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AliG last won the day on March 30

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  1. AliG

    First UFH Project

    I saw my name mentioned. At work, so this answer may be a bit rushed. I actually have more experience in this from our last house where we took up the floor and installed UFH. That was on a much smaller room, around 35 square metres. Experience of that would suggest it is not a good idea with the caveat that we had a suspended timber floor. They put 100mm of PIR between the joists and then heat spreader plates above the joists. This was then covered with ply and tiled, so we had around a 50mm step up into the kitchen. this was OK, but my OCDness hated it. UFH is designed for much lower temperatures and output than radiators. However, it simply could not output enough heat at the normal running temperature of UFH. I had to up the flow to around 60C and even then it wasn't always enough on the coldest of days. Partly this was due to the kitchen installers leaving a few badly filled holes behind the units when they took out the old kitchen which didn't help, but the radiators worked fine compared to the UFH. To test this you can calculate the heat output of your current radiators. It is difficult to get more than 100W/square metre out of UFH, the floor will get too hot. So the maximum output you are likely to get is around 6kw allowing for units etc. This is roughly the output of 4 large radiators. 600x1200mm I believe that a floor has to have a minimum U-value for BC to sign off on UFH. I think you need around 100mm of PIR. If you can dig down and get this in and end up with a solid screeded floor then it could work well. Many of our issues were caused by the suspended floor. It flexed and tiles popped and cracked. I think this may also have been affected by the high flow temperature required. I think UFH also requires the "thermal mass" of the floor to act as a large radiator constantly putting out heat. Our system was particularly poor at coping with large external temperature variations. Basically UFH is a system for a well insulated house with modest temperature variation across the day. I would try and consider what you are doing with the whole house at once, insualtion, new windows etc rather than room bu room. BTW £15000 is crazy. My cost was £5400 including a few hundred to connect it to already installed UFH in another room and a few hundred to connect it to the boiler. This included taking up the old floor and installing PIR as well as spreader plates and the new floor on top. Unless there is a lot of building work your job should easily be doable for under £100k. As to heating requirements, we only have one 40kw boiler for the house and pool, a total area of around 10k square feet. I have onyl just finished getting everything sealed up and am trying to get a handle on running costs. I estimate around £500 a year for DHW, £500 a year for the pool and £1000-1500 a year for heating. Heating is running at aorund 2x what @JSHarris heat loss calculator said due to insulation not working as well in practice as in theory due to construction issues. This total is around what we spent on our last house at 4500 square feet, the heating costs is probably less. I am guessing with 2 boilers you are coming in more in the £4000-5000 range.
  2. AliG

    Water Regulations

    My pool holds 40,000 litres, does that count? I had to look very hard to find anything on this. I found this. which suggests a maximum use of water of 125l/per person per day. Does the way that the calculation is done mean that a house with a bath over 230l will fail? the calculation is somewhat arbitrary. It also seems to say that baths have to have thermostatic valves limiting them to 48C. Our showers have thermostatic valves but the baths appear to just have mixers. I don't believe the water use limit applies in Scotland. No sign of us running out of water.
  3. A floorplan would help. 2.7m would be expected downstairs in what is quite a large house. If you can get any double height space up into the loftspace that would also be nice. Standard plasterboard lengths are 2.4 and 2.7m hence these are the heights most builders use. 1m for the stair would be nicer, but 900mm is fairly standard and should be OK. Make sure it doesn't make your hallways and landings narrower. I use a rule that corridors etc should be a minimum of 1m wide to not feel cramped, but on a longer area you might want 1.1m. For me the best thing to have in a first floor hallway is a window.
  4. Part of the trouble is what exactly is an “eco” house. Is it one that uses minimum energy to run, or to build or is it one made from the most natural materials? And who is providing independent evidence for what is being used. It’s a bit like electric cars. Some people will argue that they are not “eco” die to how they are built and then you have to get into arguments about embedded energy, rare earth metals, etc
  5. Yes indeed. Thermal mass was mentioned. The build had me looking up hempcrete. It seems to be used more for ecological than efficiency considerations, although U-values seem decent at the thickness used. The guy said that he didn’t want to live in a house surrounded by chemicals. Then you could clearly see the PIR insulation in the roof, never mind the now well known issues with their wood burner. Much as I was impressed at him building his own house, I would have thought he would have been better off working and paying someone else to build. Looking again this morning at the finished house though, the detailing was very rough. I don’t know what was going on with the tiling in the kitchen. There was a discussion about running costs being zero. They said they hadn’t had any bills, but they also said they had been in for 6 weeks and it wasn’t winter. At one point he said the thermal store would be heated by the gas boiler as well as solar panels and the wood burner. They said if they kept using logs they wouldn’t have any bills. From a quick google buying logs costs almost as much as gas so I’m not clear what they meant by this. It cost between 200 and 300k. How can you not know to that level of accuracy. Did they include his foregone wages? The budget wax again stupid. They knew the size of the house. You couldn’t buy the materials for 60k. Never mind build it. As ever I do enjoy GD. I suspect that if they got more accurate and technical then it might not be so fun to watch. Again it wasn’t really my kind of house, but each to their own.
  6. AliG

    Possibly starting all over again

    They gave a few reasons verbally but it is difficult as I have never seen this situation where they have provided no feedback at all. The only way to see the reasons may be to allow it to be refused. We are not married to the materials and would happily change them. The architect thought that reason was just thrown in. The listed house next door has a zinc extension and the house across the road just built is in white render much cheaper materials with upvc windows and soffits. It too is in the garden of a listed house.
  7. AliG

    Possibly starting all over again

    My architect spoke to the planner today who told him that they plan to reject the proposal. We are quite annoyed as this is the first contact we have had with him. The decision deadline was 28th March and he did not return any calls from the architect or ask for an extension. He gave various reasons including that they want the house hard to one side of the plot, that the area is too large and that they don’t like the materials. My strong suspicion is that in fact he was going to approve it and then when he put it to his manager they said they didn’t want it approved. This explains why we didn’t hear anything from him, giving us no opportunity for discussion. The architect could yet request a meeting with them which they may deny. We can let it be refused and appeal but as they have passed the determination deadline we could also take it straight to review although I don’t know if that would be a good or bad idea. The application was made in January with a 28 March deadline and I think it is entirely unreasonable to ignore us until this point. It did change from awaiting assessment to awaiting decision at the end of March which is what makes me suspicious that he intended to approve it.
  8. AliG

    New build quality

    Can you please look at the cover the NHBC claim to provide then reconsider this post. Firstly the NHBC claim that builders must comply with their standards to be NHBC registered and that they inspect all new developments. Indeed they give out awards to site managers. This is supposed to give you some comfort that the build of your house has had some oversight over and above building control. The house is then insured with the NHBC from the date of completion, you are also insured against some losses pre completion. In the first two years the warranty is with the builder but the NHBC are supposed to provide a resolution service if you cannot get the builder to fix something, which was exactly the position we were in to begin with. They are also supposed to become liable if the builder does not meet its obligation to fix things. They say that as part of their resolution service they will investigate the defects. In years 3-10 they are supposed to cover problems arising from the house being incorrectly built. The house comes with an NHBC warranty from the day it is completed, it isn't something you buy later. In our case the NHBC simply said there was nothing wrong and that was the end of it. Only surveyors reports and the threat of bad publicity and legal action got anything done. Even after the builder fixed it the NHBC never accepted any wrong doing.
  9. AliG

    New build quality

    My last house had a faulty roof. The NHBC were totally useless and washed their hands of it. In the end one person in the street was an ex architect and they got a commercial surveyor to write a report on her house and then other houses in the street. This was enough to embarrass the builder into action. They had to strip down the roof on 5 houses, I think, to get the bracing in which they had missed when they put up the trusses. As ever it makes you wonder what building control, NHBC inspectors etc were doing. On the worst house the roof wasn't tied to the house and could have flown off in a storm, all of them were structurally not built to the SE specs. The NHBC did absolutely nothing. They do nothing in the first two years, you just have to badger the builder, actually the builder was pretty good on snagging, then after that I suspect they only pay out in the case of subsidence or massively obvious structural issues. Clearly self builders spend a lot more time checking what is going on in their builds than large builders with dozens of sub contractors, yet they seem to get a lot less oversight than we do.
  10. It was good, I have found the main issue with recent GD has been that the projects are just too odd to be relevant. It would have been better as two episodes, they went into hardly any detail about the builds. I felt for the single woman, she seemed way over her head, I hope she can actually afford to live in the house.
  11. Before this you can watch Ugly House to Lovely House where we have just witnessed the worst built block wall that I have ever seen
  12. AliG

    What does this even mean?

    I think the evidence that birds can roost there, but no specific evidence of bats is very flimsy. As I understood it there should actually be evidence of bats to drive further work. I would present this report to planning and say that as they have not found evidence of bats that is enough. Of course planning doesn't pay for more reports so could still ask for more, but they might take this as enough.
  13. In our last house they made everyone have white painted wooden windows due to the conservation area. It was just a pain. I built an extension and they gave me permission for UPVC. It was a mistake. They then refused my neighbours permission but by that point the precedent had been set. BTW the first half of the development had UPVC before they made it a conservation area, showing what a farce planning often is. It is a tough one, a conservation area can help stop overdevelopment but it can be a pain making changes to specific houses. Insisting on single glazing in a non listed house is an abuse of a conservation area if you ask me and should be taken to appeal.
  14. I think a conservation area is defined as an area and then houses in that area are deemed to be in the conservation area. Thus I believe property b would be in the conservation area, leaving it off the list is simply an oversight. However, if you look on the local planning portal it will say if the house is in a conservation area or not and this may be based on this list. If it doesn't say it is then I doubt anyone would argue about it. It would be highly unusual not to include newer properties in a conservation area, usually they are bounded by streets and if a newer property is in a street of older properties it would be included. I used to live in a new development on an old hospital site, out of over 400 properties only 50 were in old buildings but the whole development was still in the conservation area.
  15. AliG

    What does this even mean?

    Quelle surprise! In our case they found a few bat droppings so had to come back to check they weren't nesting. However, I have never heard of the notion that despite no evidence they have to come back because in their opinion it is a nice place for bats to nest. That is nonsense. No evidence, should equal job done.