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  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. 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 🤣.
  5. 9 points
    just a quick post to share some of my issues which in hindsight are entirely self inflicted, hopefully this will help others not to make the same mistakes. 1. Put your waterpipe in the duct from the outset, soo much easier than pulling it through later. (I did consider it but dismissed it as wasn't sure exactly where my duct was going to come up at the time) - don't be like me! I tried pushing 30 odd metres of mdpe through a 63mm duct, got 25m through then nothing. I dug two holes to find it, ended up having to attach rope to car - not gonna lie, it was a griz and I was hating life. 2. When laying your hardcore sub-base for an insulated slab do the foul drain runs at the same time. I was under time pressure to get ready for concrete so I just left stubs poking out to connect to later - dont do it, I've made life so much harder for myself having to dig through hardcore to do it. 3. If you ignore no.2 and just leave stubs make sure you leave a good length - i didn't! The stubs i left only just poke out from under the slab, god only knows why I did this. I have spent all day yesterday and today digging them out so I can put an extension length on to bring them out to roughly where the ICs will be. Digging through the hardcore really sucks ass. Yesterday wasnt too bad, today was on another level. The trench kept collapsing in on itself and my 600mm trench ended up about 1.5m wide - a very bad day today. Dont be a plonker like me. I've made other rookie errors so far but fairly painless. These have been a right PITA.
  6. 8 points
    Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. Coming up on 2 years since we first instructed our architect and over 8 months from submitting our planning application, we have finally been granted permission. It's been a tale of missed bat season, incompetent planning officer, excruciatingly slow conservation officer, numerous complaints and all capped off with some pretty ridiculous pre-construction conditions. But we're there! In the time it's taken us, I've done back to brick renovations on 5 projects plus a couple of loft and rear extensions plus we've had a child and a global pandemic (which I blame on our resident brown long-eared bats) Oh and we've also completed our permitted development outbuilding/yoga studio/stealth shed All I'm hoping for now is to get the foundations in before winter.
  7. 7 points
    So this isn’t like for like, you need to add the cost of a typical gas boiler, the installation of a gas supply and then the annualised servicing etc of both. That gives you the Total Cost of Ownership. Comparing the two as you have doesn’t work unless you do this as you have compared Capex to Opex. Average life of a heat pump is far in excess of 10-12 years as there is very little to go wrong inside. As they don’t create anything corrosive or products of combustion they also don’t need anything like the servicing of a gas boiler. You can also do it yourself if necessary unlike gas. We’ve done this before .. a heat pump will support as much hot water as you need. Sizing the system is the issue, it’s when installers don’t survey the property and assume the 180 litre hot water tank is “enough” for a 4 bed house. What isn’t understood is that the tank is acting as a buffer for usage in a gas fired house, and the boiler will be kicking in pretty quickly once 2 showers are running. If you don’t believe me, turn a standard boiler set up off (Usual 25kW boiler/210 litre tank) once the tank is at temperature and get 2 showers running. You’ll be out of hot water in about 8-9 minutes. The boiler kicks in and is essentially acting as a 25kW instant hot water heater into the tank. The downside with ASHP (unless you go very big) is they can’t provide the speed of recovery as it’s 25kW vs 12kW, so will need twice as long to recover. That is why you oversize the tank. 400 litre tank is £2-300 at most more than a 210 litre tank so in the scheme of things is negligible. Back to Capex - you’ve paid for it as part of the build so what’s the issue ..? If they U.K. standard for new housing was the same as Southern Ireland and the zero carbon targets then we wouldn’t have this issue moving forward. I guess this was a retrofit under one of the “schemes”..?? A lot of these were done by people who used to fit solar panels, cavity wall insulation before that .... and they are neither heating engineers or specialists. I’d hazard a guess it was poor design that was the issue here not the heat pump. Bit like complaining your Ford Focus can’t beat a Ferrari off the lights ... In the lab yes, on test rigs yes, they have less than 3 years real world data of actual usage and the biggest change is changing the jet on the boiler. Been doing this for 40 years with LPG so it’s a no brainer but .... it’s not as clean as you think it is...!! Burning anything in pure oxygen is fine, it’s 2H + O = H2O plus some nice heat. Then add all the other stuff in air, the nitrogen compounds are still there, just ask TfL about this with their hydrogen buses. Your other issue is the problem of transportation and detection. You add mercaptan to natural gas to make it smell, and the reason is so you can find leaks. Our natural gas network is leaky ... but the volatility of natural gas (the nice methane mix) is much lower than hydrogen. So we will need to work out how to stop that lovely hydrogen leaking out as it’s a tiny molecule not the massive long chain hydrocarbon - welcome to the situation where you “could” use hydrogen in a standard boiler with a new jet and a pressure change, but 80% of the infrastructure to get it there would need updating. Assertion.. Assumption..? Or a blind guess ..?? If you size the heat pump and the radiators to the heat load and heat loss of the building, then any building can be heated with a heat pump. If you don’t believe me then you may want to check what an aircon unit is and how they heat places such as exhibition centres with them and not gas boilers (hint, they are heat pumps) Are they ..? 9kW heat pump with all the bits is change of £4k, cheaper if you buy non-inverter. The £10k you’re usually quoting .? That’s the “MCS Premium” for installation to get RHI and it’s not rocket science to install a heat pump. As a balance, I’ve seen quotes of £3,500 to install a gas boiler into an attic plus £1500 for a new hot water tank so they are comparable in price when you consider any plumber can fit a heat pump, to work on gas you are required to be GSR. On what basis are they “bad for the environment”..?? Burning of fossil fuels is bad for the environment, and you’ve completely missed the “how to create hydrogen” issue as you need energy to split the water in the first place to fuel your hydrogen generation. So you are going to take clean energy I take it (ie no fossil fuel based generation) and then use it to inefficiently split water (which you will have to purify first, possibly even use reverse osmosis) then inefficiently compress the hydrogen (using energy generated from..??) then add the smells etc, and finally transport through an upgraded network to a property where you will inefficiently burn it to produce heat and create combustion products ..? That is environmental impact of a massive scale in terms of creation, storage and transmission of a volatile gas that still hasn’t got a fully proven long term benefit. Just so you can use that lovely box on the wall you have always been told is the only way to heat water...?? Or alternatively I can use a transmission network that currently exists to move electricity from existing generation plants that could be produced from any source, to power a heat pump that creates no emissions without having to change anything in the grid infrastructure. And you call my heat pump bad for the environment ..??
  8. 7 points
    ...and still working on the landscaping.
  9. 7 points
    Today was the day - after a lot of taping etc two years ago we found out today how good it all was. I've not had the paperwork through yet but the tester said the Q50 reading was 1.29 - not sure what this means but the air changes per hours came out at 1.1. Well pleased with that. Not too sure what others on this forum have achieved. I suspected it must be Q good because the house keeps warm with very little heat input. The weak points were french doors (bad - need to see how to adjust them) - 2 pairs of these. And there is a leak somewhere on an internal wall (?) but I've decided that we are not going to try to find them. Just need to move in now. Hope everyone is well, CC
  10. 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!
  11. 6 points
    Today I learnt to lay a slab. it's my first one and not a very important slab as it's just to house the GRP electricity kiosk from CCF Fibreglass and a couple of wheelie bins. it was about 0.2m3 and I mixed approximately 1 part cement to 6 parts sand/ballast pre-mix with some water by hand in a wheelbarrow and then tamped it down to get a rough but level-ish finish. There are 3 x 150mm ducts in the slab for the electricity supply in, out to the house and out to the STP which is nearby so these got in the way of getting a nice tampered finish but, all things considered, I'm very happy with what I've achieved today and think I did an alright job for something that I really didn't care how good it looks. I'll have another one to do to house the ASHP further down the line which I'm sure will be better. what did anyone else learn to do today?
  12. 6 points
  13. 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
  14. 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 !
  15. 5 points
    Quick update - we have planning permission! The approved elevations are: Unfortunately we lost one of our favourite features - the arched covered entrance - in reducing the width of the gable but must admit that the elevation does look better proportioned this way. We still need to get actual stonework and render colour approved before building can commence so anticipate that our next battle will be over that -- particularly the definition of the colour "cream" which was demanded by the planner. We're not big fans of "cream" with a heavy proportion of yellow/orange so here's hoping we can convince him that the RAL colour chart "Cream" is acceptable: https://www.ralcolorchart.com/ral-classic/ral-9001-cream
  16. 5 points
    Hi all, I've just had my Idealcombi windows and doors installed, really pleased so far. They need to come back and fit some custom made trims
  17. 5 points
    No, but I do live on my own, but 5 adults in neighbours house and they seem clean and tidy. If I needed more hot water, I could fit a larger cylinder, cheaper than a new boiler. Read my rely about the flow rate, it is enough to run two showers as it is, easy to fit another pump to run more, but I would be running out rooms to fit showers into. How well does a combi boiler work in a power cut. At least I have some stored hot water, definitely good for 2 days, probably 3. The flow rate of most, cheap, combi boilers is pretty pitiful. Had one in my old house and it took 15 minutes to fill the bath. This is pretty pointless really, you do not understand, and cannot be bothered to learn the differences in the technology, you just have a very backwards view on heat pumps. You assume they are low powered, only low temperature, are super expensive to buy and install, while any gas combi boiler has infinite capabilities, gives 100% reliable service, costs the same as a week in a Travel Lodge (do they use combi boilers in hotels?) and produce less pollution. I am not going to change your mind, but I will pick you up every time you say 'they don't work' or similar, as that is just nonsense, and I have no tolerance of people that talk nonsense.
  18. 5 points
    Nail hit firmly on the head. So we have to reduce CO2 emissions. That we all understand, but don't let anyone kid you that ripping out a perfectly good working modern mains gas boiler and replacing it with an ASHP is going to reduce your fuel bills. IT IS NOT. I think a lot of companies are going to scare home owners into believing their mains gas is about to be shut off very soon and they have to change for an alternative. There is going to be a lot of grant money sloshing around which the cynic in me says (largely from previous history) that most of that will just end up lining the pockets of the companies offering to rip out your gas boiler and replace it with an ASHP and very little will benefit the end user. An ASHP makes perfect sense for a modern well insulated low energy house in a location where mains gas is not available, and ours is performing well for that application, but I am yet to be convinced they are a viable option for an old poorly insulated house without huge upgrades to the buildings fabric. And a huge percentage of the UK's housing stock falls into that category.
  19. 5 points
    The biggest problem is running out of energy... just paint it all magnolia and we'll worry about it later.
  20. 5 points
    We put in a single row of mixed blackthorn and hawthorn bare rooted 60cm tall in winter 2015/16. They can just about be seen behind the rabbit fence in the first picture. Five years later, second picture, they have grown a bit. They are kept at 1m high as they are on the road edge.
  21. 5 points
    I think pretty much everyone has the thoughts of ‘just buying a completed house instead’... In reality you will do that a few more times yet. But when you are in the house, you’ll forget how bad it was and be really proud of what you have created.
  22. 5 points
    I think those of us who are not retired or won lottery have done do We lived on site which helps massively with logistics but is not essential. My big discovery was that a PM is not a site manager. Many will not be on site every day and certainly will not consider opening & closing site, taking deliveries etc as their job. So if you need that, you need to pay for it separately or do it yourself. Neither will they clean up at the end of the day, check what's been done, tidy stuff away etc.. They will likely be there for more 'mission critical things, but if you're using good contractors then that should not be necessary. We parted with the architect after planning was obtained as their costs for BC stages were quite high and as we were using packages, somewhat duplicative (drawings etc). I spent a bit of time discharging our planning conditions and reviewing the detailed design of the basement and frame and I think this gave me the confidence to oversee the work itself - at least I understood what the expected end result was even if somewhat clueless on how it was actually going to happen. We hired a PM to do a PHPP analysis and commission a QS plan and this was a really valuable tool as it quantified all the 'things' we needed stage by stage and put default costs against them so when I was getting real prices, I had something to act as a guide. That said, the QS pricing was about 25-30% above what we ended spending and the PM's fee would have been 10% of the build cost so we saved both. Packages for the key initial parts of the build help remove the need for a PM or even site manager. If the build is being done piecemeal then a main contractor is a good bet as they will combine PM and site management but will impose an overhead for management costs / profit. You're also dependent on the trades they choose. From there you can use good subs (electrical, plumbing etc..) do do their bits and you act as a bit of an orchestra conductor. On our build we did one package for the demo / basement and another package for the timber frame - very much observers for all of that, I did some sourcing & install for basement insulation and lightwells as they were not specialties of the contractor. Once the frame was up, we got the windows in, roof tiled and render applied plus soffit, fascia, rainwater goods etc in one busy month while the scaff was still there. Again, effort here was initial sourcing and agreement of supply/fix contracts (windows took most effort, however I independently sourced the Velux and saved a substantial amount on those.) and generally watching what was going on and making sure we were happy before the trades were paid. I did the rite of passage that is MVHR first fix and sourced all that kit at a decent price. Thereafter during the rest of first fix the trades came and went as needed - it was slow and steady and we did not need to source anything for them but we did start to accumulate second fix items (mostly sanitary ware). We did not have a pre-existing M&E plan (saving ££) so the first fix designs evolved with discussion with the trades and a few things were added last minute. Main input here was confirming locations of things (sockets, sanitary etc) but only required a few hours of onsite time with each trade plus a few phone calls. Use of FaceTime etc would make that a lot easier now. After first fix was complete things got a bit more involved - we hired a joiner to make good the first fix (boxing in etc) as since he was labour only, we needed to do a lot more sourcing but also got more involved in design of some elements. We then moved to plastering and decorating - again, largely hands off for that aside from choosing colours etc. Tiling & floor finishes required sourcing but that is very personal in taste and part of the fun - as most of second fix is 'what you see' you will want to be deeply involved in it anyway. Joiner back in for second fix carpentry (doors, skirts, architrave etc) then second fix electrics & plumbing and the kitchen was one of the last things to go in before we moved back. We did final stairs a few months after that (didn't want them getting wrecked) and landscaping came the following year - again we had a labour only deal there so did lots of sourcing and speccing. So it was not a huge amount of effort, no real skill required aside from knowing what you can and can't afford and what end result you want.
  23. 4 points
    Well, 13,000 bricks arrived today on an artic which refused to back into the site. Had to sort it of the road. Offload went ok with the forks with one pack a bit mangled by the hiab which let go at the back of the site. Spent the afternoon stacking bricks onto a pallet. Waved off the artic load of 7n blocks due tomorrow to the mech yard to drop off as and when - it looks like they have swallowed the cost! 20T of sand that was due tomorrow came today after I was gone - it been dropped in the right place by a miracle. Trench Blocks, cement, wall ties etc arrive tomorrow. Steel frame on my bit comes in tomorrow and brickie kicks off Tuesaday.
  24. 4 points
    Work continues on the last room in the house, the sun room. Now it has windows time to get it finished inside. So i estimated I needed 10 boards and those were delivered. Of course I should have taken the time to estimate that more accurately. By the time the ceiling and one gable wall was boarded, it was looking clear I needed another board. Not an easy thing to buy a single sheet of plasterboard. So I set about collecting all the offcuts of plasterboard I had left over from other parts of the house, and with some very diligent and careful planning to work out how best to use what I had, I managed to get it all done, and now very very few bits left over at all. Next task, taping and filling then painting.
  25. 4 points
    It took us 35 years to get planning permission. By the time we got permission, we'd been through the mincer a few times each and many times jointly. And that had taught us resilience: hardened us off if you like. Lost mates in the forces, been through several of the severest domestic trauma you can think of - and out of the other end. Alive. Kicking. Because we'd just bloody well got on with it . Self build - no difference. Its exactly the same. But if you can't take a joke, don't start.
  26. 4 points
    MVHR (and PV IMO) are both no brainers if you are building a modern, well insulated and airtight house. I have a Zehnder Q350 unit and I can't speak highly enough of the unit - quiet, efficient and does what it says on the tin. Given your other choice is *shudder* trickle vents - I mean, come on!!!!
  27. 4 points
    There is a 100% sure fire method to not cut a finger off. Fit the grinder with the side mounted handle. One hand on the trigger one on the side handle, so two hands both in use out of the way. The thing that stops you cutting your self is focus and having your mind on the job. Thinking of bacon sandwiches or that bird that just walked past is likely to end up with a didget missing.
  28. 4 points
    I'm really pleased with the way the solar panels and roof is looking
  29. 4 points
    Now done all 11 (3 had remote sensors so not affected), recalibrated them and I now have much more stable temperature control, so very pleased with the result. As previously said, I measured the temperate of the top slot probing into the back. 29 degrees! Have sent a new design to Heatmiser. Given the large cost of tooling, I wouldn't expect them to jump on it though. Of course the slots would be on three sides, I just showed them how it could be disguised.
  30. 4 points
    To get close you 'net zero' on your energy you need to work out the house heat loads (not that hard) plus your domestic hot water (DHW). Then you can calculate the size of a PV system. A guy on here, who has now vanished, has a house with about 150m2 livable area, an ASHP, MVHR with built in heat pump, plus some extra cooling, and got to net zero with around 6.25 kW of PV. That basically sets your roof size, which, for a fairly basic house design, sets your floor area. The important things to remember is that any shading on the roof kills PV performance, and if you spend a lot of time in it, then East, South and West facing modules may be more beneficial. Roof intergrated PV can work out cheaper than tiling, and it can help a lot with cooling as it reduces the solar radiation getting though into the house but about 20%. Forget a ground source heat pump, just not worth the extra money in my opinion. Spend that saved case on decreasing the overall thermal losses of the house, what we call 'fabric first'. This means you need to exceed building regulations' minimum standards, by quite a bit, especially with airtightness. So your walls will be thicker, as will your roof. If you go for underfloor heating, then you need a lot of insulation under for house, and around the periphery with some designs. Airtightness is all about uncontrolled losses, you want to control the losses, via the MVHR. But try and pick an area where people do not burn coal and wood, count the local chimneys. Liking a 'a lot of light' can become expensive. Not just the costs of extra glazing, but extra heating during the winter nights, and extra cooling during the spring and autumn, when the sun is lower in the sky, but still churning out a lot of energy. So think very carefully about this. Putting in blinds, Brise soleils, reflective film, noble gasses and special coatings, is really a patch for poor design. They are just cutting out the light (though some of the films allow more UV than IF though). Careful orientation of the glazing is more important than the overall size. I see some great houses on the south Cornish Coast, they have fantastic view, and then blinds over the windows. The better places are on the North Coast, they only need the blinds in the summer. You can pipe in natural light with sunpipes, or design your own, they are only mirrors. Can't help much about the garden, but trees can be a mixed blessing. They are useful to reduce the effects of the prevailing wind, but then they shade your PV. So choose carefully. And will you need a sewage plant and a bore hole for fresh water? As with any project, make the big decisions first, then research the details. And two important things kW and kWh, they are different, learn the difference and people will be very impressed. Shall leave you to research them.
  31. 4 points
    We didn't build a house but we took on a 1960's house, tore it back to a shell, renovated most of it, extended it, built garages and demolished old buildings and now on the final push to complete it all with the final parts being renovated now (parts that directly adjoined the extension). Been a hard 5 years so far, I'll be glad for it to be over if I am honest. I go through periods of what seems like total inactivity but you must remember that planning and material procurement and decisions are progress in their own right, we have recently broken the ice on about a 2-3 months period of more or less no or very little progress, but then on breaking the ice suddenly the project takes a leap, I have a JCB turning up later to dump hardcore over a wall into our garden, I have flooring arriving tomorrow/Fri, I had a painter in last week, I made some decisions and plans which then let things move again and I just need to be bold and go and buy lots of materials and hope it all works out OK! In 5 years I have had help from professionals on my site for about a cumulative 4-5 weeks, that includes a joiner for a day, a brickie, general builder (dry dashing the house), gas man, plasterers & painters. The rest has been me on my own or with limited help from friends and family. I overthink things, sometimes it pays off, sometimes it just creates issues and stress, I have actually been feeling a bit off for a few weeks now and I am sure it is stress. I pondered over the silicone job on a window sill for about 2 days at the beginning of the week deciding it let the whole new kitchen down... apparently it doesn't but because I paid too much attention to it I stood and stared at it and fiddled with it and wasted more time. I have also decided that if I do something now and I am not happy, move on, don't think about it and if at the end of it all, I still look at it and think no that is not good, then redo it, assuming it is a job that can be done in isolation obviously! Don't worry and don't you or anyone else set targets for yourself, you will not meet them and you will feel demotivated and then stress and rush and then you will step back and go, wait, I made that deadline, there isn't a deadline and suddenly a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders.
  32. 4 points
    Hi, I had it tested and it was not asbestos. So all good 👍 Thanks all.
  33. 4 points
    Welcome. I while back I became a proud owner of a very old, stone built cottage in the middle of nowhere. I am gradually fixing it up. Roof doesn't leak any more, attic is insulated, all the internal walls are re-plastered in lime mortar, new ceilings are installed ........ plus a hundred other jobs, big and small. I'm definitely not a builder, but I am doing all the work myself. Having a place to ask for advice from people more experience in the topic is great.
  34. 4 points
    @joe90 reporting back, done me steps. Really do need skirting now as there are gaps galore at sides, knock thru walls uneven etc. The pB to wall glue is excellent for general wood to wall btw. quite pleased, but by god took a whole week..
  35. 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.
  36. 4 points
    Well my first lot of home made baskets have been installed ! Iused high tensile sheep netting doubled up and offset to make the holes small, wired them together and then they were filled with Stone salvaged from site. It worked really well and saved me a lot of money but it did take some time all said and done. Got a lot more projects to do so will need to get on and build some more......
  37. 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
  38. 4 points
  39. 3 points
    I like cooker hoods to have stainless steel grease filters that go in the dishwasher and are externally vented via min 150 dia ducting.
  40. 3 points
    I need a bit of a lift this morning. Knackered, tired, had enough - see all the mistakes: you know the drill. We all suffer from it. The No Mow May thread got me thinking: I certainly dont have to do any mowing any more - and thats excellent. Before building I had about 4 hours mowing a week to do. So, how about a Before and After or From That to This interlude. A bit of time for reflection on achievement rather than the next ten -how-the-hell-do-you-do-thats. What better way than two images one Before 'tother After Before After There. that's a bit better: just a bit better. Show us your before and after photos.....
  41. 3 points
    That's such a truism that I'm thinking it would make a good signature line for a self builder. The simple discipline of habitually questioning professionals' (contractors) statements is one step on the road to due diligence . My god I have regretted not following my own advice.
  42. 3 points
    Get some quotes before you start dreaming. And some advice on which ones are practical. For bigger ones it will take 2 growing seasons. Have you considered commissioning an oil or acrylic painting of it? When mum and me left their 40 year house after dad died, we made a predetermination to be grateful and pleased, but to walk away with no regrets. It is a good perspective.
  43. 3 points
    @zoothorn can you not understand that after 56 pages no one is really the wiser about what the issue is ? We know your house is cold . Everyone is using educated guesses to attempt to understand WHY ! Draw a (expletive deleted)ing plan of your house . Put dimensions on . Draw the radiators in each room with dimensions. Take photos . ANYTHING to give evidence of what you have ! Personally I think this thread should be locked - because it’s a pointless joke . So much help offered ; yet all refuted.
  44. 3 points
    Do it yourself. Save a fortune and you will get it done the way you want. Note: I am a project manager.... it’s not rocket science
  45. 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!
  46. 3 points
    Milestone reached today: all the Mains dimming circuits are terminated to the panel. Slight frustration of the Weidmuller terminal blocks is the Live core is hidden under the neutral wire, so if you have a few circuits not yet terminated at the fixture end it's tricky to make them safe on the panel. In theory the spring clips should make it easy to disconnect unused cores. The WhiteWorks dimmers are very nice. The built in test modes very handy indeed.
  47. 3 points
    Not sure what to say, very unusual to be stuck for words. Anyway, I’m Mark. I live in Cornwall and after a recent life changing event I decided to follow the dream (well mine at least) and create an off grid property and workshop to live my life and run my small business (I’m an electrical/mechanical maintenance engineer), to be honest I was toying with the idea of buying a canal boat and running away slowly but I’m a bit big for boats and I’m a hoarder of old machinery and electrical equipment. So this tied in with a good friend of mine sending me a text along the lines of “do you want to buy a bunker”, I’ve been involved with bunkers for almost 40 years so I know a thing or two about them and I went to have a look. Looking at it, meeting the farmer who wanted rid of it was another life changing event and so here I sit in a concrete room with my feet up drinking tea and writing this intro. It’s been quite a journey and there is much further to go so I thought rather than keep making it up as I go along I’d be better joining this forum. All I can say is the off grid bit works well (I don’t slum it) and I have no idea what the weather is doing outside. Cheers
  48. 3 points
    As they say time is a great healer and you do forget all the crap times during your build. Having done a complete renovation and a self build I definitely enjoyed doing the renovation a lot more than the new build. Everybody is different and you have to consider whether building a new house is really what you want to be doing for the next however long.
  49. 3 points
    They've got some data on power consumption too... Antifreeze pump is 3-45W, assume 15W. Air resistance when cooling is 70Pa at 250m3/hr (about right for a 200m2 house if I'm understanding correctly) -> 5W additional fan power @ 100% efficiency, so allowing for real life efficiency total system draw will be about 30W. Using their example for cooling, with air into the MVHR at 16°C and ambient at 28°C the cooling power you get (assuming no dehumidification) is (1010 J/kg.K) x (1.2 kg/m3) x (250/3600 m3/hr) x (28-16)= 1kW of cooling for a COP of about 40. Cooling power is 84W x temperature difference attributable to the ground loop (16°C in this case - their figures). DegreeDays.net gives 73 degree-days above 16°C in the past year at Aldergrove (closest station I could find to you) - 84 x 73 x 24 = 147,168 Watt-hours (147 kWh) of cooling. In reality this will be a bit better because it will also do some dehumidification. Same calculation for heating power gives 103 degree-days below 5°C: a 208 kWh saving. To me the numbers don't stack up as a means of energy saving - 400kWh/year is the output of a couple of PV panels, and in reality probably overstates things since night venting will probably deal with a big chunk of the cooling requirement for free and the frost protection on most MVHR systems probably kicks in significantly below 5°C. The only times I think it makes sense is if you're trying to hit a very strict energy requirement for some sort of standard when the very high COP is of value, or if you have a restriction (planning or similar) preventing you from using an ASHP for summer cooling.
  50. 3 points
    A really good old school tiler doesn't need a levelling system. A bad tiller will mess up the job with or without a levelling system.
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