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  1. 2 points
    Always drill after. Conduit cast in during a point can get bent or moved and then you need to re-drill anyway. The other issue is always light placement - until you know what the outside looks like, you may want to move the outside lights about so that is much easier to do if you haven’t been constrained by conduits already installed. 32mm dry core diamond bits aren’t expensive for what you get and can be used with an ordinary SDS drill. That is more than adequate to get most services into a house and can be sleeved with waste pipe and sealed without too much issue. 20mm conduit ideally needs a 22mm SDS bit but is easily drilled with a standard bit.
  2. 2 points
    I’ve drilled after the pour, 25mm hole, 20mm conduit, air sealed with illbruck air sealing gunge.
  3. 1 point
    ...and if the valve refuses to fully stop the water despite being closed then screw on a blanking cap. (I prefer to do that anyway with any unused valves for belt and braces)
  4. 1 point
    Yep. Turning the silver bit should isolate. Then unscrew the off white plastic bit. Have a washing up bowl ready as you'll likely get some water come out of the pipe. Go gentle removing that pipe as those self cutting valves are crap. Clip the removed hose to the clips on the back of the wm.
  5. 1 point
    Yeah, the top bit will rotate a quarter turn which will close the valve.
  6. 1 point
    Anglian Water? This is what they say: Pipe position All underground pipework (except for pipes laid under a building) should be at a depth of no less than 750mm. Pipes must be at least 2m away from street furniture such as street lamps and utility poles and at least 350mm away from other utilities in the ground. This is to prevent pipework being penetrated by fluids or natural gases and allows for easier access if maintenance is required in the future https://www.anglianwater.co.uk/siteassets/developers/water-services/step-4.pdf I manually dug my short water trench to 750mm so tell that lazy mole if a self building computer programmer can reach 750 then so can a burrowing rodent.
  7. 1 point
    If you have the salary that you say then there is no gain whatever from doing any of the work, stick at what you do best and just sign the cheques, be a very good manager, and not a poor bricklayer.
  8. 1 point
    Certainly a BS degree... (& not baccalaureus scientiae)
  9. 1 point
    Many ways to go about this but here's my 2p worth.... Yes you can afford to build but its a long path. Your biggest issue is finding suitable land. If you where 100% on this project (not just some talk after watching a episode on grand designs) i would start looking for land now and work from this. PeterW gives realistic figures on this above. I would approach lenders on remortgage your existing property for funds for the land. If you can find land with a neighbours house in the style you like thats a big help for planning (if you find land you like in area of small thatched cottages just forget it)! You have a healthy income so I would plan a slow build (5 years start to finish) and clear the bills as you go creating no more debt while living in your existing property you may have to cut lifestyle to achieve this. Build in steps ie contractor in to do site work and foundations then stop for 6 months then move on to the next stage. If you can remove funding issues associated with selfbuld ie stage payments from lenders etc then you remove a lot of hassle/tears. Get a tape measure out and measure your existing home, sit down list out what do i want rooms size quantity etc. Go and visit a few showroom newbuild on developments for room size (dont be taken in with furnishings yet) look at kitchen size come away with a floor plan schedule with a m2 on each room. Everybodys ideas are different for 6 bedrooms I would be looking for at least 400m2 over two floors which would give you a foot print of 200m2, add in another 60m2 for a double garage. We are building 480m2 for 4 bedrooms but everything is nice sized (in my opinon). Next build is 650m2 for 5 bedrooms with 150m2 garage/workspace. If you get this right you may end up in your dream home 6-7 years time with no or little mortgage.
  10. 1 point
    Not a stupid question. if you are paying the builder for labour and materials then he should zero rate everything to you. So if your build consisted of £50k labour and £100k ex VAT materials, you would pay him £100k. He would pay £120k for the materials (£100k plus 20% VAT) and then he would reclaim the £20k on his VAT return. if you purchase the materials for him, you would pay the £120k out but then reclaim it at the end. In that instance you would reclaim the £20k. If it’s supply and fit by a VAT registered trader they MUST zero rate the whole invoice otherwise it cannot be reclaimed.
  11. 1 point
    You can fit whole house surge protectors in domestic CUs - they aren’t that expensive at ~£120 or so. Have to get the right one for the installation though as they vary by supply type.
  12. 1 point
    5 years is quite a lot of time to be able to predict where you will be financially especially in these uncertain times. You obviously have a house just now and no doubt have some idea of its value, you can probably predict how much you will be able to save in these 5 years (barring any unforeseen circumstances)so I would have this as your starting point. I have never planned a build that far in advance (financially anyway, they have always been on the cards) but with an idea of a ballpark figure made up of house value and savings you can start to look at what you predict you’ll can afford. Who knows what will happen with house and plot prices in the coming 5 years, although property prices are on the up just now after the first wave of the pandemic there’s nothing to say they won’t collapse again just as quickly. When we sold our first house in 2006 prices were on a high however by the time we had finished our second build in 2008 (financed mainly from the sale of the first) prices had taken a nose dive so even the house we were building was no longer worth what Estate agents had predicted when we started the build. I don’t think there’s any exact science to it and you have to think realistically about what you could build.The up side to the fall in house prices during our second build was that with demand falling we were able to secure materials at better prices.
  13. 1 point
    I've gone for the drill through after approach. Hasn't been too much bother. 20mm plastic conduit inserted and 100mm square section of EPS removed on the inside to be able to form airtight seal between hole and conduit
  14. 1 point
    No big issue drilling holes in 200mm concrete (with the right tool) . I would be installing individual conduit to each point, I dont like the idea of running conduit in the external eps.
  15. 1 point
  16. 1 point
    The software developer in me finds the casing in your plagiarism unsettling to read. Like all trendy programmers I have adopted camel casing in my code hence "DIY Max" should be written diyMax if it is an instance of the concept or DiyMax for the overall concept.
  17. 1 point
    We had our final inspection yesterday and building control were happy with the house. Just awaiting on an EPC certificate and we should have our completion certificate next week. We had a little tidy up before the inspector arrived so probably the ideal time to upload a few pictures. Landing and upstairs - not posted much here as this was covered in a earlier blog entry. Considering we put in outline planning in 2009 when we were 23 it's been a long time coming and a great relief to know it's nearly all over. I intend to post a couple more entries with the last bits of outside work and one about the costing/finance. Thanks for all those who commented over the years and answered odd queries, much appreciated. The to do list of actual jobs is getting short now. Proper downpipes – ordered Gravel - ordered, coming on Monday
  18. 1 point
    Parge coat on blockwork, solid render then plaster coat (no dot and dab). End wraps on timbers within internal walls and plastered onto. Silicone on cables brought into electrical back boxes.
  19. 1 point
    It's 3 weeks since my last blog entry and, as usual, things have been moving at a pace. The difference with the most recent round of work, though, it that the building is starting to look like a liveable house rather than a construction site. This is largely due to the glory coats of plaster and paint, but far more than that has been keeping everyone busy. The boarding started in earnest before Christmas and so the plasterers were in bright and early in the new year. We've got through an astonishing amount of board of various types - I thought I'd calculated reasonably well and had a mahooosive delivery of the stuff a while back, but it all seemed to disappear and the building was hungry for more. I bought all the board from Sydenhams as I found their price to be competitive. I've used standard 12.5mm plasterboard on all external walls, 15mm acoustic on all ceilings and internal walls, moisture board for bath/wet rooms, and pink fire board for the garage walls and ceiling. The garage is attached and so building regs require a fire door (FD30, sourced from Enfield Doors, though I've since found cheaper suppliers when looking at other stuff) and fire board throughout the garage, but only a single layer as there is no habitable space above it. I've had a board lifter on hire as it really helps the team position the boards up onto the ceilings without dropping anything on themselves or damaging either themselves or the boards. Here is the board going up on the lounge/dining area towards the kitchen area. The orange frame is the plaster board lifter. The black thing outside the window is my sewage treatment plant tank, which will be installed in a couple of weeks(ish). Looking in the opposite direction towards the lounge area: There have been plenty of plasterboard offcuts and so we have followed @JSHarris's tip of stuffing as much of this into the stud walls before boarding over. Double bubble - increasing the heat retaining ability of the house and no paying expensive disposal fees on waste plasterboard. As well as the boarding and plastering, first fix is underway, getting all the wiring, sockets and switch positions in and running vast amounts of cable through the building for all sorts of stuff. It's not just a case of chucking the cable in, he's done a great job of working out the flow of the building and the people in it, and how the building's circuitry should function best to suit them. It's a pity that it isn't more visual, but suffice it to say that at the last count, something like 2.9km of cable has gone into the building. It's in there somewhere! The room that forms the greater part of the ground floor is the kitchen/dining/lounge area and it's a very large space. From the outset, I've wanted to achieve some form of visual separation of the living area but without putting physical barriers in the way. It seems a waste to have gone to such great effort to create a lovely large space like that to then chop it up and close it in. I had inspiration for the solution from a couple of sources, the first of which is a tiny, crappy image on Pinterest when I was browsing cinema rooms. The second came about from chatting to another BH member, @Dreadnaught and a suggestion someone made to him to vary the heights of the ceiling throughout his proposed build. From this, I decided that I wanted a dropped section, like a frame, on the ceiling above the lounge area, with lighting recessed into the inner lip of the dropped section. Everyone pulled together really well to meet the challenge, and worked out what was needed from the carpentry, boarding, plastering and electrics contingents. The full ceiling was boarded out first, then the studwork frame put over it. The electrics were run through, then the frame was boarded and eventually plastered. Here's the completed framework and the first of the plasterboard going up. They're a cheerful bunch in their work! One thing I haven't skimped on is hire equipment to make the job of the plasterers and others easier. I figure it's a false economy to not get equipment like platforms and board lifters in as it will just cost me extra labour as the guys won't be able to work efficiently and possibly, not as well either. We had scaffold towers upstairs in the bedrooms for plastering and downstairs, we had a really big platform. I wouldn't do it any other way as the quality of the boarding and plastering is second to none. Once the studwork was boarded out, the inner ceiling section was plastered. The inner lip of the frame had an upstand added to it to make it appear more substantial and to hide the rows of LED lights behind them. We're going for a range of lighting intensity here, achieved by increasing amounts of lights, rather than dimmers. There will be 3 rows of LED lights hidden up there and we've used a car headlight analogy for want of better descriptions - the selection is dipped lights, main beam and rally lights. These are the only ceiling lights in this area as we plan to have floor lamps for specific task or reading lighting. Once the inner ceiling was plastered, the framework itself was done the following day. This photo is some way on from that, as you can see. By this stage, the whole of the downstairs main room has been done and recesses formed for the spotlights at the other end of the room. Not too long after this, the kitchen arrived from DIY Kitchens. Lovely quality units and everything is going together well. It did mean, though, that I had to get on with the painting up the kitchen end so that a start could be made on installation. A paragraph or two on painting is appropriate here. I put a brief post into the main decorating section here on BH regarding spray painting, but it deserves repetition. I've planned from the outset to do the painting myself. I'm competent and it's nice to get some hands on involvement in the build. But, and it really is a big one, there is a vast surface area to cover in this house, and the vaulted ceilings upstairs are really quite intimidating for a vertically challenged person such as myself. Mind you, I think a vault of 4.7m would make most people ponder their method of attack. I decided that by far the most effective approach for me was to spray the mist coats to seal the plaster and continue with white for the ceilings. I wasn't sure at that stage whether I would also apply the colour coats by spraying, so adopted a 'wait and see' approach. First off, masking takes ages, even with a relatively empty house, as that spray will get everywhere and anywhere. Once the masking is done and you've familiarised yourself with the sprayer itself, though, the speed of coverage is astonishing. I was able to comfortably do one large room per day - both mist coats and a couple of extra ones on the ceiling to get it opaque and full white. It was messy. Really messy! Especially as when I first got going I had the spray pressure a little too high, the mad angles of the vaulted ceilings meant that my nozzle was never going to be held at a constant 90 degrees to the surface, and it's just a messy process regardless. In addition, there is a vast amount of moisture in the air, particularly as we had plaster drying at the same time. I hired a commercial dehumidifier for a couple of weeks to help with this and it was very effective. I bought all my paint from Brewer's Decorator Centre, who are mainly based along the south coast of England. I opened a trade account with them and got 20% off the entirety of my first order, so I put everything I could think of onto that, including my antinox floor protection mats. Very useful they were, too. I used their contract matt white for the mist coat and ceilings. It's white, but not brilliant white and it's lovely. Very chalky, easy to sand and gives a nice highly matt finish. Also cheap as chips. Here's one of the bedrooms, masked up and sprayed. Here's another bedroom with that ceiling. My scaffold tower came into its own for reaching up to those heights. Then, finally, the kitchen area with its mist coat. The sprayer is the little beastie sitting on the plasterboard. I popped over on a weekend to also put the first colour coat on over at the kitchen area, whilst I could still get in easily before the kitchen started going in. I'm having splashbacks between the wall and base units, hence the odd looking finish level with the paint. These were all the kitchen units as they arrived, prior to painting. Everything was really well packaged and came with the doors on and drawers in. The delivery crew were pleasant and efficient, so all in all, a good experience. Moving away from painting and plastering, the ceiling plan for the lights was marked up on the floor, along with speakers and smoke detectors before the boards went on so that there was no guesswork involved in what was running where. Here's the marking plan: This is what the kitchen units look like at the moment. I made a cock up in ordering, purely out of ignorance, and I'm waiting for a few end deco panels to arrive. These didn't even occur to me as they will go between units and appliances to give a better appearance from face on. It made perfect sense when it was pointed out to me, so things have halted temporarily until those and my worktops arrive shortly. In the meantime, it's looking good: We also now have spotlights in place: Finally, for the curious, this is what karndean flooring looks like. It has been laid upstairs and the downstairs will be finished in a couple of weeks. Upstairs, it was all laid on ply that was feathered in at the edges and downstairs will have a latex feathering coat to level the floor and provide an even base. Next up is more of the same. The final session of boarding and plastering, lots more painting, the end of first fix and moving onto second fix. Outside, we need to get cracking on the rainwater goods, perimeter drain and exterior cladding. The cladding is due to arrive next week, so it will be interesting to see that and figure out the system. I hope to be able to report back on over height doors soon, as well, and my endeavours to find these at a reasonable price, but that's all for now. There's painting to be done.
  20. 1 point
    We are now working our way through first fix for the self build. Our electrician has been busy drilling holes and threading many reels of cables around the house. The other area where we have made some progress is the ducting system. I’ve never ordered ducting before and it took me some time to order all of the parts and then have them to delivered to Skye. This came into two deliveries, both times some of the items were dented and buckled. Some were easy fixed but others required replacements to be sent. I wonder now if this is a common occurrence with others that have ordered ducting online? Once the last parts arrived, I was able to lay it all out to check back to the plan. My plumber will be fitting the ducting which should happen soon. Our brickie will also come back to construct the blockwork for the stove. My next job will be painting the house as the render has now had sufficient time to allow any impurities to be washed away. Although I have been busy with the house and work over the last few weeks, I was lucky enough to be given a wee boat. It was a group effort taking it down the croft and felt great to be on the loch after a few years. Might be the start of a new hobby.
  21. 1 point
    So after a month or so in the house, the time has provided us with an opportunity to reflect on what we have achieved and what if anything, we would change or could have done differently. In truth there is very little if anything that we would change. The rooms flow, the doors open in the right direction and the lights can be switched on and off in the appropriate places. Even the WBS has proven to be a worry that wasn't worth worrying about, as it's position within the hearth is no longer an issue due to it being vented through the back as opposed to the top. Some jobs have been completed such as the down pipes and a few jobs remain outstanding but nothing that has an impact upon our daily lives. One such job is the porch that needs to be slated. Thankfully I still have some financial leverage over those various trades so I know they will return. Our satisfaction I suppose, has to be routed in the preparation work, the research and being a member of this superb forum. None of these elements should be underestimated. Therefore I would like to sign off this blog with a heartfelt thanks to all those who have contributed, not only to my issues over the past couple of years, but to all the other threads, as they too are just as relevant / enlightening. I have also attached some images which complete the project, namely the WBS chimney installation and the erection of the much mentioned porch. For a final time, thanks for reading, and given the date, seasons greetings to you all. Paul.
  22. 1 point
    When we first started on this path, we wanted a hands off, almost turnkey project. I'd heard of SIPS and seen lots of positive stories about energy efficiency so all was set. Then we spoke with a mortgage advisor and our world started to tumble down. I am now 56, Peter is 57. We will need a mortgage to build this house but because of our ages, we know that the mortgage providers will all keep the term of the mortgage down to 15 years max which will make the repayments large. Drastic action needed to be taken so we have now decided to build using a method where we can do this ourselve. We have no experience of actual building work but let's face it, how hard can it be 😲 - famous last words. Our previous house was built using traditional methods. We did have underfloor heating and a MVHR system but we struggled to get through the air-tightness test. We have learnt a lot since then. We nearly built that time round using ICF but I chickened out. This time, it looks like it is going to win. We have looked at the various types of ICF. The majority are of course the polystyrene type blocks and these do have real advantages for self builders. They are light and easy to manage. Our main issue with them is the fixing ability at the end of the build. Once the plaster is on, finding the fixing lines becomes harder and harder and so other ways of fixing heavy items to walls need to be used. Looking at various websites and you tube videos, it is also apparent that blow outs are more likely using the polystyrene and more bracing is required during the pour. The concrete is of a stiffer consistency that with the woodcrete ICF. The woodcrete type ICF blocks solve the fixing issues - you can attach anything to it. We have looked at three types of this type of ICF, Velox, Durisol and Isotex. Each has pros and cons and we have yet to decide which type to use. All three appear less likely to blow on pour day without significant bracing but of course it can still happen. We can't get a price without plans so at the moment the comparisons are being made purely on preference but without the benefit of a cost comparison. The concrete for this method is of a very runny soup like consistency. VELOX This method uses two flat panels that are clipped together as you build. The panels are large - 2000mm x 500mm so will go up quickly. One panel has the insulation attached to it. The system comes with a variety of options for the depth of the wall giving different u values. I have found getting information from the website quite difficult - the website is clunky and parts of it are not in English. The way the panels fit together, you end up with a completely solid concrete wall inside the formwork. I believe this gives a better chance of airtightness from the actual structure of the walls. The UK supplier seems to be a little difficult to get hold of sometimes - maybe this is the result of too many enquiries but it does ring alarm bells to me. The system has products for both internal walls and floors. The internal walls are two panels glued together, this takes the weight to 68kg - we struggled to lift a panel off the floor so raising it above shoulder height would be impossible for us. The size and weight of the panels pretty much rules this system out for us as it is simply too heavy for us to manage ourselves. It is however, my favourite product. DURISOL Durisol blocks are more like a squarish 8 with the top, middle and bottom bar at less than full height to allow a honeycomb concrete wall to form during the pour. The blocks are all 500mm x 250mm with the external walls coming is two depths - 300mm with a u value of .23 or 365 mm with a u value of .11. There are 3 different types of blocks. A standard block with the reduced internal height connectors. A facing block which has one end at full height - this is also used for lintels. A corner block for ...... turning corners! Because of the way the blocks work, the second row and above will all need a cut to ensure that your keep the "brick bond" in place. This is particularly pronounced if you choose the 365mm blocks as it is the width that causes the issues. QUESTION - couldn't you fix the problem by making the cut on the first row instead and increasing the size slightly so that every other run works properly? That didn't cross my mind at the training. The blocks have male and female ends so that they lock togehter prior to the concrete pour The blocks are rough and gloves are definitely needed. The blocks do shed while you are working as well so care needs to be taken to butt the blocks up properly as the debris can move things apart a little. The design of the blocks means that there are the 3 woodcrete bars, each end of the block buts together with only a small amount of concrete bonding the blocks together. The blocks are produced in this country so less likely to suffer with issues to do with Brexit. Lead time is in weeks. Free training is provided (we have done the one day training course) and they will come to site to help you get the first row laid, ensuring that you get a nice level row. Purchase of the blocks over £10k gives you one free site visit (need to check if that is the initial row or if you also get the first pour day). Other visits are by negotiation but they rely heavily on facetime calls to see your site without actually being there. The anecdotal evidence that I have is that Durisol will discount heavily but they do not talk about a standard price - you only appear able to get a price from the drawing that you provide. I believe this will be our third choice of block based on properties but is probably the cheapest of the three. It is also the one we are most likely to use due to the price. ISOTEX Isotex is a very similar produce to Durisol. The blocks are mainly 500mm x 250mm but there are "pass" blocks to match the block depth that you have chosen. This gets around the issue of "brick bond" issue. The blocks come in depths of 300mm with a u value of .23. 330mm with a u value of .19. 380mm with a u value of .15 and 440 with a u value of .11. There are more options for shape of block - not sure how much that will help on site - will it be more difficult to find the right type of block while doing tricky areas? The shape of the blocks is like an H but with 2 horizontal bars not one. This means that the blocks allow a freer flow of concrete between the blocks than you get with Durisol. It will still be a honeycomb but less so, there is roughly a third less woodcrete in the way of the concrete wall. Butting the blocks together mean that they just sit together without the benefit of the locking togethre - this means that there are two short unsupported parts of the block holding the concrete - does this make a blow-out more likely? Insulb the UK supplier provide similar training to Durisol - we are attending in February half term at Swindon NSBRC. The blocks are slightly smoother than the Durisol ones and seem less likely to shed. Jamie has made it quite clear that the price is non-negotiable. £55m2 for the 300mm block (I think I wrote down the correct block size but not 100% certain) against £62m2 for the 440mm block. I believe that this will be our second choice block based on properties and probably second choice one price comes into play - time will tell.
  23. 1 point
    After reading every post on this forum on the subject of sound insulation and in particular Rockwool I wanted to document our experience. Until the delivery arrived and we opened the packets we really didn't know what we were going to be working with. Here is the best description I can give. We ordered the following from Insulation4Less. They told us the lead time was about 4-6 weeks (nationwide shortage) but actually it all came within a week leaving us with a literal mountain of rockwool to store around site. It was wrapped but needed to be lugged into the house out of the rain. Big job. The 50mm deep packs were orginally intended to go in the ceilings where there were lots of pipes to fit around. We chose RWA45 rather than the more expensive Flexi. Having not seen the Flexi I can't give a really accurate comparison. But the RWA45 is flexible and can be pushed into spaces and compressed a little anyway. And it is cheaper. It is not rigid / solid like Celotex (which I had first thought it might be). Here are some open packs. It is pretty easy to cut using an insulation saw like this. https://www.screwfix.com/p/bahco-insulation-saw-22-560mm/7498k But it does shred easily too. Mask and gloves absolutely essential. The 100mm deep stuff looks like this. So although it comes in these "batts" which have a form to them, you can trim to to the size you need. We are trimming almost everything because the 600mm wide batts don't fit into the 560mm gaps between the 600mm centred studs. But there are plenty of places to stuff the offcuts and the puzzle of how to use every offcut as efficiently as possible is keeping us both amused somewhat. We are fitting this into all the stud walls (internal) and the ground floor ceiling. No need for any insulation on the external walls or top floor ceilings as that has been pumped in by MBC (more of that in another blog). Hubby used our MVHR builders straps to fit up a load in the ceiling. He is now using cheap pallet strapping and a staple gun! It is fair to say that we have been doing this sound insulation on and off now for well over a month. It is a big job. Ceilings harder than the walls. Time consuming. A bit (alot) messy. Requires us to ply the walls first (where ply is needed) and then insulate. For the stud walls that don't need ply we will work as quick as we can in the evenings once the the plasterboarders are on site (due next week) filling in behind them as they plasterboard one side. Going to be a busy week. But progress is satisfying and physically working on our build again is fun.
  24. 1 point
    To be honest, I'm glossing over some details somewhat! For example, that 45-degree wall was interesting to brace, mainly because it wasn't exactly 45 degrees. After foaming the wall joints, I was wondering how to brace the wall properly. My builder-come-consultant had a genius idea. We ended up creating a hinged OSB screen (using a bunch of standard door hinges), so that we could form each of the angles independently. Then we screwed the OSB to the webs in the ICF blocks to make it solid. Then we put CLS timbers across the OSB, and bolted together, to give it more rigidity, and bolted the CLS timbers together. Worked a treat. You can see the detail in pictures 4 & 7 above. Lifting the steel beam was a challenge, too. We attached ratchet straps around the uprights for the scaffold system (one in the kitchen side and one in the garage side, and clamped into the web with timbers), and then used spare ICF blocks from the basement walls as chocks to insert every time we got another 400mm up. That allowed us to adjust the straps safely each time, and start again. The problem came when we got to the last block - one ratchet snapped, and the beam dropped at the back. Thankfully we were (sensibly) working from above (on the scaffold) at that point, because if it had hit someone below we'd have needed an ambulance. The final 700mm of lifting for the back end of the beam was done by myself and 2 mates on our shoulders, once we had lifted the front end onto the garage wall and secured with metal strapping so it couldn't fall off. And boy, was it heavy! Now that I am getting a bit of personal time back, I'll start trying to include more anecdotes like these in the blog - it's just been mental levels of stress the past few weeks (Dad in hospital 200 miles away, and my day job looking like it's about to end right when both mortgages are at their peaks...)
  25. 1 point
    That's the point - we had a topo done (cost £420) prior to completing the excavation of the basement hole - all setting out was then done by a setting out engineer (at a cost of £350) based off the topo. They just misread the topo somehow, because our only height datum was the DPC on the neighbour's house, and all the measurements were calculated using that as ground level (when clearly it wasn't). By the time we realised the problem, we had concreted the ground floor walls and built the first floor walls up. Our choice was either to have lower ceilings on the first floor (and I am not a fan of low ceilings - the basement is over 9' and we're at 8'4" on the ground floor), alter the roof pitch, or get the planners to let us have a taller house than either side. I vetoed option [1], and we had had enough dealings with the planning dept at this point to know option [3] was unlikely, which only left option [2] - alter the roof pitch. It still required a new planning application, but because it was obvious why we were making the change, and because it was obvious we weren't trying to make space for a future loft conversion (it's only 1.4m clearance in the loft now), the planners were much more accommodating.
  26. 1 point
    Our design calls for some pocket doors - 6 in total - good for space saving, should look tidy. We decided to go with Eclisse and got them from the ever helpful Alan at Door Supplies Online. We will also get our door sets from him, to match, and he'll supply some matching architrave to finish the pocket doors nicely. Will post photos of the finished doors when we get there (probably September). In the meantime, we needed to install the pocket frames in advance of plaster boarding. It seemed too easy. But I am posting this because we had slight issues understanding how they fitted so hopefully this post will help someone else in the future. Him indoors built them so quickly I didn't even get photos of him putting them together. But he assures me that the instructions were straightforward to follow and they went together well. Top tip - don't throw out the bits of polystyrene that look like packaging. They actually help give it some bracing strength when lifting the whole thing into place (otherwise it bends quite a bit). The You Tube videos are also helpful. Our MBC structural openings were exact (to the mm) so we had allowed a bit too much structural opening (we didn't know how mm perfect they would be). We then had to pack slightly off the stud frame (offcuts of egger board and OSB). And also pack off the floor to ensure the door was fitted at finished floor level. Have allowed 20mm for carpet / underlay upstairs (and tiles to the bathrooms) so should be OK. The frames come in 100mm finished wall depth or 125mm finished wall depth. With 89mm stud walls this does give a bit of a conundrum, assuming 12.5mm plasterboard. We chose 125mm. And then Alan suggested putting ply on the frame as well to make it extra rigid. Also useful for subsequent hanging of pictures / toilet roll holders on finished wall - otherwise fixings might go through and result in scratching the sliding door. What we couldn't understand was that the pocket side of the door had a frame that was 125mm wide. But the bit the door closes on was only 100mm wide. For a short while I doubted the assembling ability of my definitely better half. Thankfully, a call to Alan set that straight. Though I am not sure I have been forgiven yet. There is a timber jamb (125mm wide) that fits over the 100mm section, making the whole thing 125mm wide. Now for the ply. It has been a bit of a juggle. Some need ply and some don't, some need double ply before plasterboard on one side to build out the stud work. And we need to match the ply on each side otherwise the door will be off centre in the total wall depth. Feels like overkill and probably is. But it will be solid! The ply attaches to the door frame itself using little screws (supplied by Eclisse). If you don't put ply on then these little screws fix the plasterboard. This door below has ply on the left hand side to bring the stud wall out to the frame edge. Then it will have ply over the top of that (and the frame) to match the other side. Then plasterboard. Toilet roll holder going on the other side and mirror on this side so will be strong enough for those. From the inside of the en-suite it looks like this, with one layer of ply. So, just plasterboard over the top of this. All the standard (classic) pockets are now fitted. Ply to go on the other 4 still so plenty of late nights in store before the plasterboarders come in. We are rather enjoying this bit though. Allows us to actually contribute to our build in a meaningful way, saves some cash, justifies the circular saw Christmas gift...... The telescopic pocket door is being saved for another day.
  27. 1 point
    really enjoying the blog, Russell, especially the photo's. keep it all coming.🙂
  28. 1 point
    Blimey another month on there is a real sense we are getting there. So much so, we have given notice on our rental. We move in on Friday 30th November regardless! The main emphasis this month has been installing the treatment plant and drainage system. The treatment plant was initially installed, somewhat optimistically, without any anchors only for it to pop back out of the ground within 24hrs, despite being filled with water and the pit filled with pea shingle. Needless to say the second time round, it was anchored down and the pit filled with a lot more concrete than the first time. SEPA – [Scotland] had requested a soak away to be installed along with a 20 metre drainage channel 1.2 metre wide, before connecting to a field drain that eventually discharges into a nearby water course. I then had to register my plant with SEPA at a cost of £137. The local Building Controller arrived on site to test the drains and within 20 minutes or so, both the foul and rainwater systems were passed. As soon as they had been given the all clear, the landscaper and his team set about back filling the trenches and levelling the site ready for a Hammer Head driveway, boundary hedging and turf across the remaining plot. Landscaping can be one of those often forgotten costs and to assist others here are my quantities and material prices. I haven't included the cost of the turf as it is still uncertain as to whether or not it will be laid this year or next. That decision will be taken during the week. Patio mix slabs & single slabs 2265 Setts 540 MOT 3 x 28 tonnes 448 Sand x 6 tonnes 195 Cement x 40 bags 150 Membrane - 60 metres 150 20mm whin stone x 26 tonnes 650 Internally, progress has been frustratingly slow. I had a check of my records and found that the joiner / tiler had only been on site for 11 of the possible past 30 work days!! That said, we now seem to have a momentum building and the floor tiles have started to be laid. This in turn will allow the kitchen units to be fitted this coming week. The electrician will have completed the second fix installation by the end of this coming week and the plumber is booked in for the following week to complete his second fix installations. Once the tiles are down, the joiner will turn his attention to cladding the dormers. So, over the next 4 weeks the following needs to happen – Internally – Floor tile to be laid, grouted and sealed. Kitchen, utility room cabinets to be installed. Fitted furniture in the master bedroom to be fitted. Electrician to complete his second fix and to wire up the pump for the treatment plant. All sanitary ware to be installed. Final bits of internal joinery to be completed. Externally – The gable end stone work to be completed. The dormers to be clad. The porch to be erected. The chimney to be finished off. The landscaping to be completed. Open Reach to connect us to the BT pole outside the plot. What can possibly go wrong ??
  29. 1 point
    Using a timber frame company (such as MBC) made the frame erection stage of self building quite satisfying. It only took two weeks to build something that truly looked like a real house. We did spend more than 7 months in dialogue with MBC over all the little details. And still we made some quite clanging errors. More of that in my next post. It was glorious weather back in July. [How I wish we weren't in rainy autumn now - we are still not watertight......] Anyway, the first week passed by in a blur of unloading lorries and the ground floor going up. And then we went on holiday......
  30. 1 point
    Assuming a passive slab was planned from the start, 900mm seems an awful lot to be digging down, even if clay was a possibility. Please don't think we're having a go here, by the way. It's just that someone may read this in the future looking for information, and it will be helpful for them to understand how this all happened (and how to avoid it!)
  31. 1 point
    Yesterday (August 21st 2018) the ground workers arrived at 07:00 to scrape the site, erect some Heras fencing and mark the house out. The engineer did the setting out first of house boundary. Next the digger driver and one ground worker scraped the site. Next the engineer marked out where the foundations should go, ready to be dug tomorrow. The digger also ripped up the old tarmac road that ran through the plot. They finished at 18:00
  32. 0 points
    Clearly you've already started on the Lambrini.......
  33. 0 points
    Swearing is one thing.....but lying now too ?!?
  34. 0 points
    Stop spoiling my thread . Some poor newbie has read through all this valuable information and is now wondering wtf !!
  35. 0 points
    WELL! Maybe ! The issue then was the adhesive setting in 30 seconds!. I practised it and thought I had mastered the skill. But when it came to the real thing I failed. As W. Shakespeare also said " When the adhesive sets to quick a man will fail. When the adhesive sets just right a man will succeed " Believe it or not I've got an 'O' level in English literature . So naturally you can take my quotes as 100% accurate.
  36. 0 points
    Afraid you must wait until Monday ! Oi @Big Jimbo you said my soil pipe version 3 was amazing !!! ”A man that makes no mistakes is not a man . A man that makes mistakes is merely a man “ W. Shakespeare.
  37. 0 points
    If this is a Friday night, we can (expletive deleted)ing well look out for tomorrows instalment 🤗
  38. 0 points
    (Expletive deleted) needs some serious updating 😎
  39. 0 points
    Don't expect the Buzzard enjoyed it much either.
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