Fermacell sell a knife designed for the job and it works on the the score and snap method and is very good. It leaves a slight ragged edge but this takes filler really well so isn’t a problem. When it comes to filling all the screw holes or edges, you will need their filler. It’s much better than anything else and sands to a fine finish too. It’s better put on with a wide spatula or trowel, and it goes a long way. FST - or fine surface treatment - is the oddest product I’ve ever used ..!! Fermacell show it being applied with a squeegee, I use a 12” plastering trowel and you can do a 5m wall in probably 15 minutes. You put the thinnest coat possible on - the boards change from light grey to a slightly darker grey and that’s it ..! A quick sand over with a 120grit sanding board and you can be painting less than an hour after applying. The wall will look like it’s full of filler and screws etc, but a coat of paint and it’s all gone and you have a perfect flat wall. I’ve gone from a stud wall to ready for paint in 24 hours - that’s impossible with board and skim, and pushing it with TE/taping. The downsides are that the dust will destroy any power tool that you use to cut it. Circular saws or jigsaws create a lot of dust, routers are magic for cutting holes for back boxes or making perfect corners but all of them will die in a ditch with the dust. Buy cheap Titan ones and keep going back for the warranty claims ..! Fermacell is very good for perfect square and flat surfaces - anywhere that you want curves or anything that needs blended angles then you possibly need to look at something else or look at how to get skim coats applied to certain sections. I priced a job recently that would have been £4K in Fermacell, and was just less than £2k in plasterboard and skim in terms of materials. When it came down to it, the labour costs were double for the board and skim as there was a lot of curve and detail work but the whole lot came out about the same price in total. If you can DIY and have square rooms etc then you can get a very good finish with Fermacell that is comparable to a skimmed plaster finish with no wet trade delays.
  20. 3 points
  21. 3 points
    Good luck man. I REALLY hope you get the desired outcome, I don’t think I could cope with another disaster on this thread...... it’s not even my roof and I am nervous 😬
  22. 3 points
    Nothing says "I love you Faye!" like lead poisoning! 😂
  23. 3 points
    Just knocked this up. Cut some left over plywood and biscuit jointed some ripped down left over larch cladding on the front edge. SWMBO approves so I can crack on. Treated with Osmo UV oil and a top coat of varnish. Next on the cards is DIY larch archatrave and skirting board as I over ordered about 40m2 of Siberian larch 🤣
  24. 3 points
    Jeez it's been windy this week. Nevertheless we've most of the verge trims on, the first two GSE trays installed (with lots of fiddly setting-out done that will carry over to the other two and eight) and tiling has started in earnest on the leeward side. I think we made a great choice with the Snowdon tiles even if they are pretty heavy.
  25. 3 points
    I think the problem is in the nomenclature. Should be "centres" this side of the Atlantic...
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