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curlewhouse last won the day on August 7 2016

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About curlewhouse

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  • About Me
    I'm Glen Graham. I'm also on the Green building Forum in the name Numenius. Joined that several years ago and forgot about it then joined eBuild and now Buildhub in the name of our proposed new house "curlewhouse" - so am on 2 forums in 2 different names but not deliberately! Only realised when I went to "join" BGF and discovered I already did a few years ago!
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  1. Big Clives channel is great. I have to say that I've bought loads of stuff from China over the years but steer clear of safety critical and am very careful with mains powered stuff. I would never buy a smoke or Carbon monoxide detector from anything but a known brand! The classic is some LED spotlights (outdoor type) where thanks to Big Clives channel I opened them up to check and found the earth wires present but for some bizarre reason not connected to the metal body. Easily resolved. Of course lots of the electrical equipment we buy from UK and European brands is actually made in China but usually under supervision and subject to quality checks.
  2. curlewhouse

    Back to Buildloan (groan)

    Yes, I've found literally hundreds of people mobile phone companies have done this to. In fact the guy at Buildloan said he has seen it lots of times and it is almost invariably telecoms companies for some reason. I've had a go at Experian pointing out they have a duty of care to stop taking reports from companies they know have repeatedly sent them bogus bad credit reports - but of course they don't care as these companies are paying a fee to them (Experian). We are still going through the usual Buildloan delays where again nothing ever gets progressed until I phone or email asking why I've not heard anything for days/weeks. Every step has had to be forced. Its really unpleasant to be constantly arguing with people when all your asking is they do their very simple job. Basically, I send them a payslip/statement/form and all they have to do is put it in an envelope or scan it off to the building Society yet it will sit there until I ring and complain that nothing has happened. Usually until its out of date so I have to send another. It took 6 calls even to get someone to answer the phone the other day. It's just completely stressful dealing with them - its horrible. They've taken a system which can be a little stressful for people and made it hugely stressful at every turn. My heart sinks when i see i have an email from them as you know it will be some delaying tactic or asking for something they could have asked you for weeks ago, so is adding yet another delay. Its almost as if they'd never done mortgages before and were just learning themselves at each step, yet they've done thousands as we know. There appears to be no system. The top and bottom of the problem is that they have a monopoly and know it so don't have any incentive to improve.
  3. Well, all the outside is done now except for some weird small bits the builder has not yet done for no reason I can work out - the stone above the porch window (1 layer about 6" thick) and the ground floor bathroom window sill, and the bottom of the porch doorway. They are coming back which is fine and there is no panic, but I don't quite know why they left those bits undone. Anyway, as is the way of these things, we ran over by a good few thousand - mostly because both the independent QS costings we paid for and Buildstores own costings people, omitted parts of the stonework (quite a lot of stone mullions as well as stone water tabling). I contacted Buildloan and explained we'd need more dosh. First advice was that it would be cheaper to get a loan - so, knowing we have a 999 score credit rating and more than double the equity in the house & land, we applied - and for the first time in our lives were refused! It made no sense, so we tried another - same result. Reasonable income, its affordable, whats going on? On a whim I checked with Experian and found Talkmobile (who I've not been with for about 2 years) had wrecked my credit record claiming unpaid bills! Simply not true! So I chased them - they apologised and said they'd get the incorrect information removed by Experian "in 30 days" - I offered to sue if they didn't do it immediately for the extra thousands it was going to cost me having to go the mortgage route - rates plus Buildstores £500 + fee for filling a form in. So, I check and sure enough, my credit record was restored a few days later. Next day we apply again, - and were refused again! I check and find TalkMobile have done it again ! This time adding a completely bogus claim of a late payment "within the last 2 months" - for an account which has not existed for about 2 years! So back we go, and they apologise again and within 48 hours this one is also removed from my record (I've looked online and they've done this to loads of people - to one guy for a supposed £1 debt!). But now we have several "refused" records showing, so they've absolutely stuffed us, even though they admit error and we are back to a 999 maximum credit rating. So, with heavy heart we've had to go back to the nightmare that is Buildstore/Buildloan, and yet again, they are dragging the application out for as long as they can. First time round their game was to ask for say 3 months bank statements, then once you'd sent them, wait a couple of weeks and then ask you for the previous 3 months to that - this went on with payslips, P60s going back about 6 years and on and on - but never just asking for what the Building society wanted in one go, just one document at a time, even when I called and said "look, tell me *everything* you need and I'll send it all in one go" - oh no. (we should have known really when our initial application to Buildstore sat on someones desk for a month with nothing done until I rang and asked what was happening. I then had to chase them every single step of the way to make them get on with each step otherwise they just sat on the documents until they "expired", at which point they'd want the next months document, then the next months payslip - by which time a new statement was due and so on and on and on. I had to find how to contact the Chief Exec in the end to get them to actually just submit the damn application! A job which if i could have done it myself was all doable in maybe a week maximum. To my horror, they are doing the same again - they asked for 3 months (cunningly sent them 6 months so they couldn't play the same trick) payslips and bank statements, and already they've sat on them so long they are asking for the next ones! They have to be the most stressful way of getting a mortgage by far. when I rang the Building Society they assure me they send out a sheet to Buildstore at the start and list everything they want in one go (Buildloan tried to tell me it was the Building Society asking for one thing at a time - which made no sense to me, as why would any building society or bank do it that way?) . So I've just read an email asking me for a statement they *already have* and for this months payslips (which we don't have yet of course). I've written back pointing out that this will go on indefinitely if they don't just submit the paperwork and keep waiting until the statements and payslips are a month out of date. So I've also asked for a definite date when they plan to submit and have said if they cannot give me one, and do not plan to submit it this week then it makes sense for me to send all things in future direct to the Building Society, telling the Building Society why, rather than them being sat in someones desk at Buildloan until they expire. Give me strength!
  4. curlewhouse

    Can planning permission mandate a specific supplier?

    Here is a thought - and gets you thicker , nicer looking slate and at *half the price* - recycled Welsh slate. That's what we've done. We were specified to use only Welsh slate and after having a near heart attack when I discovered the price (which is plain profiteering when identical slate can be shipped from Canada who have similar wages to us, and costs thousands of gallons of fuel oil to get get here for far less), I looked at second hand. I also used it in my application saying how "green" it was to reuse slate. The price turned out at 50% of new and we got really thick slate compared to the modern stuff. It was re cut to size, and because it's already weathered looks lovely straight away. What's also nice is I know exactly what buildings it came from and I did the same with our stone walls, so ticking lots of "green" boxes but happily also slashing the cost (our stone came from a convent school!)
  5. curlewhouse

    Contamination Survey....deep breaths!

    You know, one of the biggest unexpected costs (and angering) for us was this joy the office warriors have of spending other people's money. It's the easiest thing in the world to pontificate from an office and say "I want you to get this, and this, and this" when it's someone else's money. The fact that you can get tests done for £16..... or £3k shows what a racket the whole thing is really.
  6. I know that for our archaeological "watching brief " it was plainly a ready made boilerplate document with our site details cut and pasted in by the archaeoligist. But the various firms all quoted about the same amount for that part of the "work" & since they would be doing the watching brief there was no way around it as we had to have a qualified archaeologist on site (and the national park wanted to know his qualifications and had to agree he was acceptable before we could proceed!) so although the brief could pretty much have been copied from any other site it was useless without the archaeologist himself and of course they wouldn't work with someone else's. I can't see the council accepting *your* say so that nothing untoward was found to be honest. Is there reason to suspect contamination in particular?
  7. curlewhouse

    An almost balanced article about Newts and Planning

    Interestingly enough the "museum" aspect of the countryside is one I actually had to remind our national park planners of at one point during our fight, er, I mean "the planning process" with them. When they queried if we were having electricity and telephone (they were worried about "wire clutter") & I actually said that although we want it kept looking nice and traditional probably more than even they do, "the village is not a museum" .
  8. curlewhouse

    Diesel or Petrol?

    I loved those engines - had xantias, a zx, and a 306 with them and even did a marine conversion on one to go in a boat! Absolutely bomb proof engines if just given basic oil changes. I was getting 55mpg with them and running some on veg oil back when it was priced as a loss leader so was pennies. In fact whenever I sold on or scrapped a car those xud engines were still running fine. 55mpg without all the fancy electronicals we "need" now.
  9. curlewhouse

    Diesel or Petrol?

    Having had diesel landrovers from way back when you had to go round the back of the garage with the wagons to get a diesel pump (it cost pennies!) I was gutted when car drivers started buying diesel - and as a result the price shot up. So as long as I'm allowed to keep my diesel defenders (200k on the clock and running strong) I'll be glad when they all go back to petrol or electricity. Then maybe we diesel heads can have decently priced fuel again. 😁
  10. curlewhouse

    "Must Sees" at the NEC Show?

    When we first started we spent 2 days at the NEC show and went to most of the seminars of relevance to us over those 2 days. Really useful. Yes, most of the firms there are by nature high profit. But certainly when first starting out it was well worth it for us to go. You can browse, learn what's available, compare methods, ask questions, get prices.... and then go off and find the best prices once your back home. We found them very worthwhile and interesting. Once we'd started the build there was no point in us going to them, but they were great for helping shape our ideas and having a look at actual materials and so on in the early stages. It also makes you realise just how many people are interested in self build/custom build.
  11. curlewhouse

    Has a safety boot saved you?

    More times than I can recall. Ive dropped a block before on my toes been saved by the steel toecap, and saved stubbed toes when tripping or catching on things. They also allow you to kick things with impunity 😁 . Whilst my hard hat is still in its wrapper, I definitely will replace my steel toecapped site boots with new steel toecap ones when they wear out
  12. curlewhouse

    Yours truly is very annoyed.

    I hoped to avoid this by using BC and warranty from same firm - (and even ended up paying for a more expensive warranty, imagining that this would be far simpler with the same firm doing both - Wrong!) which failed dismally, and indeed only last week I got a new query about the drains being laid in a bed of gravel - and had we done it! Now this is almost a year since their own BCO looked at them, bedded in gravel and told me fine, you can fill them in! The warranty inspectors supervisor has made it very clear he doesn't like SIPS, and the inspector himself didn't even know what they were! As JSH says, there seems to be no consistency at all, and "rules" are inserted almost at random and against logic it seems from many of the examples we see on this forum. As for planners, we locally see a big difference in their approach depending no the wealth of the individual. Example, one man wants to develop a derelict house - he is refused permission as it would mean building a new access track across a field. Next, Lord X's close relative (yes really) applies for the very same house.... and is given permission! As a parish councillor I recently saw a case given permission before going to consultation (as it happens it was fine and we would have happily agreed it anyway). By sheer coincidence the owner is also a millionaire. Now let me be clear, not for one second do I suggest anything untoward, that would be ridiculous frankly, but I do think there is an unconscious bias - which could be solved by sticking to the same rules for everyone - the same for BCOs and warranty inspections.
  13. I know it's shot vertically (I forgot) & the wind makes it a little hard to hear, but this is an update as regards the windows etc. Meantime, our lovely warranty people are being difficult again,asking for photographic evidence of *things they've already inspected* which are now buried or behind walls! ..... they *really* do not like SIPS!
  14. curlewhouse

    Stephen Hawking

    Had to re-read A Brief History of Time immediately after the first read to get a grip on it (well, I think I did, sort of! )
  15. curlewhouse

    Access Rights

    Can you get any indication how long this work will continue? I suspect it may be temporary. I used to live in an old station house beside a railway crossing which once a year was lifted and relaid on a weekend night. They also parked there to access the track further down as at the time new cabling was being done. This then attracted assorted toe rags to steal the cut up cable! (I got a couple of them caught). The worse part was once when working on the line they set up a new (at the time) safety system which "whooped" loudly every few seconds to show it was live, then changed tone when a train was approaching - so this damn thing "whooped" every minute or so all through the night until they finished around 5 a.m! However these were all temporary things. The plus side was I got to see the trains .