Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation on 30/12/18 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    Ok, so maybe I got a bit ahead of myself again... The second wagon that they filled with spoil didn't fare as well. Matter of fact, it managed to beach itself on every axle: The muck-away company had to send a 2nd wagon, fully loaded with 6F2 and a big-arsed chain. Then it dragged the beached wagon out across the street using the chain. The (now-freed) wagon drove off with our load of spoil. Since there was a load of crusher run on the rescue bus, we had it tipped on the front of the plot, to stabilise the ground and prevent a recurrence. So, excavation continued apace for the next few days. Apart from a few more land drains excavated (including an abandoned rat nest), things went well. Here's a few more pics for your delectation: We decided on a stepped bank initially, to try and prevent bank collapse: But as this photo shows, we were still fighting the effects of the bad weather - some small cave-ins, and we started adding acrows to shore up parts of the banks: Now, when we started investigating the options for basement excavation, we had previously considered sheet piling the excavation. However the 2 quotes we received both sad that the steel sheets would need to be left in the ground ("sacrificial" was the word used) because the sheets wouldn't be able to be extracted. And with quotes coming in at over £60k for the sheet-piled excavation, it was well over our budget. So when the groundworkers told me that the excavator was starting to fall into the excavation, and we needed to sheet-pile the front of the hole, I was more than a little concerned. Still, it appeared to work: So the hole was finished - only 74 wagons of spoil taken away... Concrete blinding was laid oversite to stabilise the clay underfoot, and the shuttering for the slab constructed. Then the mesh and starter bars were set into place, and we were ready for the slab to be poured: And lo, our first concrete pour arrived - the first of many! And before I knew what was happening, the slab was done (notice the increase in the number of props / acrows): Time for some ICF...
  2. 4 points
    Our groundworkers broke ground on October 9th 2017. Here's the digger and fuel bowser arriving: Bit of a squeeze, but they got it on-site in the end! The driver set to work on the site strip right away. He'd been working for perhaps 45 minutes, when work ground to a halt... A land drain was exposed (well, kind of dug up, if truth be told), in the middle of the plot, all of 6" below the ground. The digger had removed a 2' section of it completely, as this photo shows nicely: Oh well, can't have been that important! 😁 So the scrape is completed, with vegetation separated off from topsoil. Here's our mountain of topsoil (about 20m3), ready for when we want to spread it back over our garden (and me, feeling all smug about the progress we're making in the space of a day!) And the vegetation... well that was loaded by the excavator onto a 32T wagon. Now we had already arranged for pre-acceptance of our clay spoil at a quarry/landfill about 2 miles away, so the driver says "it'll be fine". 30 minutes later, the driver is on the phone, saying "I'm trying somewhere else - they wouldn't take it here". Another 40 minutes, and another call... "I am off to another place"...and so on. So roughly 4 hours later, the wagon arrives back at site. Still full of the vegetation. "Nowhere will take it", says the driver. "It's because of the roots in the load", says the driver. Turns out, the driver has given my vegetation a tour of the North West, having been to 3 separate counties with it. I'm fairly sure he just took a fancy to it, and they went on a drive in the country... he probably bought it a cream tea in Blackpool and asked it back to his place... Here's the wagon in question: Still, could have been worse... the groundworkers pulled a magic trick out of their hat. They dug a Transit-sized hole out of the bottom of the plot, and dropped the vegetation into the hole. Then they loaded the spoil dug out of the hole onto the wagon, and that was accepted at the quarry. The groundworkers compacted the vegetation, put a 600mm capping layer of clay over, and job done. Pretty successful day, if you ask me!
  3. 2 points
    Preparing the documents for the planning application was simple enough. We paid a nice man to come and prepare an "arboricultural impact assessment". Basically, he looked at what trees were on and around site, asked which we'd like to keep, and went away. 3 days later a nice 22 page report appeared, and remarkably it said good things about only the trees we had expressed fondness for. Then another nice man came around and dug very narrow, but very deep holes in a few places on site. Here's a photo of his contraption: The boreholes only went down just over 6m, because we were having a basement rather than a well. Still we got fairly good results - the clay was stupendously stiff. At one point we had the borehole man (who didn't want his photo taken) and myself hanging off the lever arm, trying to withdraw the thing from the ground! 🤣 So, we submitted our application. Job done, I thought. A week came and went, and we had a nice sunny day, so the missus and I thought "let's just peg out the layout of the rooms on the plot, and walk around it". Genius. We bought a builder's line and a stack of short bamboo canes and went to site. I spent about an hour pegging out the dimensions of each room on the ground floor layout, and thought it looked fantastic. "It isn't big enough", says Kim. Now I know where your imagination is going here 😈 but she was talking about the kitchen. Back to the drawing board, and about another week elapses. I redraw the house from top to bottom, and now we have a kitchen that is 30' wide and 16' deep. New plans submitted, but we keep the original planning application in the process, just in case... Things went from bad to worse... The Trees Officer for the Council came around, and said "the Tree Impact Assessment is fine, but you can't get on-site now until August". Puzzled, I enquired as to why. He pointed to the hedge: "There's birds nesting in there - I can see a nest! You'll have to wait until August to cut the hedgerow down for access". 🤬 So, we've lost some time with solicitors losing paperwork and being generally unable to handle negotiations where there are more than 2 parties involved. We've lost more time, having to submit a second set of plans because Kim thought the kitchen was too small. We've lost our builder because of the delays. And now we can't get on site for 3 months anyway (other than a tiny pedestrian access), because the front of the plot is blocked by a hedgerow... All the while, we're paying our self-build mortgage. Can things get any worse?
  4. 2 points
    I came across this chap, could be useful for anybody building double block with a block beam floor. I think his videos are pretty good at explaining the building method. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwws-NyIJiRlqVy_X3yugfA
  5. 1 point
    Waiting isn't something I am known for. Waiting nearly 3 months, for these mythical birds to vacate the invisible nest isn't going to happen. 4 weeks later and we're into July, and I've had enough. Here's what was left of the hedgerow, along with my weapon du jour. As it happens, there was no nest in the hedgerow. Probably because the houses all around have cats that hunt, and even birds aren't stupid enough to nest 4 feet off the ground when there are dozens of suitable nesting places in the trees on both sides of the street! The closest thing I found to a nest was a 20-year-old gin bottle, filled with cobwebs. We also chopped down about 50m2 of brambles and a few western red cedar that were in the middle of the plot. Then we put a bit of Heras-style fencing around. So now, our site looked a lot cleaner and larger: But we had still waited too long. The firm we had verbally accepted a quote for the groundworks from had moved onto a large new job, and wouldn't be able to return to our project until the new year. 🤬 Time to find some new groundworkers... should be simple enough, right? Wrong. A big contractor had just pulled out of a major development project a few miles away, so every groundworks company within 20 miles had been signed up to take up the slack. We looked at everyone from "one man with a digger" to big national outfits, but nobody was able to take the job on. Until we found this company, based in Liverpool. Smallish outfit of about 15 men and a couple of decent-sized machines, including a shiny new 13 tonne excavator. After some to-ing and fro-ing, we decided to take them on, on a day rate basis. Planning passed (way after the expected date, but that's nothing new with our LPA apparently) - both applications. So Kim chose the big kitchen layout. But before we could break ground, we needed structural calcs done, and that meant an engineer! After ringing around quite a bit, we found a local firm that were happy to take the job on. They didn't have much ICF experience, but I figured that it wouldn't really matter. How wrong I was... This engineer started off on the right track, working out slab details from the borehole results, etc, etc. Then it came to the ICF lintel and column calculations. Now, the new kitchen design incorporated some 6m-wide bifold doors across the back of the house, with 1m-wide columns either side of the bifolds. We had picked Logix as our ICF product of choice (primarily price driven, but also because we could have thicker external wall insulation, which would improve our thermal performance considerably). The Logix blocks were 406mm high, and had plastic webs for supporting horizontal rebar at roughly 1/4 and 3/4 of the height of the block. Here's a pic: So far so good. Except our engineer had decided that the steel would be placed every 150mm vertically in the wall for the columns either side of the bifolds. Now, for the layperson, I'll point out why that doesn't work. Here's the list of positions for the steel vertically, in mm: - 150, 300, 450, 600, 750, 900, 1050, 1200, 1350, 1500, 1650, 1800, 1950, 2100, 2250, 2400, 2550, 2700 Now here are the positions where the rebar is supposed to sit: - 100, 303, 506, 709, 912, 1115, 1318, 1521, 1724, 1927, 2130, 2333, 2536, 2739 Notice the numbers in BOLD in both lists? That's where the web would physically get in the way of the steel rebar. Cutting the webs would destroy their structural integrity completely, and mean you have to find alternative ways of bracing the ICF wall blocks - which would be possible if they weren't corner blocks. Which they were. I pointed this out to the SE. He said I didn't know what I was talking about. So I had my ICF expert builder (who agreed with me about not cutting those webs) come and chat with the SE, and explain the same thing. The SE smiled, and said that it would be fine. So I had the ICF block manufacturers (who also agreed with me about not cutting those webs) ring and email the SE. The next thing I know, the SE has emailed me, saying (and I quote, here); The fact that we couldn't use his designs, because they were inherently unworkable, was the problem in the first place! Lesson learned - do NOT engage a structural engineer who doesn't have experience with ICF when you're building an ICF house. 8 weeks we had been working with this engineer, and all for nowt. Phoned a couple of ICF manufacturers for recommendations for an SE with ICF experience - there was 1 common name on the 2 lists I received back. I phoned him, and accepted his quote the same day. 4 days (not weeks) later, I had the calcs in my Inbox, and an invoice to be paid. The steel was in the right places for the blocks we were using, and we even had little detailed drawings showing how to tie the lintel links to the main rebar, and where we had to put what types of welds & bolts to bring everything together properly. Maybe our fortune was changing for the better at last...?
  6. 1 point
  7. 1 point
    They are very sensitive switches and I would suggest you look carefully and find one with a low flow rate of 2+ l/m.
  8. 1 point
    Do you mean it has an auxiliary tapping 2/3 of the way up on one side ( which is a hot return tapping ) ? A regular cylinder has cold in, side mounted at the very bottom x1, combined hot and vent out of the very top x1, and nowt else other than the coil tapping's which are hydraulically separate.
  9. 1 point
    My view is that if you don't have mains gas, and really need high temperature DHW, then the best option may well be a Daikin hybrid ASHP/LPG combi. They have a good reputation for reliability, and use only a modest amount of LPG, as they use the ASHP to preheat to round 45 deg C or so, then boost this up to 55 to 65 deg C with the small LPG combi. I'm not convinced that any of the CO2 ASHPs are a mature enough product to invest in yet.
  10. 1 point
    #1 - find an engineer qualified and with the right kit to service your CO2 ASHP. #2 - ask how much they charge #3 - buy standard ASHP... Not trying to knock this but my experience of owning and living with a Sanyo CO2 unit was painful as the kit is specialized to the point of if you connect a standard pressure tester to a CO2 unit you’ll be picking the bits up a hundred yards away... They are a niche market for high temperature ASHP and have never really caught on. Go with standard, plan accordingly and boost using off peak E7 and then spend the rest on a nice kitchen.
  11. 1 point
    Not very private, it was on here lol. 😀. @PeterW had me drive 7 hours in a round trip from Edinburgh to Preston to collect one! That’s the one I got from there anyway!
  12. 1 point
    No practice needed just fit them it’s easy all you need is to follow a couple of rules. Get a towel and sit it on the floor beside you this will ensure you keep all the plastic bits out of the crud, keep everything grit free, clean everything spotless, the rubber o rings hate grit. Cut pipe clean and square remember to install a pipe stiffener, in every end of pipe. Mark pipe with a pen at insertion depth to ensure correct insertion lubricate O ring, lubricate pipe end Remember to put locking collar, nut on before installing fitting. Try to use a plasson spanner I have found these far superior to adjustable grips If you haven’t got the correct spanner just get on with it it’s not the end of the world, just don’t over tighten.
  13. 1 point
    Great style of blogging, pray do continue! I’m already a fan 👍
  14. 1 point
    Hi Peter - yes we are stick building on site with the i-beams. We have made good progress erecting the frame, it is just that I have been a bit delayed setting up the blog due to everything else going on with the build. On the surface, it sounds similar to your self-build - I enjoyed reading your blog very much.
  15. 1 point
    Nicely written blog...like your humour and optimistic attitude More power to you I'm guessing you're going to need it...
  16. 1 point
    Reading this thread is only serving to show that a gas boiler is not the best mate for under floor heating. I know conventional wisdom says if you have mains gas, use it as it is the cheapest form of heat. For low temperature under floor heating, an ASHP makes a much better companion. My own system is about as keep it simple as you can get. the ASHP drives the UFH directly, no buffer, and a small 5KW ASHP will happily supply water at 37 degrees and modulate down to very low levels to maintain that, and running at low temperatures like that gives good efficiency from a heat pump. I still think there is merit in individual room thermostats. We only have 3 heating zones, the big kitchen / diner space, the living room and (not yet fitted) the utility room. All loops are fed from the same temperature water from the same manifold and pretty much the same flow rates to each loop, but the kitchen / diner is the last room to reach temperature and shut off. That is simply because so much of that room does not have UFH e.g not under kitchen units or the island, not under the stove, and not under the corner of the room that will eventually be the pantry. So probably 1/4 of that room does not have heating pipes under it, so it is now wonder it takes a little longer than the other room to heat up. I have used the dry biscuit mix screed as the heat spreader medium under our wooden floors downstairs and am very happy with it. Upstairs, just in the bathrooms I have UFH with spreader plates and this does not seem as effective to me, but then again the heat has to get through the wooden floor, the wet room tanking membrane then the tiles so it is probably no wonder we get less effective heating there. Lastly with the level of insulation you will have, you WILL need separate control for the bedrooms, much of the time they won't need any heat at all, we don't have bedroom heating, but you can achieve that by just valving off the upstairs manifold as a single zone if you don't want individual room control.
  17. 1 point
    Our groundworkers did a simpler trick, but hid 100 tree stumps extracted when putting in the access, this went into our 'borrow pit' which was emptied of rock for our access and then refilled with the stumps and clay with turf put back on top. This resulted in no rock coming on site and no muckaway costs.
  18. 1 point
    Yes, noted, but you don't have a mix of emitters over a number of floors. To have one flow temp to all the manifolds with them just having pumps is not a good idea, IMO, given I've done such installs and found it essential to be able to choose a slightly higher flow rate for the UFH over the timber floors, even with aluminium spreader plates. Bear in mind the UFH here is router'd into insulation with no aluminium plates to conduct and dissipate the heat effectively.
  19. 1 point
    I played around with several ways of controlling the temperature of our house, and settled on a pretty simple system, with a +/- 0.1 deg C hysteresis thermostat that turns the heat pump on and opens the UFH. The UFH pump runs all day, whenever the timer turns the system on, and does work to even out the temperature in the slab well. I personally don't see the need for anything more complex than this, as it seems to control the house temperature very well.
  20. 1 point
    IBCs for rainwater has been done before on here - think it is @Bitpipe who did it. And I’m all for value engineering ...!! I did an MVHR from electrical duct and pipe fittings.
  21. 1 point
    As mentioned earlier I have pulled together this guide to help with the VAT reclaim process. It is a big subject and it is not possible to cover the entire contents of the claim process and VAT notice 708 here so I have focused on trying to help with understanding the key points and provide some hints and tips to make life a bit easier. I will not have covered everything so am looking for feedback on what else needs to be covered. If there is anything missing, unclear or incorrect please do provide feedback.
  22. 1 point
    I would have put money on you before you even started yours @ProDave Sorry @Onoff But for the avoidance of doubt we don’t need photo evidence from either of you
  23. 0 points
    CPC sell them and if you ask @newhome nicely, she will probably drive 7 hours to get you the right one..... 🤣
  24. 0 points
  • Newsletter

    Want to keep up to date with all our latest news and information?

    Sign Up