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curlewhouse last won the day on August 7 2016

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About curlewhouse

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  1. Fussy inspector.

    Unfortunately as the warranty is tied in (and paid for) it's no simple matter to sack them - if it was just the BC aspect, I'd have dropped them the first day he queried if Kingspan SIPs (all of them with prominent BBA stickers on them) were "an approved building material", as that was a clear red flag. However, I had the "Warranty Engineer" and my BCO here today to resolve matters. I set the tone by refusing to shake their hands (I've never done that in my life) saying "you try and stop me building a home for my family and then expect me to shake your hand? Your lucky I'm not throwing you off my site" - I thought it was best to set the correct tone from the start . I've been polite long enough. Anyway, they definitely want me to ruin the VCL by stapling every 200mm and thus putting several thousands of pin holes in it or they won't approve the warranty. I pointed out to them that it will thus be water vapour permeable and no longer actually a VCL, but they say that's what Kingspan has now specified. They still couldn't explain to me how the VCL will allegedly fall off if not stapled exactly every 200mm when it will have studding screwed into it every 600mm (though its on the wall now stapled at about 300-400 centres and has been there 2 weeks) . Their reply is just that this is what Kingspan specifies - I told the engineer that he wasted all those years at university if he could not use his own brain and THINK - because as a non-engineer even I cant see how the VCL could magically pass through studs and fall off. Anyway, the main point was to ensure we weren't continuing to have these discussions and me doing research for them at every single item, the VCL staples are just the most recent issue. So after about half an hour I got them to tell me now what else they want to see from here on rather than waiting until I've done it then "ambushing" me, pointing out that since they are applying rules over and above those in the building regs, without being a mind-reader, how can I comply? I also pointed out more than once that I've been unable to find a single person who has been subject to this level of scrutiny and asked them why I therefore see utter cr*p being allowed for the volume builders to get away with (since they do BCO work for some of the bigger firms too). They claimed they are this fussy with every build. Both admitted to me they don't have part P certificates, so I told them that I will not take any notice of their views on electrics and that they open themselves to potential legal action if they go around giving instructions on electrics in their professional life. I also asked them if they think a self build is likely to "bodge" things - and to be fair they admitted to me that our build is actually way above the standard they usually see. I said that "unlike some hairy *rsed bricklayer on his 500th house build, (my actual words) this house matters hugely to me, so there are no corners cut anywhere and if anything quite the reverse thus no need for micro-management". I think we came to an understanding by the end (basically they just be sensible, and I wont trash their name everywhere I can) and I did shake their hands! Its a shame it had to come to such an unpleasant situation and I had to be quite rude and forceful really. So we shall see.... (A window rep called at the same time and looked worried after he heard how I was talking to them )
  2. Which building inspector

    I have to say that (I now know) the L.A ones here have a good name amongst builders, and the private one I've used has a good name in some areas but my own experience has not been that way, so I would definitely ask locally as it seems to entirely depend on the personality of the BCO him/her self rather than who they work for. All will (should!) keep to the rules of course, but there seems to be a huge difference in how they apply those rules. Talk to local builders and tradesmen and you'll soon find out which is best in your area.
  3. Fussy inspector.

    Interesting conversation with the warranty engineer from our BC firm. Basically backing up the BCO (who apparently has been one for over 10 years - both ourselves and our builder were completely convinced he was new from his nit picking and lack of knowledge of sips and Kingspan) and now claiming Kingspan specify a 200mg spacing for staples in VCL (after the BCO stated they don't! ) . I asked him how as an engineer he feels the VCL could fall off or sag anyway once trapped under studding even if we hadn't already stapled it? Needless to say he could not come up with an answer. So their solution is that I must put thousands of extra pinholes in the VCL by stapling every 200mm ! Kind of defeats the point of a VCL surely? Anyway, both he and the BCO are coming on Friday, so no doubt that will be interesting and I'm not entirely sure I won't end up throwing them off the site if they are continuing to be so silly. I'm just waiting for them to say things like the screw heads we use should be Philips and not pozi (or vice versa) or have I checked with Kingspan if they specify what colour front door we should have (I feel its getting that stupid now), I've half a mind to call their bluff and send such enquiries to these firms in their name 😁 . I've already advised my SIPs provider that they may want to relate my own experience with this BCO/Warranty firm to potential clients in future who have not yet appointed a BCO since they seem to be very prejudiced against sips.
  4. Materials and approval

    From a conversation I had yesterday with the engineer of the firm who are overseeing our warranty, I'd definitely talk to your BCO first before parting with your cash once you've identified which you want to import- a throwaway remark I was told yesterday during a prolonged conversation (covered in another thread) was that if for example I'd got our SIPs panels from Sweden they'd (the warranty firm) "just walk away", having come across some unsatisfactory ones presumably.
  5. New Electricity Supply: trench specification, and sealing

    As regards the warning tape - check they do accept the normal warning tape - Northern Power Grid for example don't allow the normal polythene tapes use and insist on "tile", basically a hard plastic version of the tape, (which when you try and buy some you find is available only in 40m lengths (around £50)... for my 2 metre long trench! - so in my case, scrounged FOC from some NPG guys I saw working on a site elsewhere). They also would only accept "non coilable" ducting (despite the national DNO web site showing an example of coiled ducting and saying it is suitable). Everywhere else on our site after the meter is just the normal polythene stuff of course.
  6. Fussy inspector.

    Thanks Peter, not with BZ as I thought (!) it would simplify matters to use the BCO firm for both. I'll have a look at who underwrites it though. The BC are big national company and I think we've just been unfortunate in our inspector - I'm convinced he is new to the job. Our mason has done jobs where this firm is involved elsewhere with none of these issues (he was busy building on our site one day and our BCO came up and told him how far apart the wall ties should be - the mason pointed out that's exactly what he was doing anyway - the ties fastened at the exact proper distance were there right in front of the BCOs eyes, yet the guy still felt the need to "instruct" the mason!).
  7. Fussy inspector.

    Cheers JSH, I will send him that link! Declan - thanks, there was loads more nonsense we've had which I could have documented but felt it would have started to look excessive so that's nice to know how it comes over.
  8. Fussy inspector.

    e-mail sent today when I realised my plan to lay screed has gone bust because I have to remove plasterboard and the UFH manifold as he wants to see behind the plasterboard - so this weekends progress is lost . I've also left a message on his phone telling him he is not to enter our property any more until we have resolved this. Sent to senior BCO and the BCO himself. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dear XXX & YYY I think we have reached a point where something needs to be done. XXX expressed concerns about SIPs construction on his very first visit to the site and queried at that stage with me if Kingspan SIPs "are an approved method of construction" (they have BBA stickers all over the panels)- this rang alarms bells to be honest as did several other questions such as was our site at finished ground level - the place is rutted, with soil heaps and so on, so obviously not. Since that time XXX, it has become increasingly obvious that you are very concerned about the SIPs method and have made me make several enquiries with both the erectors and the manufacturers (KIngspan). It is simply a different method of timber frame at its basic level really. However, we assumed XXX is possibly new in the work, so fair enough, and as we know, the norm and ideal is that you work *with* your BCO and they help you get to the correct results (name of firm seem to think the relationship is that you stop the build at every chance). However, I have had to waste much time doing research and asking frankly embarrassing questions of the suppliers (which even I as a non expert knew the answer to), and this situation is getting worse if anything with an entire day lost today out of 2 days this weekend, which will mean I will have to continue working late into the night on Sunday to catch up - and I'm up at 5 am for work the next day! So believe me, whilst it may be no problem for yourselves to mess a customer around, or even funny, it causes me huge problems - and you seem to forget,I'm PAYING you. We lost a few days last week when we could have been progressing the VCL but had to stop as XXX was concerned re the exact spacing of staples holding the VCL in place, although the VCL we already had put up cannot fall off and the joints are sealed with the correct tape and an excess of 150mm overlaps. Sure enough, XXX, after I'd spent hours trying to find something on this instead of progressing our house build and told you so, you came back with the exact answer I'd told you from the start. So that time was lost for nothing. I'm sure that's fine to you folks with a house, but we are in a freezing cold caravan trying to get this done before it gets much colder (-7 here one night last week!) and your wasting my time day after day after day. Today I have to take down plasterboard which was screwed *and* glued into place because name of firm did not send me the inspection schedule so ambushed me with a demand to see behind it - this "ambush" method of inspection, i.e waiting until the *customer* has done it then demanding it be undone or stopped so silly questions can be checked is a terrible way to do it. I have queried these issues in National self build forums (don't worry, to date I have not named your company) and *no one* else has had a BCO stop work for issues like this. No one - not one of them. In fact, when I asked about staple spacing some people thought I was joking! There is being risk averse, and taking it beyond practicality. Not passing us the inspection details for the warranty and thus allowing us to do work which then has to be undone is simply out of order - that's not XXXs fault of course, but the fact I had to ASK to get that document (I obtained it about a day before you sent it to me Mr YYY) just adds insult to injury as you would have happily continued doing that to us at every piece of work we had done - I was going to say until the end, but of course the build can never end whilst you keep stopping us like this. We were *not* sent a copy of it originally. Today, instead of putting a screed in, I have to remove plasterboard, depressurise the UFH system, remove the manifold, spoiling the pipe joints and so on, because name of firm chose not to tell us about the "pre plaster" inspection until AFTER you knew we'd put plasterboard up! I have asked you already to tell us what work you will not allow us to do to avoid these issues in future - no response. So clearly more ambushes like that one in store. Now we almost dare not do anything as you are clearly just going to make up a rule about it *after* we've done it and make us destroy it/remove it/undo it. This latest issue about staple spacing for example suggests we are going to have to plot and measure every nail, screw, dot of glue and so on in the place, or else you'll wait until we've done it to come back and demand it removed or stopped or I contact the screw manufacturer to ask if they were meant to be used on SIPs - its getting that silly. This nonsense has to stop, or else you need to refund us and we'll find another company whose intent is not to prevent the build. In these actions you are not providing the service we paid for. Keeping the build correct is fine, stopping it repeatedly, making up rules after work has been done and expecting the customer to do the work of the BCO is not. I recognise Mr YYY from your email that you consider a "non standard build" apparently places a duty on the *customer* to do all the research and to know all the stuff a BCO is supposed to know - (who is being paid to know that stuff by the *customer*), but I have to disagree that in the year 2017 SIPs is so different that it places the entire duty on the customer and that a BCO need know nothing unless the customer stops the build completely and does the research for him or her - then waits for an answer, all the while with work stopped.. We need this job done properly and no more of these delays and work stoppages. So, can we discuss how to proceed - we need to build a house and I do not believe that you would keep stopping a builder or larger developer. If you have yet more special rules all of name of firm own about staples, screws, glue, or anything else that differs from published regs, then you need to tell me *now*, not afterwards. If someone can either ring me on Monday to progress this, or return us our warranty fee as you are not currently doing what we've paid for (we did not pay you to repeatedly stop the build or add rules no one else in the UK does) then that will be fine. Ideally, you'll stop with the secret rules and ambushes, start helping us, and we can actually build this house together.
  9. Fussy inspector.

    Its not, I already checked. The BCO eventually came back to me and admitted there is nothing in writing from the manufacturer of the VCL or of the SIPs (he clearly has not worked with SIPs before and even queried if they are an approved building method!).
  10. Fussy inspector.

    Well there are exta stages because of the warranty. The next one is "pre plastet" but he will not pass that unless we do all this stuff and any extras he thinks up. I spoke to him last night and said that if I have to measure and report every single staple, screw etc in the place he's basically closing down our build as we'd be on for years.He agreed to find out Kingspan approved VCL stapling distance (I'll be utterly amazed if they have such a thing - I mean why would they?) when I said I wasn't willing to ask stupid questions on his behalf any more. Standard overlap seems to be about 150mm but nowhere can I find a recommended stapling distance - not unaturally as its a bloody stupid question -but remember this is just his latest fixation and as he can refuse to approve the house for the purpose of the warranty he has us over a barrel. I'm now at the position of not knowingly what work we dare do that he won't make up a rule about! *** update *** just picked up a message from him - surprise surprise Kingspan don't have a specification for how far apart VCL staples have to go (and why the hell would they? ) as long as it's firmly fixed and overlaps taped (you mean exactly how I started doing it before you stopped me!) - you couldn't make this sh** up! 😠
  11. Fussy inspector.

    Well, the latest is he insist I contact the sips company (yet again - at each visit he thinks of new questions which he insists *I* send to the SIPs firm - sometimes really stupid questions - it's embarrassing . Despite paying this building control Co. I'm obviously expected to provide their BCOs education too! ) and ask them how far apart the staples should be which hold the VCL on.... I kid you not. I've pointed out that as long as it is secured properly in such a manner so it sag or won't fall off, surely that's sufficient? oh no, he wants an exact, down to the mm statement of how far apart each staple should be. I spoke to him this afternoon and told him he is basically stopping us building the house - if I have to account for every single screw and nail position in the house and seek his permission and cross check with the sips company at every single part of the construction we'll quite literally never get finished. At my wits end with this guy. He seems *determined* not to allow us to get to where we can put plasterboard on for some reason. Amazingly his boss claims it's MY responsibility to find all this stuff out for the BCO!
  12. Structural warranty

    We had to for the mortgage unfortunately, and chose the same company as are doing our BC work - they were not the cheapest, but it seemed a good idea to be dealing with one guy (BCO) - which has then turned into a bit of a nightmare with him even querying BBA certified materials every bloody step of the way and making me do pointless things and make embarrassingly simple enquiries with firms (just one example "are SIPS an "approved" method of building", despite the BBA stickers all over them - I kid you not!) . Its sheer bad luck in the individual we've ended up with though I suspect, not the principle, and if we don't play ball, we get no warranty and I'm not sure what the Building Society would make of that since its a condition. Wasting many hours of my very precious time though. If I had cash to build, no way would I be getting a warranty as we never plan to move from here.
  13. Given the quality of the builds compared to what we on this forum all show can be done for less money, the hardest part must be for the developers not to keep sniggering as people queue up to hand their money over.
  14. Recycled plastic blocks

    When I was on the committee of a local nature reserve where we used to live, we bought picnic benches made of this stuff and despite a few serious attempts by local yobs, they were unable to get them to catch fire. I don't know what it was had been added to the plastic, but they were far less flammable than say wood. Seems a good use of waste material - though given that my BCO thinks SIPs are wildly exotic and keeps sending me back to question the suppliers every time he's visited so far, and even questions things with a BBA certificate, God knows what nonsense you'd go through being one of the first to build with something in the UK.
  15. Knee pads that don't slip....

    I've got 2 pairs of lee cooper work trousers which are great, and the pad pockets are such that I don't even notice the pads when walking around- in fact I've forgotten they were in a couple of times and they've gone through the wash with them in. So comfortable that I just keep all the time.