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Showing content with the highest reputation since 20/05/16 in Blog Entries

  1. 20 points
    There was not much in the way of progress from the last entry as we were already close to moving in. The plumbing was completed in the last entry and connecting some final electrical fittings was done soon after. After a decade since putting in outline planning it was time. Our furniture delivery has taken longer than anticipated and we are living with a bean bag for the living room seating and a mattress on the floor for our bed. But we are here. The first few days were spend getting used to living in a new space. As a family four we had spent the last six years living in a relatively small space, it is now great to have a room for each of our children and an extra bathroom. I am pleased with how the house is performing from an energy use point of view. We don’t typically get really high temperatures here and the external average temperature has been about 12c over the last few weeks, the house temperature has remained a comfortable 20c. I have been monitoring our electricity units on a daily basis and we are using between 9 to 10kw which is promising as my hope is that we can go six months or so in the year without heating. The real test will come in the winter as the electricity usage will probably be double, but we plan to make good use of our centrally placed wood burning stove. Once we are furnished, I’ll post some more photos. For the moment just enjoying the new house with the family. The next jobs are: - Ordering decking for a small decked area and for our access ramp - Spreading gravel around the house site - Gardening - Putting more material on the access road - Order some down pipes Thanks for reading.
  2. 13 points
    First all my apologies as this blog entry is about about a year late given that we moved in August 2019, but better late than never as they say ! Moving on from finishing the shell, we moved onto completing the inside. We knew from previous experience this would be the most intensive part of the build and had tried to make as many decisions up front as we could regarding bathrooms, kitchens and flooring, nevertheless there were still a lot of decisions to make. Everything went broadly to plan with the electricians, plumber, carpenters and decorator all working well round each other and coordinated by the builder who had put up the shell. There was an awful lot of work ordering everything and making sure that material was on-site at the right time. There was the occasionally thing that didn't go to plan, most notably the kitchen where i had the bad luck to have my kitchen delivered with many missing and damaged components and a supplier who took 8 weeks to sort everything out. The trades were proactive and happy to suggest how we might achieve what we were looking for which was a great help, but by the end of the project we were both fit to drop. Self build is a very rewarding but exhausting business. Here are some pictures of the finished house. There is still a little bit of landscaping work, the fencing and some furniture to sort out and I guess at some stage we will sort out some blinds to replace the high-tech cardboard that is doing the job at the moment. Following the build, we sorted out the VAT refund - 500+ invoices and a £32,000 refund for VAT. I ordered just about everything and given the number of invoices I got someone to prepare the submission to HMRC this for me which was money well spent. The electrical certificate, certificate for the unvented cylinder, building certificate and warranty were sorted out and finally the last submission for the CIL exception was made. The Dog seems to like her new home ! Still a bit of work to do in the garden View from the study window
  3. 11 points
    it's been a bit quiet on our blog so I thought I should update it. While we've been waiting for the groundworks to start we've been busy getting the site ready. This has included getting the new entrance to the plot created, getting the sub-base for the driveway in place and then topping it off with a layer of 6F5 as a hardstanding for the construction vehicles (after the build I can then remove the top layer to reveal the, hopefully, still in good condition sub-base to put the final layer on top of. well that's the plan at least!) and putting up the site toilet. Obviously the last job was the most important. Our new entrance to the plot is over a culvert and as it's connecting to an adopted road it had to be done by an insured contractor and so I had to fork out the cash to get it done. but they did a very good job and we're very happy with it. the culvert in situ with enough concrete on top to take the lorries and cranes for the build a nice base layer of tarmac finished, which will see us through the build when they will come back and put a nicely finished top layer on. nice sand-bagging. 😉 once, they'd finished the entrance we moved on to the driveway and hardstanding but, first, an observation....it's funny how things don't look as big on paper as they do in real life. that's exactly the conclusion I came to after I looked at the plans and thought "that driveway isn't that big I'll just dig it out myself and save myself a fair chunk of cash" and then went on to dig it out. it was only after I'd finished the 120m2 area did I realise how big the driveway is going to be (I swear it doesn't look that big on paper!). oh well, it's done now, at least we'll have plenty of parking. maybe I can rent it out and do a 'Park and Ride' in to the local town to recoup some of the costs. 😊 a big hole dug and covered in Terram (or an equivalent to be exact) 100 tonnes of beautiful primary Type-3 granite aggregate all compacted by that beast of a roller. Don't really care what everyone else thinks but I think I did a darn good job for my first driveway sub-base. Sadly it all got covered by another layer of Terram and then a load of 6F5 got dumped on top and it now looks like a building site hardstanding area (which is what it is!). here's a photo of the lovely lady of the house helping out on the roller. it was a bit cold out that day. And finally we get to the most important job, the building of the site toilet. Friends of ours got it from a local freebie site and used it for their self-build, we then dismantled it, transported it to our site, erected it, put a new roof on it and plumbed in the toilet and sink to our existing STP. we think it's a very luxurious WC for site use. it's even got a couple of windows so you can watch the work progress while you're doing your business. and that's it for this blog post. we are extremely excited as tomorrow is the day we've been waiting for and the groundworks starts in earnest. They'll be on site to set up and start digging out the big hole for the basement as the basement contractors are due to start on the 3rd May so we should start to see some real progress now! finally!! thanks for reading. 🙂
  4. 11 points
    It has been 3 weeks since the last Blog post and in some ways it feel an eternity and in others it seems only yesterday since Plot 1 TF was done - which is where we left the story. So lots and lots has happened since then so this entry will cover 'lots of stuff' in one go. Our main aim is to get both shell buildings up and then get them wind and watertight as soon as possible. The heavy rain we had just after Plot 1 was finished showed that the MBC OSB roof is not in any way watertight as water poured in through the roof and down the stairs - so we tarpaulined this one and then it hasn't rained since - typical. Anyway a huge push to get to a point where we can (hopefully) draw breath in two watertight houses - hence LOTS OF STUFF (good, bad and ugly!) PLOT 2 Timber Frame So MBC finished Plot 1 and moved over to Plot 2 - another big crane day and the lower floor went up in one day and the joist went on the next and then the boys left us for a long weekend back to Ireland as we fitted the UFH pipes. Having done it once already the UFH pipes went in just fine and this time we didn't have to cut all the metal plates so it was a bit easier. Then the MBC team came back and fitted the floor deck and the sole plate for the top floor and then the crane came back for the top floor walls and roof. The wind came up and so we had to have the crane back the next day to finish off as wind is not your friend when you have to lift big panels up and over a three story building! The boys cracked on and decided to work the Bank Holiday weekend and try to finish by the Sunday. We had already had some comments on the noise and weekend working and had talked to our BCO so we posted a polite notice to say because of CV19 guidance we were trying to reduce travel of our contractors so they would be working through. A couple of neighbours were supportive and sympathetic and one of them even invited the boys for a socially distanced beer after work. We had them stop work for 2 minutes at 11:00 on VE day so exactly at that point one of the neighbours switched on his pressure washer - you cant make this stuff up!. Everything pretty much went to plan and after a heroic effort the MBC crew finished on the Sunday evening as promised and both houses finished to shell level in under 5 weeks - and they look amazing. We did our best to look after the MBC crew as they were in local B&B without the Breakfast (or any food component) - its never ceases to amaze us how well simply treating contractors like human beings goes down. We guess that some of their clients must treat them badly - but why on earth would you want to? After MBC left we had a call from Environmental Health and it seems that some noise complaints had been received - it seems that the latest Government edict on allowing longer working hours on construction to get the economy moving only apply to Planning and not Environmental Health so we were suitably humble and promised to be good in the face of some very vague guidance. Given that we have been working on site since August and these are the first noise complaints its obviously not a serious problem, and as we are self building under loads of pressure we will continue to do DIY at weekends - though as quietly as possible. Yet again we find we really do have one or two vile neighbours. Roofing As we have a flat roof to keep the roof height at the same level as the original bungalow it has an EPDM (plastic / rubber single ply) membrane roof. This sits on a 24mm plywood deck on top of the MBC flat 12mm OSB roof and the MBC firring strips - which slope the roof slightly to get the water to run off. Sounds pretty simple but as with all these things its not so simple. First you need airflow in the gap between the two deck layers so there is no condensation to rot the timber - for this you need plastic soffit vents around the edge to stop the bugs and birds getting in so Joe and Chris fitted all these. Then you need to think how you get over 4 tonnes of plywood 9m up and onto the roof (plus all the rolls of membrane etc) and our roofers said they would do the roofing but not the lifting. Simple solution here was a tele-handler which is a huge forklift that makes short work of this kind of thing - just hire one - simple. But then you need a driver - again simple: one of Joe's colleagues Andy drives one all the time on musical festival sites and is qualified and was happy to come over to help out. So Andy and the roofers turned up and after a bit of delay the first pallet of ply was lifted onto the roof and they were away. Again a good crew who worked really hard and seem to be doing a great job. They have spent a week and plyed and membraned the main part of both roofs so we almost have a dry roof. It was really hot on the roof with no shade so ice-cream went down really well (and for us as we were up there working as well). They still need to do all the fiddly bits like rooflights and soil stack, plus all of the top of the oversail roof but the bulk is done. One wrinkle here is that the rear bay on Plot 2 has the same oversail detail and MBC couldn't fit this because the scaffolding is in the way, but we couldn't take down the scaffolding because we needed it for roofing the main roof on the floor above. So when the main roof is done we will have the scaffolders back to take down the back corner and then MBC will fit the roof and then the roofers will come back and fit that section of membrane roof. Oh how it all gets really convoluted and complex really quickly. Finally to add to the simple / complex plan we had the roofers and the window fitters start on the same day - what could possibly go wrong! Windows The EcoHaus Internorm surveyor came out and lasered around and said that the rear bay window on Plot 1 was 30mm too low and the three windows wouldn't fit. Some checking and it was an MBC error that they happily agreed to fix and Brendan popped over and spent a morning cutting 30mm off the underside of the 3 sided glulam frame in situ and in mid air with a skill saw. We were apprehensive about the sort of job he would do but skill saw is an understatement when it comes to Brendan: two saw cuts one from each side that met perfectly in the middle - truly fantastic work. So one week after MBC had finished EcoHaus Internorm arrived to fit the windows (same day as the roofers - but the windows arrived first!). Their plan was to fit all of Plot 1 windows and then move to Plot 2 - but they were all over the place fitting windows at what seemed like random. We had some of the scaffold moved to make space for them and they seemed happy - and we said if they needed anything at all just to ask. So we were working around the back of the house when we heard an almighty crash and ran to see what had happened. They had asked Andy to lift a huge pallet of windows up above the garage level (about 2m) so they could load them through the window opening. During the unload one of the fitters stepped off the scaffold onto the pallet. The load slipped and the windows fell. Included in this fall was the fitter who had stepped onto the pallet. Ongoing discussions with EcoHaus preclude us from saying much more about this except to say that mercifully the fitter was only bruised and a load of windows were damaged (no glass broken though) and will need replacing - it could have been much much worse. They carried on and then discovered than one of the huge panes of glass for Plot 1's rear slider was cracked in transit from Austria, and also that there were no bolts to fit Plot 2's Juliet balcony. Finally, and this is my fault; the front door for Plot 2 is handed wrong and will need a new frame. So they finished fitting what they could but we have three gaping holes awaiting replacements and a bunch of other stuff that needs rectifying. We have to say that the quality of the actual windows is fantastic, but the experience has not been good so far. Just to contrast this with another MBC issue: we discovered that the kitchen window on Plot 1 didn't fit and there was a 300mm gap above the head of the window (window surveyor didn't spot this one). Well after MBC had left site we discovered a 300mm panel that didn't seem to have a home! Quick call to MBC and yes this was the missing piece, they apologised and Mike came over the next day, apologised some more, fitted the panel and problem solved. If only all the people we deal with had the same attitude then it might all be simple! Rooflights, gutter, soffits and facia Since we have been on a cost cutting mission we have taken on much more of the 'doing' ourselves and keep trying to cut costs where we can. One of these is the guttering etc. the original plan was powder coated aluminium. However this would have been about 3x the cost of plastic, and given the really complex oversail roof detail this would have been really expensive to have fitted. So, and with some real reluctance, we have gone for plastic gutter and soffits and facia. We would be the first to admit it doesn't look as good and will not last as well as aluminium but it is 9m in the air and nobody will examine it in detail. Its likely we will compromise and fit metal gutter to the rear bay (when its finished) as this will be almost at eye height and will look much better. So a mad rush as the three of us have been busy fitting all this and trying to keep half a step in front of the roofers who need the gutter fitted before they can membrane the oversail roof. The reality is that the plastic looks really OK - though we are somewhat mystified by the physics of fitting a flat gutter all the way round the roof - anyone done this? We had to call a stop on Saturday as the wind was really strong and the plastic panels wanted to take off and it really wasn't safe. Also as part of the roofworks we have 4 rooflights on the roof :- 3 fixed pyramid lanterns, 1 on Plot 1 over the stairs and 2 over stairs and landing on Plot 2, plus one flat sliding opening rooflight over the en-suite on Plot 2. The fixed lanterns were flat pack so we have just brought all the parts up onto the roof and built them in-situ ready for the roofers to flash the membrane roof around them. The sliding light was ready built and is really heavy and a 4-man lift so MBC helped unload it and store it and the roofers moved it to the tele-handler and we hoisted it up to the roof and they moved it to a point where its a really simple install. We have had to build the upstand / kerbs for all of these so they fit exactly into place - and we were able to test this with the empty frames. We have just placed the completed unit above the landing and it really looks great - the one above the stairs will look great but at the moment the hole is covered with ply as there is a 9m drop below it and we dont want to leave that open for obvious reasons! MVHR Joe decided he was going to fit his own MVHR system as its not too big and complex and he is desperate to save every penny as he doesn't imagine he will be back on live music lighting until next year so has no income and a lot of time. We have all worked on this install and its not too hard, but the sheer volume of ventilation pipework is mind boggling and routing it is a real challenge. Plot 2 is more complex and since we no longer have an M&E person will get CVC in to install and commission - though having done one we could probably do this one as well! As you can see a lot of stuff in the last few weeks - and a real mix of good, bad and ugly! And still not wind and watertight as planned, but certainly a lot drier! Next steps will be to sort the insulation (Plot 2 is really complex) and screed - which needs doing before MBC can test for air tightness and we can start first fix, and also to get the render done so we can get the scaffold down and finally see the houses for the scaffold. On the insulation and screed front we has planned on 150mm of PIR insulation and 100mm of screed, the thick screed to get some thermal mass and delay into the heating/cooling system. In the interests of cost reduction it looks like 100mm EPS + 90mm PIR + 60mm pumped screed will be much cheaper and have similar U value but lower thermal mass - any thoughts on this plan? Or even 200mm EPS + 50mm screed - which has slightly worse performance but lower cost? One nice moment last week was when we were up on the scaffold and a couple walked past, stopped, looked at the build and said 'wow that looks amazing!' . So nice to hear that others agree with us; it really is starting to look amazing!!!!
  5. 10 points
    Building controls have issued our “Completion Notice” a big milestone for any self build and definitely called for a celebration. A big sigh of relief from both our councils building control and us.🙄 Our many thanks to all the contributors at BuildHub, we certainly could not have done it without the support of the forum members. Particularly Jeremy Harris @Jeremy Harriswho’s broad knowledge and good advice...goodness knows where he’s disappeared to but the forum is a poorer place without his input. It’s been a while since we first broke ground in January 2019 and it certainly has had it’s moments and a good few sleepless nights. There is no doubt in our minds when doing a self build that you have to be doing it for yourselves. We’ve ended up with a house that we could not have gone out and purchased and learned a whole lot on the way. Our initial vision was something small, manageable and future proofed. Hopefully we have achieved this and have added a decent quality house to the housing stock. When we started we visited the building research establishment (BRE) and looked at the Zed Factory house that was there. We decided to take a look at that route. ZED provided either a shell or turnkey solutions, both of which were within our budget. The cost per square metre in the ZED literature at BRE indicated a very competitive turnkey price in the region of £1,350 a square meter. As with all things the low price came with compromises as it was a “cookie cutter” solution and the finish was not all that we would have liked. What we have ended up with is our own vision at a comparable cost of around £1,400 a square metre built to our specification. Sounds like a great result, that is until you factor in the fact that we did the majority of the labour. It’s easy to see why the prices from ZED increased to more like £1,600 a square meter when we asked them to quote. From a design point we still need to live a full year in the house to know if we got our energy sums correct. Early indications are that we should need very minimal input in winter but may have too much solar gain in spring. Our east facing windows are great for the clear winter morning but a little too warm for April sun. In the big scheme of things it should be easily fixed by adding blinds. Our EPC rating came out as a “B” marked down from a due to our use of gas for heating and water, a bit daft given it’s the lowest CO2 emissions at 0.184kg per kwh compared to electricity which is in the 0.233kg region. It would be simpler and better just to do EPC on a kwh per square meter basis, putting the emphasis on input reduction. The MVHR is certainly helping, here's a screen shot from the duct temperatures on a frosty morning. We’ll draw our blog to a close at this point, just got to dust off our resumes and add house building to the skill set 🤣.
  6. 10 points
    Okay, so I know that I promised another blog post soon way back at the beginning of December but it was busy on the build. Crazy busy, details to follow. As for Christmas, well, that didn't turn out as planned, and I had planned it so well. Both OH and I were proper knackered by the time we got into December - me with the build, OH running our business by himself, so we planned some quality R&R by running away to Gran Canaria on Christmas eve for a week. A fly and flop, turn ourselves into zombies for a week then return all bright eyed and bushy tailed for the new year. You just know this isn't going to end well, don't you? You'd be right. 2 days after we got to Gran Canaria, Paul started to feel off-form, then he felt crap, then he felt like death would be a more comfortable option. Turns out he developed real flu, not man flu, but real, proper, can't get out of bed to pick up a £20 note that someone has dropped on the floor flu. Not great, but it got worse. On Thursday, I learned the hard way why all-inclusive buffet style food has such a poor reputation and I mulled on this whilst turning myself inside out and wondering whether, in my sickly state, I had the necessary co-ordination to take care of everything with only one WC and no handy plastic bowl available. Thankfully, I did and whilst recovering the following morning I thought that the worst was over. You just know this is going to get worse, don't you? It did. We just about managed to get home (thankfully flying into Bournemouth) with OH in an increasingly sickly state. Ever the prima donna and insisting on trumping my food poisoning, flu became something between bronchitis and pneumonia and OH was a very sickly boy to the extent that tomorrow will be his first day back at work. I banned myself from the build for a few days in the new year as I'd caught a cold, but I couldn't be self indulgent about it given my patient was worse. So, if there's any justice in the world, we should be good to go for the next and final stint on the build but I'm all to aware that life isn't fair, so we shall see. Enough of plague and pestilence, let's get onto the plastering bit. Actually, I'll come back to that because although in real time we are mid way through the skim now, a vast amount has gone on since early December when the cellulose was blown in as first fix got started in earnest and at a break-neck pace. The plastering has only started in earnest in the new year and I'd like to cover the first fix stuff that happened in December, given that this is the heart and circulatory system that will make the building function as a comfortable home. We received our planning permission just over 1 year ago and I already knew largely how I wanted the building to function, as a result of reading so much here on BH. About the same time as PP was granted a BH contact was looking for consultancy work and I offered him some on this build. Although he had no prior experience in this area all mostly went okay and plumbing and heating systems were integrated into the build plan and were executed satisfactorily until the second fix and final stages. The nature of the first fix work means that it's hard to photograph the amount of effort that goes into it, but there is plenty. Initially, the team is focussing on getting all the MVHR pipes through the metal web joists and, in time, insulating them. Then there are all the underfloor heating pipes to be run through to the right places and the manifolds. We're having UFH upstairs as well as downstairs - the ground floor manifold is in the very useful cupboard under the stairs, the upper one in the loft space along with all sorts of other interesting things. Here's a nice selection of the MVHR pipes, some insulated, as well as the clipped up UFH pipes that are insulated where they are tied together and in contact with one another. And here's a close up of the insulated UFH pipes. Thought has gone into how air will flow around the building with the aid of the MVHR system. In particular, in the large open plan lounge/diner/kitchen area, and how to ensure that none but the stinkiest cooking smells make it out of the kitchen area. As a result, there are long runs of the MVHR pipework leading to plenums at the far end of the lounge area where air will flow into the room. The exhaust pipes for this area are (almost) directly over the hob on the island at the far end, so the airflow should ensure that all the cooking smells get sucked up and out over the kitchen area. Here's a photo of the inlet plenums either side of the window at the far end of the living area. Originally, the architect designed the entire upstairs to have vaulted ceilings, including the landing. Whilst MBC were still drawing up their engineering drawings, we asked for the landing area to be boarded out to create a loft area as this would be an ideal space to stuff a load of plant, including the MVHR manifolds. On reflection, this was also a good decision as I think the proportions of that area would have looked very odd and felt like a vertical tunnel due to the height of the ceiling at that point (4.7m). The MVHR manifolds have been neatly attached to racked out sections in the loft area, making sure that room is left for the upstairs UFH manifold and, in time, the PV inverters. One note with the benefit of hindsight is that having an MVHR unit directly over habitable rooms, in our case bedroom and ensuite, should only be considered if the unit is going to be thoroughly sound-proofed. Ours was never given the promised sound-proofing measures and it's hellishly noisy without them, but we will be rectifying this soon. Here's the loft area back in December: And the one on the west wall. You can also see the UFH manifold and the black cables from the PV panels that will be connected to the inverters. There were also the soil pipes to tackle and these were planned to get sufficient fall on them as they came through the web joists: For anyone tackling a similar build, I can't stress too much the advantage of having your systems people involved from the very start. It means that any holes that need to be put through steel beams to accommodate pipework can be designed in and made at the fabrication stage. Even then, things can go awry and a couple of the steel penetrations were either off kilter or not in the right place, but the majority were where they needed to be and made life much easier. An example of this kind of thing is the stud wall between the landing and the en-suite for the master bedroom. In order to be able to hide the various pipes that travel up to the loft space, MBC were asked to make this into a twin stud wall and specified the depth so that it would carry the pipework. Here it is. A bit tricky to see, but you can easily see the benefit of being able to conceal this bulky pipework into the fabric of the build. Speaking of concealing things, all the loos in the house are wall-hung with the cistern concealed in the wall. All you see is the loo and the flush plate, and so the framework needs to be put in before walls are boarded and plastered. Here's one such frame: I'm on a bit of a catch up now so stay tuned for the next exciting episodes of ponds, brise soleil and vertical slate cladding. Ta ta for now.
  7. 8 points
    Our blockwork started three weeks ago. This was always going to be weather dependent and it was mixed for the first two weeks in November but since then we have had a really good weather window where its been calm, sunny and not too cold which allowed the remaining work to be completed. Our brickie was fitted a temporary gutter which could be taken off when required. This gable end is where the prevailing wind comes down off the mountains, we have shelter belt here but its nice to know that we now have a solid concrete wall. Next on the list is fitting the concrete windows cills which should be next week. The sections that don't have blockwork will be fitted with the remaining Siberian larch cladding in early December.
  8. 7 points
    We have seen huge changes on site in the last couple of days. The SIPS team have worked very hard to keep things on track. I can't fault anything they have done. All the walls are in place now and we're waiting for the scaffolding to have the last lift built so the roof lift can happen, planned for early afternoon on Monday. Craning the roof panels into the assembly area. The small part of the L shape roof that goes over the master bedroom sitting waiting to be lifted. The front gable end is nearly completed. The rear elevation as seen from the lower part of the tiered garden. This is the veiw we'll get when driving in to the driveway. It gives a good view of the lounge and front door. Steico joists, a few steels and glulam beams for the ceiling of the first floor. The racking walls are waiting for covering. This leaves me with one or two sections of stud wall to install myself to complete the first floor layout. The master bedroom. We now have a view on what the vaulted ceiling is going to be like in here. The other side of the bedroom half round window, looking at the racking wall to support the far end of the purlin. Here's hoping the scaffolders will show up promptly on Monday morning having been allowed to go to the pub for the first time in an age!
  9. 7 points
    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.
  10. 7 points
    An update - photos speak for themselves........
  11. 6 points
    It's been a little quiet on site over the last 10 days or so which hasn't been a bad thing as I had a nasty cold last week so it gave me an added incentive to stay at home and get some more forward planning done. One of the downsides, though, is that I only today spotted an issue with the west facing upstairs gable that's only really visible from the top scaffolding lift. When I first saw it, I thought 'oh bugger, another window problem' and promptly got on the phone to the guys at Norrsken to ask what they thought of the photo I'd just sent them with a clear image of the problem. This is what I sent: And this is what it's meant to look like: Can you spot the difference? You're buildhubbers, so of course you can. In the first photo, the apex of the triangular window sitting on the French doors and side panels clearly protrudes by some distance. It's about 3cm. At this point, and as before, what I most need to know is a) is it a problem? and b) how do we fix it, if it is. And at this point, as before, Norrsken were hot to trot and the installations manager, Mark, along with his very bright and shiny new spirit level, did a swift dash up to north Dorset to come and see for himself exactly what the problem is. I should explain that this window consists of 3 elements. There are the central French doors, a glazed panel each side of the doors and then the triangular window that sits on top of all this. When fitting, the installation team set everything up with a laser to make sure it's all dead on, and they took great care to make sure everything was right. Because of this, I wasn't entirely surprised when Mark from Norrsken established quite clearly that the fault isn't with the windows, but with my MBC timber frame. Directly above the triangular window, there is a steel with an apex in it, that is then boarded over. You can see in this picture from a previous entry how these are put into place by MBC, and this is the section that has caused the problem on the west side: So, first off, is this an issue? This was my first question to Mark and, in particular, does the fact that the window frame is so proud of the wall compromise the thermal properties or insulating quality? Thankfully, he assured me not, so I'm happy to accept this. The next issue, is the physical problem of the top of the window protruding by about 3cm from the timber frame exterior wall. It's fairly standard practice to have 25mm counter batten on the exterior, to which is attached whatever outer skin is covering the building. Fortunately for me and MBC, I have planned all along to have 50mm battens on the outside so that a decent sized service cavity is created to run any exterior wires and cables through. It's possible that I could have got away with 25mm but I preferred to spend a bit more on the larger battens and make life a bit easier when installing stuff on the outside. This means that the slate cladding on the upper floor will be able to largely cover the error, but it will quite probably be tricky to get a decent finish between the window and the cladding as I had been planning to use powder coated aluminium to do this job and it won't be the easiest thing to fit with such a variation in the gap. I'll tackle that when I get to it, but any suggestions are welcome. Okay, so all in all, it's not a disaster but a pain. I am, however, annoyed because MBC didn't know that I was planning 50mm battens and, aside from anything else, it's really disappointing that having done a good job on the vast majority of the build, this error slipped through. There were enough spirit levels on site throughout the build that it shouldn't have been so difficult to run one up against this fairly fundamental section of the build, particularly as there was a whopper of a window going into this wall, to make sure that everything is true for the parts of the build that follow on after. In the meantime, a few other things have gone on at the build. A start has been made on putting in the ducting for the MVHR and shoving some of the UFH pipes and manifold towards where it will end up. The UFH manifold for the upstairs is going up into the loft section. In the original plans, the upstairs landing was vaulted, but the decision was taken early on to board this out and create a loft space that could then be used to stash away all the MVHR kit and other ancillary equipment, including the upstairs UFH manifold. There is another bit of kit going in there that is a heat pump but used to cool rather than heat air going through the MVHR system and thus provide active cooling in the summer to complement my shading from the brise soleil and exterior roller blinds on the south facing windows. Here's a photo of the MVHR ducting and UFH pipes coming up through a cut-out section in the floor and up into the loft space. The stud wall that you can see divides the landing from the en-suite for the master bedroom; it is planned to be a twin stud wall and so, once done, all the pipework and ducting will be hidden in the cavity of the twin wall. More of the same: The plenums for the MVHR will sit at the far end of the bedrooms, i.e. near the windows. The idea is that this will achieve a proper through put of fresh air through the entire room, rather than just circulating around the door and landing areas. You will see that the plenums are quite a bit lower than the central glulam beam supporting the vault. The plan here is to introduce a central flat section along the ridge, low enough to cover the ducting and the glulam and the plenum will then just pop out of the plasterboard. Whilst this means extra cellulose being required for the increased volume of the roof section, it will make detailing it and covering it in far easier for MBC when the time comes to do that, so there's a decent quid pro quo there. A major benefit of stuffing the MVHR ducting into the ceiling section that will be filled with cellulose is that the pipes up there don't need to be insulated, which would normally be the case. The ones for the ground floor are currently getting their NASA-style coats and I'll show some photos of those in the next post. This also means that it's given a reduction on the cost of all the MVHR kit as the insulation for the ducts isn't particularly cheap. Aside from the window/wonky frame drama, it's currently a time for figuring out and juggling details. My flat roof guys should be back in a couple of weeks and I really need to get the parapets and east balcony finished off as until these are done, the main house won't be watertight. I need to check with the team at County Flat Roofing, however, as I also have my balustrade to go onto the balconies. The balustrade has posts that are fixed onto the parapets by way of a square/rectangular base plate, about 10mm thick. These can go either on top of or underneath the roofing membrane, but I need to check which will give the best finish and then press the button for whoever goes first. I know that if the plates go under the membrane are too thick, it will look bumpy and not very nice but, more importantly, might not give a good seal. I shall check and report back, but I suspect that we will end up putting the plates on top of the membrane and sealing it up again afterwards. Although the balustrade hasn't been installed yet, I've been chatting to the guys at Balustrade UK, including the lovely Trevor, and they've been very understanding with my needs for flexibility on timing, so all is okay there. Moving onto brise soleils, who would have thought it would be so difficult to track down a firm to do these? Certainly neither me nor my architect. We tried a couple of local firms, including one that is on the same industrial estate as me and OH, but it was like tumbleweed blowing down mainstreet in an old cowboy film. Nada. In the end, I contacted another Birmingham firm, Vincent Timber, who mentioned them on their website. In the event, the only supply the timber for them rather than the whole thing, but they passed my enquiry onto a firm in St Albans, Contrasol Ltd, and they came back with a fully specced brise soleil for the stairwell window which is just the thing. Not cheap, mind, but not far off what I thought it would be. The metal supports will be powder coated aluminium (RAL7016, of course, the same as any other bit of metal on the building) and the fins will be red cedar that will be allowed to silver. When OH and I originally discussed this, we were hoping to get something that would retain its colour but this has proven to be tricky and we have no intention of painting anything on the brise soleil fins every 8 years or so to retain its colour. It can go grey with dignity, just like us. I was out on site today getting the trench dug for the re-routing of our electricity supply cable. Currently, it comes in via an overhead wire and a dirty great pole that's right next to the building. We've planned from the outset to have this buried and the SSE guy, Dave, will come along next week to lay the cable and, in due course, run it into the garage. It's a long old trench, mind you. It took just under 4 tons of sand to put the blinding layer down and it won't take much less than that to cover the cable once it goes in, before back filling. Still, another job to tick off the list. I need to get another couple of bits of groundworks done in the coming weeks. First off, I need to get the spec from the Highways Agency as to how they want the new driveway onto the lane to be constructed. My sunamps will live in the garage and it will be very tricky getting them in through the house as they're hefty things, so I may as well crack on and get the driveway done. The only slight hitch is that there is some scaffolding in the way right now, but I'm hoping that by the time we get around to making the new opening, I'll be able to do away with a fair bit of the scaffolding. The other groundwork task is to start digging out the pond. OH has decided on the shape and size and I used a couple of cans and left over EPS to mark out the perimeter this morning. Before anyone asks, these are the answers: no swimming, no fish, no fishing, no duck shooting. It's a wildlife pond and that's it. But it is a bloody big pond and I'd like to get it dug before we get some serious weather in as we can then start to get a feel for just how well or not our clay soil will retain water and start to plant up the margins once we have a better idea of what we're dealing with. It's hard to see the line marking, but this is the view from the top lift of the scaffold. That's all for now, the next post should hopefully have a bit more interior detail and a lot more roof action. Stay tuned.
  12. 6 points
    Time for another update. Most of our work this month has been focused upon finalising the kitchen design, stair, stove etc. Tangible work on the house has consisted of the taping and filling and fitting the last bit of ducting. Not terribly exciting, but it's all progress. Here are some photos. Next up I need to resolve an ongoing treatment tank problem which will be covered in a separate entry. We hope to start internal paint work in the next few week pr so.
  13. 6 points
    Our flat roof guys have been great. Though they worked very short hours compared to MBC (doesn't everyone). With a flat roof you apparently need at least 18mm OSB to lay the roof membrane onto. The standard MBC spec is less than that for a flat roof so we had to stump up some money to upgrade the roof deck to 18mm. We have three different roof decks. Here is one roof deck with the roof lights (more on those in a separate post one day). The upper roof deck And a view of the lower roof deck and garage Some lessons learned: OSB is not weather proof despite assurances from MBC that it would be OK. It holds out for a short time and then water floods through the joins. It was a pretty sunny summer. But the downpours were bad. Wish we had plastic sheeted the whole roof. To be fair to MBC, the house is fine (as they said it would be) despite being flooded more than twice. However, the stress for us, and the clearing up, could have easily been avoided. We insect meshed all the gaps before the roofers started. The parapets are edged with this smart design. We drilled some drainage holes through the parapet walls for the roof drains. Burned out the drill. Got that as a wedding gift 18 years ago so him indoors was delighted to upgrade. This is the membrane going down, on a felt underlayer. And the finished look (though the front of the garage isn't finished and can't be until the render is done). Learned from the building inspector that we don't have a high enough upstand on this roof / door combination so it will likely not get included in our warranty. That was news to us and is one of the issues caused by not keeping on our architect. We have definitely missed stuff like this so could have probably avoided a few problems. So that's it. Probably one of the easiest bits of the build so far. However, we still made some cock ups like not allowing enough space to fit a window into an L shaped corner area. This is the view from above and the window has to sit on the OSB bit. Unfortunately that bit of roof sticks out a bit far. We had to trim it on site and the roofer guys are going to come back and fix it another day....... A big lesson for us has been the ability to fix things on site. Doesn't stop me losing sleep over them, but I think I am losing less sleep than I was over the "problems".
  14. 6 points
    Yes, now that the first fix has been completed, the plaster boarding has started with the upstairs being done first. The builders will move downstairs an a weeks time or so. Whilst they have been boarding out, I have been installing the insulation for the partition walls, loft space and ceilings downstairs. The insulation being used in the loft space is 140mm - two layers laid at right angles to each other if that makes sense. The insulation used for the partitions is 100mm and the plasterboard for these walls has sound proofing properties, weighing in at 6 kilos more than the standard boards. You will see from some photos that we have also managed to install two full length oak beams. One for the sitting room and the other for the kitchen/family room. They look great even if I say so myself. They are not structural just aesthetic. Outside, the stone mason and labourer have been cracking on with the stone work. They intend to get the house done at head height before moving up as additional scaffolding will be required. They start the back of the house later this week. Enjoy the photos and I will be back in a couple of weeks, hopefully with a full boarded out house. Thanks for reading.
  15. 5 points
    Over the last month we've spent our time removing bits from the barn that will either be returned, replaced or disposed of depending on there condition and the LPA requirements. This means that the yard is filling up so deliveries and other storage is now being put in the fields. That's okay with a very dry April, might be more tedious if we have a very wet spell. I removed the roof from the barns where there was a low ridge height, but that also included the insulation (lucky piggies), rafters, joists, wall plates, lintels (angle iron), gutters and fascia boards. This resulted in a number of bruises from hammers, crow bars and wood. All when they moved unexpectedly, luckily being a weak woman the crowbar was not much bigger than a pencil so only gave me a small bruise. If it had been one of the big ones I would possibly have ended up in A&E. I don't think I've ever seen so many nails. Being rural we've been able to burn wormy wood and the rest I have chopped up for the wood store, the insulation has been stacked along with the roof sheets ready for the future workshops and garages. Once hubby has a dry and insulated workshop he will never come in the house 🙂 I'm also very glad of my work factory boots with steel toecaps with the number of times I've dropped things. It certainly looks very different now, lovely and light. We have left the shed at the end intact as we are going to use if for secure storage and tea room for as long as possible. Ultimately that will be our utility / plant room so we won't do anything until we have to. The back of the barn had an overhang which has been removed, this was pretty low so although it was included in the dwelling dimensions we decided not to bother as we were not allow to increase the ridge height enough to make it useful. This is where all the drainage is going to go, the internal walls have been set up to fit with the current window openings, not always central in the room, but good enough and easy and meets the LPA requirements. We do need to create one more window opening for the family bathroom. This back wall is to go up 1 block to allow for lintels, although the first window is quite small so the lintel is only the thickness of a brick so it will be pushed up so that the top of the window is as high as possible. This side of the barn is the south side, unfortunately, as it faces a 45 degree 12' bank then the end of our land so it doesn't have an exciting view. I'm planning on gabions, but at 24m long the cost might be prohibitive for now, a future project. In the meantime I'm clearing the bank of weeds, dead trees, shrubs, rubble and a number of tennis balls lost there over the years. Hubby has been working on the L part of the barn which had a cement fibre roof, which possibly contained a small amount of asbestos, and a metal frame. The roof sheets are now cleared, double wrapped and stacked ready for the company to collect. The metal frame had to be cut up in situ as it was fixed so firmly, but that is now down, cut up and gradually going to the tip. It is much easier to destroy things with crow bars, saws and grinders, when we rebuild we shall have to be much more careful. During May our plan is to start work on rebuilding the external of the ensuite / wardrobe room. We will level the existing blocks, then add another block to the top as well as the window lintel. As we won't be replacing the roof for a while we will leave the wall flat until we can measure the new pitch accurately. The unwanted internal wall will be removed and the floor dug out. This will be done in 2 stages, firstly the floating floor to level with the rest of the barn floor then the lower floor. The floating floor is all we are doing at the moment as the whole barn floor needs to be dug down to install insulation and UFH and we will do that dig out in one stage when we are ready. We will then follow the same process with each 'room' on the low side of the barn. How long this will take really depends on all the other demands on our time. Once this side is done and all unwanted walls knocked down then we will start on the other side and follow the process all over again. So far progress has been pretty obvious, and as we have a nearby footpath we have provided lockdown entertainment for many of the locals who like to question us and comment on what we are doing. Since last week and less restrictions the number of people has reduced by 90%, something that I'm pretty glad about. I've had problems with images today so I've just added them all together. I'm still chasing for Building Regulation drawings, something that will soon become more urgent. Thanks for looking and feel free to ask questions. Jill
  16. 5 points
    Been a while. Had no time. Contrary to the rest of the world, i did not have a minute of rest in 2020 and even 2021 looks similar so far. Finally managed to update the blog... https://tintabernacle.blogspot.com/2021/03/the-ringbeam-is-in-or-above.html Clickbaity headline , but i promise... Shuttering DID burst (even though nothing fatal) and Concrete DID explode (again , nothing fatal) More in the blog . Cheers 🍻 P.S.: @Jeremy Harris , i am still missing you and this place has become less of a fascination for me since you gone, so get your s**t together and help us helpless noobs out 😁 . @Russell griffiths trying his best to replace you, but he just doesnt have the endless depths of statistical analysis and tables 😋 (still a big help though) Not to forget the rest of the very patient and knowledgeable Buildhubbers -thank you all !
  17. 5 points
    Me plastering the kitchen and dinning room LINE_MOVIE_1559307156544.mp4 LINE_MOVIE_1559310773535.mp4
  18. 5 points
    In my last post we were waiting on two items arriving from our suppliers: Velux flashing kits and a metal roof to be fitted at the back. The velux flashings arrived first and we were able to make good progress and finish this side. Our joiner then came back on site to fit the metal roof. Unfortunately as mentioned in my Terrible Thursday post the flashing arrived at the incorrect angle, the plan was then to use the lead, but thankfully we decided not to and we managed to get a replacement flashing sourced quickly, which allowed the rest of the slating to be done. Last bit. And then finally ridge tiles. To be honest the roof was a bit harder than I thought. Various different materials, which can all take a while to arrive on site. If one supplier delivers late or supplies an incorrect part it can hold up the entire roof fitting. As with the entire build, except the blocks and concrete the materials are all organised by us, so perhaps it would have been less stressful to leave it to a single contractor. We had a great roofer who did the work in all conditions and a joiner who came on site quickly when we needed him.
  19. 5 points
    The firework instruction phrase "light the blue touch paper and retire to a safe distance" comes to mind. It's been a real baptism of fire, however our builder says it's the worst time and it should settle down now. All in all it's been a productive week and almost all work has moved us forward. The digger arrived to dig out the raft area at 8am as requested and work got under way. We had muck lorries scheduled for Tuesday and it quickly became apparent that we did not have enough space on site to build a significant spoil heap. After a bit of phoning around found a local company who could supply vehicles. Our builder had asked us to take care of paying for the muck lorries which was fine by us, getting the lorry company to accept that it should be a zero rated VAT service was more difficult. Contacted HMRC and had a discussion and they were adamant that it should be zero rated and that if VAT was charged I could not reclaim it as it would have been at the wrong rate... Managed to resolve the problem in the end. Now we had lorries arriving and clearing the soil we were able to make real progress. Tuesday the rainwater harvesting tank arrived, we knew it was big and boy was it big! The tank needed to get dug in just 2.5M deep and 4M long, a very big hole. Fortunately the ground conditions were good and a nice clean hole was achieved without the need to grade the sides. By Wednesday we were ready for site setting out. An interesting activity and an example of technology being used because it's there rather than essential. Making sure the house position is millimetre perfect seems a bit over the top when string and triangulation would get it positioned within 10mm. Where it really does help is positioning services and getting drainage levels set. A second visit on Thursday had all the levels set and perimeters marked, by the time the guy left the site I had changed my opinion and consider it money well spent. More and more lorries to take muck away, the tally now sits at twelve loads and we are mostly done thank goodness as at £240 a 12 ton load for the clay it was making a bit of a whole in the budget, a quick calculation of the volumes validated the figures, so it really should not have been a surprise. In hindsight I'm surprised our builder didn't ask me to organise in more lories in the first place. If I do this again I'll order the lorries in advance rather than madly phoning round for spare capacity so that work can continue. The foul water pump arrived on Wednesday, having the levels all sorted from the site setting out I was able to cut the input to the tank, so it's all ready to get dropped into a hole once it's been dug and a concrete base is in place. The next task was to get all the drainage runs under the raft in place. With the raft due Monday and the builder having to go to another job on Friday to supervise another ICF concrete pour we were running out of time. Hopefully resolved the problem by getting a crew in on Saturday to get the drainage done. Stone for the raft substrate should star arriving first thing Monday, so fingers crossed we should have the raft ready for concrete which is booked for Thursday...we shall see.
  20. 5 points
    This was one of the days that I was most excited about, the raising of the roof trusses. Our joiners used our trusses as a template for constructing the gable end panels. The trusses then just went in one by one. 3 lengths of Kerto were spiked together to form our central ridge beam. The middle section of the 1st floor is being hand cut on site by our joiners. Our children will have a room on each gable. The middle section on one side will consist of a cupboard and WC. The other side will be partly vaulted above the living room and this required a steel beam which was fitted by our joiners.
  21. 5 points
    MBC arrived on site, laid Type 1 and soil pipes pretty quickly and 50mm sand blinding and then set to constructing the EPS raft that is now our slab. Its been said many times on this site, but I will say it again. These guys work hard. They arrived before 7am each day and left at 6pm or later each night. They hardly stopped. And after a week it was assembled. Ready for concrete.
  22. 5 points
    Firstly, for all you lot waiting with baited breath for my next blog update, my apologies! Since the house was opened up for guests I've needed a bit of time to switch off from what was a very full time project for the last few years. When we first opened to guests the house was missing its decking. I had gone through various ideas for the design of this, and in the end decided that less was more, and made it a fairly minimal affair, just somewhere to allow access to the big sliding door and give space to sit and enjoy a cuppa or glass of whatever, whilst looking out over the views to the loch and the sunsets. Due to the big change in height, I decided to make the seating integral and do dual duty as part of the step down as well. This has worked pretty well, I think, with the advantage of dropping the height of the decking and preventing the handrail from obscuring the view from inside the house. There's still some tidying up to do- paths around the house, and some cladding trim to finish off the decking itself- but it's a big improvement on how the place looked a few weeks ago.
  23. 4 points
    I wish this was a food related post! Nope, actually the less we can cook the better. The minute the gas goes in it turns from a 36 degree caravan to an actual steam room complete with scents of tea tree and lavender from what we have applied to our arms and legs from the critters are attacking us in here through open windows and vents. Meanwhile our dry storage in one of the outbuildings, formerly a shop the previous owner had selling canal associated tat has mice! Discovered when looking for some shorts as it's where we are storing some belongings, I'm now having a panic we have a family of furry friends living in our mattress and clothes. We have 4 traps down and so far have caught 6! Either the peanut butter is attracting them in or we have a huge family. The maize hasn't even been cut down yet so I'm predicting by time we get to emptying things out in Autumn they will likely have chewed through anything of any value! Bungalow wise, the historic evidence of birds, bees and wasps nesting in the old roof has been discovered which was completely knackered and the existing floors are being excavation ready for lots of lovely insulation. That's been a big job for the builders. The joining of the existing appearance of the two bungalows created a few discussions as we were just replacing the flat roof that joins them but not any more! Someone's had a bright idea and I can't pretend to understand what's happening but apparently it will look much better. As long as they stick to the budget they can do what they want - what they didn't mention was it's more steel/calcs which is extra cost but there may be savings elsewhere.
  24. 4 points
    Phew, today we said goodbye to our house and moved out and said Hello to our new house, approximately 8 minutes down the road - about 6 miles away to a caravan site. With Covid we were able to negotiate a 4 month deal (we weren't due here til 1 July but our existing knackered flat roof started to leak so negotiated coming early). It's luxury compared to our living arrangements for the past 2 years. We aren't eating, working and sleeping in the same room, have instant hot water, heating and can shower without a bucket under the pipe! We will still be on site pretty much every day and we still have our garden to maintain so will be keeping a close eye on things...
  25. 4 points
    Milling cladding for the workshop and barn today £10 a log =6 m2 of 20mm by 125 and 100mm and sell the off cuts for £25 a bag. And need 400m2 + VID-20200814-WA0002.mp4
  26. 4 points
    We had always heard that self build was not only exciting but difficult and stressful, and it was living up to its reputation as we worked through all the issues of foundations and sub structure to get ready for the Timber Frame. There was a hiccup in the Beam and Block floor supply that pushed the schedule out a week but it was all looking good for B&B on the 27th March and MBC Timber Frame on the 6th April. This was a really tight but achievable schedule, and the Internorm with windows on the 11th of May would have been great - heading to wind and watertight by end of May. Then the world went crazy!!!!! Right now we are pushing ahead, and have been amazed at how committed and flexible our suppliers have been, but who knows what will happen tomorrow - things change hour by hour. Today we have the scaffolders on site preparing for the TF, we have a somewhat tenuous commitment to deliver the B&B floor and crane onto site on 1st April (the irony of that particular date has not escaped us). our groundworks lined up to fit the blocks and prepare the plinth, and MBC on site on the 8th. This all sounds possible - but it is so finely balanced and inter-dependant that one element in the critical path will bring the whole project to a standstill. And we get the feeling that this could happen at any minute. Guidance seems to allow work on site and as long as the folks are safe and able to maintain distance then we are happy to have them working. We are keeping our site visits down to a minimum but as self builders we believe that we are OK to follow the guidance for the construction industry and are able to travel to site - anyone out there been challenged on that? Our intent is still to try to get to a shell, but there is certainly an argument to pull back and sit it out - however we are in rented accommodation so that adds another element of pressure to the equation. Added to this is that most of our build budget is invested and shrinking by the day so funds are tight to the point that we will need to get stuck in and do the unskilled labour to even get close to finishing. Internorm just pushed out the installation of our windows out by about 4 weeks, and subject to review, so if we get the TF up then it will sit without windows for ages - a situation we have been trying hard to avoid. We have a roofer 'pencilled in' but who knows if he will be able to work, or if he can get the materials to site. So , this is not in any way belittling the major world wide disaster that is unfolding around us all - more to just to let you know that we are doing our bit to keep our project afloat and keep the very squeaky wheels of the construction industry turning. While there is some criticism of the construction industry continuing to work, our position is that, providing its safe to work, then if we dont pay the guys then they dont have money to feed their families. We are painfully aware as our Son lost 16 weeks work as a self employed lighting designer when they cancelled his David Gray WW tour as it hit production rehearsals and he lost all his income from that and the summer festival season. Hats off to anyone else who has been attempting the impossible over the last few weeks - and commiserations to anyone who has put their project on hold on these 'interesting times'. As we seem to have some more time on our hands we will get round to the time lapse video and keep our blog up to date
  27. 4 points
    It's been a quiet few weeks on the house site waiting for the contractors to come back, but we have done the following: Building control and quantity surveyor inspected the works carried out to date The plumber supplied our the internal drainage. Anchor straps fitted. Alum clad, triple glazed windows order finalised and placed Attic trusses design reviewed and finalised We are now commencing the final stage of the foundations. In filling the solum is the first job. The solum has now been infilled and whacked with the aggregate. A finer layer is now being added on top. Plenty of diggers and dumpers here. Last day of the foundations. DPC was put down and then the concrete wagon came back on site. We used around 25m3 of concrete and as the photos show through the last few blog posts, we had fantastic weather conditions during this foundation. I was also pleased with the amount of the rubbish that is going to the dump, just four cements bag full of plastic waste.
  28. 4 points
    I didn't realise quite how long a while since the last blog entry so time for an update as I'm on an admin day today, not least for the electricity supply which I'll come onto later. So, what's occurring? I'll start at the bottom and work my way up: Groundworks - the groundworkers arrived on site the day after the last May bank holiday, 29th May. They took the roof off back in April to sort out any potential bat issues and now they're back doing the main job. The old concrete garage block came down first. The roof panels have asbestos and have had to be properly disposed of, which has been done at a reasonable price of £650 rather than the c. £1300 I was looking at a couple of weeks ago. All done properly and I have my disposal certificate but without having to resort to sending stuff all the way to Swindon and get charged for 2 tons when it was just over one. A small result; still expensive but less than it could have been. My ground worker arranged this with one of his contacts; PM me for details if anyone local needs the details. The concrete sides of the block are all down but we've left the floor in place as it's a ready made hard-standing for everything that will be arriving on site over the coming months. It's mainly parking, portaloo and site cabin taking it up now. I will need to get some hardcore compacted down going further into the site as I'm not sure it will stand up to all the heavier construction traffic that is due. Demolition of the building will be finished this week, but there's still the old septic tank to be dug out and a bit more concrete from where there were sheds in the past. Next up is digging out for the insulated slab, drainage and services, not to mention the piles. I have my groundworker until the end of next week before he's due on another job, so we should get a fair bit done by then. I reckon the initial excavation will be a little rough until we've established the levels, which seems a bit chicken and egg to me at the moment. How can you mark out how deep you need to go when there's a whole lot of earth in the way? Fortunately, there are some useful markers on the site that I can use as references for the setting out of the perimeter but I will get everything checked out before the piling guy arrives and have any remedial excavation done for that. Speaking of piles....I've ditched the idea of the helical screw piles. Not because they weren't lovely enough, but because they were outrageously expensive compared with other, more traditional systems. The initial design drawn up by my SE would have cost more than £42k for the helical screw piling system which seemed like mad money to me, probably because it is. I had a chat with a contact and he said that very little of this kind of thing is done now, certainly on house projects. When it first came out it was embraced with open arms by the telecoms industry for ease and speed of use, but they have dropped it almost entirely now on cost grounds, and I can see why. My initial quote for CFA (continuous flight augur) piles came in at just over £15k which was far closer to what I was expecting. I reckon that in the end, with SE fees and everything it will come in at around £20k for the piles. As mentioned in a previous entry, the alternative was to dig to at least 2m depth over the entire footprint, which in itself is an expensive exercise due to the cost of muckaway (I estimate an additional 15 tipper loads), so swings and roundabouts, the piles aren't as extreme an option as it first seems. I've used Mini Piling Systems Ltd for the piling system - nice people, easy to deal with, based in Bath, will travel. I should add that because these are mini CFA piles, as long as the ground is dry and reasonably level when they come to put them in (July), there is no need for a piling mat as the rig isn't considered a large one. Moving upwards, the other thing that has slowed is getting drawings from holy trinity of architect, SE and MBC to the sign-off stage. The SE has been very efficient and have turned things around very well. The architect and MBC have been slower, but I'm going to hold back some criticism because were I in the shoes of the architect, I would probably be doing this amount of nit-picking on behalf of my client and I'm sure that I will be glad of it. As ever, just because an architect designs a house and it gets planning permission, that doesn't necessarily mean that it can actually be built. In my case, there have been delays in getting the small details that can be glossed over in the desperation to see physical progress and having something coming out of the ground, and this is what the architect has been pushing back on. They are determined to make sure that the proportions of rooms are consistent with the original design. For instance, the ground floor ceiling height has been raised so that the large open plan downstairs doesn't feel oppressively low due to its large area. As a result, most of the ground floor windows will also need to be increased in height as will the front door. This all has a knock-on effect, hence the delays. There has also been back and forth over the balconies and warm or cold roof construction and the parapet wall around them; we're not quite at the end of this but pending a response from a supplier, we are close. The issue is that the common solutions to ventilating the cold roof would look ugly. Everyone has gone to a lot of effort to make the house as good looking as it can be and it would be a shame to rush through this detail and then sit looking at ugly vents on the balconies for ever more. But, tick, tick, tick, more time passes. By far the biggest issue is that until these details and corresponding drawings are signed off and I pay a stage payment to MBC, my manufacturing countdown doesn't start. Standard time for MBC to get on site is minimum 6 weeks, this time of year more like 8 so I'm realistically looking at end of August or early September. Then there are the windows to go in and roof to go on. I really, really want the build to be weather-tight before the weather breaks in the autumn, as it will. Moving on to making the building work as a home, and for construction to actually take place, I'm sorting out the electricity supply at the moment. There is a live supply to the site as there was an existing dwelling there. Last year I contacted the DNO and had a service alteration done, which basically chopped the wire running into the bungalow and moved it all into a box on the pole with the overhead cable running down it. I rang the supplier at the time and advised them of the changes being made and arranged for one of their bods to come along and collect their meter. Sadly, they didn't turn up for the appointment, so now their meter is buried at the bottom of a pile of builder's rubble in the local landfill site. This put all sorts of twists into their collective knickers and it's taken the best part of a day to sort out how to re-establish the connection. It turns out that what's needed is a temporary building supply and this is always done through the commercial team. I've been quoted up to 12 weeks for the whole thing, but this is if you are applying for an entirely new connection, not just to get a meter installed. Even so, it could take around 4 weeks. We shall see. In the meantime, I've (for the time being) decided on getting my kitchen from DIY Kitchens. I've planned it all out and know what units I want and where, so I'm not going to think about that again for a while. I do, however, need to start thinking about lighting schemes and bathrooms/wetrooms as I've made very few decisions on these. Needless to say, there is a huge amount of other small detail going on but little of which can be done until the final drawings are in. Never a dull moment, though, my groundworker has just called to tell me that they have bent over a water pipe to stem the healthy flow of water that was coming out of it when they went to remove it, despite Wessex Water having sworn faithfully to me in February that the water was all turned off at the meter and that nothing should be coming out of anywhere. Off to make some more calls and demo photos to follow soon. Ta ta for now.
  29. 4 points
    It's been a long journey, but our little cottage is finally up and running as a holiday house. First guests just checked out and left us with some very kind words having thoroughly enjoyed their stay. Of course it's not exactly 'finished' but it's certainly usable. I'd have liked to have had a few extra days to tidy things up, but all the essentials are in place. There's decking still be be built out the front, I'm hoping to get this done in a gap between changeovers soon. I must say it feels pretty good to get to this point.With over three years of very hard work behind us, and a lot of faith that it would all be worth it, we are finally seeing money coming in. And having had to down tools I am going to have this curious thing called 'free time' again... although I'm sure I'll manage to fill it all
  30. 3 points
    Original house contained cheap UPVC windows that were ill fitted and would not match the new windows in the two extensions. So the decision was made to fit new windows throughout with the original plan to go for alu-clad wooden, nut resorted to UPVC due to cost and worries on how some of the alu-clad windows were constructed. Surprising how difficult it was to get quotes that were in an affordable category. Some companies needed numerous follow-up calls which was very frustrating in view of the fact that I would be spending approx £20k on their product. In the end, although I would have preferred to buy local, I ended up sourcing windows from abroad which ended up costing a lot less than anything UK-sourced and also meant they were passivhaus certified! Pity how many sectors in the UK shoot themselves in the foot by atrocious service which is partly down to them not wanting to deal with end clients/self-builders. There was a lot of email ping-pong, but I think that would have been the case with UK windows too, but they were at least keen to do business which didn't seem to be the case with many of the UK ones. The only area I was hesitant about was measuring the window openings which was further complicated by the fact that I was using special EWI brackets which would position the windows outside of the window opening itself. So I had to take into account the bracket measurements in addition to the window openings. I must have measured each opening at least 15 times before submitting my final order. Glad to say everything seems to fit (just 3 doors to fit now). Unloading some of the units was a bit precarious especially the 800kg 4.6x 2.3m slider using a standard forklift and then travelling 200m down the road! I got a local window company to help me fit the windows and of course they had no clue how to fit them with the EWI brackets. It took a while for them to admit that the client knew best in this case as he'd actually read the bloody instructions. Means I'll have to rectify their first window later on. External view: Next stage on the exterior, is to EWI all walls with circa 100mm insulation. Note the brackets above (this is the first window and the bottom bracket aren't fitted correctly, so will need to be fixed before EWI). The brackets will cause minimal thermal bridging at least and certainly be better than having a timber frame constructed all round the window frame. The external aluminium cills (sourced from Germany, cheaper and thicker than UK suppliers) will fix onto that bottom mini (grey) cill at the bottom. EWI will tuck in under frame (well all sides of frame of course): and will marry up with the insulation I plan to add under the internal cill also: My next job is to get started with the internal plastering, so I'm looking at how to detail the internal reveals and cills. My plan is to insulate under the cill also. Cavity wall will most likely be filled with PIR where I can force it down or EPS beads (with a bit of PVA). I'll then fix 60mm PIR board to the now insulated cavity wall using PU adhesive. I'll have to channel out a bit of the PIR to accommodate the window brackets so the board sits flat: I should have enough clearance then to fit a wooden cill on top of the PIR. Not sure how best to affix that to PIR. Maybe the plasterboard reveals will sit on top of the cill and help pin it down. Probably overkill with the EWI, but my intention was to also insulate the reveals (see grey EPS example above) with 20-25mm PIR board and then plasterboard over the top. Just need to leave sufficient space to get at the internal beading in case the glass ever needs replacing (sons and footballs....). The other consideration is to decide where to stick the air tightness tape. Initial thought was to stick that on face of window frame and onto brickwork before I stick down the PIR board. But how well does the stuff stick to clean brickwork? I could add a further layer of tape from window frame and stick to top of PIR board before the final cill goes down. I'll try and post some drawings up here later on. Not great, but some of the intended detail:
  31. 3 points
    Gus’ Structural Engineering and DIY Part 01 Hello all. I’m giving the blog feature on BH a go.. lots to learn and a special thanks to the FMG / members who run / contribute to this site. This blog is built around the structural alterations and extension that I embarked on.. off.. on.. at the back of my house. I work in the construction industry, mostly in an office these days so this project has given me a break from the computer and allows me to keep my hand in on the tools. I have “experimented” at times. Some experiments have worked out ok, some less so. The blog is not chronological as you’ll soon see. As I go I’ll pick out some common elements that you may find on a self build / DIY project and try and show how I went about their structural design and so on.. Although it’s a relatively small extension many of the design principles can be scaled / adapted up for a new build etc. I hope this will be of interest. If anyone has any questions / advice then just post and I’ll do my best to respond. Please remember that if you are undertaking structural design / work or something that could be a safety risk then always get it checked by a competent person unless of course you are the "that person" before starting work. So here goes! As a quick overview the project involves taking a chunk out of the back of the house and building a rear extension. One aim was to make this as least disruptive as possible so we could keep living in the house with some normality. Other reasons were to save some money and get something bespoke to us. In the next posts I’ll cover some of the different aspects of how I went about the detailed structural design. Photo 01: Sun room sticking out – freezing cold – to be demolished but kept as a secure store room for tools for a while. Fig A 01. Eventually.. What’s going on here? Photo 02 The extension is getting roughed out over the sun room, the sun room was retained for a while to stop dust getting into the house, security and so on. For the eagle eyed.. table saw, yes I know the table saw is missing the guard but it is “under maintenance” The ladder (ex BT which some may recognise) was gifted to me by an old sparkie, who got it from someone, who got it from.. Photo 03: Old sun room down and preparing trench (under radiator and old back door) for temporary strip found to support props. Really soft ground just outside the original wall hence the temporary strip found. The old doors windows are fitted into the new structure to give a bit of daylight. The radiator still works.. as I’m a bit soft. Photo 04: Timber props and needles going in. Photo: 05 The upper side of the steel with the needles cut back. “Sadly” the old sun room is gone. The timbers I could reclaim have been.. the rest has gone on the wood burner. Photo 06: Needles cut back on the inside with restraint straps at ceiling level.. to be explained in following posts. That's it for now until I work out what to do next!
  32. 3 points
    So, I have told this story to quite a few family members, friends and colleagues over the last few years, and thought I will record it here so that other new members might learn about the patience and surprises that can occur in this phase of the self build adventure ⛺ It all started when I was 14. I blame my stepfather. He made me dig ♠️ foundations by hand 🖐️ OK, it was only for an extension, but they didn't tell me about the concrete encased foul and storm water drains we would find. Digging to depths of 10ft by hand should have left severe scars to put me off this self build lark for life. But, hey, I got a new stereo 🔊 for all of my hard graft [For you youngsters, a stereo was the way we played music 🎶 back in the day]. Anyway, many years later, the wife and I are in the Lake District and see a barn ripe for conversion, and the timing must have been right - you know, the stars in alignment ⭐ ⭐, and the phase of the moon🌛 augered well, or some other psychological/astronomical claptrap - and we both said "time to get out of the South East". Well, that was about 5 years ago, and we are still in the South East. Lesson 1 for all new south builders - Tip 1: patience my friends!! Tip 2 - unless you are lucky enough to have been handed a plot of land on which to build, start searching where the wife would like to start, followed closely by Tip 3: using subtle hints and prods in order to expand or direct the search appropriately, always with the mantra (Tip 4) "we need some money left over to build the damn thing!" (Note: some forum members may say that doing that doesn't make for enough of an adventure 🙂 ), we started in the North Devon area, a place where my wife had spent time holidaying as a child with her family, which is as good a reason as any to choose a starting point. We (I) trawled the usual sites for plots (estate agents, land agents, auction sites etc.), we trawled the lanes and byways of North Devon on a number of visits, propping up the local hospitality businesses along the way, I got so bored at one point I went trawling (OK, sea fishing from a trawler 🛥️ but go with it, for the sake of the story!). Having searched for about 18 months and found nothing, I expanded the search outside N Devon and we started seeing results in East Devon and on the outskirts of Exmoor and Dartmoor. 6 months later and we were looking at plots in the South Hams (S Devon). We saw scrub covered plots, plots with dense woodland 🌳 🌳 , people looking for a swift profit by selling their back gardens (soon avoided forever after seeing two such postage stamps 📮 ), old industrial sites, then we went to see two modern(ish) barn conversions and decided to make an offer (below asking price 💰 of course!). Herein lies a conundrum I have never quite got my head around - asking price £200,000, Offer £165,000, offer refused. OK Offer £175,000. Offer refused. I'll leave the offer there if you change you mind. 2 months later same property on the market for £170,000!!! Offer £150,000, then £160,000, both refused. 2 months later same property on market for £150,000 and marked as SOLD!! The only reason I can fathom is that they wanted someone particular to buy it. After I had calmed down, 6 months later (yes I had been really annoyed) we renewed our search and found an abandoned ex-SW Water above ground reservoir with FPP and amazing views. Problem, it was above our plot buying budget (refer to Tip 4) and the seller refused to move an inch on the price. So, the searches started again. This time, the wife was now quite pliable about the distance from where we currently live and the areas we should look. This is were I have to admit that I had seen a plot with FPP and plans I liked the look of probably about 9 months before the fluidly priced barn fiasco. And, the distance was about 1 mile less than to the old reservoir. So, off I trotted 🏃‍♂️ one day.....to CORNWALL. Another visit with the wife, a coffee ☕ with the sellers (neighbours to be) to discuss the plans that had been approved and a re-mortgage later, and we became the proud owners of about 1/2 acre of Cornwall just on the edge of an AONB. Just a word of warning - this "plot" did not have its own title deed, and it has taken nearly 18 months for the Land Registry to finalise the new title for us. This in itself has probably given me more grey hair so far than any other aspect of the build so far.
  33. 3 points
    More slates going down 2hrs work on house today
  34. 3 points
    So for the larger ground floor room, we got a professional screeding company to come in. They were due to start Monday morning so I took the day off work. For some unknown reason, over the weekend both my wife and I had we had an uneasy feeling they weren't going to turn up, but there was no logical basis for that. By about 0930 I had a suspicion, and sent a text asking roughly what time they thought they would arrive. A few moments later the phone rings and its the owner apologising saying their forced screed mixer broke down on Friday and he'd gone down South for a second hand one but it didn't seem to be working properly when he got it back. He called again a bit later to say he'd found a solution and his guys would be there tomorrow (Tuesday). Cue me ringing work and offering to work on Saturday if I could take Tuesday off too. So, Tuesday and 0830 the guys turn up. I'm pottering about but notice a distinct lack of noise and by 1030 they tell me that they cannot get the mixer to run and away they go. So another day taken off work for nothing..... I'm back to work on the Wednesday but my wife was at home. She rang me to say that the team had turned up at 0715 (!) and had the machine working. By lunchtime they were done, and the result is excellent. When I got home I even texted the owner of the firm to say how pleased we are. Last night, (Friday) I discovered they'd dumped a barrowload excess mix on my topsoil pile out of sight of the house! Now in front of the future garage is a hole I need filled so if they;'d only asked instead of sneaking out of sight with it they could have actually done me a favour - instead I've now got to take a pickaxe to it and break it up then barrow it back to where it can actually serve a purpose. What a shame to let themselves down like that after doing a good job. So..... next objective is to finish the downstairs bathroom.
  35. 3 points
    Another day, yet another little gem of learning. I've been getting a bit worried because although I got the bat licence last week, my glacial paced architect had done nothing about getting the pre-commencement planning conditions discharged for several weeks, even though everything was in place for some time. But that's another grumble for another day. Anyhow, I've got to get the roof off by the end of April, which is why I was getting my proverbial knickers in a twist over the pre-commencement stuff, so I decided to cut out the middle man and rang the planning officer to ask whether, pleeeease, nice Mr Planning Officer, would you mind awfully, as you're such a nice chap, if I sort of, kind of, well, take the roof off the bungalow to make sure no pesky bats come back? Pretty pleeeeeease? Nice Mr Planning Officer said 'no problem at all, no need to grovel, you are entitled to re-roof your house any time you like. Just because you don't get around to putting new tiles back on, that doesn't stop you taking off the existing ones to begin with. Now stop grovelling.' He didn't really tell me stop grovelling, but his tone implied it, along with the strong impression that he couldn't care less about the bats. Either way, result. Fate being the fickle creature that she is, but no more so than the aforesaid architect, I got an email from the architect's admin person late this afternoon to say that they had submitted for discharge of the initial planning conditions. I prodded them with a very sharp stick on Monday morning - the architect has possibly just taken this long to notice. I'm waiting to co-ordinate availability of ground worker and bat guy over the next 2 weeks, then off comes the roof. Followed by the rest of the house shortly afterwards, with luck.
  36. 3 points
    I had the offer of some help from a neighbour so decided to crack on with the roof sheets. These are corrugated sheets 4x1m and in the thicker 0.7mm spec, so fairly heavy and awkward things to handle. I did get the first sheet up and fixed by myself but am not daft enough to turn down an offer of help when it appears! When I bought the roofing, I had recently read @ProDave's less than glowing review of Jewsons' plastic headed roofing screws, so made a point of asking what would be supplied. The guy at the BM was adamant that everybody these days prefers the plastic headed stuff, quicker to install, no caps to come loose, just a question of getting the right bit to drive them in with. He even did a straw poll of the people in the shop at the time... Anyway, how do the screws work in real life? They certainly do not self drive, not by a long shot. And so far I have stripped the heads off two of them, although in both cases I was able to back the screw off and remove it using pliers. So it seems you need a decent hole punched in the sheet, which slows down installation somewhat. Getting the sheets up on the roof wasn't too hard once I figured out a method- I built a 'stretcher' to hold each sheet, and this is then run up a pair of wooden guide rails onto the roof. Doing the last sheet will be a bit tricky as we will have to pull the 'stretcher' out from under it, instead of moving the sheet to the side as we have been doing so far. In other news, the hole for the flue is now made- a bit daunting cutting a whopping great hole in the roof! I'll write another blog post about that as part of the stove installation,
  37. 2 points
    Interesting developments in the last week. While trying to figure out a way forward for my build as cheaply as possible I discovered a company that does SIPs and has just finished a slight larger house for a LOT less than the tender prices that shut me down last year (€375k). So my job this month is to crunch the numbers again, get a more formal quote from them and see if this is a runner. As always there are three factors I've to balance: Architects fees - the crowd I used before are brilliant but very expensive. I've a different Architect doing an analysis to see what he would charge to take over. Also the builder has their own Architect I'll approach to see if I can use them instead. Kit Home - There are two companies who work together and seem to deliver you a turnkey house - just move in the furniture. I'm a bit dubious how they do this for such a good price so will visit one of their builds if possible. I know they use PVC for windows and soffit/fascia so will see what spec of ASHP and MVHR they use and if these are of the cheaper variety or not once they return a spec I can look at. Bank - ah, the bank! Build cost + Arch fees + 10% contingency - I'll get funded max 80% (as a second time buyer) of this or 80% of the projected value of the finished house, whichever is less. I can see some creative accounting coming on here...! Plus my old house has to sell for enough to get me the equity I need - this is attached to the site (side garden) so need to sell before I draw down new mortgage. The builder uses SIPs, nothing against them, should work fine. I've a budget of €260K and their initial guesstimate was €275K so not far off. A more accurate quote is on the way and I'll see how much this goes up (!). Like the build triangle (quality, price, speed / good-quick-cheap) I've three legs that need to all function to get this over the line: Valuation of finished house based on location, spec and current market value - house prices are holding / still going up slightly so ok there so far. I need a good valuation though, got €350K last year but hope for detached I'll get a little more. Builders price for 2021 build - I'll have to pick apart the spec a bit and see what I can live with and what I might have to change but if I can get a decent fabric it might just work. The things I'd like to do might not be possible as this is right on my budget but at least it's a hands off build for the money, so I won't be working double jobs trying to do as much myself as possible. Architect - haven't found one willing to work with me yet, two turned me down, one is thinking about it and the original Architects are bloody expensive. Will see how this goes....I could pay them out of pocket but if their costs go into the costings submitted to the bank I have to prove I can afford them up front, probably looking at 20K just for them with all the reg required in ROI now. Anyway, should know more in a week but will line up other options in the meantime in case. Wish this post was about the build already but if this happens it's going to happen quick and I'm certain this is the best shot I'll get at it for a good while. One day I'll be sticking photos of the build up there and updating everyone as each stage goes up.
  38. 2 points
    To those who commented on our GRP, this is not an update. The next installment to that will hopefully be at the end of next week when the crap roof will be off and a proper company coming in to sort after we insisted on an insurance backed guarantee. I shall update then, watch this space! Flat roof aside..... All our new extension had insulation laid and our existing flooring excavated for insulation too. We had the UFH pipes laid and there was A LOT. And then screed laid which is suprisingly even and flat using TG Cemfloor – a liquid self-levelling screed. Needless to say they did a better job of this than the roof. And part of the in roof solar frames have also gone up. Our builders found these up the loft when taking down the old ceilings. Unfortunately empty! Someone had a good party 😉
  39. 2 points
    Wow, I cannot believe its 4 months since the last blog entry. Life has just been busy, busy, busy and for a while, there didnt seem to be much to report, even though we have been busy. The bedrooms have been plastered and painted, skirting fixed and the bedrooms doors have been bought and are awaiting fixing. The best thing was finally gettitng the bathroom fitted. Its been a while since we had a working loo and while the 'portaloo' in the cellar was adequate, the new one is fab! Fist we had to rebuild the walls which was a shame as the middle room has looked great with all that space. Then we addede 9mmply (I think) which covered all the chipboard joins and gave it rigidity. Sealed with pva and screwed down. Although there are joins on the left hand side, these are going to be under the units and bath so we arent worried about them. The main part is all one for the lino to cover. The bath was one of the smallest we could find, 150cm long and we extended the side wall into the middle room to fit it in without having to dig into the exterior wall to fit it in, although fitting it was a PITA. AS always, the OH soon had it all fittd and I could start the tiling. having looked round at showrooms, we went for couple of vertical mosiacs, one opp the loo so you can see your relection!, and the other above the bath, along the shower line. They look smart although I did have some issues as they are a thinner tile than the rest and it took a bit of time to get it right. The loo was a bit of a pain as we didnt really have many options for its location due to the plumbing already in place, but then we had to get the waste through the floor avoiding the floori beams, which of course were directly where he wanted to go. So he had to use a side bendy thing to mive the waste a few inches to the left. Its not perfect but it works and once the sink was in, it was not too noticable. We're quite pleased with the final look - sorry about the photo's - its hard to get a decent picture of such a small room. But its almost finished, just a couple of little touch ups with the sealant and a glass screen. Even the radiator is up and running. still needs a door! but a curtain works for now. Upstairs the walls were plastered and painted and I'm very pleased with the look. The lounge has also been done and the ceiling repaired from the foot through it - you cant see where it happened. Am very happy with the plasterers apart from the mess they make! I spent a couple of hours cleaning the stairs, ready for painting the edge, only for the OH to paint the walls and not bother cleaning off the excess off the wood, so I had to do it all over again! But after filling and rubbing down the wood, I have undercoated the sides of the stairs ready for the final coat and the carpet. Its not briliant but as the wood is probably over a hundred years old, the buyer will have to accept the odd bump and crack that I couldnt cover. Here are before and after shots. So what else? Here's the lounge with the lights fitted and working. the skirting is cut and just needs to be fixed and I ahve the coving to put up - going for a polyeuythene one from Screwfix which had excellent reviews as its very lightweight and easy to cut. I shall let you know how it goes as i have ever done coving before. We had a chap in yesterday to come up with a plan for the kitchen. As it is such as small space, we wanted to get some ideas to add to the layout that we have come up with. We have gone for Howdens as they are very reasonably priced and they have a sale on now so hopefully we can get a really good price. But thats for the next blog post - I'll have finished the garden wall then too so more photo's. Its all coming together now but still seems to be taking ages to get to that finishing line. I guess we'll ge there, when we get there, no good rushing and making a mess.
  40. 2 points
    It has been a while since I posted and things are progressing, so expect a flurry of posts in the next few months as things are decided before we go to contract, however I have been working on some minor detailing. I have decided that I want to extract toilet smells directly from the pan (see JSHarris blog part 32) I have 6 toilets in the house, in 3 pairs (see the plans on blog 02-The Planning Saga) so can use 3 extract runs, one to each pair, the simple bit. I then need to work out how to connect to the MVHR system and the toilet cistern. The MVHR ducting will be Hybalans+, thought the design/supply/install is still be to sorted out. So I have 3 issues to work out: 1 connecting to the cistern, 2 connecting to the MVHR, 3 connecting the two together. Connecting to the cistern. After much research looking at low flush toilets and attempting to get information from suppliers (as soon as you go for non-standard ideas they all clam up) I discovered the Geberit Duofresh with build in odour extraction and started enquiring with Geberit about getting the connecting pipe from cistern to pan and using it on a standard cistern. Trying to get this bit. The issue being that the bit I want is not available as a part and is solvent welded to the cistern, however after much toing and froing of e-mails and finally a call from the technical department it was agreed that by using the Duofresh cistern (available without the filter and fan unit) I could cut through the pipe and connect it to the MVHR system. The plan is to cut the vent pipe (it is 50mm) and put on a solvent weld joint with reducer and 40mm push fit adaptor (reason for 40mm push fit later). I was also planning to seal up the feed into the cistern (vertical pipe) however this is square post the transition bend so not going to be so easy (can’t use a 50mm plug) so I may end up just filling it with expanding foam to seal it. I have decided on the Geberit cistern as the ability to service them once installed appeals and the Duofresh cistern is only about £10 dearer than the standard cistern. Connecting to the MVHR. I then needed to work out how to connect the pipe to the MVHR system, the pipe coming from the manifold will be either 92/75 or 75/62 (external/internal dimension) and connect it to two 40mm pipes. I then realised that soil pipes are 110mm standard and the vent terminals are between 100 &125mm so there was some potential there. My solution (still to be tested) is to use a vent terminal adaptor onto a solvent weld pipe, my reasoning as follows: The 110mm soil pipe has an outside diameter of approximately 110mm and the solvent weld socket has an outside diameter of 121mm. The straight vent connector has a diameter of 125mm, the 900 one 118mm, however the vent inserts show a diameter of 114mm, so I suspect the 125mm is an external and the 118mm internal. The straight vent connector has a diameter of 125mm, the 900 one 118mm, however the vent inserts show a diameter of 114mm, so I suspect the 125mm is an external and the 118mm internal. I should be able to connect the vent terminal adaptor over the plain pipe with a push fit sealing ring on it and solvent weld a plug into the other end. Then insert two 40mm push fit boss adaptors into the bosses on the pipe. I should now have an adaptor that connects the 92/75 MVHR pipe to (1-4) 40mm push fit waste pipes. Connect the MVHR adaptor to the cistern connector. With 40mm push fit sockets on both ends it is a simple job to connect up the two ends either with flexible 40mm pipe or rigid with a length of flexible 40mm pipe at each end: So now I have a plan to connect the toilets to the MVHR. The Geberit parts number is: 111.353.00.5 (Geberit Duofix frame for wall-hung WC, 112 cm, with Sigma concealed cistern 12 cm, for odour extraction with recirculating air) The normal cistern is: 111.383.005 (Geberit Duofix frame for wall-hung WC, 112 cm, with Sigma concealed cistern 12 cm, wall anchoring and connection bend)
  41. 2 points
    phone died but got an old one from a kitchen drawer so don't expect David Bailey standards. Any how here are some pics of how it looks at the moment. I've inserted another dozen or so in entry number one!
  42. 1 point
    The viewpoint used to decide items is a balance between the outlay cost and the running costs. This system will not be the cheapest way to produce heating and hot water nor the most expensive installation system but a balance related to the existing equipment and personal requirements. BEST ADVICE: Read the manual of the product you are proposing to use BEFORE you buy, especially regarding the installation and check that it will work for you. Choosing the ASHP: The size of the ASHP was determined by the heat loss calculated and the peak heat demand when the outside temperature is -8C. This resulted in the requirement of a small ASHP. We did not want an all singing all dancing system, but one that would combine with the existing central heating radiators/hot water tank and MVHR. An air to water ASHP was chosen to be able to use the existing central heating radiators already installed. The radiators are too small to produce enough heat at the lower running temperature of an ASHP so water coils are being installed in the MVHR system. The other alternative would have been to replace the radiators with larger ones as the existing ones are almost all single panel which could be replaced with double panel to increase the heat output. This option is going to be held in reserve depending on the effectiveness of the water coils in the MVHR ducts. The ASHP was chosen for it minimum working temperature of -20C and the fact that it had an inverter. An inverter heat pump uses a variable speed compressor which modulates its output increasing or decreasing its speed to match exactly the heat demand requirements of the building as the outdoor air temperature changes. This makes for a more efficient output. Because the bungalow is on the edge of an estate we wanted have a low noise unit. The unit installed is listed as 46 and 60db. I think that means 46db when running at lowest and 60db when flat out. (I'm sure someone will tell me). With the distance from walls and other properties this is well within MCS requirements. Because the bungalow suffered from strong solar gain in the summer the choice was made to install an ASHP with cooling. ASHP - planning, MCS: In order to avoid requiring planning permission the decision was taken to install the ASHP under the permitted development rules. The only position where the ASHP unit could be situated within the rules was on the flat roof. Because the flat roof has 200mm of PIR and the ASHP unit is about 88kgs concern has been raised that the vibrating motion may erode the PIR over time. The decision was taken to install and monitor the out come. The positioning gives an open run of air to the unit, but far enough from neighbours to hopefully avoid problems. Its. not perfect because during the summer it is exposed to the full sun. We hope to mitigate this when cooling the building by using the PV energy to run the ASHP. The theory being: Summer=hotter sun=more electricity produced= more power to produce cooling using the ASHP. ASHP pipework: The shorter the pipework between the ASHP and the thermal envelope of the building the more efficient. The greater the pipe insulation the more efficient. The shorter the pipework between the ASHP and the hot water tank/ heating system the more efficient, especially to/from the hot water tank as the water temperature is usually higher. ASHP connections: The pipework required is 28mm for this ASHP all the way round through the hot water tank, through the buffer tank and back to the ASHP. We used 25mm thick insulation. Two flexi hoses were used at the ASHP end with two 28mm isolating valves. The power cable used was 6mm twin and earth. The cable size is related to the possible voltage loss not just the power required! Apparently the ASHP is sensitive to voltage loss. To be honest I think 4mm could have been used but there was a roll of 6mm purchased for the PV with enough excess, so this was used. A suitable fuse was required which needed to be a MCB or RCBO Type C 20amp with this ASHP. A RCBO was installed. The control of the ASHP is via a Carel LCD "user-friendly" interface Controller and various electrical links. (More later as this develops...) The 3 port valve is a 3 Port Diverter Valve not a 3 port mid-position valve. The mid-position would allow water from the ASHP to go both to hot water and heating at the same time. However the temperature of the water flowing to heat the hot water tank is expected to be different to the temperature of the water flowing to the heating/cooling. The water side of the system will require antifreeze. so the volume of the water will need to be calculated... Please let me know what else I have forgotten...
  43. 1 point
    This post is a brief interlude in my "Accessible Ablutions" mini-project, and will be followed by one more post reporting the costing and sourcing detail of the project. I found that I needed to hold a hinged shower screen firmly in place against a slopoing ceiling, and needed a custom part. Through the good offices of Buildhub and @Temp, that was able to be done in a few days to the custom design required. This is a short description of the process, taken from the thread. The Problem I have repurposed the former hinged bath shower screen as the end screen of my walk in shower, as it is under the stairs. A side benefit was to be that the narrow 450mm entrance gap would you be opened a little wider for horizontally more extensive people, or putting a shower seat inside more comfortably etc. Due to a need to reposition the shower closer to the stairs, there is now such a minimal gap that I need to fix the screen in place, rather than let it move. So I need a part with a 42 degree upper surface and a slot to fit over the top of the 6mm hinged screen, which I can then glue or silicone in place. Pics and a diagram are below The Answer We came up with a design incorporating a toblerone shaped 3d-printed "thing", which could be glued to the top of the glass screen, and glued and screwed to the ceiling. After creating a "prototype", which was nearly but not quite right due to a measurement inaccuracy, it works beautifully. The full story is in this thread:
  44. 1 point
    The SE suggested digging 900mm deep because the soil survey said we had clay. And we have trees. I used the NHBC foundation depth calculator and did alot of reading around foundation digs. Overthinking it all, alot. BC said to dig to 700mm and see what was there. Guess what? No clay (well, only a tiny patch amongst loads of gravel). So the SE suggested a new depth of 200mm. But we are already at 700mm I said. No problem he said. Fill it back in, with crushed concrete and then Type 1 on top. So £5K for muck away and another £7K to fill the hole we didn't need to dig. Did I mention our contingency was gone? But we have extra secure foundations. BC happy. And we have moved on. A photo blog seems like the simplest way to show what has happened. So here we are digging it out. We even shovelled a bit by hand late one night. We laid some ducts. Thanks @JSHarris for swift assistance on getting those in properly. For about 10 days we got up at 6am, worked on site for 2 hours, went to work, got home, worked on site til 11pm or later. Couldn't have MBC turn up without it being ready. Then we put the crushed concrete and Type 1 back in the hole and compacted it to level. Just in time. MBC arrived the following morning. Its now 4th July.
  45. 1 point
    Work continues on site with our foul and surface water drainage now installed; Following an initially negative assessment of the treatment plant design by the digger driver, its installation worked out far better than he or I expected, causing him to take back everything negative he had said. A hole was dug out to the required depth and the conical shaped treatment plant lowered in. Naturally it pivoted about on the point of the 'cone', but all it required was four lengths of timber to prop it in place, then backfill with a dry mix concrete / fill the plant with water. Our foul water and surface water soakaways were dug out and filled with aggregate, in the case of the surface water, mixed size aggregate I had picked off the spoil heap on site, and for the foul water soakaway, clean aggregate bought in. Slab laying followed the completion of drainage works, and we now have a 600mm riven slab path running right round the house, as well as the landing/access area at the main door; The slabs were laid on a dry sand / cement mix, mixed on site using a mixer scoop fitted onto the loadall; The slabs give us a nice clean edge to landscape up to. The digger is due back shortly to finish digging out / creating our driveway and turning area, and to do the basics of landscaping / earth moving ready for final landscaping in the spring, once the winter weather has done its job and everything has had a chance to settle: Inside, the joiners have finished off plasterboarding, fitted the kitchen units and staircase. The kitchen has been fitted at this stage as it's being 'built in' with enclosing partitions; The staircase; The joiners have built some shelving underneath the stairs, and created a solid balustrade using MDF and plasterboard, topped with an oak handrail. As you can see, I've primed the newel post ready to paint in to the adjacent plasterboard, the idea being we will have a seamless appearance. I'm not sure yet how we will fill the join between newel and plasterboard - flexible filler or caulk. Oak veneered MDF shelves have been made and will be fitted into the unit once decorating has been completed. Oak veneered MDF faced with a solid oak apron has also been used for the shelves you can see in the kitchen, and for all our window cills. This next picture shows the stairs after a coat of osmo oil. We had initially been thinking of painting the stringers and risers white so that the oak tread would 'float', but in the end decided to go with the two tone appearance. I spent half a day sanding it all down, and have now applied two coats of oil. The final couple of pictures show the mezzanine area accessed by the stairs and the view down into the main room; Where we have solid balustrades, they will be topped with oak to tie in with the other internal finishes and stair balustrade. The decorator has started and will have the bedroom and link section of the house taped, filled and sanded for me by the middle of the coming week, which will let me get the first half painted while he tapes and fills the other half of the house.
  46. 1 point
    blockwork and fintwork & beamblock flooring
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