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  1. 9 points
    Well folks I have booked the removal van.....I hope we will be ready on site but I am moving come what may! I absolutely refuse to pay another months rent for this grot box when I have a beautiful (almost ready) house sitting waiting. This time in 4 weeks I will either be living in the Premier Inn or in the relative luxury of the almost complete abode. No pressure then LOL Wish me luck!
  2. 8 points
    Chance meetings, research and no fear of being nosy have stood me in good stead for many years and it's proving no different with getting a house built. The 'dig deep' thing was bothering me, mainly the thought of having to go down 2m over the entire footprint of the build and the cost of all that muckaway, as well as the risk of it all turning into a giant, muddy swimming pool during the process. I will freely admit that up until about 10 days ago, the thought of having to get piling included in the build struck terror into me due to what I perceived as the potential cost and complexity involved, all down to my own ignorance about piling. As a new comer to the world of self building, the only thing I'd really picked up on in the past was hearing about remedial work to houses that were falling down and the huge amounts of cash involved. I'd already had a mooch around this site to see what I could see on the matter of piles and had a look at @recoveringacademic's blog and his comments and rapidly lost my fear but not my trepidation over costs. I also had a visit to the build site of another BH member who has been very helpful and encouraging. It was a spontaneous visit as I was really, truly just passing by his site on the way to my own, but his structural engineer was there at the time so I stood quietly by and ear-wigged, as you do, and then one thing led to another and we started chatting about my site and my clay dilemma. The upshot is that the SEs were really helpful guys and I'm engaging them to design a piling system to support my MBC build and overcome the risk of both lateral and vertical movement that my site is very vulnerable to. I'm also having them design the drainage system while they're at it. They will liaise with the architect, building control and the timber frame company and make sure that my build not only gets out of the ground but stays in the same place once it's done. I've never had an issue with professional fees as long as they are ones that are genuine and add value to a project. In this case, it will be money very well spent and a huge weight off my mind. How best to approach the drainage plan had been vexing me for the last few weeks, particularly as my clay soil means that soakaways don't function. One thing that I think may be worth mentioning is the combination of the passive slab and a piling system. The soil beneath the building is not just highly shrinkable clay, but also very dessicated thanks to the long term presence of a few trees and a super thirsty hawthorn hedge. Although these are all now gone, their long term potential affect on the soil will remain for a long time. In particular, the risk of heave. The piling system will keep the building in place, but does nothing to stop the swelling of the clay directly underneath from pushing up and breaking the floor of the new structure. The SE started to talk about a suspended floor to mitigate against this. However, a few days ago I read a BH discussion where @JSHarris mentioned the issue of an airgap under a passive slab having a detrimental affect on the insulation of a slab so was able to say with some confidence that I wanted the slab to rest on the ground, and my reasons why. The SE was fine with this and all the gubbins under the floor will now include a layer that is a honeycomb structure with the face of the cells resting on the ground so that if it does expand, it has somewhere to expand into without damaging the slab. The helical piles are part of an impressive system - no piling mat, no excavation if you don't need it (I need some to make sure that the floor level of the house is level with the ground), super quick to install and little vibration. This will save a huge amount of time and money compared with digging deep and a far more elegant solution with the dangers of heave solved as well. In all, the cost of the SE and the piling won't cost me any more and it may be somewhat cheaper. The time element is important, too, as the lesser amount of excavation will be much speedier and keep me on track for the main part of the build to take place from end of May onwards, assuming everything else is ready. The cherry on the cake was put in place this morning with full discharge of all the pre-commencement planning conditions. All in all, a good week.
  3. 8 points
    Bloody Hell! That new Sunamp goes on the wall and looks like a telly!
  4. 7 points
    I only really started just after Christmas and today I finished it. A little quicker that another famous forum member. Strictly speaking it's not completely finished as I have not found the right glass screen to go between the shower and the bath. More pictures on my blog at http://www.willowburn.net/ look for the entry "main bathroom complete"
  5. 6 points
    I’ve had a few days doing the dabbing with my able assistant Still some bit to finish and build the fitted wardrobes Hoping to skim the upstairs out on Tuesday and Wednesday
  6. 5 points
    An update - photos speak for themselves........
  7. 5 points
    Today we started on our foundations. It was snowing this morning on Skye and I took this one just before the digger arrived. Our brickie had pegged out the site a few days previously. The digger then arrived on site and the snow stopped and sun came out. I helped to mark out the foundation tracks and then wandered up the access to do a few hours at work. n I came back in the evening and the trenches were just about finished. After walking down to the site for the last million years, it took a bit of time to sink in, we are now building our home. Tomorrow the concrete wagon is booked and all being well we will have the trenches filled and can move onto blockwork next week.
  8. 5 points
    Digger and dumper on site, ready to start : ) It feels like Christmas Eve.
  9. 5 points
    Well @Dreadnaught here's what you need, I imagine. You can find it just off Junction 33 on the M6 (North). I'm sure the owners don't want it any more. It's been there for a week. I took the photo while standing up-wind. Can we try, just for me, try, and keep subsequent posts clean, eh? Please?
  10. 5 points
    Last weekend we had the structural engineer out checking the ground. Having dug the pits the structural engineer has confirmed that the ground is suitable for building on
  11. 4 points
    Thought it might be useful to detail an accident that happened on our site during the main construction if only to prevent others from having a similar issue. I'm sure that we must have done some things wrong here, but there were others to blame in this tale too, and the events that unfolded seemed very bizarre to me. We used a registered scaffolding company to hire the scaffolding from and this was erected in August 2009. It was used for several months to do all of the main construction work and then towards the end of its time here someone fell off it. We used a particular builder to do all of the timber frame work, he supplied his own workers, and we paid him (and only him), in cash as he requested. We never paid any money directly to his team members. Towards the end of 2009 he sent a new guy here to do some work on the soffits and he arrived along with one of the regular team (the boss wasn't on site that day which wasn't that unusual as it was often just members of his team). The OH was living in a caravan on site at that time so greeted the 2 guys, one of whom he knew quite well as he had been working here for several months. He offered them tea and bacon rolls as he tended to do most mornings and went into the caravan to sort that out. About 10 minutes after they arrived there was a shout and the new guy had apparently fallen from the first level of the scaffolding landing on his arse (see photo to see the height of the first platform for reference). His co worker hadn't seen him fall and nor had my hubby who was in the caravan at the time. He was lying on the ground so my hubby called an ambulance. He said that the guy then got up, staggered to his car, put on his hi vis jacket and hard hat and sat in his car. When the ambulance arrived they suggested that he shouldn't have got into his car, and that they might get the fire brigade out to remove the roof in case he had damaged his neck. The guy refused their help at that point, said he wasn't having his car wrecked, and drove home. My husband reported the accident to the scaffolding company whereupon the owner drove to the site and attached an insurance certificate to the scaffolding dated that day. He said that the scaffolding wasn't signed off to use prior to that date even though it was hired back in August, several months before and had been used pretty much daily. Clearly he hadn't insured the site as he should have done. Health and Safety came to the site too and declared that some 'clips' were missing from the scaffolding, and put a notice on it declaring it not to be used. The scaffolding company came and put the clips on and it was then signed off as able to be used again. Apparently later that day the guy who fell off went to A&E and declared that he had hurt himself badly. He then engaged a no win no fee solicitor and took himself off to Australia to 'convalesce' or so he claimed. We reported the accident to our insurance company, and stated that the worker had been supplied by the contractor who was erecting the timber frame, and the scaffolding was supplied by the registered scaffolding company. The first issue we had was that the builder denied having supplied the worker. This left us with an issue as our insurance company said that we couldn't prove that the worker came via the main builder, and nor could we prove that we hadn't employed him direct. The scaffolding company collected the scaffolding and put themselves into liquidation meaning that the no win no fee lawyer came after us. My husband had to make statements and years later it was still going on with any settlement the insurance company was prepared to make reducing as time went on. It all seemed quite bizarre to us however that it was our insurance cover that was being claimed against when there were 2 other parties involved. In hindsight we should probably have taken a register of every person on site and who they were supplied from, and required every worker to sign in when they attended. We possibly should have known that scaffolding had to have an insurance certificate attached to it, but we believed that hiring from a registered company would have meant that we were completely covered as they would do the right things. Ironically my husband had refused to hire the scaffolding from anywhere other than a registered scaffold company in order to comply with H&S, but ultimately it did us no good!
  12. 4 points
    There was an extensive and involved thread on this last year: https://forum.buildhub.org.uk/topic/2376-principal-designer-role/ And a good summary of the thread by @recoveringacademic, here: https://forum.buildhub.org.uk/topic/2514-cdm-2015-and-the-domestic-client/
  13. 4 points
    Well, after a day's hard slog we managed to dig out and remove a few more tonnes of crap clay/rubble and replace it with around 10 tonnes of nice topsoil, that filled my nice new "tree planter" as well as the two remaining areas of claggy grot left over from building the house. Seven trees are now planted (not the main screening trees, we're still looking for those), two cherry trees, one either side of the drive ("Shogetsu", or Shimidsu Sakura), two red flowering crataegus "Paul's Scarlet" standards behind them on either side of the drive, then on the front side of the drive we've planted a silver birch, then a Pyrus "Chanticlear" and finally a white beam, Sorbus Aria "Lutescens". I've also managed to weed out between all the surviving bare root hedging we put in at the time of the build (a lot of which didn't survive) and planted a few more field maples. I need to quickly go and get a few more hawthorn/blackthorn plants to fill in some gaps. Working down in the bottom of the slope, where the hedging is, is evil. The slope is steep, and things like the wild rose and hawthorns and blackthorns are just out to get you. I've managed to weed out and lay black weed suppressing fabric down there and although it's pegged down, I'm going back over the steeper, narrow, areas, with some 13mm chicken wire, pegged down with big staples. Wickes have a good offer on bark chippings at the moment, four 90 litre bags for the price of three, at £7 per bag, which works out cheaper than having dumpy bags delivered around here. I managed to get 12 bags in the car this morning (the car didn't like it much, it has to be said - my guess is that the weight in the back was around 1/2 tonne, as the bark chippings were soaking wet inside the bags), but it managed OK. Another two, maybe three, car loads will cover up all the remaining weed fabric, I hope. The bark chippings stay put OK on the more level areas (it was a bit windy today, so a good test), but aren't going to stay in place on the steeper banked areas, so the plan is to spread the bark chippings over the weed fabric, then lay chicken wire over the top and staple it down. Where it abuts against the drive kerb haunching I've got some stainless penny washers and self-threading concrete screws, that I hope should hold down the folded edge of the chicken wire OK to the concrete. Eventually we'll plant some ground cover plants in slits cut through the chicken wire and fabric, once things are more established. The main aim at the moment is to just stop the weeds from competing with the hedging and trees, especially where it's really difficult to get down and weed effectively. Next job is to choose the big screening trees, and plant them in the nice topsoil that's in the big planter. One advantage of putting the other trees in first is that we now have a far better idea of the size and screening effect of just the 2.5m to 3m high deciduous trees that we've already put in. The other good news is that my other half is coming around to the idea of at least one Photinia "Red Robin" standard; I like them and best of all I can get a nice 3.5m standard for a not to horrendous price. A bay tree is also looking a distinct possibility, too, but we're still undecided on the others (I now think we need four, rather than three, bigger trees). I still bloody hate gardening, though....................
  14. 4 points
    This post is summary of the Principal Designer thread. The purpose of this summary is to assist members and guests decide for themselves how CDM2015 impacts their build project. The summary is offered as is and should not be interpreted as authoritative advice. As is normal in asynchronous online discussion, the thread sometimes changes its focus a little. Where those changes occur, the content has not been summarised. Discussion of this issue is particularly relevant to us because we are a self-build forum, whose members are assumed not to be professional builders, or -in relation to building- have any technical understanding or capability beyond simple DIY . To be clear, the following assumptions are made; · A client is a Domestic Client. The distinction is central to all that follows · The Domestic Client can choose to apply for VAT relief in due course, whereas a Client cannot · The Domestic Client is not engaged, or about to be engaged, in a business related to the build (because they will then be a Client, not a Domestic Client) The thread started with a question about the role of Principal Designer. The examination of that question inevitably lead to discussion about how the role related to other key aspects of the legislation. There was some reference to the history of Health and Safety legislation, but it was pointed out that over time, the general emphasis had not changed. If you qualify for Domestic Client status, then a contractor working for you carries the main responsibility for Health and Safety. It was in the detailed examination of the term ‘responsibility’ that a good deal of discussion arose. Several members agreed that the legislation was poorly drafted for our sector of the market. And in the context of a self-build forum, where many of us will be doing things for the build on our own (DIY) as well as employing contractors, it is easy to see a rich source of confusion. For example, self-builders might be tempted to become involved in the build in a way which implies technical competence and so enhanced H+S responsibility. A strong warning was given to self-builders to avoid becoming involved in technical aspects of the build to the extent that they might be considered ‘ a responsible person’. And that includes the self-builder being trained in a relevant build subject to the extent that he or she might be assumed by the courts to have more responsibility than a Domestic Client would be expected to have. Perhaps the simplest articulation of how CDM responsibilities can be operationalised was in this post (@jamiehamy) ‘… We have only used contractors for the steel frame, lifting in floor beams, ground works/drainage and electrics - and each time I've made it clear that the contractor is responsible for operating safely and I do not dictate how they complete the activities. I don't supervise on site and most certainly do not manage their work or how they work - they have a deliverable and it is their responsibility to complete that. Where required, I offer safety equipment, ask what they need me to provide to work safely and healthily, I find out if they are dependent on me for anything and let them get on with it. Maybe I should do more in writing but I choose reputable contractors and all work is fully invoiced…’ In terms of prosecution for H+S breaches, providing the Domestic Client has fulfilled their duties (not covered in detail in this summary) prosecution is highly unlikely. Domestic Clients should make sure the site is safe and secure, tidy and clear of obvious hazards. There was some discussion based on the meaning of a series of CDM-specific terms; Project Manager, PD, PC, Client, Domestic Client, Business or Business Activity, Contractor, design, designer as well as others. Please refer to the full discussion for a more detailed discussion. But it was convincingly argued (with supporting evidence, and some unevidenced dissention) that a Domestic Client cannot be either a Principal Contractor or Principal Designer. Additionally, there was some discussion of official legal documents related to CDM2015. In summary: be sure to understand the meaning of the term Domestic Client, and to maintain that status throughout the build. Any competent person with whom you have a contract to complete work on your site should be capable of working safely. Offer support to fulfill H+S requirements, but never offer advice or direct work or manage the process. If, after reading this summary you feel you need to, take care to seek advice from more than one reliable, authoritative source. Paying for advice does not guarantee its accuracy or authority. Source url forum.buildhub.org.uk/ipb/topic/2376-principal-designer-role/ Bibliography. HSE (2015), Managing health and safety in construction. Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, HSE Books downloaded 04/05/2017 http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l153.pdf See especially Appendix 6. HSE (2015), How CDM 2015 applies to Domestic Clients Appendix 6, Figure 1, in Managing health and safety in construction. Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015. Download the flow chart (from our server) here HandSforDomesticClients.pdf HSE Construction Discussion Forum (accessed 04/05/2017)
  15. 3 points
    Yes, after years of dreaming, thinking, researching and waiting, work finally started on our first self build project. After a couple of false starts due to the builder having to finish a job that over ran and the arrival of the better weather, we eventually broke ground on Wednesday 18th April, two days later than anticipated. Annoying yes, but then what can you do? It’s only two days and it’s important to maintain a relationship with your builder. Nonetheless, we are now ready to do the foundations, which start W/C 23rd April. The sheer amount of top soil removed was somewhat overwhelming. The site had to be stripped down to what is called the sub soil – the firm clay stuff and therefore everything above it had to be removed. We had allocated a spot within the plot to store the topsoil but we soon realised that this space wasn’t going to be enough! Thankfully, the neighbouring farmer allowed us to deposit the remaining topsoil, in the field directly next to our plot. He will no doubt make use of it over the coming months but I have to say, if he hadn’t allowed us to do that, we would have had no choice but to hire in a fleet of tipper trucks with grabbers attached. Imagine the expense of that !! Anyway, the top soil removed and store within our plot we come in handy once the landscaping starts. I spent a couple of days as the Dumper truck driver and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I didn’t have the nerve to give the digger a go – far to many levers and pedals!! The hired in toilet was christened within half an hour of the Digger driver arriving ! Thank goodness it gets serviced every week. SPEnergy and BT Openreach both dropped off their respective ducting for when the time comes. Interesting to note that SPEnergy would only allow us 50 metres of ducting as anymore would affect the type of cabling that would have to be installed. 50 metres should be more than sufficient for us but in any case the guy who dropped off the ducting, gave us 75 metres!! The structures, namely the timber frame for the house and the car port, will be erected during the middle of May and the back end of May. Again, another little set back really, albeit a week later than expected. The team of erectors will not have finished the job before ours in time so we had to take a slot, a week later. More photos will be posted as the work unfolds but for now here are a few of the work so far. Thanks for reading.
  16. 3 points
    My first construction video, because we were putting Postsaver sleeves onto some of the fence posts in stock. There is also a blog entry with a little more information.
  17. 3 points
    Interesting mix that was! Smells like when you work with plastic. Pretty sticky! 5l bucket cement 7.5l bucket 10mm pea shingle 7.5l bucket sharp sand So 1 : 1.5 : 1.5 3:1 water to SBR A handful of fibres Repeat! Seemed to go in alright though: You can see the fall line: And from a distance how it falls overall. Not sure if it'll float when bit drier or even if it's necessary. Hoping the angle and flat steel plates will come off alright and not be stuck. Whatever, TF for thick tile adhesive!
  18. 3 points
    This is a very important and valuable thread. There are a couple of additional things things that may also be helpful. When I completed my Proposal Form for Construction Insurance, I had to complete the following questions (among others): So, I ensured every contractor/ supplier working on my site had a written contract (some very brief, depending on the scope of works) and had the appropriate Public Liability Insurance cover in place. I insisted on getting a copy of the Policy Schedule, to ensure that it was current, BEFORE they started any work at site. Failure to comply with either of these questions may have invalidated my insurance Policy in the event of an incident. In fact, I did have an incident which was dealt with by the subcontractor and it was not dissimilar to the one experienced by @newhome but I did not have to make any claim on my insurance. I created a template that I used in my enquiry documents or in a letter/email, prior to a contractor working at site- very simple, as follows: Can you please confirm that you have a minimum Public Liability Limit of Indemnity of £2 million? This is required to maintain my insurance cover on my Construction All Risks Insurance. Also, please send me a copy of your PL Insurance Schedule for my records .
  19. 3 points
    You really are a worrier. Screed is usually about 3-1 so just stick with what you originally planned. Im concreting Saturday as well. Iv even booked the pump so there’s no turning back now. :-/ also got to be out for lunch by 2:30 so hopefully I can get an early start on it.
  20. 3 points
    I just have a big first aid kit, bought on line from safety sign suppliers. No eye wash stations or fire extinguishers. Got all the safety signs up along with CCTV and keep out etc signs. Ours was MBC slab and frame and subbies. As far as I recall the people who we asked for H&S stuff were giving the RAMS for us to provide to the outside agencies - water, gas etc. I think MBC had some specific requirements of us and provided their RAMS to us as well. Took me a while to work out RAMS = Risk assessment etc.......one groundwork contractor put his RAMS in for onward transmission to some provider - when we looked later his RAMS related to a drive through burger car park. I don't think anyone ever noticed, its a tick box exercise....unless of course it goes wrong. People like brickies, plasterers, carpenters and electricians and plumbers ...all the important bods on site....never seen any RAMS from them nor given them any instructions beyond basic 'joining' info e.g. first aid kit in garage etc I was going to do my own but ended up not, it was given to someone else to use as a starter in setting up a new business and so heavily discounted rate, my time more valuable elsewhere. I think in the end it is just a paper shuffling exercise like so many of these things. If you are good at organising you should be OK. Lots of signs and safety notices makes it look good on site. I would do a pre printed sheet to hand out to newbies and put it up in your site office...location of first aid kit, nearest hospital, fire station etc. Most of these consultants charge a fortune to people who are time poor on their self builds. A whole industry has sprung up around regulations. One thing for sure is if its not in order your insurance will be void in the event of anything happening. I don't know if the file for a site has to be given to anyone but I think it can be requested at any time so needs to be done and available. There are some very experienced people on here who will be able to tell you whats what.
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