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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. 15 points
    Hi Some pictures of various parts of the house, with a little bit left to do Kitchen and flooring to be bought and fitted John
  3. 15 points
    We have been living in the house now for two years and things have settled down so we are looking at whether the house has matched up to our requirements when we designed it. These are, a house that is comfortable to live in, is cheap to run, has low maintenance and looks like our design. This is an artists impression of the front of our proposed house used in our planning application, And this is what it looks like now. This is an artists impression of the back of the proposed house from the planning application, And what it looks like now. The LPA were very critical about the street scene and this is a street scene view of the proposed house from the planning application, And this is it now. From the maintenance point of view the cedar cladding has silvered and doesn’t require any treatment, as planned. The entrance doors are aluminium faced and under cover and the windows are fibre reinforced uPVC. We have a water softener which requires block salt monthly and a drinking water filter which is replaced twice a year. Our Genvex Combi 185LS had a fault, after only 26 months, which was diagnosed as a failed solenoid on the refrigerant DHW circuit. We have our sewage treatment plant emptied once a year and I replace the air pump diaphragms once every two years and change the filter once a year. We haven’t yet fitted a solar PV system as we are unable to decide whether it is worth doing. If we do fit a PV system it will be a 3kWp system fitted on the single storey mono-pitch roof which is at 30º and faces 20 degrees West of South. We find the house comfortable and are pleased with the effects of the MVHR system. We don’t like draughts and with an airtightness figure of 0.47ac/h and the ventilation system running at PH levels the house feels well ventilated with no cold areas due to the Genvex keeping the supply air at no cooler than the room temperature. We keep the inside temperature at a constant 23ºC. The space heating is provided by electric towel rails in the three bathrooms and supplemented by warm air heating supplied by the EASHP in the Genvex Combi 185LS compact unit. We designed a solar gain area which is the porch and is outside the thermal envelope of the house. This area provides a significant proportion of the space heating requirement from October to March. We don’t need to use energy to cool the house in the summer but on a hot summer evening we use passive stack ventilation utilising the roof window in the bathroom. We wanted a balcony and verandahs and we were able to fit them into our design and we have used them a lot. This is a list of the monthly running costs averaged over the last two years. Council tax band E – £189.71 Water – £14.63 Broadband and telephone – £30.98 Electricity – £63.79 Water softener salt – £4.48 Drinking water filter – £5.61 Sewage disposal – £8.33 Sewage treatment plant maintenance – £2.65 Genvex Combi MVHR filters – £6.25 In conclusion we are happy with how the house works for us with relatively low running and maintenance costs. We used mains water for the building works and garden for most of the last two years so we are hoping the cost of mains water will go down now that we are using the borehole for watering the garden.
  4. 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
  5. 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!!!!
  6. 11 points
    In my last blog entry we had done the majority of first fix and were about to tackle the lighting circuits. We had intended to do this in the conventional ring and switch runs. Reading up on our options it soon became obvious this was not the best option and that running radial circuits made much more sense. A radial approach will let us install led drivers and any automation in a central area for ease of maintenance and to allow us too upgrade with wi-fi switches at some point in the future. Initially we are installing RF controlled relays with switches that look like fairly conventional switches stuck on the walls at appropriate places. There are a couple of of lighting circuits where having Shelly controlled switches will be beneficial as we can programme them to come on at sunset for a couple of hours. All has gone reasonably well, our council building controls visited and gave us a clean bill of health and said they didn’t need to come back before completion. They’ve been really good to us drawing our attention to possible problems, so getting the news was a nice vote of confidence. It’s been hard work and we’ve been on site most days, so when it came to the 14th I did little to help my cause by buying Pat a new set of overalls 🙂 … we both had a laugh about it. Our plans were to get the plaster-boarding done by mid March, which is when the plasterer was scheduled to finish a large job. This schedule gave us plenty of time to fit service battens on the vaulted ceiling and get everything as true as we can to give us a nice flat ceiling. Not having plaster-boarded before we decided it was prudent to call in the plasterer to take a look at what we had done and point out anything we needed to do differently. So when Shaun our plasterer came on Tuesday last week and told us it all looked good and the big job he had been due to start had been delayed as the electricians had failed to come on site. Quick discussion and we decided to break our plastering into two pieces of work and start on the 25th a full three weeks before we had planned. It was an all hands to the pumps week to meet the schedule. Our house has a two story stair case in a 1.8M by 2.4M void so when working on the ceiling over the void it looks like a very long drop...a good 8 meters. The boarding above the void is in full view, so we wanted to get a nice straight line on the intersection on the apex. We set up staging in the void on the second floor. Well supported but still knee quaking. Getting the board lifter into the work area was also a problem. Just to help the wall on one side of the area was not true so getting a 2.4M board lined up and fixed true proved a bit of a mission. In the end it took four attempts and some use of packing shims to get it right. Not a good start as it had taken the best part of a day to do a comparatively small area. Our kitchen ceiling is vaulted and we had bought a board lifter and an extension arm to allow us to do it. This extension arm allows the boards to be raised to 4.6M plenty we thought. It turned out to be just 800mm less than we needed so we ended up putting the lifter on blocks to get the additional height. In the end it worked out fairly well with minimal trauma. Can’t imagine how people do it without a lifter. Progress picked up well from this point and we put up the last few sheets with a little time to spare. Plasterer arrived on schedule and got to work fast. Such a transformation.
  7. 11 points
    Well, just over 4 years since breaking ground I have moved in at last. Covid 19 was the kick in the rear I needed to get on with it. Still a long way to go but liveable. Upstairs nearly finished. No kitchen but utility fine. After all the trauma of the last 4 years has it been worth it? Oh yes, it is heavenly.🤗
  8. 9 points
    I have had several pints with him and he is very, very sound. He took a 60 mile detour once just to drop off an unused tub of waterproofer at my build and would not take a penny for it, ditto some 16mm pex connectors that he posted out. Also the time he spent building and sharing SAP models, calcs, etc on this forum were significant. He often admitted that he found it difficult to read emotion into online conversations so sometimes came across as aloof, which was unintentional.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 8 points
    Friday was a near perfect day for concrete pouring. A little cold at first, but by the time the concrete lorries arrived it was warming up nicely. The pile caps are all tied together nicely. The first lorry arrives. Disapointingly they didn't pump the concrete because of equipment availability. One of the snags of living on an island! The concrete was poured into the dumper, then the digger used to bucket it in to the beam. Half the long run done. Plenty of "watchers" on hand to use the poker to get the air out. The Driveway will take a bit of cleaning up now! The finished ring beam. Order says the house is a postage stamp and thinks the kitchen is way too small. Another view of our tiny new house. And now the start of the celebration for completing stage 1. Only three more to go.
  12. 7 points
    I made some concrete worktops for the kitchen and utility, 40mm depth, two with under mount sink. Kitchen sink worktop is 3.6m, utility 2.4m and the island 1.2m x2m with hob. Major challenge was the weight but they are in. Tiles are temporary. I had a quote for 5.4K so thought I would give it a go.
  13. 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!
  14. 7 points
    As someone from the kitchens business I have read several posts here with interest and some point I would like to add to put in a counter reality. 1. Expecting furniture delivery without damages is frankly unrealistic. Bear in mind that made up units are mostly air, transported on road surfaces where the quality varies vastly and even a sudden braking incident a real cause for damage. Damages always occur and its a bit underhanded for retailers/suppliers to not set a realistic expectation for what may happen during deliver, consequences and realistic timescales for remedials. 2. Furniture doesn't always handle well. Most kitchen furniture will be handled onto a truck at the factory, off at a warehouse, back on at a warehouse and off at the clients house. Each event of handling brings potential risk of damage. Customers who aren't provided a realistic picture of the facts end up with unrealistic expectations and disappointment. 3. Furniture supply chains are often lengthy and much more complicated than what one imagines. There is no such thing as a kitchen made in Britain with doors usually arriving from Ireland, france or Italy, hardware from Germany, Austria or Italy, Chipboard sometimes locally sourced but from timber originating in Nordic or Baltic countries and the list goes on. The weakest link in this chain is usually the doors. 4. Packing kitchens better is definitely a solution but most manufacturers find a balance between the need to be eco-friendly (the best packing materials are not easily recycled and the most recyclable materials not the most robust to prevent damages) and cost sensitive. Often the view is that its cheaper to change a couple of doors on a kitchen than to spend an extra £75 on packaging which still doesn't guarantee anything. 5. Notification of damages - while yes typical period is 2-5 working days there is a good reason for this. Seldom does a fitter own up to dropping a door or panel or nicking it or incorrectly drilling something with the onus of paying for the replacement put firmly in the fitters court. So why would it be fair for the supplier to deliver a kitchen when requested by the customer and then allowing them weeks to report any damages that weren't a fault of the supplier. Our own kitchen manufacturers allow us a fair amount of time and our understanding with out fitters is to honestly tell us if they damage anything - we do not charge them for it but that gives us a real picture of how good our suppliers are with deliveries. 6. Poorly paid delivery teams. Fact. A lot of delivery drivers earn a pittance and cant be bothered if the goods on the load bed are lumps of cast iron or finely crafted furniture. The best deliveries are from companies that own their truck fleets and employ their delivery staff and this can be very expensive. The typical cost of a 12 ton truck to deliver a kitchen from Kent to Manchester with 2 man crew will be c £750 taking into account capital cost, running cost, wages & overtime and diesel. So on a high end bespoke kitchen this cost adds maybe 5% just to deliver the kitchen. Some companies go down the palletised route but it does not work for kitchens. 7. 100% perfect deliveries - Errors happens. A kitchen is typically a collection of components, units, panels etc that come together in the clients kitchen for the first time and have to be technically thought through correctly, ordered correctly, interpreted correctly by the order processors, manufactured correctly in the factory, picked and loaded correctly and unloaded correctly. It sounds more complicated than it it but the level of automation in British factories particularly is very very low making the process far more error prone than it ought to be. Just a reality. I dont want to be seen as defending some very poor practises but thats the reality. About 90% of our business is German kitchens and the rest British. We find that one in 3 kitchens has a remedial. The type and severity varies but none that are show stoppers. We put this down to be very technically sound, thorough with our processes, realistic with our customers and are probably at the upper end of the scale for correctness and completeness of our orders. I personally know of very many companies that are just shambolic. Hope this helps
  15. 6 points
    Ordered my Kore foundation yesterday (from Ireland). €9718 Was going to do BACS payment...but at the last second noticed the exchange rate being given of 1.05 from bank of Scotland.. Quick change to credit card and paid using that (no fees) and you get the mastercard rate at that point of 1.1. Point of the story £420 better off. Happy days
  16. 6 points
  17. 6 points
    It’s coming up to a couple of months since I last posted. With the upstairs now a contractor-free zone, we soon had many Ikea flat pack kits to construct for the kids bedrooms. Our joiner fitted the utility worktop and units in February and we have since been applying oil to both this and the kitchen worktops. The last bit we needed done to be able to get the house habitable was for the plumber to do second fix. This work had been scheduled for the end of March. The majority of the bathroom and en-suite was delivered a couple of weeks or so before the lockdown started but all of this has now been put on hold. The joiner was able to do a day installing the bathroom furniture. That is now the extent of the inside of work and it’s now a case of waiting till the restrictions are lifted. Given that we cannot order any materials or have contractors working, I decided to move my attention to outside tasks and do what I can with a shovel, barrow and metal bar. The first job was to clear away all of these scrap materials up the access road to the shed. I don’t have a van or dumper so did this with a wheel barrow over a few Saturdays. This took longer than I expected, just moving a pallet and half of dense concrete blocks burned a lot of calories! Some of the good sized left over broken slates will be useful for other projects but the rest and some smaller broken blocks were used as hard core to build up the path at the gable end. I plan to order a lorry load of chips which will be spread around the perimeter house. The next job involved pulling out loads of rushes using an iron bar and log to lift them out of the ground. I plan to add some additional drainage around the garden so have also started work on a French drain. Building control have given the okay to a timber ramp. I have bit more height to make up than your typically self build because of the suspended timber floor and to meet the regulations regarding the flight length this will need to be extended around the front inspection chamber. I plan to clad this ramp in Siberian larch with non slip decking. The next exciting job is going through the ground here to pick up hundreds of stones in preparation for grass seed. It’s not been the most interesting entry and I am hopeful the next one will be a ‘we are now in’ entry. In the meantime, to ensure progress, I’m going to pull together a list of jobs that I can do and others that I can plan for when the lock down ends. Stay safe and healthy.
  18. 5 points
    The biggest problem is running out of energy... just paint it all magnolia and we'll worry about it later.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 5 points
    You're a guy who likes a challenge, yes? Sorry if I am repeating stuff you have covered. I think we would need to know more about where you are with planning for detailed comment, as there seems to be no-PP post-2015, which means that if that is so you need to repeat the whole thing, including the Bat and Tree reports, and possibly the Archaeology one, too. Guestimating, that would be up to 5-10k for the Planning App if it all has to be redone. It would be useful to know how big the floor area is. As a Grade 2* listed church, it is one of the top 6% of listed buildings, and one of the more (ie in the middle between most and least 🙂 ) important church buildings. There's a lot of detailed stuff mentioned in the listing (below), with a lot of bits going back to Medieval (you won't be able to lay a finger on any of that). You will have close supervision by conservation officers, as well as Bat Men, Tree Officers and Archie the Ologist. I think for work on the most important building in the village, in the High Street where everyone can see it, with a diverted public footpath round the edge of your site, you will be doing it by the book - though you can probably create a less expensive version of the book than otherwise by adjusting the scope of your work. I think the Heritage Report which is part of the Design and Access from 2015 is important. I think you have some tension between the statement therein not to divide up the interior vs your proposal for a mezzanine (are you even allowed to bolt it to a Grade 2* listed wall - I have no idea?). Also if I am correct it says that the roof needs work, but also gives hope that you can change some of the 19C and early 20C accretions. It says that the building was unsafe and in need of urgent repair - that counter to your suggestion that the roof is usable, and the 2015 scheme involves raising the roof. One problem is that if any one of these type of issues explodes in your face, it can be a 50k hole in your budget overnight (KEY ISSUE - Risk Assessment up front). Little villages routinely raise 6 figures for repairing the structural elements of church buildings eg roof or chancel or porch. You need to have confidence that the once-a-century need will not land on your watch. Was this building ever on the Buildings at Risk register? An FOI to English Heritage for all their information may be very fruitful. Is there any risk of disturbing skeletons and bodies? That could be painful, though the churchyard being closed since 1900 may help. One technique I have seen used is to fill in discovered voids with sand rather than doing archaeology. So what to do? Suggestions All those drains through the churchyard and the French Drain look bloody expensive for archaeology. The quotes may sound expensive; unfortunately it is. It will have to be done if the ground is disturbed, so scope out the need if you can. Need to focus on minimising archaeology. if the interior floor was disturbed by Victorians or 20C people, then I would consider running drains and pipes etc under the floor or a raised floor rather than digging up a medieval churchyard - unless you can show it is previously disturbed. There may be a lot of value for you in running things under the path. Or perhaps there is a plague pit and voids underneath? We found one in a church in Nottingham where I was once on the Church Council while reordering - would have required us to find somewhere for an extra 4 months for a congregation of 500, so we filled it with sand and put the new floor in with cantilevers, rather than let Archie back. Do you have good advisers to argue your side? Thinking of eg the architect who used to do Quinquiennial Inspections when it was a church, or the one who worked on the 2015 application. This is important, and needs to consider your proposals - are you allowed, for example, to stick insulation between the beams of an ancient roof? Are you familiar with how church buildings work - consider taking up churchcrawling, perhaps especially the Churches Conservation Trust buildings. I think you need to consider yourself in attitude the custodian - almost long-term janitor - of the building, and make everything reversible if you can. Doing nothing where it is not necessary is an important technique, and beware of ologists and officers who want to spend your money on their enthusiasms. You should be able to find a lot of info about the interior and the fabric, perhaps from the Ecclesiological Society or former church warden etc, or perhaps the "Church Recorders" from the Arts Society have done this one at some point since 1971. If all else fails Cameron Newham has had a 20 year project to record photographic surveys of every building mentioned in Pevsner, and especially rural churches, and has now done about 70-80% or rural parish churches and his photo archive is getting on for a million - he will talk to you but will probably want money if you want photos. I think he did Bedfordshire quite early, so you may be lucky. Or find someone who crawled it whilst it was still a church; just find a group and ask the question or email bedfordshireparishchurches.co.uk . I very much like the suggestion in the heritage statement about re-rendering the walls that were stripped back to stone due to former fashion, though some "freeze it in aspic when it was listed" people may have a blue fit (probably a good thing for their mental attitude). I am not at all sure that UFH will work in this sort of space. Take great care with ducting fat and stuff out of your kitchen. Much potential to damage the old fabric. I think the key is exploring the cost and risk of each element before you do anything substantial. I can't overstate that. (Update: should have mentioned that some parts of the listing will be out of date by now, but I think eg the bellframe and bell are stil there - or were in 2015.) Really, really wishing you all the best. Ferdinand -------------------------------------------- TL 13NW GRAVENHURST HIGH STREET 4/65 Upper Gravenhurst 23.1.61 Parish Church of Saint Giles GV II* Parish church, originally a chantry chapel. C12, C15 and c.l900, the latter work by Sir Arthur Blomfield (Beds. Times and Independant, 14th March l902). Coursed ironstone rubble witn ashlar dressings. Chancel, N vestry/organ chamber, nave, S porch, W tower. Chancel: c.1900, replacing a brick structure. 3-light E window, 3-light and 2-light S windows in C15 style. Embattled parapet. C12 round-headed chancel arch with zigzag carving to W side, the paired columns and scalloped capitals being c.l900 replacements for Jacobean wood columns. Flanking round arches also c.1900. N vestry/organ chamber: c.1900. 3-light and single-light windows to N in C15 style. Plain parapet. Nave: C12, with some C15 reworking. C15 2-light windows to E bay of N and S elevations. Blocked round-headed doorway to N. C15 S doorway with 4- centred head. Embattled parapet, patched with red brick to N elevation. S porch: c.1900 replacing a brick structure. Pointed arched doorway, single lights to sides, plain parapet. W tower: late C15. 3 stages. Diagonal buttresses to NW and SW angles. Semi-octagonal stair turret projects from lower stages of S elevation. W elevation has 4-centred 3-light window to lower stage. Bell stage has 2-light pointed arched window to each side. Embattled parapet. Pointed tower arch. Interior: Plain 12-sided font, Cl5, reworked C19. C15 nave roof has moulded beams and braces, carved bosses, and angels holding shields and musical instruments, some parts of roof retaining traces of painted decoration. Other fittings C19. Listing NGR: TL1130535987
  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. 5 points
    It's been a while since anyone was on site but family. We've done a few jobs in the last couple of months but obviously made nothing like the progress we originally planned. (Management speak would be "rebaselining the programme"!) All the beam and block is installed and grouted. All the plinth blocks are installed and pointed, placed to an accuracy of 3mm in height and 5mm in the other directions. Hopefully... Waiting now for the SIPS people to mark my homework! All the building control paperwork for the foundation stage is completed We've finally settled on a landscaping plan for the site and implemented a little of it, mainly to get rid of a few tonnes of spare soil Then we spent a few hours tidying up the site. I estimate we've got 1/10th of the woodland "tamed". The tidy site awaiting scaffolding next week. The front of the house, looking at the louge. We weren't sure about landscaping levels until quite recently, so elected not to do too much with the exterior bricks and blocks until that question was answered. It makes the telescope vents more difficult but in theory it should be the lesser of the problems. Also note the mistake - some slips got missed in the section under the front door (and at the back too). Oh well, I suppose that's what you get when you foolishly try to race a global pandemic. At least it's not a difficult fix. Finally, I found a bit of spare time to put a new engine in the wife's Lotus. The old one (with 130k miles) became significantly past its best last year when it lost oil pressure with the inevitable result. Here's the remains of the old one. Pictures of the finished Lotus when it's been washed - sitting in the corner of a building site for ages has done it no good at all. With any luck, the scaffolding will be up by the end of the month and we will have a SIPS kit on site.
  24. 5 points
    Hi 18 months ago we found a large (2.85acres) sloping site with outline consent on a small part of it. A fortnight ago planning permission was granted for our contemporary build (full application as our plans were bigger than the red line of the outline consent). The planning officer liked our plans (we had paid for pre-planning twice) and recommended approval. We were almost caught out - the Town Council objected because our plot is designated as green corridor in the emerging neighbourhood plan and Highways were quibbling about visibility splays. So more expert reports including landscaping plan for the whole site were hurriedly done. We own the private road with six houses on it. We worked hard to get our neighbours on our side and three submitted support for our application (three had objected to the original outline application). We need not have worried, the planning committee loved it approval and gave unanimous. So here we go. OnS638_310-05_PROP-ELEV 1.pdf 1039-SCD 01B Landscape Masterplan.pdf
  25. 5 points
    We’re pleased with the way the bathroom turned... still finalizing the decorations (mirrors, etc).. but it’s largely done now,
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 4 points
    Hi, I had it tested and it was not asbestos. So all good 👍 Thanks all.
  30. 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.
  31. 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..
  32. 4 points
    It has a lot to do with the gauge of the block work, you should build a STOREY POLE this is a piece of timber 50x50 that will have height marks on it, it could have a mark for top of windows, top of doors, first floor height and so on, the brickies can use this to adjust their block height up or down a bit to hit the design height, over 10-12 courses of blocks gaining 1 mm per course will grow the building by 12 mm plus a brick course you can juggle things a lot. All down to good planning. Or as above just run a ledger board around the walls to simplify air tightness.
  33. 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.
  34. 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...
  35. 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......
  36. 4 points
    Tell them to FO. Better still, sell them your consent for £5k.
  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. 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
  40. 4 points
    I really don't understand where this MVHR mandatory 'sealed box' perception comes from. It's all about giving you options, not imposing anything. Our house is passive standard with full MVHR and we open doors, sliders and windows year round as we please. The point is we don't have to open doors and windows to get fresh air or expel stale air as the MVHR is always taking care of that. But we can if we want, at the small cost of energy efficiency (i.e. re-heating the warm air that has escaped in winter). N.B. if you open a single door or window then as the rest of our house is airtight then there is little air movement you need to open two to get a cross draught. Actually being able to keep doors & windows closed is most useful in summer. At night we open one slider a crack (in a locked position) and open the Velux at the top of the house - cools everything down nicely. During the day we try and keep everything shut to minimise warm air from outside making the house uncomfortable. We don't have an active cooling system like some here (air or slab) so really need to watch overheating in summer. Even if every door and window is open, the MVHR extract will still work fine - you just loose some efficiency on the heat recovery side. You can configure the system to do what you want - most of us here have balanced it and figured out how to meet BR standards and then dialled it back down to a comfort level. For us this is 30% fan for comfort and 50% for boost. We have PIR sensors in each bathroom which trigger the boost mode, also triggers when a bathroom light is turned on (and doubles up as the trigger for the DHW re-circulation pump).
  41. 3 points
    The most affordable option is to stick build with a local joiner or use a local building firm. If you are in Scotland easier to do. I saved loads that way and the cashflow was to my advantage. If you want speed and less hassle than a Scotframe kit could work well for you, but that comes at a cost. On a personal note I was not impressed by Scotframe they didn't even come back to me when I was in touch.
  42. 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
  43. 3 points
  44. 3 points
    This will be a very welcome addition to these Sunamps and long overdue. Too late for the ones of us here who still have little idea as to the charge status on the older(er) units. The controller is now also built into the main unit rather than a box on its own.
  45. 3 points
    If you have the salary that you say then there is no gain whatever from doing any of the work, stick at what you do best and just sign the cheques, be a very good manager, and not a poor bricklayer.
  46. 3 points
    In all seriousness you could end up on one of those crappy neighbours from hell tv show. You are currently on the high ground. Chillax. Now he knows what people think of him,
  47. 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.
  48. 3 points
    There is no rule saying your consumer unit can only be 3 metres from the supply head. What there is, is a DNO rule that you can only rely on their supply head fuse for cable protection for a run of up to 3 metres from the meter to the consumer unit. If you want your consumer unit more than 3 metres away, you fit your own switch fuse with an 80A fuse in it, in the meter box, and then your cable can be any length you want it.
  49. 3 points
    Hi. Unwanted opinion: Knock it down and rebuild it to modern standards with revalimed stone used to face the external walls. Cheaper and building will perform much better. *Runs away*
  50. 3 points
    We have a Sunamp Uniq 12 heated electrically for our DHW - it ran (via an Eddi controller) entirely from our 10kw solar from early March to mid Nov and at other times of the year we give it an overnight (potentially economy 7) burst. This is with the 10kwh electrical battery taking priority, but even then the Sunamp has been getting solar power the odd day recently. There is no hot water tank installed. UFH is powered from a low temp Daikin ASHP. Re your OP: Our EPC certificate (101 rating) says 11,000 for space heating and 2,400 for DHW while actuals were 1,800 (input to ASHP so output around 6,000) and 1,000 (only 2 of us though). We're 380 sq m.
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